Project Fi Expands Coverage to 170 Countries With Preemptive Travel Notifications

Project Fi

Project Fi, Google’s MVNO mobile service, has added several new countries where their low cost international usage is provided.  The list is now over 170 countries strong with the latest addition of 73 countries announced today.  In these countries, Fi users will have the same costs as they do at home, which is $10 per GB of usage.  Text messaging is unlimited as part of the package and voice calls are a low .20 Cents per minute.

Some of the new countries that Project Fi users can travel to and get coverage include:

  • Algeria
  • Armenia
  • Bangledesh
  • Laos
  • Madagascar
  • Mongolia
  • Niger
  • Oman
  • Uganda

You can see the complete list of countries in the announcement made by Fi today.

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Project Fi Subscribers Getting Smart Replies in Android Messages

Android Messages

Subscribers of Project Fi have a new feature coming to the Android Messages app for SMS and MMS.  Smart Replies is something that has been in Google Allo and Google Inbox for some time now and the feature is now rolling out to Fi subscribers.

Like Allo and Inbox, when a text message comes into your Android Messages app, you will see options for replies in three small bubbles just above the text box where you type your replies.  Backed by Google’s AI, smart replies understands the context of the message you were sent and offers quick, one tap replies to those messages.

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Project Fi Now Replacing Defective Nexus 5X Phones With Moto X4

Android One Moto X4

Google is finally offering a reasonable replacement to those that have struggled with defective, often bootlooping, Nexus 5X on Project Fi.  Customers who have the 5X and have the $5 per month Device Protection Plan on the device, can now get a Moto X4 as a replacement.  The $69 deductible payment is still required but this is far better than the $53 check that was offered by Google on defect 5X’s just a few weeks ago.  If you didn’t want that $53, you could get a $100 Google Store credit.

The Nexus 5X has been plagued by bootloop issues where the device would simply be stuck in a mode where it is simply never is able to get past the boot up screen on the device and actually load Android to run the phone.  Not all phones were effected of course but many where, prompting some class action lawsuits against Google and LG.

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Project Fi Introduces Unlimited Data Plan Named Bill Protection

Project Fi

Project Fi is rolling out a new unlimited data named Bill Protection.  It assures that individual users who use more than 6GB of data a month will be charged one flat rate and, like current Fi plans, if you use under 6GB in a month, you are credited back money for those unused gigs.

The plan is being rolled out today and it is for individual users as well as groups who are all on Project Fi.  For individual users, the maximum out of pocket per month would be $80 per month.  That is $60 for the 6GB plus $20 for the calls & text portion of the service.  If you go above those 6GB, you still only pay $80.  If you have two members in a group, the maximum cost is $135 with a data plan level of 10GB.  There is a calculator to help you understand the costs for your plan

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The Kinda Blue Pixel 2 is Now Available Unlocked from Google

Google Pixel 2 Kinda Blue on Project Fi

After being an exclusive to Verizon since October of last year, the Kinda Blue color option for the Google Pixel 2 is now available to everyone from Google or on Project Fi.  The pricing of the phone and the functionality of the phone is identical to any Pixel 2, it is just that you have a more unique color option than Black or White.

The Kinda Blue color was an exclusive for the phone from Verizon as being the other launch partner of the phone with Google.  That meant that the phone was locked to the carrier like the other Pixel phones they have sold.  Now with it being available from Google directly, you can get it unlocked.

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Moto X4 on Project Fi Update to Android Oreo Released

Android One Moto X4

The Android Oreo update for the Android One version of the Moto X4 is now rolling out.  This is the version of the mid-level phone that launched on Project Fi earlier this year.  Google, at the time of the launch, stated that they would have the Oreo update out on the phone by the end of the year.  With 8 days to spare, they fulfilled that promise.

The Oreo update comes with firmware build OPW27.1 and it comes with everything that comes in Android 8. The new build also brings the December Android Security Update to the device.  The update is just over 1GB in size so it will need to be downloaded via WiFi and you’ll need to have 80% battery to install it or be plugged into AC.

As for the non-Android One variant of the X4 getting the Android Oreo update, it doesn’t appear to be happening yet.

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Project Fi Sending $10 Credits to Customer for Throttling Message Error

Project Fi

A couple of days ago I told you about an error message that some Project Fi users received erroneously.  The error message indicated that their data usage was being throttled due to high usage and, in some case, users SIMs were disabled for a period of time.  The Fi team indicated that they knew of the issue as it was a test of a new feature that was never intended to leak outside.

Now they are trying to make it up to users who were impacted.  Multiple Project Fi users have reported receiving an email from Google’s MVNO, apologizing for the error and providing them a $10 credit towards their next month’s bill.  It’s a small gesture but one that will likely go a long way for the majority of users out there for the trouble they encountered.

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Google Pixel 2 Supports eSIM but only for Project Fi Customers

Google Pixel 2 Kinda Blue

After digging into the specifications of the Google Pixel 2 phones, it was discovered that both devices support eSIM technology.  But Google was quick to point out that the new electronic SIM will only be activated and used for Project Fi customers for now.

eSIM, as the name suggests, is an electronic SIM card.  It replaces the physical plastic card that you get from your carrier, including Project Fi.  It is a reasonably new standard and the first consumer device to leverage it was the Apple Watch series 3.  That hasn’t gone as smoothly as Apple has wanted which is likely one of the reasons that Google is limiting it to just their own service for now.

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