What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?

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What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?

Someone in m.p.m.i mentioned they use "Fi" so I looked it up since I live
in the mountains above Google's Mountainview HQ...

https://fi.google.com/about/

That page (and the four that fall below is) is so full of Marketing BS that
it rivals those of Apple MARKETING. It's actually difficult to read, it's
so disgustingly MARKETING oriented.  

Nonetheless, watching the annoying video, it says Google partnered with the
hardware phone makers and the carriers to create a network solution.

That they *start* with "finding trains" is disconcerting (who gives a shit
about trains - I haven't been on a train in thirty years) and the *next*
value is "streaming* your favorite songs (again, who gives a shit since you
can *download* any song you want for free in seconds and songs don't take
up any space percentagewise).

Listening further in the video, there is a line saying "prices that make
sense" (um, ok - I like that, but prices for what?) and then "tech that
just works" (heh heh ... we've heard *that* before)... what that means is
it's likely *limited* like you can't believe - and always will mean that.

Yikes! That's it? That is Fi? It ends with "Join us".  
Holy cow.  

That is fi?
Naaaaaaah. Can't be.
It didn't say *anything* anyone actually cares about.
(trains? streaming songs?)

Whenever anyone says "it just works", what they mean is "morons love this
stuff because it doesn't actually do anything MARKETING hasn't scripted for
you!".

So, um, what is Fi?

Going *back* to the web page, the header line says it's "A new way to say
hello".
 https://fi.google.com/about/

Uh, ok. That's pretty useless.  
New isn't better.  
It's just different.  
Or, maybe it's not even different.
Being new is meaningless.
Saying "hello" a new way is probably just as meaningless.

Reading on, Fi has four parts:
a. The Network
b. The Plan
c. The Experience
d. The Phones

Jeezus. Can't they just *say* what the f**c it is?
Anyway, this is long so I'll take it up in another post.

Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
On Sun, 18 Sep 2016 00:02:36 +0000 (UTC), Horace Algier wrote:

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I just read *all* the articles suggested, so I think I now have a pretty  
good handle on what Google Fi is.

Pretty much, since the MARKETING guys play up *simplicity* as their  
*biggest* benefit, and *cost* as their second-biggest benefit, you can see  
that they play to morons who can't figure out such things on their own.

For example, the *cost* is about the same as my T-Mobile plan currently,  
so, Google Fi is only cost effective for peoople who are too stupid to find  
a good plan on their own. (I admit, carriers make plans complex, and Google  
Fi is simple - but it doesn't cost any less than a good carrier plan for  
the same features, essentially).

As an example of cost, on my tablet, I already have 200MB/month free from  
T-Mobile, but if I wanted 2GB/month, it would only cost $10 from T-Mobile,  
whereas from Google Fi, it's $10/GB (which is twice as expensive). Google  
Fi gives some of that money back though, so I'm not sure yet if Google Fi  
charges that *every* month, or only when you actually use it.  

The *simplicity* isn't really there either, as the Google Voice FAQ shows  
that there is certainly complexity involved.  

Google Voice aside, Google Fi is just as simple as popping a SIM card in  
your phone, which, um, er ... is the *same* simplicity of T-Mobile. They  
also tout the simplicity of WiFi calling - but - again - it's trivial to do  
WiFi calling (it's just a button in the Android settings) so that  
simplicity is only for the morons.

The only place where they can actually tout simplicity is that they  
automatically institute a free VPN whenever connected to a public WiFi  
hotspot. OK. That's nice. For morons.  

Personally, I am *always* on a free VPN no matter *what* I'm doing on the  
net, and that includes whenever I'm at a public WiFi hotspot on either iOS  
or Android. So, there's no value to "me"; but to morons who can't figure  
out how to set up a free public VPN, then it *is* simpler when connected to  
public WiFi hotspots.

As for Google Fi cellular *coverage*, there's really no value there either,  
as far as I can tell. It uses T-Mobile (which I already have) plus Sprint.  
Hmmm.... what's Sprint's coverage? I don't actually know (and don't care  
because T-mobile works for me most places.) All the carriers suck in the  
mountains, so I can't imagine Sprint being any better than T-Mobile is.

It gets a little complex when you try to figure out whether the Google Fi
data plan is worthwhile because with T-Mobile, if you don't use the data,
you lose it - but - the data is *half* as expensive on T-Mobile as it is on
Google Fi.

Here, for the record, is my T-Mobile's current data charges for my plan:
TABLET:
- $0 for 200MB/month  
- $10 for 2GB/month
- $20 for 6GB/month
PHONE:
- $100 for 4 phones unlim talk/text & 2.5GB/month per phone
(They gave me a "special promo" from 9/22 to 2/19 of 4GB/month per phone)
- $15 for 6GB/month
- $30 for 10GB/month
- $45 for unlimited data

Google Fi, on the other hand, charges twice as much for data at $10 for 1GB
per month, but, if you don't use it, it rolls over (although I don't know
how long it rolls over).

Overall Google Fi isn't a horrible deal on price; it's just not a good deal
on anything. It's only a good deal if you already have a bad deal.

However, does anyone know if the Google Fi $10 for 1GB rolls over forever?  
After a few years, you'll have so much data accumulated that I wonder if
you can stop paying the $10/month and just use up all the accrued data?

Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
On Sun, 18 Sep 2016 06:31:42 +0000 (UTC), Horace Algier wrote:

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I forgot that you can add and cancel the T-Mobile data plans at any time,  
so, effectively, you can use them whenever you think you'll *need* data.  

So that makes T-Mobile far *cheaper* than Google Fi for data (half the  
price).

Given that, I must ask: Is there *any* compelling reason to use Google Fi?

Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?

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Fi seems better because it refunds the unused data as cash at the end
of the month <https://fi.google.com/about/plan/ .
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Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
On Sun, 18 Sep 2016 18:41:43 +1000, Gordon Levi wrote:

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To summarize, the T-mobile tablet data is *half* the cost of the Google Fi
data, but the Google Fi data is refunded.

The math works out differently whether you *use* the 1GB/month data, or
not.

a. If you *use* the 1GB in a given month, then you're paying *twice* as
much for that Google Fi data as you would have with T-Mobile for that same
data.

b. If you don't use the data, then Google Fi is cheaper (because you only
pay twice as much for the data that you actually use).

Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
  
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google fi isn't for tablets.

Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
On Sun, 18 Sep 2016 19:53:34 -0400, nospam wrote:

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Compatible Devices for the data-only nano SIM:
    Nexus 7 - K009 (2013 US LTE)
    Nexus 9 - 0P82300 (2014 US LTE)
    iPad Air 2 - Model A1567 (2014)
    iPad Mini 4 - Model A1550 (2015)
    iPad Pro - Model A1652 (2015)
    Galaxy Tab S - Model SM-T807V (2015)
    Nexus 5X (North American version)
    Nexus 6 (North American version)
    Nexus 6P (North American version)

Source:
Use Project Fi with tablets & other compatible devices
https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6330195?hl=en

So much for Google MARKETING's main claim of "simplicity"...

Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
On 18 Sep 2016 18:51:01 -0500, Elfin wrote:

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Thanks for this information, as Google MARKETING's claim of "simplicity"
starts getting slightly worn on the edges when you look at the data
situation.

Anyway, here's how to activate the data-only nano SIM...
https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6330195?hl=en

For Android devices:

Note: These instructions are based on Nexus tablets running Android 6.0 and
above. Steps may vary for your particular device.

    Open the Settings app on your device.
    Tap More (under Wireless & Networks).
    Tap Cellular networks and then Access Point Names.
    Tap + (at the top of the screen).
    Tap Name and enter "Project Fi".
    Tap APN and enter "h2g2".
    Go back to the previous page.
    Select Project Fi from the list.

"T-Mobile" at the top of your screen.

For iPhone and iPad devices:

Note: These instructions are based on iPad tablets running version 9 and
above. Steps may vary for your particular device.

    Open the Settings app on your device.
    Tap Cellular Data and then APN Settings.





Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
On Sun, 18 Sep 2016 19:47:03 -0400, nospam wrote:

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Apparently the Project Fi data-only nanoSIM is available for "some" tablets
and "some" phones...
-------------------
https://productforums.google.com/forum /#!msg/project-fi/RQPOse21Aa8/cx4eynKuAQAJ
Introducing data-only support from Project Fi
by Laura Holmes (Google) 12/15/15  

Hi everyone,


devices. With this update, you can access cellular connection from tablets

received a data-only SIM, just pop it into a compatible device, follow the
instructions, and voila: instant wireless connectivity. Just like with our

you use. You can cancel at any time. Have a look at our full list of
compatible devices and data-only SIM coverage map.

Existing Project Fi subscribers can order their free data-only SIMs from

gradually, you should see the option to order data-only SIMs sometime in

Early Access Program, please visit fi.google.com to learn more about the
service and request an invite.

As the number and variety of connected devices continues to grow, so should

ways to make accessing wireless from your connected device as easy as
connecting with your phone. Thanks for helping us build Project Fi.

Check out our Help Center article for more info.

Laura Holmes

Project Fi, Senior Product Manager
Edited

-------------------
Desppite what is implied above, other web pages say the data-only nanoSIM
*shares* the data from the phone (i.e., it doesn't have it's own data
alotment).

So much for Google MARKETING's vaunted main claim of "simplicity"! :)

Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
On 09/18/2016 07:47 PM, nospam wrote:

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Except that you can get a data-only SIM to go along with a regular  
Project Fi account. Your tablet would share the data allocation with  
your phone.

Perce


Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
On Sun, 18 Sep 2016 21:12:34 -0400, Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

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This is an interesting observation, which I appreciate, as the devil is
always in the details (and Googl MARKETING main claim of "simplicity" is
being stressed by the observations below...).

Googling, this seems to say the data-only SIM is a secondary SIM in that it
*shares* the original SIM's data allocation.

Use Project Fi with tablets & other compatible devices
https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6330195?hl=en

1. The data-only nabi SIM is only given as a *secondary* SIM
2. It shares the data on the primary (phone) SIM
3. No tethering allowed
4. The data-only nano SIM is not locked to any particular device (but *can*
be used on phones!)

So much for Google MARKETING's main claim of "simplicity"...

Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
On 09/18/2016 04:41 AM, Gordon Levi wrote:

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Exactly! We dumped our two $30/mo. (plus taxes) T-Mo prepaid plans  
(100min + unlimited texts and 5GB of 4G data) in favor of Project Fi.  
Now we have unlimited calling and texts and have always had  
refunds/credits at the end of each month because we don't use the 1GB of  
data for which we are paying; so our bills have always been less than  
$30/mo. (excluding taxes).

My Nexus 5X is almost always connected to T-Mo, but every now and again  
I see that it's connected to Sprint. No US Cellular in this area.

If I am not mistaken, a Project Fi phone will roam to Verizon if the  
T-Mo, Sprint, and US Cellular signals are inadequate.

One potential benefit (although I have not yet had occasion to take  
advantage of it) is that I can configure the phone as a WiFi hotspot,  
which was not possible with the $30/mo. T-Mo prepaid plan.

The one minor inconvenience is that I cannot set the Caller ID seen by  
the people I call. Project Fi gives only two options: "Wireless Caller"  
and "<city> <state>".

For a large family or other group with several lines and consuming a lot  
of data, several individual Project Fi plans *may* not be the cheapest  
option, but it works fine for the two of us. (But it's being reported  
that the latest version of the Project Fi app contains code that seems  
to support group plans with the ability to manage/ration the data  
available to each user. No such capability has so far been announced by  
Google.)

Perce


Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
On Sun, 18 Sep 2016 15:37:37 -0400, Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

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With the T-Mobile plan that I have, I can tether or hotspot at will,
without penalty (AFAIK); so Google Fi has no advantage there.

Google Fi does have an advantage of switching seamlessly better than my
phone does, from WiFi to cellular - but that may be a function of the
special Nexus phone and not of the Google Fi service itself.

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This is interesting that CID isn't available with Google Fi.
Thanks for pointing that out.

Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
On 09/18/2016 03:11 AM, Horace Algier wrote:

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I've lost track: maybe you have an old plan that is no longer available.  
What I see on the T-Mobile Web site is a limited-time offer of a $20/mo.  
tablet-specific *add-on to an existing voice plan*.

Our current two phones on the only postpaid T-Mobile plan I see on their  
Web site would cost $120/mo., including far more data than I can imagine  
us ever using. The cheapest prepaid family plan would cost $80/mo.,  
including more than twice as much data as we are currently using. Our  
Project Fi service is costing less than $60/mo. because we get  
rebates/credits for the data we don't use.

And yes, an *extra* 1GB even on some expensive Verizon plans that  
already include data is less than the $10 each 1GB costs on Project Fi.  
But what is the *total* cost? How much is one already paying for the  
first xGB of data with Verizon before one gets those extra GB for less  
than $10/mo. each? (And the last time I checked out Verizon plans, I saw  
that each smart phone incurred an extra $20/mo. charge on top of the  
other charges.)

And I have already agreed that Project Fi is not advantageous for  
everyone -- not even if comparing new plans rather than including old  
"grandfathered" plans -- especially if you have people using a lot of  
data. E.g., there is no built-in overall cap and no slow-down after xGB:  
if you had a teenager using multiple GB of data, you could end up with a  
huge bill. But there *may be* Project Fi group plans in the works with a  
"rationing" feature.

Perce


Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
On 09/18/2016 09:42 PM, I wrote:

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The Project Fi group plan was announced yesterday: $20/mo. for the first  
line, $15/mo. for each of up to five more. Still the same minimum  
$10/GB/mo. per line but with rebates for unused data. The plan "owner"  
and "managers" can cut off users who go over their data allowance.

Took ten minutes or less to switch my wife from her own separate plan to  
our new group plan. Total $55/mo. for the two lines, but with rebates  
for the unused data we should end up at $45/mo. or less.

Perce



Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
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I love the Project Fi concept and would be on it if it supported iPhones
and had either Verizon or AT&T as one of the providers.  But even with
Android they only support a small number of Google branded phones.  Leaves
out Samsung and all the other Android phone providers.  Pretty much tells
me that Google doesn't plan on it being a huge MVNO or they think the few
models they have to sell will be enough.  Should be interesting to see how
it all jells out going forward.

--  
Elfin

Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
In

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As I understand it, the limitations on what phones it will support are
that it requires phones that can do both GSM and CDMA (lots of phones do
that today), support VoLTE and WiFi calling on all of the carriers it
currently operates on (T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular) as well as
operate on all the bands that the carriers use.  

The ability to dynamically switch among those carriers and WiFi is also
a requirement, but I don't know if that's a hardware task or software.  

--  
bert@iphouse.com    St. Paul, MN

Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?

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most phones do.

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custom firmware.

Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
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That last is the key issue to work with Project Fi and I think it is in the
firmware.  You can use almost any phone with Project Fi but only that
limited list will activate on Project Fi.  When I had it I stuck the SIM in
my iPhone 6+ and it worked fine but it is locked into T-Mobile only and no
wifi calling either.  Note that my iPhone 6+ had all the right radios for
GSM and CDMA.




--  
Elfin

Re: What is Google Fi and what does it mean for Android & iOS equipment?
On 09/18/2016 06:42 PM, Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

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T-Mobile changes their plans frequently.  My beloved $10/year plan has  
been gone for quite a while, and I live in fear that they'll even kill  
those who are grandfathered in.

What I'd like is to buy, say, 1 GB of data for use as I see fit.  I'd  
like to be able to use waze-like apps on the road, as well as just  
googling for stuff when I'm not near a wifi hotspot.  You'd think  
somebody would figure that it's free money for them rather than  
something that will prevent me from buying a monthly plan of some sort.

--  
Cheers, Bev
    "Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority."
    -- U.S. Supreme Court, McIntyre v Ohio Elections,1995

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