Google’s three-year-old MVNO service Project Fi has been renamed Google Fi and now works with more smartphones including iPhones and most Android devices.
Google announced its Project Fi MVNO service in 2015, promising a seamless experience, automatically connecting users to the strongest available signal by switching between WiFi and LTE using Sprint and T-Mobile’s respective LTE networks. In 2016, Google added U.S. Cellular as a network partner.
Notably, seamless switching between multiple cellular networks isn’t supported on most BYOD phones, according to a blog post by Simon Arscott, director of Project Fi.
“If you’re looking for the full Google Fi experience, including Fi’s unique technology to seamlessly switch between multiple cellular networks, you can use a phone designed for Fi—like the Pixel 3, Moto G6, and any other phone available on the Google Fi website. These phones include special hardware and software to move effortlessly between Google Fi’s networks and provide you with even more security and reliability through Fi’s new enhanced network feature,” Arscott wrote.
Google Fi offers one phone line for $20, then $10 per GB of data used, capped at $60 per month. Data speeds will slow once users use more than 15 GB, Google noted.
Google’s decision to make its MVNO a bit more “official” comes as major cable operators also get into the wireless game. Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile launched in May 2017 and had more than 1 million subscribers as of the end of September. Charter Communications, meanwhile, rolled out its Spectrum Mobile wireless service in September, following a soft launch over the summer. Altice USA has plans to debut an MVNO service next year. Both Charter and Comcast operate their MVNO services through agreements with Verizon, while Altice struck a deal with Sprint.