Google Announces “Project Fi” Wireless Service And Enters Cellular Service As MVNO

Google Project Fi
Google Project Fi

Google announces Project Fi, a service that combines the networks of multiple carriers and leans heavily on Wi-Fi hotspots to provide cellular connection.

Google for a long time, tried to get into the cellular service game as an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). As a first step, the search giant was in talks with UK based mobile operators to offer free international roaming. Despite some news here and rumors there, nobody outside Google know much about the progress.

On Wednesday, Google finally revealed, what it has been working on. Its name is Project Fi, a service that is unique and different from traditional cellular service. Google’s Project Fi is not a new network, but a new type of Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that combines the networks of multiple carriers and leans heavily on Wi-Fi hotspots to streamline the experience. The service will offer unlimited free international texting, Wi-Fi tethering and data coverage in over 120 countries. Project Fi, is currently invite-only, and users need a Nexus 6 phone to use it.

Google always wants to create a global network, which will cost the same to use for calls, texts and data no matter where a customer is located. What makes the whole initiative interesting is, how it is planning to achieve. To provide mobile coverage, Google will rely on the networks of T-Mobile and Sprint, two of America’s largest carriers, and using more than a million free open Wi-Fi hotspots.

Sprint has empowered more than 100 successful MVNOs in the US by delivering a unique combination of a robust nationwide network, differentiated services and operational support and we are proud to enable Google’s entry into the wireless industry as a service provider.

John Votava, Sprint spokesperson

Project Fi is going to make people think differently about wireless – and I love that.

John Legere, T-Mobile’s CEO

In the US, both mobile and broadband subscriptions are significantly more expensive and Google wants to change that. With Project Fi, the only thing you pay is a $20 monthly “Basics” fee and $10 per gigabyte of data. Moreover, customers will only pay for the data they use, for example if you go with 3 GB for $30 and only use 1.4 GB one month. You will get $16 back, so you only pay for what you use.

A cool feature of Project Fi is it can automatically switch between Sprint and T-Mobile networks based on the signal strength in that area. If the cellular network quality is poor or if there is approved fast, secure and free Wi-Fi service, you will end up using that. If you do not want to connect with Wi-Fi networks automatically, you can always shut off Wi-Fi. Moreover, when you connect to a Wi-Fi network, Project Fi will fire up a VPN automatically to protect your data.

Project Fi is currently invite only and Nexus 6 is the only smartphone that has hardware and software to support it. According to Google Project Fi, users will be able to port over their current phone numbers. You can request an invite for Project Fi by visiting and Google says folks who request an invite to try the service should hear back within 30 days.

Source: Google Blog, Project Fi

Edward Ramamoorthy

I work in one of the top 10 tech company in India. In my spare time I write for

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