Technology

Google Fi Adds Unlimited Data Plan


Google launched Project Fi (now just Google Fi) at a time when unlimited mobile data was a rarity. Now, all carriers have a nominally “unlimited” service tier, and some only offer unlimited. Google is getting with the times today, adding an unlimited service option to Google Fi. It’ll cost you more than the pay-as-you-go standard service, but it could be perfect for frequent travelers who use a lot of data. 

Google calls the standard Fi plan that launched in 2015 the “Fi Flexible” option. You pay a flat $20 monthly fee for a single line (it’s less if you have more lines) and then $10 per gigabyte of data used. However, Google instituted a “bill protection” feature recently that stops charging you after 6GB of data. That ensures your bill won’t go over $80 for a single line. Fi is an MVNO, and your signal hops between T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular to maintain the best signal. 

The new unlimited Fi plan looks a lot like what you could get from Verizon or T-Mobile. It starts at $70 per month for a single line.. If you’ve got more than one, the cost per line goes down. That gets you “unlimited” data along with the same carrier-hopping capability. This plan also includes free calls to more countries than the Flexible option, and you get a base Google One membership. That means occasional deals and 100GB of cloud storage in Google Drive. 

The unlimited data on the new Fi plan is, unsurprisingly, not really unlimited. You get 22GB of data per month on each line, and then Google reserves the right to throttle your bandwidth for the remainder of the billing cycle. So, it’s still sort of unlimited, but very slow unlimited. Google Fi’s unlimited plan also throttles video to roughly 480p resolution. That alone will make it much harder to hit the 22GB threshold. 

In some ways, this is an admission that Google’s MVNO wholesale approach to mobile data didn’t work. The deal is really not much different than what you get from the carriers themselves. Perhaps the most unique feature of Fi remains, though. You can still keep using your data at full speed without fear in most countries. The big four US carriers either throttle your speeds in other countries or require expensive international add-ons for full LTE speeds. Google Fi, both Flexible and Unlimited, include full-speed LTE in almost every country.

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