Everything you need to know about Google’s MVNO

Pairing your smartphone with a reliable service is essential. Many people use one of the three major carriers for their excellent coverage, but that coverage often comes with a hefty price tag. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MNVO) are a cheaper alternative which offer similar coverage to AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. Google has its own MNVO, called Google Fi, which has some unique features that set it apart from the competition.

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Here’s everything you need to know about Google Fi’s service, special features, and compatible devices.


What is Google Fi?

Google Fi is Google’s mobile operator. It uses a combination of LTE and 5G networks from T-Mobile and US Cellular, along with Wi-Fi for coverage. If you use one of Phones made for Fi, the service switches between the two networks and leverages open Wi-Fi networks to provide the best coverage. Phones that aren’t built for Fi use T-Mobile’s network. Since US Cellular is only found in a handful of states and has limited spectrum, you’ll likely be on T-Mobile’s network most of the time.

Google Fi provides calls, texts, and data in Canada and Mexico on all of its plans. It also offers affordable international calls and free SMS to many countries.

What plans does Google Fi offer?

Google Fi offers three plans: Flexible, Simply Unlimited, and Unlimited Plus. With the flexible plan, you pay a flat rate for unlimited calls and texts, and data comes in at $10 per gigabyte. Taxes and fees are added to your monthly bill. You can share data with others on your account using the flexible plan.

The other two plans are variants of an unlimited data plan. Both plans offer unlimited calls, texts and data in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Unlimited Offers More free calls to more than fifty countries in addition to the United States, Canada and Mexico. Unlimited Plus also includes 100 GB of Google One storage for each line.

All plans include hotspot tethering, which is charged differently depending on your plan. The flexible plan lets you use data for which you pay $10/GB, the Simply Unlimited plan allows 5 GB per month, and the Unlimited Plus plan offers 50 GB for tethering. The Flexible and Unlimited Plus plans both allow data-only SIMs for any non-cellular devices you own and include data and texting while traveling internationally, as well as free cellular and Wi-Fi calls at discounted prices. affordable to more than 200 countries. The Flexible plan has slower data speeds after 15 GB, the Simply Unlimited plan has slower speeds after 35 GB, and the Unlimited Plus plan has slower data speeds at 50 GB.

If you subscribe to the Flexible or Unlimited Plus plan and you have a Google Pixel compatible with the 5G model or Samsung Galaxy S22, you will also benefit 5G speeds in 39 countries. If you don’t have a Pixel or Galaxy S22, Google Fi offers 4G coverage in over 200 countries; Unlimited Plus subscribers get up to 50 GB of high-speed data internationally.

Google has also sweetened the deal for iPhone users. Google Fi’s Flexible and Unlimited Plus plans offer international hotspot coverage in 200 countries and territories. Fi also supports Wi-Fi calling on iPhones.

Here is a summary of the price differences between these packages per line. Although single-line plans are expensive, Fi offers discounts for each additional line. For example, if you sign up for four lines on Unlimited Plus, you’ll pay $160 per month plus applicable taxes and fees.

Lines Flexible Simply Unlimited Unlimited More
1 $20 + $10/GB $50 $65
2 $18 + $10/GB $40 $55
3 $17 + $10/GB $25 $45
4 $17 + $10/GB $20 $40
5 $16 + $10/GB $20 $40
6 $16 + $10/GB $20 $40

Google Fi also includes 24/7 online customer support and has no contracts or activation fees. You can cancel your plan at any time at no additional cost.

Since Google Fi uses T-Mobile as its primary network for most of the country (US Cellular is a regional carrier), coverage is pretty solid. T-Mobile has a solid wall of sub-6GHz 5G coverage across the US as well as Band 71 for rural LTE coverage. If you want to see what the coverage is in your area, enter your address in Fi coverage map.

What features does Google Fi offer?

Google Fi has some cool features that set it apart from other carriers. The carrier puts a lot of emphasis on privacy and security, adding VPNs to its plans. There’s also automatic end-to-end call encryption for Android devices when chatting with other Google Fi clients. Additionally, Fi has a built-in anti-spam call filtering feature, which automatically stops incoming calls identified as spam.

Google Fi offers additional features that make it easier to manage multiline accounts. In the Google Fi app, you can view a snapshot of who’s on your plan, see how much data each person is using, and create data alerts. If you have children on your account, you can block calls and texts from strangers, create a budget for data usage, and set rules for digital activity. Basic rules you can set include content filters, screen time limits, app download approval, and device location tracking.

You can also make calls, send texts and check your voicemails from your computer, even if your phone is switched off. However, you cannot use the RCS features of Google Messages when your phone is turned off.

What phones does Google Fi offer?

Fi sells a variety of phones from Google, Motorola and Samsung on its site. You can also bring your own device if supported on the Fi network.

Phones sold by Google on the Fi site carry the Designed for Fi designation, which means they use eSIMs and are optimized to take advantage of the network’s unique architecture. A large number of best android phones have that distinction and get the most out of Google Fi. Other Android phones and all recent iPhones also work with the network, but cannot take advantage of Fi’s network switching and Wi-Fi optimization capabilities.

Get more benefits with Google Pixel Pass

Like most carriers, Google lets you buy your phone outright or pay for it over 24 months. Fi also offers discounts and promotions on most of its inventory. If you are interested in the Google Pixel 6, Pixel 6 ProWhere Pixel 6aGoogle Pixel Pass is particularly appealing to Fi customers.

Google Pixel Pass is an all-in-one solution that includes a device payment plan as well as subscriptions to Google One (200 GB), Google Play Pass and YouTube Premium. You also get $5 off your monthly Fi service.

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