Will Project Fi be our next carrier

Posted October 16, 2016  ‐ 4 min read

Google's first carries without any border

I’ve spent enough time with Project Fi and wanted to share my experience with it.

Project Fi

Google announced the Project Fi as a new wireless communication service. It’s working all over the world but you have to apply with an US related gmail account.

Project Fi is using Wi-Fi and cell networks for voice call and text. Most of the time it prefers to use Wi-Fi for better network coverage and reduce data that you used.

If we mentioned about data usage, pricing is so simple and quite fair. You will pay 10$ per GB and it will be billed in MB according to data that you used.

For example, you chose 3GB for monthly usage but used 2.28GB. That means you will not pay $7.2 for unused data.

Anyone can find more details about the project with using its website but I would like to mention about international coverage of Project Fi and my experience within last seven months.

First of all, I was using Google Voice for my international calls and will compare those all features between Project Fi in another post.

My phone is Nexus 5X and it comes with LTE Cat6 (300/50 Mbps) support. I haven’t seen any speed like that :) But 100 Mbps is easy to reach in San Francisco, CA around the city center.

That sounds good but what about other countries. I went to Turkey, Germany, Czech Republic and Greece, that was a good chance to check the quality of Fi network. At the beginning of the Project Fi, there is no 4G/LTE support for international usage. Just couple weeks before my trips, Fi team announced that they will cover with 4G network in most countries.

So time to check the quality in Istanbul, Turkey. At first attempt, whooho, there is no cellular network. No way to call anyone or connect the internet. I tried to fix that problem and couldn’t succeed. After talking with Fi Support, they told me that my phone was trying to connect 4G network but there was no good network quality and operators in Turkey were not working with Project Fi very well. The solution was forcing network type to 3G.

Forcing Nexus 5X for 3G network

I tried everything that they told me and got the signal couple of hours later. With using 3G, that was not a good experience which is about 7–10 Mbps and need to try 4G in Turkey. If you give enough time for connectivity, you will get 4G signal which is about 80 Mbps.

Greece was the next destination of my trip. There is no strange story here. According to my speed tests, Fi network is quite good in Thessaloniki, Chalkidiki and Thassos Island. Most of the time I reached about 100–120 Mbps during my trip. It was easy to connect Fi Network which took only seconds.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Berlin, Germany. Same here, I could connect to Fi network without pain. The speed of internet connection was about 100–120 Mbps again. But a few days later, the problem came out about my connectivity. I could connect to the internet but can not call anyone if connected the only cellular network.

Issued my case but there was no solution. Hopefully, Hangouts Dialer was working over cellular network. Almost a week passed after beginning of my case, we were still looking for a solution. Project Fi refunded 30$ because of one week with this case.

Now we were way on to Prague, Czech Republic. Project Fi team called to me and gave some instructions. That helped me connect to cellular network then got succeed for calling with using the cellular network. I called my friend, yessss that was amazing. But when I wanted to call another friend, faced with the same problem. There was no an exact solution for my case.

The last destination was Turkey, my phone is still getting problems about calling over the cellular network. According to Fi team, this is an international only case and will fix ASAP and not related my sim card or phone.

If we summarize it, Project Fi is a kind of public beta but mature enough to use if you are an international traveler. No need to carry lots of sim cards for each country. Pausing service anytime whenever you want and resume again.

update: I’ll be in Ukraine next week and make some additional comment about Project FI.