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Author Topic: Google Fi cell service  (Read 1476 times)

PopPop51

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Google Fi cell service
« on: July 28, 2016, 07:44:13 AM »
Has anyone here tried Google's Project FI for cell/text/data service?
https://fi.google.com/about/
What's your experience been like: Connection quality? Reliability? Coverage? Data speeds?
Paul--
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Tom

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2016, 08:32:18 AM »
Interesting, I hadn't heard about the project. Watched the video and read all (?) the stuff. Looks like another 'Google or nothing' scheme, but I'm sure it will appeal to a lot of Google devotees. Still reading and looking for answers to a few questions.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2016, 08:55:22 AM »
I guess I don't see the "Google or nothing" aspect, except that no phone maker other than Google (Nexus) is currently offering the hardware that helps it all work seamlessly. I'm sure Google expects to profit in the long run, of course, but I think they are trying to create a demand for phones that can do these sorts of things, regardless of brand name.  A "rising tide lifts all boats" strategy that helps everybody by making phones more usable overall.

The lack of similarly capable phones from other brands kind of indicates what the cell phone industry thinks of the idea, though! The carriers are all still on the "exclusive marriage" business model, trying to tie us exclusively to their one network. They fear that metro area subscribers could too easily exist on wifi only and might not want a carrier plan at all, or only a minimal one.  This idea isn't gonna fly until Verizon, AT&T, etc. can see a way to make money doing it.

I don't have a Nexus phone, so I can't use Project Fi.  And from what I read, the wifi-to-cell-network magic works only on T-Mobile (so far).  Another strike against me as a Verizon user.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 09:11:05 AM by Gary RV Roamer »
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Molaker

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2016, 10:05:47 AM »
I was just investigating Google Fi.  It sounds pretty good, except...the coverage for AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile is not so good in the relatively remote areas we like to travel.  I would certainly like to hear otherwise before I make any changes in my current service.
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John From Detroit

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2016, 11:55:51 AM »
I watched the video you linked to and the information content was... Well, it was not, that's what it was, NO information at all, It was "We can make America Great Again" level video, nothing about how it works, Nothign about how they plan on doing it, NOthign at all worthy of my time watching the video.

There are many services out there already that operate on multiple carriers.. Their web pages are far more informative.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Gary
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2016, 12:19:22 PM »
Quote
It sounds pretty good, except...the coverage for AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile is not so good in the relatively remote areas we like to travel.

That's one of the few amjor claims for fame for Google Fi. You can connect and make calls via wifi when cell service is poor or non-existent. Of course, that assumes there is wifi available in that area instead, but if a local business has it, you are good to go.
Gary
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Molaker

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2016, 12:43:11 PM »
That's one of the few amjor claims for fame for Google Fi. You can connect and make calls via wifi when cell service is poor or non-existent. Of course, that assumes there is wifi available in that area instead, but if a local business has it, you are good to go.
I understand this and the system is a great idea.  However, I have been to many (lots!) of public campgrounds in out-of-the-way places that have no wifi service and the only thing that seems to connect, if anything does, is Verizon data.  If Google manages to make a deal with Verizon then they will have a winner.
Tom & Joyce and Ditto the "don't tell her she's a dog" Westie
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Google Fi cell services
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2016, 05:53:47 PM »
Google is not the only company looking to offload cell phone traffic to the wifi band.  Most of the cell phone carriers already offload as much data to wifi as they can, and they're working on doing the same with voice calls as well.

It's not just piggybacking on some merchant's wifi.  The FCC has changed the rules to allow cell carriers to put up their own towers and treat wifi as an extension of their cellular spectrum.  Phones will default to the unlicensed wifi spectrum whenever possible to reduce congestion on the main cell towers.

What remains to be seen is how all this additional load affects existing wifi users, but I can't foresee anything good from adding all of this traffic to the existing wifi spectrum.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 05:57:15 PM by Lou Schneider »

Tom

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2016, 06:01:00 PM »
Thanks for that perspective Lou.
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Tom

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2016, 06:39:51 PM »
Do these new google phones allow other devices to be connected via WiFi (as a hot spot)? Are these other devices allowed to use an independent browser (not Chrome)?
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 08:06:35 AM by Tom »
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2016, 09:01:48 AM »
Don't know if Hotspot software in part of the base Android software load, but they have the radio and Lan support. The spec for the Nexus 6P says

Wi-Fi:  802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
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Moebius

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2016, 10:28:11 AM »
Here's a page on the Fi web site that talks about tethering. I assume they put this here because it is supported on the handsets.

https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6182204?hl=en
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Tom

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2016, 11:02:44 AM »
Thanks Chris, that answers the question.
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BigLarry

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2016, 11:42:00 AM »
Our Son came to visit this week and had a new Samsung Galaxy s-7 phone on Verizon.  It uses WI-FI to make phone calls whenever it has wifi available.  He's an airline pilot and is out of the country quite often and finds it really helpful to easily make calls or send text messages.
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Moebius

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2016, 12:48:28 PM »
Our Son came to visit this week and had a new Samsung Galaxy s-7 phone on Verizon.  It uses WI-FI to make phone calls whenever it has wifi available.  He's an airline pilot and is out of the country quite often and finds it really helpful to easily make calls or send text messages.

We are on AT&T and they just recently enabled WiFi calling. Whenever our iPhones are connected to decent WiFi, we can make calls using that. We have had no bars and WiFi and we still were able to make calls.
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Chris, Amber, and 5 y/o Christopher
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PopPop51

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2016, 01:10:48 PM »
Lou's description of the blurring differentiation between cellular frequencies and wifi is spot on. Apple started it with iMessage, which directs your SMS and MMS messages through their data centers when you're connected to Wifi. We text with the kids a lot, mostly from home, but our cell bills would show only a couple of dozen texts a month because most of them were running to Apple via our home Wifi.
On the other side, Apple recently started allowing its phones to use cellular data to make Facetime video connections. Originally you had to be on Wifi to Facetime.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 03:43:08 PM by PopPop51 »
Paul--
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##37 States So Far...##

Molaker

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2016, 03:15:25 PM »
Well, I just solved my phone and data issue.  I got a simple 2 GB unlimited voice and text account and a Samsung S4 for $68/mo.  Of course, that's not so great, but I also got a Jetpack for only $10/mo.  The devices use separate phone numbers, of course, and both use the same data allowance (2 GB, in this case).  I'll have to wait and see how much I use to see if I need to bump that up, but I had been averaging about 1GB/mo on my old data card.
Tom & Joyce and Ditto the "don't tell her she's a dog" Westie
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Moebius

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2016, 07:04:11 PM »
Speaking specifically about Google Fi, I checked their coverage map and in major corridors like interstates, etc., it looks great. As soon as you get off those major corridors, it looks very spotty. Compared to the AT&T or Verizon maps, it is pretty sparse. However, maybe Google is factually representing what you should should expect for coverage. Since they are trying to get you pay for only what you use, they could be being more transparent about coverage.
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Chris, Amber, and 5 y/o Christopher
2016 Winnebago Vista LX 35B
Ford F53 Chasis
362 hp 3 valve Triton V10 engine
Tampa Bay, FL (Pinellas County)
Our Blog: www.OurRVDream.com

PopPop51

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2016, 07:22:54 PM »
I think the Google Fi coverage map might be more honest, too. I've found Verizon coverage to be very good, but it's never seemed quite as good as their map shows.
I looked at the coverage maps of the three Project Fi network partners, and each one of them alone gives the impression of better coverage than the Project Fi map does.
They're obviously setting expectations low.
Paul--
2004 Ford Excursion V-10 ("Moose")
2010 Keystone Outback 270BH ("Squirrel")
2016 Mazda MX5 Miata ("Roadster")
##37 States So Far...##

voyaginator

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2016, 04:03:52 PM »
Started using Google Fi recently and so far the coverage in northern Cal is pretty good. Besides connecting to Wi-Fi automatically if there is hotspot (instead of cell) is an advantage in term of cost. Another one is tethering with Android and in addition to the SIM card, you can get up to 9 additional data-only SIM cards on the same account. So, you set a phone for voice-data and another one for tethering with data-only SIM to set as your personal hotspot to connect on the internet laptop, tablets, etc.
Rollover to the following month is allowed for data not used. One disadvantage however is so far, the limited number of supported phones. Although, I use the data-only SIM card on an older (not officially supported) Nexus phone.

PopPop51

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2016, 08:49:04 AM »
Interesting. So you can't use voice on a phone while it's acting as a hotspot? Or is the second device just to get maximum data bandwidth?
Paul--
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2010 Keystone Outback 270BH ("Squirrel")
2016 Mazda MX5 Miata ("Roadster")
##37 States So Far...##

voyaginator

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Re: Google Fi cell service
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2016, 06:49:21 PM »
Correct, I use the second device as a "dedicated" hotspot / wifi router, so that the first phone can be used while stepping outside for example.
One remark I forgot to mention, if you already have a free google voice number (so that you can receive phone call with your mail account), in that case, do not use this account to register with google fi. Otherwise, your free google voice number is transferred. It is better to create a new account. So that you can keep that other number.

 

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