Google’s super-simple and cheap cellphone service will now work with a broader selection of devices, including iPhones from arch-rival Apple.
Google Fi (formerly known as Project Fi) is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which means that instead of just using one of the “big four” carriers, it automatically jumps between several cellular networks depending on which has better service. Fi hops between Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular, and also favors Wi-Fi whenever possible, including for calls and texts.
The main appeal of Google Fi is a simple pricing scheme that, depending on a person’s usage habits, can end up being cheaper than any of the bigger carriers. It costs $20 for unlimited calling and texting, and $10 per gigabyte of data. Users get money back for whatever data they don’t use, and data usage over 6 GB is free (though Google will throttle speeds after users hit 15 GB). It also has no roaming fees in more than 170 locations.
But despite the simplicity and appealing pricing, Google Fi wasn’t very useful because it only worked with a very small number of phones, namely from Motorola and Google’s own Pixel line.