Project Fi, a mobile service from Google that puts Wi-Fi first, is intriguing for its simplicity and reasonable rates. Customers pay only for the data they use, regardless of it that data is used in Nebraska or Nicaragua.
At a glance
- Plans start at $20 per month
- Notables: Pay only for the data you use, at a flat rate; texting and high-speed data in more than 200 countries, for no additional charge
Project Fi cell phone plans
Base rate: Project Fi customers pay a base rate of $20 per month for unlimited talk and text, including unlimited international texting.
Data charges: Data is an additional $10 per gigabyte, on top of the base rate, up to 6GB. After that, bill protection kicks in and additional data usage is free of charge (but still high-speed up to 15GB of usage). So the most you pay for one line is $80 per month, plus taxes and fees.
Unlike other providers that claim you only pay for what you use, Project Fi actually delivers on that promise. If you use 1.3GB of data, you pay for 1.3GB of data, not 2GB.
Project Fi customers pay the same rate for data when roaming internationally.
Family plan: You can add five more lines to your plan, each for $15 per month. Everyone’s data is still charged at $10 per gigabyte, but the bill protection threshold increases — to 10GB for two lines, 12GB for three lines, 14GB for four lines and 16GB for five lines. So the most you would pay for five lines is $240, or $48 per line, plus taxes and fees.
Project Fi prioritizes Wi-Fi calling using secure Wi-Fi hotspots, switching over to the cellular networks only as a backup. International benefits include text messaging and high-speed data in more than 200 countries, for no additional charge, and affordable international calling rates.
How Project Fi compares on prices
Project Fi holds up well against traditional unlimited plans offered by the big national carriers, thanks to its bill protection feature. The most one line would pay for unlimited data is $80 per month, plus taxes and fees.
It is less competitive when stacked up against prepaid providers (see the chart below). But those carriers can’t touch Project Fi’s international roaming.
|2GB or less||3-5GB||6-9GB||10-25GB||Unlimited|
|*Project Fi customers pay $20 for unlimited talk and text. Data is billed at a rate of $10 per gigabyte.
**Republic Wireless customers pay $15 for unlimited talk and text. Data is billed at a rate of $5 per gigabyte.
|AT&T Prepaid||$35 (2GB)||$50 (8GB)||$65|
|Boost Mobile||$10 (1GB) |
|$25 (5GB)||$35 (10GB)|
|Cricket Wireless||$30 (2GB)||$40 (10GB)||$55|
|Metro by T-Mobile||$30 (2GB)||$40 (10GB)||$50|
|Net10||$20 (2GB)||$35 (5GB)||$40 (10GB)|
|Project Fi*||$20 (talk, text and Wi-Fi)|
|Republic Wireless**||$15 (talk, text and Wi-Fi)|
|Straight Talk Wireless||$30 (1,500 minutes, unlimited texts and 100MB data)||$35 (5GB)||$45 (25GB)||$55|
|T-Mobile prepaid||$40 (10GB)||$50|
|Total Wireless||$25 (talk and text only)||$35 (5GB)||$50|
|U.S. Cellular prepaid||$30 (talk and text only)||$40 (5GB)||$55|
|Verizon prepaid||$35 (talk and text only)||$40 (5GB)||$50 (15GB)||$65|