Project Fi - what can its subscribers get?
Google began work on Project Fi, its experimental cellular service, about two and a half years ago. Fi is a virtual mobile operator of the Good Corporation, which is positioned as a fast and efficient communication method. Moreover, this project, unlike many others, is not at all free.
As part of this project, Google has agreed to work with major US carriers, T-Mobile and Sprint. At the same time, the company saved on the purchase of base stations, preferring to rent existing ones from primary telecom operators. The project itself enables its users to make calls, send SMS and use other services available by telephone for only $ 20 per month in 120 countries of the world.
As for connecting to the Network, for each gigabyte of information (in any region of the planet where the virtual operator of the corporation is available) you will have to pay an additional 10 US dollars.
How it works?
Everything is pretty simple. Communication Project Fi provides in any way currently available. In other words, if the WiFi network is available now, and the usual cellular network does not work, then the smartphone will make calls through the Network. If there is no Internet, then the smartphone will work through cellular communication, switching between the towers of various operators, and doing this unnoticed by the user. The number does not need to be changed.
This communication method is suitable for people who constantly travel, and who do not want to mess with all these international SIM cards, tariffs of various operators and the operators themselves.
Not so long ago, Laura Holmes, who had been working on the project since its launch, gave an interview to several online media. The interview revealed several interesting details. For example, many participants in the project did not initially believe that it could make money. “Everyone told us that we are crazy. And indeed, there hasn’t been anything like it yet, ”says Laura.
The ability to talk on the phone with the same SIM card in different countries, at a clear rate, using a telecom operator with the strongest signal in the region - this may seem fantastic. As mentioned above, a phone with a Project Fi SIM card can switch between different types of networks, as well as different operators.
And this significantly affects the business model that has existed for decades. True, so far the project is not accessible to everyone, and you can work with it only through the latest Nexus smartphones. In the USA, a project participant can easily switch between T-Mobile and Sprint towers, and the phone does not require any actions from the user. The actions are carried out by Google, which interacts with telecom operators both technically and financially.
This is great for the user. Who doesn’t want to get a good and clear signal from a base station with a relatively low tariff plan? But not everyone likes the Google project, and not least because the user really does not have to depend on the carrier.
Now the project is developing quite actively, and perhaps in the near future other telecom operators will join it, including AT&T and Verizon. Cellular communications are generally changing very rapidly, and Google is planning to take advantage of these changes.
According to some experts, the project will develop in any case, since the monopoly of mobile operators is yesterday, now everything is changing.
When the Project Fi project was launched under the control of Nick Fox, the former head of Google’s advertising division, many telecom operators and mobile device manufacturers were not ready for this project. Therefore, Google, working together with the German company G&D, was able to create a new type of SIM card, which can be called universal.
SIMs are usually provided by telecom operators, and they work only under the control of the network of “their carrier”. But Google SIM can work with any network, including T-Mobile and Sprint. And since these networks are of different standards (GSM and CDMA), Google had to go one step further by adding appropriate communication modules to their Nexus smartphones. Thus, the latest Nexus models are able to work in various types of cellular networks.
By the way, Apple now uses similar SIMs in its iPad tablets, which opens up the possibility for owners of these devices to work with AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The difference between the SIM cards of Google and Apple is that in the latter case, the user, after testing several networks, must choose one unique one, at least for a certain time. However, the iPad does not support voice calls or SMS messaging. But the sim card from Google does all this, and with networks of different types.
Unfortunately, the details of how all this works in the case of Google SIM are not provided to developers. But Holmes said that Google uses a fairly large amount of information to determine when to switch between networks. And this can be a switch between the cellular network and Wi-Fi while the user is making a phone call. An interesting point - while making a call, Google SIM will not be able to switch from the network of one operator to the network of another company.
Project Fi does not work right now with AT&T or Verizon. Or any other mobile operator in the USA or in another country. But there is a technical ability to work with all of these operators, the SIM is created taking into account support for up to 10 telecom operators at the same time. Moreover, all telecom operators will work with Google’s SIM card - there is a technical possibility for this.
Will the service develop by concluding cooperation agreements with all new telecom operators? Perhaps, but not in the short term. And most likely, this will happen, is already happening, changing the current state of things in the cellular business. And telecom operators should use these changes for their own benefit - because everything is changing.
As already mentioned, Project Fi now works only with Nexus phones. But in the near future, the project team can add support for other devices, as well as agree on cooperation with other telecom operators.
Already, Google, according to Holmes, is conducting preliminary negotiations with other telecommunications companies about the possibility of the latter participating in the project. Moreover, Google offers the opportunity to receive a phone without a one-time one-hundred-percent payment, and to break the payment by adding a monthly fee for many months - now telecom operators are doing this.
Project Fi is an opportunity to work only with Google, and not to interact with telecom operators at all. This is the reality of today, and the project itself is actively developing.