Google Project Fi will rely on Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular service from T-Mobile and Sprint for connectivity.
Rather than build its own network, Google will rely on Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular service from T-Mobile and Sprint for connectivity. The company said your phone will connect to the strongest signal in a given area, and move between then seamlessly. You can shut off Wi-Fi like any other phone, but Google recommends you keep it on.
Google said it has "verified" more than 1 million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots as fast and reliable. Once connected, "your data is secured through encryption," Google said. "It's like your data has a private tunnel to drive through."
Project Fi will cost $20 per month for basic service (talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in 120+ countries), and an additional $10 per GB (1GB for $10, $20 for 2GB, and so on). If you don't use that data, Google said it will issue a refund.
"Let's say you go with 3GB for $30 and only use 1.4GB one month. You'll get $16 back, so you only pay for what you use," Google said.
There are no annual commitments with Project Fi; at this point, Google is offering individual services, no family rates.
If you travel abroad, Project Fi offers unlimited free texts. On cellular, calls will cost 20 cents per minute; on Wi-Fi, it depends on the country.
Phone numbers, meanwhile, live "in the cloud," so you can talk and text on your phone, as well as tablets and PCs. "So the next time you misplace your phone, you can stay connected using another screen," Google said. Incoming calls will ring on devices that are signed into Google Hangouts with your Project Fi account. Outgoing calls can be made on the Hangouts Android and iOS apps, and the Hangouts widget inside Gmail on PC.
You can transfer your existing number to Project Fi, Google said.
Why the Nexus 6? "The Nexus 6 is the first smartphone that supports our network of networks," Google said. "It works with the Project Fi SIM card, which supports multiple cellular networks, and a state-of-the-art cellular radio tuned to work across network types."
You can buy a Nexus 6 directly from Google when you sign up for Project Fi for $649 (32GB) or $699 (64GB). If you already have one, Google will ship a Project Fi-compatible SIM card to you.
That SIM card, Google said, "supports access to multiple networks." The Nexus 6 cellular radio, meanwhile, "works with all the 4G LTE networks in the US and many around the world—unlike the radios in other smartphones which work with [fewer] network types."
In a blog post, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that "Project Fi is going to make people think differently about wireless—and I love that. Anything that shakes up the industry status quo is a good thing—for both U.S. wireless customers and T-Mobile."
If you're interested, request an invite on Google's website.