Thursday, April 30, 2015

Google Debuts New Fi Wireless Service

Photo Credit: Kachwanya
Google finally announced their wireless phone service called Fi. The service will cost $20 per month for unlimited talk and texting plus $10 per gigabyte of data used. It's a little bit cheaper than your standard phone service plan.

The downside is that if you use 7GB or more regularly, then a normal phone plan with T-Mobile or Sprint would be cheaper than Fi. The upside is that Google will only charge you for the data you use each month, no matter which plan you end up going with. For example, if you were to pay $30 for 3GB and only use 1.4 GB, then at the end of the month you'd receive a refund for $16. No U.S. carriers offer these rebates, the closest you can get is going with rollover minutes with your standard phone carriers. Google is just trying to have a service that makes it easier on us to surf the web at a cheap price. Fi also works over Wi-Fi networks if there's no cellular coverage available.

Something I don't like about Fi is that you can't use your normal smartphones, like Apple or Samsung. These phones won't be compatible with Fi at first. The only phone you can get is a Google Nexus 6 phone that starts at about $649 or $27 a month for 24 months. Motorola did come out with a Nexus 6, with a 6-inch screen, which is bigger than your typical smartphone, but not as good of a phone as an iPhone or Galaxy S6. Still, Google's plans are cheaper than your standard services provided by AT&T and Verizon, two of the largest, broader network coverage carriers in the country.

The Fi service is also providing inexpensive international features, like unlimited international texting. Just like the U.S., data will cost $10 per GB in 120 major countries like Japan, Germany, and India. Also a plus side if you or anyone you know either travels a lot or is in the marines and also across seas.

Google is buying their wireless service from T-Mobile and Sprint, which isn't appealing to me at all. In my opinion, Sprint and T-Mobile are two of the worst phone carriers available. But I can see why they are doing it this way. It saves Google from having to buy an airwave license and start a national network from nothing. And for T-Mobile or Sprint, it gives them more traffic on their networks without having to worrying about any risks. T-Mobile shares were up 2.1% and Sprint 1.7% with Google shares up 1.3% after they announced the new Fi service.

The prices may not be as low as anticipated, but it still is a good plan to consider. Especially if you already have services with T-Mobile or Sprint and are willing to buy from the limited phones you have to choose from. For now, I'm going to stick with my AT&T service and basic smartphone. I'm sure this isn't the last we will hear of this. Next time around, they'll have more options, phones, and services to pick from.

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