Project Fi Picks Up Unlimited Data Plan with Cost Protection

Posted on January 17, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud with 19 Comments

Project Fi Picks Up Unlimited Data Plan with Cost Protection

Google announced today that it will extend the “pay for what you use” benefits of Project Fi to include what is essentially an unlimited data plan with a monthly fee cap.

This feature, called Bill Protection, essentially caps Project Fi’s monthly data costs at $60, which is the normal cost for 6 GB of data. So those who use more than 6 GB in a month will only be charged for 6 GB. In other words, your maximum monthly bill will be $80 (plus taxes): $20 for unlimited calls and texting, plus $60 for 6 GB or more of data.

There are a few caveats, of course.

First, and most obviously, Project Fi continues to be limited to a small number of phones: Those sold by Google plus the Project Fi version of the Moto X4. That’s not changing.

Second, if you’re on a group plan, “Bill Protection kicks in at different usage points based on the number of people on your plan,” Google notes. You can calculate your bill here, but if you had two people on the plan, Bill Protection kicks in at 10 GB of data. So your maximum bill could be $135 (plus taxes).

Third, Google will throttle data once you hit 15 GB of data in a month, which is perfectly reasonable. Also reasonable, you can optionally opt out of slower speeds by paying $10/GB for your individual data usage above 15 GB. Now, that’s pricing transparency.

The best bit, perhaps, is that Bill Protection doesn’t change the central benefit of Project Fi: You will always only pay for the data you use. So if you sign up for this scheme but only use 10 GB of data (as an individual), you will only pay $30 that month ($20 for unlimited calls and texting, plus $10 for the data), not the full $80.

Or maybe this is the best bit: “Bill Protection still applies to all of the Project Fi goodies you love, including high-speed data in 135+ countries, and data-only SIM cards to use in your laptop, tablet or car,” Google notes. “If you’re traveling abroad, that means you can use all of the apps you need—there’s no need to stress about the extra data.”



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Comments (19)

19 responses to “Project Fi Picks Up Unlimited Data Plan with Cost Protection”

  1. Nicholas Kathrein

    I agree Paul. I think this might be one of the few times most people will be agreeing with you! Just Brad Sams-ing you.

  2. nalenb

    "So if you sign up for this scheme but only use 10 GB of data" should be 1 GB of data

  3. chrisrut

    Y'know, what's really amazing is that it's amazing...

    Why are rational, reasonable pricing plans such a rarity in mobile? I always feel like I'm stuck in a game of Three-card Monte.

  4. oxymarc

    Does Project Fi throttle video streaming services like most other carriers do on their plans these days?

  5. Yaggs

    I am using Mint Sim... 10GB plan is $35/month... but I currently and on the 2GB plan for only $15/month... same coverage I had with T-Mobile... Project Fi seems expensive... especially if you don't use it over seas.

  6. naven87

    You only need one good international trip to see how amazing Fi is.

  7. emanon2121

    Cost doesn't seem to be an advantage for project-fi. What other things does it offer?

    • ChesterChihuahua

      In reply to emanon2121:

      It's very cheap if you don't use much cellular data. I'm only paying the base rate of $20 plus maybe $3 for data every month. I have Wifi at work, Wifi at home, and I don't watch Netflix in the car while driving to/from work, so I just want to pay for the few hundred MB that I use.

    • jgraebner

      In reply to emanon2121:

      It depends on how much data you use. For those that regularly use fairly low amounts of data, it can save quite a bit. I'm not aware of other carriers that offer a strict "pay what you use" plan like Project Fi.

  8. dcdevito

    I have two phones on Straight Talk, both unlimited data, both on Verizon's network - for $110/month. Better coverage, faster speed, cheaper cost and with VoLTE. There is absolutely no reason to use Fi.

    • TraderGary

      In reply to dcdevito:
      My wife and I both work from home and use our fast home WiFi. When we are out, there is WiFi literally everywhere we go. We use no cellular data. Our cost for the two of us is $35 a month plus taxes. Fi uses Sprint, T-Mobile, or US Cellular, and automatically transfers to whichever has the best signal. Our coverage is superb.

      • SvenJ

        In reply to TraderGary: Have to agree with you. In certain situations Fi is unbeatable. I think their marketing team is brilliant, calling this Price Protection. You'll never pay more than this, sounds way better to me than, You can a pay a bunch for 'unlimited' data, whether you use it or not, and we'll slow you down when you get to some arbitrary point that we think constitutes 'unlimited'. The carriers know what average use is and set the 'cap' so the vast majority of their users are paying for data they never use. Google charges a bit more for their data bit for bit, but you only pay for what you do use.

      • dcdevito

        In reply to TraderGary:

        That's great, but I would argue that's a bad value. $70 gets you next to no data used, while for $40 more I get tens of gigs of data to use (is my point).

        • TraderGary

          In reply to dcdevito:

          $35 is the cost for BOTH of us, not $70.

          $110 - $35 = $75 x 12 = $900/year more we would be paying at Verizon for no reason at all.

          And we actually do use huge amounts of data working from home on our home WiFi and on WiFi wherever we go in the Atlanta area. We have absolutely no need to pay for unlimited data. Your situation sounds like it is very different from ours.

    • webdev511

      In reply to dcdevito:

      No reason to use it unless you travel internationally. Then Fi blows all the domestic carriers out of the water. As in I'm going to New Zealand and my bill isn't going to change at all.

    • jgraebner

      In reply to dcdevito:

      Straight Talk is not cheaper if you regularly use less than 4GB of data in a month.

  9. wrylee

    I think you mean 1 GB in the 2nd to last paragraph.

  10. wshwe

    Fi is still a bad deal for people that use a lot of data.