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.”