The Android Switch: Bringing My Phone Number to Android and Project Fi

The Android Switch: Bringing My Phone Number to Android and Project Fi
My old Project Fi SIM secured to the new SIM’s SIM kit for safekeeping.

Two and a half weeks ago, I wrote that I was switching from the iPhone to Android. Today, finally, I can say that the transition has started.

The first step in this kind of transition would normally be choosing a phone. But as I noted in I’m Switching to Android (Premium), I can use my 2016 Google Pixel XL—hampered by its 32 GB of non-expandable storage—until I see what Google announces in October. (Yes, most of that has since leaked.) Of course, when I made that decision, we had about a month to go. So I thought I’d jump forward to the second step, which was leaving my current wireless carrier (AT&T Wireless) and moving to Google Project Fi, which, as you know, I love.

I had left Verizon and its then-superior EV-DO networking technology to join AT&T Wireless and its terrible 2.5G EDGE network in mid-2007 in order to get the first iPhone on its release day. Since that day, the phone number I received from AT&T has been my primary cell phone number. And now, with the move to the new house, and our decision not to have a home phone of any kind, it’s my primary phone number too.

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Moving a phone number between carriers is just like switching cable providers: It’s scary, like picking a scab, but I feel like once you do it that first time, it will become easier and less stressful in the future. But the stress on this transition was at an all-time high because of the length of service. That phone number is like my social security number, my identity. For many people, it is me.

And yet, I approached this with high hopes. My experiences with Project Fi, after all, had been unanimously positive.

Until, of course, they weren’t.

What happened was unnecessary. And while I’m willing to take some of the blame, a big part of the problem was some Project Fi inflexibility around what is admittedly a rare circumstance. So let’s see if I can describe this in a way that makes sense. I doubt it.

I’ve had multiple phone numbers for a while. When it seemed like Microsoft might make a go at Windows phone, I maintained three phone numbers through AT&T, one each for my Windows phone, an Android handset, and the then-current iPhone. For several of those years, a Windows phone was my primary phone, and on that first number that I’m still using. When Windows phone finally failed in 2015, I started the move to iPhone with the iPhone 6S Plus. Since then, an iPhone has been my primary phone, and today that phone is the iPhone 7 Plus.

Two other things related to phone numbers and carriers have happened during this time period. First, I signed up for Project Fi when I purchased the excellent Nexus 6P in late 2015. And second, I got rid of my two secondary AT&T accounts/phone numbers.

I’ve always wanted to move to Project Fi, basically from day one, and has the service proved its worth across multiple international trips over time, my desire to make this happen grew. There was just one issue: I was using the iPhone day-to-day, and I still preferred iOS over Android, though that advantage got chipped away over subsequent Android OS releases. Basically, I’d use the iPhone most of the time, and when a trip came up, I’d use the Nexus 6P, and then the Pixel XL, because of Project Fi and because they took superior photos. It worked.

I have two Google accounts, a Gmail account with a email address, and what is now called a G Suite account, which is a custom domain ( There are all kinds of reasons for why is on Google, but believe it or not, the biggest is just a random bit of timing: I had been using it on Windows Live Custom Domains when that was still a thing, had moved it to Google (then called Google Apps) just to test it. My primary email address was a Hotmail account that dates back 15 years. But when I signed up with BWW Media (then called Blue Whale Web), they were all on Google and the domain we had chosen for this site——was on Google, so there you go. (I’ve been working to move us to Office 365 for over two years, by the way. No promises, but I’m trying.)

Anyway, my Hotmail and accounts feed email into my account, so I never really use them directly. And when I started with Project Fi, the service only supported Gmail accounts, and not G Suite/Google App accounts. (This is a big issue on the Google stuff, by the way, but let’s not get too distracted.) So I signed up via my Gmail account, not my primary (G Suite) account.

Which is fine. When I signed in to my Nexus 6P or Pixel XL, for the first time, or after a reset, with my account, the Project Fi service would try to activate against that, and it would fail. Then, it would just prompt me to sign in with a different account, so I would do so with my Gmail account, and it would work. This was a workable system, and it was fine for over a year and a half.

This past summer, Google finally started supporting G Suite accounts with Project Fi. And, this past summer, in the middle of all the complications and stresses of moving to a new state, and started thinking about making the switch. To Android. And, if I could, to Project Fi. (The biggest issue with Project Fi is that it has only supported Google phones to date; recently, of course, Google revealed that it will begin allowing select Android One phones on the service too, so the future should offer more choice.)

The impetus for this change, frankly, was the iPhone 7 Plus, this first lackluster handset from Apple. It is the first iPhone to ever sport a camera that works more poorly than that of its predecessor, and that camera is demonstrably of lower quality than several Android phones that have come through my home, including the Samsung Galaxy S8+ (which my wife is now using), the Nexus 6P, and the Pixel XL. And that oft-touted portrait mode? It’s a parlor trick that works poorly, with terrible edge detection that ruins more shots than it benefits. This is the first time I’ve ever been so disappointed in an iPhone camera. The photos it takes are washed out and inferior, and it has weighed on me for a full year now.

(Since it’s not possible to accurately criticize anything without drawing the ire of some anonymous fanboy, I will point out that the iPhone, generally, and the iPhone 7 Plus in particular, has many positive attributes. iOS is rock-solid, the phone itself has never, not once, suffered from any performance or reliability issues, and unlike with every single Android device I’ve ever used, I’ve never, not once, needed to reboot it or reset it back to its factory settings. The iPhone may be bland, but it does just work, and if that matters to you—yes, it should—then it’s a fine choice. Happy? No, I didn’t think so.)

So here are in late summer 2017. I already know that Apple’s next-generation iPhone releases—the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X—are going to be lackluster and can be skipped. I want to move to Android. Project Fi supports G Suite accounts, so I can open a new account with, port my AT&T number over, and I can start using Android.

I love it when a plan comes together like this. But then, I can’t have nice things, either. So it didn’t work. Not for almost three weeks.

Signing up for Project Fi couldn’t be easier. Unlike with my initial sign-up from almost two years ago on my Gmail account, this time I told the sign-up wizard that I did want to port a number (instead of getting a new number). It ran some checks, told me it could work, and we moved on in the process.

Here’s where I screwed up. In my defense, there was no warning at all that what I thought I could do was impossible. But I still could have, and should have, made a different decision.

Project Fi asked me if I needed a SIM. I have a Project Fi SIM. Its already sitting in the phone I want to use. So I answered no.

Here’s the killer. Answering no is what delayed this process by almost three weeks. But I answered no because I wanted to make the switch immediately. I knew that if I asked for a new SIM, I’d have to wait for it to arrive in the mail. I had some work travel coming up, including a now-canceled trip to Japan in early October on which I really wanted to use this new set-up. And I wanted to be up and running, reliably, before any of that. So I answered no.

Here’s where the “rare circumstance” I mentioned earlier comes into play. I’m an existing Project Fi customer, using a Gmail account. I want to switch that account to my G Suite account. And I want to bring over a number from another carrier.

Now, I don’t expect Project Fi to let me “switch” an account. I know I have to create a new Project Fi account to do this. But what I didn’t know, what Project Fi likewise didn’t know, was that you can’t do this on an existing SIM that is being used by a different account.

The first thing I tried was to look at the wonderfully simple Project Fi app on the Pixel XL and see if I could just sign out. Nope.

OK, no problem: After backing it up, I reset the Pixel XL for probably the 7th or 8th time, went through the first-run experience, and signed in with my account. But the Project Fi service would not auto sign-in, as it had done before. When I went to manually sign-in, using not my Gmail account, it failed too.

At first, I thought this had something to do with the transition from AT&T to Project Fi. Again, this was a scary process, and it wasn’t clear how long it could take. But as this failure to sign-in continued, I finally decided to contact Project Fi support. Which I did two weeks ago, on Friday, September 15.

You know how these things go, so I won’t belabor the point. The support person—friendly and happy to help—stepped me through many obvious troubleshooting steps I’d already tried. Was confused by exactly what it was I was doing. And then finally had me read the IMEI from my phone and then attempted to activate my SIM against the new account. Nothing worked.

After an hour and a half or so of this experience—which occurred via a chat window—he finally gave up. He was going to escalate this to a tier-2 support rep. Google took my problem very seriously, I was told. I would be contacted “immediately.”

On September 21, a full week later, I finally heard back from Project Fi. “Thank you for your patience,” the email began.


This was my emailed reply.

I’m not patient. I was told this was a priority and that someone would get back to me immediately. That was a week ago.

Since then, I’ve activated the existing SIM on my old Gmail account, which worked. And I proactively ordered a new SIM kit, which I’ll try to activate on my new ( account. But I’m traveling for work twice in the next few weeks, once internationally, and I had really hoped to be able to use my new number by then. I expected this to be up and working two weeks ago. Or more, actually.

So … thanks. But this support experience has been non-existent so far. Hopefully, I’ll just figure it out for myself.

Lashing out at support maybe isn’t fair, but then I was told this was going to happen quickly. And as I told them, I had basically just decided to keep the SIM on my Gmail account, which worked: The SIM activated, as it had done in the past, on that account. (So much for the first support guy’s claim of moving the SIM to

And with regards to that SIM kit, good luck finding a place on the Project Fi website to order that. Ironically, you need to use Google Search to find it. Which I did.

Two days after that email exchange, I flew to Orlando for Microsoft Ignite. I did what I’ve done on many trips, which is use my iPhone as my primary cellphone on my AT&T phone number, and use my Pixel XL for photos.

I flew home from Orlando on Wednesday, September 27. The Project Fi SIM kit—not sure where the “kit” comes from, it’s just a SIM on a cardboard card—was supposed to arrive around Friday, September 29. And I was going to fly to Japan on Monday, October 2. So even if the SIM card did arrive on schedule, there was no way I was going to risk traveling that far with a phone whose number may or may not work for phone calls or texting. So I resolved to head to Japan without making any changes, to be safe.

As it turns out, I canceled my trip to Japan: I’ve been sick for two weeks, and traveling for 12 hours on a plane didn’t seem smart. This happened coincidentally on the same day, Thursday, September 28, that the Project Fi SIM card arrived.

And you know what that means: I could finally make the switch to Android official by porting my old AT&T number over to Project Fi and use my Pixel XL as my primary phone. And it was “only” 17 days after I first intended to make this work.

My plan was to turn off the phone, swap the SIMs, and restart it. See whether I could just sign-in with on the new SIM. Based on my previous experiences with this, I figured it would never work. So part two of my plan involved resetting the phone and seeing if it worked then. I’d pick up again with Project Fi support if not.

But it did work. When the phone booted up, it logged right into my new account. I made a phone call and it appeared to come from the right (formerly AT&T) phone number. I made a text message, and it worked. I even received an email from AT&T, within minutes, telling me that the switch had occurred.

Could it be? Could it be that easy?

Nope. I don’t get to have nice things.

I could send text messages, yes. What wasn’t working was receiving text messages.

Even odder, when I looked at Google Inbox on my PC—not on my phone, on my PC—I saw little pop-up Hangouts windows on top, with those incoming text messages. I was sending messages using Android Messages, the default SMS/MMS app. But incoming text messages were coming through on Hangouts. (On the phone too, though I wasn’t seeing them because Hangouts notifications were disabled.)

Now, I don’t use Hangouts. And receiving and sending text messages from two different apps is, shall we say, inconvenient. Too, Google is officially killing SMS support in Hangouts, though in a complicated coincidence, not for Project Fi users. Meaning, if I had to, I could use Hangouts for everything. It would work.

But I don’t want to use Hangouts. Am not clear why the phone would have made such a change. So I started Googling.

If you look at Settings in Hangouts, you’ll see that there is an SMS page. It was configured correctly, as “SMS disabled,” and the system SMS app was set, also correctly, to Android Messages.

But as it turns out, there is are account-specific settings that are related specifically to Project Fi. They’re a bit hard to find: You select the account in Hangouts settings ( in my case) and then scroll down … and there it is: There’s a Project Fi calls and SMS section in there. And Messages was enabled. When I disabled that, everything worked: Now, text messages come and go through the app I want to use.

It took me over 24 hours to find that option, by the way. But I feel like I’ve belabored this story enough.

Humorously, Google will announce the phone I’ll be using next in just four days. Hopefully, the process of switching phones on this account will be nothing like what I went through here. And given my past experience switching from the Nexus 6P to the Pixel XL on Project Fi, I have reason to be optimistic.



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  • RossNWirth

    Premium Member
    30 September, 2017 - 11:32 am

    <p>That was so exhausting – just to read – that I had to pause, eat a snack and play Zelda on my SNES Classic, and then come back to finish. Good Luck!</p><p><br></p><p>PS – Note 8 is working great (day 4), mine came while I was in Rome, the iPhone 6S+ is about to be wiped and handed off to family… Good riddance iOS!</p>

  • SvenJ

    30 September, 2017 - 11:38 am

    <p>I am primarily on AT&amp;T myself. Too much legacy and family plan. I also have Google Fi and would recommend it to anyone. I also had a similar silly issue. I had ordered Fi to use in a Nexus 6 I already had. Worked fine. I bought a Pixel and it came with a Fi Sim, but I was using the same number and just deactivated the original SIM. Had the occasion to want to add my wife to Fi and let her use the Nexus. So, just rebuild the Nexus with her account and add her to the plan? Noooo. After some playing and discussions with support, the original SIM was tied to my Google account, and while I could use it to add a second line for me, it wasn't going to work for her. They ordered me a SIM Kit. It came, I set up her phone and all was well. Until…I got a bill for the SIM kit, for $0.00, unless I returned the original defective one, as this was a replacement. Huh? Checked with support and they said, oops, they'd take care of it. OK, but then I got another notice, that I only had a few more days to get that old SIM back to them, or they would charge me $0.0. Screw it. I let it ride and indeed, they eventually notified me that I was charged $0.00. I contacted support, referenced the ticket where they said they would take care of it, and asked them to refund my $0.00. They insisted they couldn't refund nothing. I wondered how they were able to charge nothing, but not refund it. They were apologetic but stumped. Hopefully this was passed to the appropriate folks to fix this. 😉 </p><p><br></p><p>Google Fi, still has some of the best customer support I've dealt with. </p>

  • Harrymyhre

    Premium Member
    30 September, 2017 - 12:08 pm

    <p>Maybe machine learning could solve this. </p><p><br></p><p>The “sim swallowed by the sofa” story is still number 1 for the year. </p><p>?</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      30 September, 2017 - 1:07 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#185595"><em>In reply to Harrymyhre:</em></a></blockquote><p>lol fair</p>

  • LocalPCGuy

    30 September, 2017 - 12:14 pm

    <p>I've read that Fi support was supposedly good. When I applied for Fi the website said vice wasn't available in my area. I called Fi support and was told it was available. Yet, it couldn't be activated. The rep, after checking with other people nearby, told me that they going to look into it and get back to me the next day. That was four weeks ago. I've not heard back from Google. They don't know how to solve some problems with their own service. They need to be better at support.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      30 September, 2017 - 1:10 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#185596"><em>In reply to LocalPCGuy:</em></a></blockquote><p>Yep. Granted, edge case etc. (in my case)</p>

  • Rob Kowalski

    30 September, 2017 - 12:33 pm

    <p>You can have it. Using an a la carte data plan is horrible. I know you travel, but the expense on Fi with no unlimited offering is ridiculous. Unless they offer a new unlimited plan, it is an absolute non-starter for people like me who stream a lot of music and podcasts while working. Different strokes for different folks. Good luck with the switch!</p>

    • SvenJ

      30 September, 2017 - 5:23 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#185610"><em>In reply to Rob_Kowalski:</em></a> It is dependent on how you work. My Fi data bill is almost nothing every month, since they refund what you don't use. It's a little weird because you pay for data up front, but unused data is credited back on the next bill, so effectively zero. I stream a lot too, but I'm generally in view of some WiFi. </blockquote><p><br></p>

      • Daekar

        30 September, 2017 - 6:33 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#185699"><em>In reply to SvenJ:</em></a></blockquote><p>What this translates to me is "Google Fi is great for people who don't use much data." </p><p>In a world where I stream YouTube, download podcasts, listen to audiobooks, sync photos to Google Photos and OneDrive… I just don't see it making sense to anyone who doesn't live under the constant cover of a concrete sky and wifi networks every 50 feet. </p>

  • PeteB

    30 September, 2017 - 12:43 pm

    <p>Project Fi is fantastic if you do a lot of international travel, the app is nicely integrated and the support is A+. Unfortunately I had to switch from Fi to something else because 1GB of data for $30/mo isnt really competitive. </p><p>With a Verizon based prepaid MVNO I'm getting 8GB of data for the same $30 now. </p>

    • SvenJ

      30 September, 2017 - 5:26 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#185611"><em>In reply to PeteB:</em></a> 1G of data is $10/month. You pay $20 for the basic phone service. Are you saying you are getting the line and 8G of data for $30, or are you forgetting the basic phone service.</blockquote><p><br></p>

      • PeteB

        30 September, 2017 - 10:08 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#185700"><em>In reply to SvenJ:</em></a></blockquote><p>I know all that. Obviously I'm condensing. Yes I get 8GB with unlimited voice/text for $30mo. I'm not mentioning which MVNO because it would come across as spamming and the point is just that they exist.</p><p><br></p>

  • Waethorn

    30 September, 2017 - 12:45 pm

    <p>I've been interested in Project Fi. I can't use it, living in Canada as I do, but I'm still interested in it. From what I understand, there's some software restrictions in place with the way that the WiFi redirection stuff occurs relating to SMS, which is why Google uses Hangouts for it (it's easier for them to redirect SMS through their own network rather than try to link it through WiFi into a program not meant to connect to SMS messages via a non-SMS network, e.g. IP networks). IP-based SMS routing is a complicated affair, what with the differences in IP and SMS networking. Voice, not so much, since most mobile providers route calls internally through IP anyway.</p><p><br></p><p>I know that my provider, Freedom Mobile, offers WiFi calling only on certain phones. WiFi calling (including SMS) gets disabled any time you reboot your phone too, plus it takes several seconds for it to get enabled. I don't know if Google has always done WiFi calling at a system level or if they just routed this through their own software when it was first released, but it seems like with all the troubles in getting settings switched over, they may have taken the easier route earlier on and haven't quite figured out an easy way to enable users to use third-party apps at the phone network level. Also, there's the auto-VPN for public WiFi hotspots too, and I suppose supporting that with third-party messaging apps would've led to additional headaches.</p>

  • bassoprofundo

    Premium Member
    30 September, 2017 - 12:48 pm

    <p>OMG. This would be hilarious if it didn't hit so close to home. It's nice to read experiences from other people who are also edge cases. Inevitably, every experience I have with any sort of migration of what I consider a "core" service (ex.- email, ISP, TV provider, domain host, etc.) results in weeks/months of back and forth because I happen to be the one exception to the norm that fouls things up in their systems. It's so much so that I feel myself starting to do the old man thing of resisting any sort of change that might conceivably foul up what I have even if it would be something that could result in a significant savings or improvement. Undoubtedly, this is impacted by my working for one of the major providers mentioned in your rant. When you see what happens to accounts that "fall out" and what a kludge it is to try and get them back to a correct state, it's enough to make you do anything to <em>never </em>risk ending out in that situation.</p><p><br></p><p>An example… I'm stuck in limbo right now with a Windows Live Custom Domain that is full of my family's primary email accounts which also happen to be their Microsoft accounts. I, on the other hand, still have my primary address (and MS account) as a Hotmail account I've had since the beta days and for which I pay the $20/year for the plus service that gives me the larger inbox, no ads, etc. I'd love to move them over to premium, but MS doesn't appear to have any migration path for a domains stuck on the old WLD. If I were to try to migrate, do I use my own primary MS account (the hotmail address) as the signup address for Outlook premium, or do I use my account from the custom domain? Do I end out in a situation where I still have to pay for plus service on my own primary account AND the premium on the domain? Most importantly, how do I save my marriage when my wife's primary account (from which she does all her business) gets knocked out? It's all too exhausting to even attempt…</p><p><br></p><p>Good luck, and God bless you Paul, patron saint of the edge case…</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      30 September, 2017 - 1:05 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#185613"><em>In reply to bassoprofundo:</em></a></blockquote><p>lol thx</p>

    • timothyhuber

      Premium Member
      03 October, 2017 - 4:04 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#185613"><em>In reply to bassoprofundo:</em></a></blockquote><p>I migrated my Windows Live Custom domain to Premium shortly after the service was launched.&nbsp;I have been using that Custom domain account as my primary Microsoft account for years, so my purchases and licenses were attached to that account. I, too, was concerned about losing access to my email and account history. </p><p><br></p><p>Microsoft has taken a different approach with the Premium that doesn't solely base the account on the custom domain. Instead, Premium requires a default Microsoft account setup (,,, and then uses the custom domain as an alias.&nbsp;Once set up as an alias, it can be designated as primary.&nbsp;Also, I personally recommend using a third-party domain registrar to avoid having to deal with transfer issues if/when you want to move your custom domain to a different email provider.</p><p><br></p><p>These were the steps I followed to get it things to work:</p><p><br></p><p>1.&nbsp;Log into with my domain account.</p><p>2.&nbsp;In the menu bar across the top click on "Your info"</p><p>3.&nbsp;Click "Manage your sign-in email or phone number"</p><p>4.&nbsp;If necessary, create a new Account alias email and then make it primary.</p><p><br></p><p>I was then able to log into and sign up for the service and apply my existing domain.&nbsp;I did have to manually set up my DNS records as I have the domain registered elsewhere.</p><p><br></p><p>For each of my family members I sent them an invitation through Premium and they followed the same steps (adding a email to their Microsoft account) to accomplish the migration.</p><p><br></p><p>Hope that helps</p><p>Tim</p>

  • MikeCerm

    30 September, 2017 - 12:48 pm

    <p>As a person who has suffered with Google Voice ever since it was still called GrandCentral, Project Fi sounds horrible. Conceptually, it is a dream: a virtual phone service that hops between networks and does away with the horror of dealing with carriers. In practice, Google is the carrier, and Fi is nothing more than a distraction from their core business. Think Google will ever get the crazy text messaging through Hangouts thing fixed? Let me tell you, they won't. Been waiting for a decade for Google Voice to evolve into the miracle that was promised, and it just keeps getting worse.</p><p><br></p><p>If history is any guide, two years from now Google is going to announce that they're finally shutting down Hangouts, merging everything into Allo and Duo, which will be confusingly renamed Google Talk. None of this will integrate with Voice or Fi accounts, except that you'll still have to use the old Hangouts app to send messages on Fi, or the Google Voice app for messages and Hangouts for Voice calls.</p><p><br></p><p>Messaging the easiest thing in the world to fix, and Google just keeps not fixing it. Project Fi is just another messaging platform for Google to ignore.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      30 September, 2017 - 1:08 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#185614"><em>In reply to MikeCerm:</em></a></blockquote><p>Honestly, I love Project Fi. I just think support wasn't ready for an admittedly edge case.</p>

      • Thisisausername

        30 September, 2017 - 2:05 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#185631"><em>In reply to paul-thurrott:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Their support isn't ready for any case, at all. Support is by far the worst part of Fi. If you can't do it for yourself, they can't do it for you, either.</p><p><br></p><p>Though come to think of it that's basically true for every single Google service.</p>

      • offTheRecord

        02 October, 2017 - 8:17 am

        <blockquote><a href="#185631"><em>In reply to paul-thurrott:</em></a></blockquote><p>I'm currently dealing with a bootlooping Nexus 5X that is almost two years old, but that Google has agreed to replace for free (with a refurbished device, of course) since this is a result of a known hardware defect. I was pleasantly surprised by the level of support they've provided so far (although, given that this is a paid product, maybe I shouldn't have been surprised), but my situation is also an "edge case" (I'm currently outside the US with a Nexus 5X that was purchased in the US) and I can attest that they definitely are not set up to handle those well.</p>

    • SvenJ

      30 September, 2017 - 5:36 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#185614"><em>In reply to MikeCerm:</em></a> I don't get the issue. My Pixel on Fi does SMS just fine through the Messages app, not Hangouts. I might have changed it at some point, but don't recall having an issue.</blockquote><p><br></p>

    • offTheRecord

      02 October, 2017 - 8:10 am

      <blockquote><a href="#185614"><em>In reply to MikeCerm:</em></a></blockquote><p>My experiences with Google Voice have been nothing but good. If I could only use one of Google's many offerings (I currently use most of them), it would be Google Voice. I'm not aware of anything comparable available anywhere else (whereas most of their other offerings can be duplicated for free elsewhere).</p><p><br></p><p>My use cases may be simpler and more unique than what others expect or are trying to do, but for making and receiving *free* US-based phone calls and text messages no matter where in the world I am it has been great. It works much better and is much cheaper than Skype.</p><p><br></p><p>My Google Voice number is different from my cell phone number, so, for me, having Google Voice calls and text messages all handled within Hangouts works very well. I'd be just as happy to use the Google Voice app for this when (or if) it once again handles these functions as well as Hangouts.</p><p><br></p><p>Google Voice has been working great for me since it opened to the general public in 2010. My biggest fear with all of Google's meddling with Hangouts, Google Voice and their various messaging apps is that they'll do something that ruins Google Voice. </p>

  • matsan

    30 September, 2017 - 4:09 pm

    <p>I know the feeling – trying to simplify your tech-life could sometimes be problematic.</p><p>As a side note – I got my first GSM cellphone back in 1993 and have managed to keep the same number ever since. Carriers going bankrupt, merging etc but still kept control of my number – what a relief. </p>

  • videosavant

    30 September, 2017 - 5:14 pm

    <p>I found this entry to be a worthy alternative to a eulogy for recently deceased tech writer Jerry Pournelle, who used to write a column for Byte Magazine called "Chaos Manor."</p><p><br></p><p>Jerry's catchphrase was, "I do these things, so you don't have to." </p><p><br></p><p>Paul has done him proud here.</p><p><br></p>

  • Stooks

    30 September, 2017 - 9:06 pm

    <p>Paul please give us more Google product blog posts. I mean I don't come here for the Microsoft coverage.</p>

    • PeteB

      30 September, 2017 - 10:06 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#185863"><em>In reply to Stooks:</em></a></blockquote><p>Someone's bitter.</p><p>Maybe if MS actually did something worth covering sometime this millennium, there'd be more to talk about.</p>

      • Stooks

        01 October, 2017 - 10:02 am

        <blockquote><a href="#185876"><em>In reply to PeteB:</em></a></blockquote><p>Bitter? Hardly. I use Google products and I think they are fantastic, the ones I use. I just don't come here for Google news as their are much better places to go for that. Paul has covered Microsoft and that is why I come here. Now I am looking for better sources.</p>

  • IanYates82

    Premium Member
    01 October, 2017 - 2:27 am

    <p>Sounds like a frustrating experience :(</p><p><br>Didn't someone on your podcast on Thursday or Friday mention digging further into Hangout settings?</p><p><br></p><p>I recall when I switched from Telstra to Optus (from Australian biggest carrier to the #2 carrier) everything went fine except for one thing. Twitter's SMS backend, for whatever reason, could send me an authentication message anymore. It's like their system was using different gateways for different carriers and couldn't handle me using a different carrier. At the time I'd only used Twitter on my Nokia 920 and couldn't sign in on anything else to fix this up and get it running on the new phone. Fortunately Twitter support could see that I still had my old phone, control of the account and, after a couple of days, disabled two-factor auth for me.</p>

  • PincasX

    01 October, 2017 - 8:23 am

    <p>Paul is losing his touch, 27 comments and not a rabid Apple fan in the bunch. Trolling Apple fans used to be his specialty. </p>

    • nbplopes

      01 October, 2017 - 5:06 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#185987"><em>In reply to PincasX:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Apple fans like carrier neutrality as much as net neutrality from an OS/Device functional perspective :)</p><p><br></p><p>For Euopean standards Project Fi is expensive for what it gives. </p><p><br></p><p>For 25 euros I get 15gb of data per month and I do spend most of it so the savings would give minimum return. This on top of the 20 bucks for unlimited text and voice calls. It would cost me 150 going Project Fi. No wonder they can afford a flat rate across the globe. Basically you are banking GBs for when you go abroad. Given that Wifi coverage in the US main cities is good and less fragmented ….</p><p><br></p><p>As for making and receiving PTSN messages and calls on a laptop, tablet, smartphone or smart watch, Apple users have been enjoying that before even Project Fi existed if I’m not mistaken.</p><p><br></p><p>So I guess most would not trade carrier neutrality along with the other positives mentioned for a possibly slightly better camera. Still for US international travelers there seams to be a interesting value proposition in Project Fi.</p>

      • PincasX

        01 October, 2017 - 7:46 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#186107"><em>In reply to nbplopes:</em></a></blockquote><p>Ummm ….. my comment was a joke because Paul was being his typical ham fisted self in trashing iPhone 7,8,X and pretending that Apple users actually gives a flip what his opinion is. </p>

        • nbplopes

          02 October, 2017 - 6:22 am

          <blockquote><a href="#186136"><em>In reply to PincasX:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Clarifying why tech savvy Apple users did not gave their opinion on this move immediately. That is all. Its seams to me that the justification for the change when he talks about the iPhone misses the point somehow. He likes Google Fi for a reason and … that is mostly it. The camera as well …</p><p><br></p><p>Paul does not trash the iPhone, he cannot. But it sure tries to find excuses not to use Apple. One of them is the myth of being a closed system, hence "evil" or "deceiving". As if he is not jumping into a closed systems all the time, for instance Xbox One and now Google Project Fi. This amongst many other stuff.</p><p><br></p><p>No one cares today if it is a "closed" system or not, if it works better and there is reasonable path to get in or out, in particular, supporting web technologies. Sometimes not even that path is necessary, case in case, XBOX One.</p><p><br></p><p>PS: My current smartphone is the iPhone SE ($349), gives me all the features of Apple ecossystem when paired with a iPad and MacBook Pro, runs all the Apps of the Android and more, fast … and I do use a Leica M9 when traveling. Choices, choices. I will not upgrade to iPhone X and find the iPhone 8 ugly when compared to the iPhone 7 Jet-black 🙂 </p>

        • monkeyboy

          03 October, 2017 - 11:33 am

          <blockquote><a href="#186136"><em>In reply to PincasX:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Paul has been pro-Apple in many ways over the years. I never saw him as an Apple basher. Now he has hated Android and Google for a long time.</p>

  • Polycrastinator

    01 October, 2017 - 1:47 pm

    <p>This, to me, sounds like an argument against tying a phone number to an online account fundamentally. If the SIM just worked with the number, you still paid Google through one of your Google accounts, and signing into those accounts on the phone to get contacts/calendar/Mail were not trying to interact with each other, then this would have just worked. I understand Google’s desire to have tie this all together, but it seems both unnecessary and a great way to introduce problems. </p>

  • ben55124

    Premium Member
    02 October, 2017 - 11:56 am

    <p>Why do we still have SIM cards? Seems like a network identifier could be handled without the chip and snail mail. Just give me a QR code or something that I could scan in and get my device activated on your network. It would probably take Apple to tell the carriers that the SIM slot is going the way of the floppy disk, so figure something else out.</p>

  • MightyGorath

    02 October, 2017 - 1:38 pm

    <p>Wow, this hassle with Project Fi account switching and messaging using two different apps sound bloody great. Where do I sign up?</p>

    • monkeyboy

      03 October, 2017 - 11:32 am

      <blockquote><a href="#186533"><em>In reply to MightyGorath:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I wouldn't bother with Project Fi. Tmobile service is lousy everywhere, and what's the other carrier? Sprint? Double-yuck. Just stick with AT&amp;T or Verizon.</p>

      • MightyGorath

        04 October, 2017 - 11:28 am

        <blockquote><a href="#191293"><em>In reply to monkeyboy:</em></a></blockquote><p>Luckily I'm European (for now, anyway). We have full data roaming with no charging across Europe. And we don;t have to deal with Verizon or ATT. Life is good.</p>

  • Vladimir Carli

    Premium Member
    03 October, 2017 - 4:49 am

    <p>I was going to follow Paul in switching to an android phone. However, I'm now having second thoughts after reading the reviews of the iPhone 8 camera, which are excellent. Any convincing arguments to continue with the switch? Project-fi it's of course very interesting but I live in Europe and unfortunately it's not accessible for me.</p><p>Regards,</p><p>Vladimir</p>

  • melinau

    Premium Member
    03 October, 2017 - 6:18 am

    <p>In the UK when these issues arise and contact with the supplier is required it is usually via a 'phone "helpline". We are subjected to endless recorded messages telling us (in between ghastly music on hold) that "Your call is important to us (&amp;c.)…".</p><p>Not important enough to warrant employing enough competent people to sort-out the problem though!</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

  • John Noonan

    04 October, 2017 - 8:04 am

    <p>I have a Nexus 6P and an iPhone 7 Plus. The 7 Plus camera is better. Otherwise, Fi is very interesting.</p>

  • George Rae

    04 October, 2017 - 10:17 am

    <p>I joined Fi when it first started, it was great spent most time connected to public WiFi. Then public WiFi in my area started using sign in pages and Google will not connect to them nor let their VPN run on them, . If they fix that I would be back real quick.</p>

  • torsampo

    07 October, 2017 - 1:07 pm

    <p>Just to pre-empt a possible issue you might encounter if you intend on using Outlook email and calendar on your new Pixel. The Microsoft Outlook client is good and gives you access to all of the associated Outlook features, especially calendar, but what it doesn't do is enable access to the calendar for other apps. You are stuck using only Outlook for the calendar, which is a limitation I don't care for. If you install and configure the app Nine Email &amp; Calendar it easily connects to and will also serve as a conduit for other apps to see your calendar. So for example I prefer Digical for my calendar widget and using only the Outlook app Digical was unable to see my calendar. With Nine installed and configured, Digical can then see the Outlook calendar (and all of the the calendars I am subscribed to). Very handy and an excellent email client to boot.</p>

  • harrymyhre

    Premium Member
    21 July, 2018 - 10:49 pm

    <p>Thought I would add my experience of porting a number into project fi today. </p><p><br></p><p>I was able to accomplish the whole process using web chat sessions. I first chatted with my previous carrier to make sure my account was ready to Port and to obtain the info that project fi would need.</p><p><br></p><p>Then I went into chat with project fi. Alas, the fellow said my (blank) account was locked. </p><p><br></p><p>Went back to chat with (blank) carrier. Everything was good.</p><p><br></p><p>Went back to chat with project fi. This project fi fellow knew what to do. The process was done in five minutes. </p><p><br></p><p>Made me think about something Paul noted the other day. The days of us actually talking to people on the phone are slowly winding down. Great experience when it all works.</p>

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