Google’s Project Fi is about to get a pretty significant network boost. The mobile virtual network operator (MNVO) already boasts both Sprint and T-Mobile’s network, however as of today a third network will be available to Project Fi users, enter U.S. Cellular.
U.S. Cellular, as Google comments, is the fifth largest network in the U.S., and will bring LTE connectivity to Project Fi users in “23 states, both urban and rural.”
Project Fi basically analyzes your location and puts you on the strongest network available, presuming you’re not on Wi-Fi. As the name suggests, when you are on Wi-Fi, calls and texts will be handled through your Wi-FI connection, which is how Project Fi is able to remain relatively cheap. This process is all automatic, so you really don’t have to do anything to ensure you’re on the strongest network.
“By accessing multiple cellular networks, Fi users have a connection nearly 99 percent of the time, and spend about 95 percent of cellular time on LTE improving even further with the addition of U.S. Cellular,” states Google.
The U.S. Cellular coverage will be added to customers over the coming weeks, so if your coverage hasn’t changed yet, you’ll need to give it some time. U.S. Cellular doesn’t operate all over the country, so the announcement won’t affect every user, but at the very least it should give you some peace of mind for when you travel.
Project Fi is a little different than other networks or MNVOs for a number of reasons. Most obvious being that users don’t have to pay for data that they don’t use. Each 1GB of data costs $10, so if you pay for 3GB but only use 2.5GB, you’ll be reimbursed $5 in the form of credit at the end of the month. An idea recently being used by Ting.
Google launched its own cell service, Project Fi, last year. However, the service was invite only upon launch. Well, that restriction has now lifted, so anyone can sign up to use the service, as long as they have the right smartphone.
Unfortunately,only customers using Google’s Nexus phones are able to sign up to the service. So far, there are only three phones that support Project Fi: the original Nexus 6, the Nexus 5X, and the Nexus 6P. The service will also work on some LTE tablets, including the newer Nexus tablets, iPads, and Samsung tablets. Reports indicate that some users have been able to activate the service using other phones, however, that’s anything but guaranteed.