Google has announced that it is opening its Project Fi mobile network to everyone in the U.S. Project Fi is the Internet giant’s virtual mobile network that uses open Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular networks belonging to Sprint and T-Mobile to provide voice, text, and data services to users. The service allows users to make phone calls and texts even while only on a Wi-Fi connection. Previously, Project Fi had been an invite-only service.
Besides the ability to make calls and texts over Wi-Fi networks, another headline feature of Project Fi compared to other mobile networks is its pricing structure. Users pay $20 a month up front for unlimited domestic talk and text and unlimited international texts as well as an additional $10 a month for every GB of data they want to use. However, at the end of the month, any unused data gets credited back to their account.
"We launched Project Fi as an invitation-only Early Access program to make sure we could deliver the best quality of service to our first customers," Simon Arscott, product manager of Project Fi, wrote in a blog post. "Today, we’re excited to be exiting our invitation-only mode and opening up Project Fi so that people across the U.S. can now sign up for service without having to wait in line for an invite."
The bad news is just because Project Fi is no longer in invite-only mode, it doesn’t mean everyone can use the full service. While some tablets like the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4, and Samsung Galaxy Tab S can use the data-only portion of the service, you’ll still need a Nexus phone like the 6P or 5X to use its talk and text features. There’s no word yet on whether Google has plans to open up all of Project Fi’s offerings to other devices. With that in mind, Arscott says Google will offer the Nexus 5X next month for only $199 when you buy and activate the phone through Project Fi.