Before today I was paying nearly $100 per month to Verizon for my monthly wireless service. For my $100 I got unlimited talk/text and 4GB of data. I work from home a lot now and try not to watch a lot of video when I’m out and about, so, my data usage is down around 1GB per month. The average cell user probably uses less than 3GB per month.
I didn’t intend to write anything about cell phone costs, but after seeing a tweet from Mr. Money Mustache about Google Fi. I had to write something, it would be irresponsible not to spread the word. There was a chance I could lower my bill from over $100 per month to less than $30 per month, and still get great service!
Prior to last year Google Project Fi was invite only. I never heard of it until today, but, its been public for over a year. You can go to the site and sign up right now: https://fi.google.com/about/
I’m not on the service yet, but I’ll give you a breakdown of the high notes from what I’ve read.
Coverage looks decent, as long as you live somewhere populated or on the eastern side of the country. If you spend a lot of time in the mid-west this might not be the best option for you. I assume this will improve over time too.
The cost is the coolest part. You pay $20 per month + $10 per GB of data you use. If you set up your plan for 3GB, then your bill would be $50 per month. But, if you only use 1.5GB during the month, they credit you back $15 and you only pay $35. The phones are optimized to help keep you connected to WiFi as much as possible. This reduces how much data you actually use. To help protect you on WiFi the phone routes your traffic through a VPN (private network with data encryption so people can’t see what you’re doing on the public WiFi) when connected to WiFi.
If you travel internationally, you won’t receive any special costs. Calls and texts will be free while on WiFi. Text is free whenever you have signal. Non- WiFi calls are 20 cents a minute. Data is charged at the same rate as back home. For comparison, Verizon charged me $10 per day to use my phone internationally. Per day!
Here’s a high level summary of the costs. These do not include taxes, but, it seems like taxes are less than $5 for most people based on what I’ve ready online. Also, as you’ll see below, if you don’t buy your phone and you use the financing method it would add to this monthly cost by about $15-$30.
Here’s what sucks. You can only use one of three phones with the service, as of now.
From what I’ve read, the Pixel is a pretty badass phone. Looking at the specs, the Nexus 6P is comparable enough that I would probably go with that if I switch. Might as well save a couple hundred dollars. If you can’t buy the phone up front, the financing is zero percent interest. So, they just spread the cost over 2 years, you don’t pay more for the phone.
If you’re on a plan like I was and you don’t mind switching up your phone – Google Fi could be a great option. If you can drop your monthly bill from $100 to $50, you’re saving $600 per year. That’s enough to more than pay for the new phone, and in future years it’s a good start toward a free vacation!
There are rumors that a new Pixel 2 phone will be coming in October, and I like fancy stuff – so I’m going to try to wait for that before I switch. I checked my Verizon plan today and I was able to get it reduced down to $65 per month for 5GB of data. At that price, I’m willing to wait a bit before I check out Google Fi. It’s a pretty new service and I’m sure it will only get better over time. Another 6 months from now, I’ll probably be switching too. If you don’t use much data as it is, and you don’t care about having the fanciest possible phone, then I think Google Fi might be worth looking into right away. Tons of people are reporting bills of only $25 (1 line and about .5GB of data per month) per month and great service!
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