A few years ago, after travelling to Montreal for a weekend, I came back home to a bill from my cellular provider sitting on my counter top. I opened the envelop and felt ill for the afternoon. With Google’s experimental Project Fi cellular service, you don’t have to worry about pesky international data charges. For years now, the service has provided its customers with the ability use data in over 135 countries without putting holes in their wallet. Because international data usage is part of the Project Fi wireless plan, there are no additional charges. The issue was that you’d only be provided with 2G service while abroad. Today Google announced that they would now offer high speed international data access at speeds that are at least 10-20x faster than previously. This means that instead of limiting rates to 2G, customers will now be able to use the fastest network available, whether that’s 3G, 4G, or LTE (unless 2G’s the fastest available).
“Users will get the fastest connection available on a given network, speeds aren’t capped,” a Google spokesperson said. “In some cases, that would be LTE networks, in others it would be 3G networks (depending on roaming agreements). Different countries will have different speeds, which is why we set a range.”
This is the latest perk included with Project Fi, which has been able to undercut traditional cellular providers by letting customers switch between cellular and wi-fi signals without interfering with calls or internet usage. Google’s Project Fi is part of a larger initiative by tech giants to provide internet service to remote corners of the world.
This may seem exciting, but hold on, there’s a catch. Google’s Project Fi service is currently only compatible with a small selection of Google designed cell phones including the Nexus 5X and 6P. That means bad news for iPhone users for the time being. Google charges $20 per month for the service with an additional $10 per gigabyte of data used. Project Fi is still just in an experimental phase for Google. Before the release of the project, Google said that it had no intention of establishing itself as a full blown carrier. The company currently uses Sprint and T-Mobile to enable their service.
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