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Google starts US-wide roll out of its WiFi-biased mobile service, Project Fi

Project Fi

© Project Fi

  • After 10 months of public trials, the service is now open to all US residents
  • 50 per cent of users connect to hotspots via the WiFi app
  • Average of 1.6GB of data consumed per month

Google has announced that it is to move on from its invitation-only trial of Project Fi and that it will roll out the service across the US. Project Fi is a mobile service that tries to work equally well across cellular and WiFi networks. It is US-only, with no published plans to extend internationally, and operates across the LTE networks for Sprint and T-Mobile.

The service is restricted to Google’s own Nexus hardware, specifically the Nexus 6P and 5X, and utilises Voice over WiFi and VoLTE. However, you can use the same number on laptops and tablets running Google Hangouts. It’s not designed as a broad availability service, rather as a test programme to evaluate new wireless business models and technologies. Hence the limited support and reach.

To support the nationwide launch, Google released some findings from its 10-month public trial.

  • Over 50 per cent of Project Fi customers are connecting to public hotspots using the Wi-Fi Assistant tool on a weekly basis.
  • More than 15 per cent of customers have used Project Fi abroad, in 110 of over 120 supported countries.
  • About 90 per cent of customers who visit the Project Fi app return to discover how much data they’ve used (which, incidentally, averages at 1.6GB per month).

In December, Google launched data-only SIMs for Project Fi subscribers to connect from devices other than their phones – and whilst the obvious use is for tablets, it says they are also being used in cars. The company adds that it will keep experimenting in this area.

“We’re excited to be exiting our invitation-only mode and opening up Project Fi so that people across the US can now sign up for service without having to wait in-line for an invite,” said Simon Arscott, Product Manager for Project Fi. “We’d like to say ‘thank you’ to all our Project Fi customers for providing insights and feedback over the past 10 months. While Project Fi is still in its early stages, we’re excited to welcome our next wave of customers and look forward to growing and improving together.”

For those of our readers in the US who are interested in the project, Google is offering the Nexus 5X from $199 for the next month when purchased through Project Fi. 

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