I’ve been a happy Project Fi customer for almost a year. I originally signed up because of the data SIMs: being able to pick up any phone and use it on the go was important. So for $30, data service on multiple devices was great. A year later, I’m not using the data SIMs hardly at all. Now, I just switch between my Pixel, iPhone, or a review phone. If I’m on any phone, I need full talk, text, and data with the built in apps. The problem? Fi isn’t making it easy for me to do that. So I decided to switch to T-Mobile. But that’s not the only reason. It’s also because Fi isn’t offering me enough value. So, let’s take a closer look at what is missing from Google’s Project Fi.
Project Fi originally launched as a phone service for the Nexus 6, that would switch between T-Mobile and Sprint towers. Since then, they’ve added US Cellular to that, as well as supporting new Nexus devices and the Pixel. The service, was, and is, pretty simple: pay $20 for unlimited talk and text, plus $10 per gigabyte, and get back money if you don’t use all of your data allotment. Go over, no issue.
But the service has stayed the same. They haven’t lowered their prices. Sure, they’ve added a family plan, but there’s no groundbreaking new features to lure more customers in. More importantly, Fi is losing customers because of this. I’ve seen this on a Fi community on Google+ — customers are leaving Fi because the service isn’t going anywhere.
Lack of Value
The real issue, for me, comes in that Fi isn’t offering the value it once did. I came for data SIMs, I don’t need them anymore. But Google had a year — plenty of time to lower prices, add features, or simply communicate with their customers about the future. But they didn’t. So now, Project Fi doesn’t offer any new value. It offers less, especially considering that on T-Mobile, I’ll be paying $30 for 5GB of data at 4G speeds, with unlimited text and 100 minutes of talk. That’s all I need. But T-Mobile doesn’t stop there, no, I’ll also be getting video and music streaming that won’t count towards my data allotment. I’ll be getting way more on T-Mobile, for the same price. Google would really need to step up their Fi game if they want to compete with prices like that.
|Data Allotment:||$10/GB/month||5GB 4G, unlimited 2G|
|Talk/Text:||Unlimited||Unlimited text, 100 minutes talk|
|Special Features:||Auto-refund for unused data, data-only SIMs||Binge On, Music Freedom|
Now, you might ask “what about the network switching?” To me, that’s a bit of a gimmick. Last year, I traveled out to the west coast and maybe only once or twice did I switch over to the Sprint network. Because T-Mobile’s network has expanded so much, Sprint and US Cellular don’t offer much value, making that detail irrelevant to me.
It’s typical for Google to start a project with much hype, and then kill it off in a couple of years, or months. Just look at what happened with Spaces. Now, while this hopefully won’t be the case with Project Fi, they certainly haven’t been doing much with the service. Above all, their communication has been pretty poor. Fi users haven’t heard much about what Google is planning to do with the service, and because of this, the excitement around the service has really died down. If Google doesn’t step up, Fi will be left to die in the dust. Without a constant influx of new customers, and without Google constantly improving the service, customers will drop away. This spells bad news for current Fi customers who could be left without service one day.
So what do I hope Google does with Project Fi? I hope they keep innovating. They need to be communicating with current and potential customers about what’s coming for the service. But for me, there’s nothing they can do now. My T-Mobile SIM is already on the way, and I’ll be paying the same amount of money for more features. I’ll also be with a company that is always communicating and always innovating.
If you’re thinking of switching to Fi, go ahead — it’s a great service. But beware of what I said. If you’re currently on Fi, I’m not encouraging you to switch away from Fi. But take note that other options exist, and those options may offer more value for you than Fi does.