It's official: Project Fi is now Google Fi, and it's gaining support for many more phones.
Google today confirmed that it's rebranding Project Fi, three and a half years after it first launched the wireless service. Along with the new name, Google Fi now works with "the majority of Android devices" as well as Apple's iPhones, marking the first time that you can officially use an iPhone on Fi. Google does say using an iPhone on Fi is in beta and that there are some extra steps to getting an iPhone working on its service, but users will be walked through the process in the Google Fi app.
While Google Fi does support more Android and iPhone devices, Google does caution that some plan features will depend on the device you're using. The company explains that if you want the full Google Fi experience, including Fi's technology for seamlessly switching between multiple cellular networks, you should get a phone that's "designed for Fi" and sold by Fi, like the Pixel 3 or Moto G6.
Google does offer a website that'll show you which Google Fi features your phone is compatible with. For example, a newer iPhone works with 4G LTE speeds and no roaming fees in more than 170 destinations, and iMessage works out of the box. You may need to tweak some settings to get texts to non-iPhones working, though, and voicemails won't show in the Visual Voicemail app. Additionally, you won't get features like switching between multiple networks, using a Fi VPN to keep your data connection encrypted, and Wi-Fi calling.
— Google Fi (@Googlefi) November 28, 2018
The basic features of Google Fi remain. Customers start paying $20 per month for unlimited calls and texts, and then data is charged at a rate of $10 per gigabyte. The cost for data tops out at $60 per month with Fi's Bill Protection feature. You can add more people to your plan for $15 each, and the Bill Protection for data cost will slowly grow as you add more people. For example, data pricing will top out at $100 per month for 10GB for two people. Anyone who uses more than 15GB of data in a single month will have their speeds slowed.
Google Fi also offers roaming usage in more than 170 countries and territories around the world. Voice calls cost $0.20 per minute in these destinations, SMS texting is unlimited, and data is priced at $10 per gigabyte. You can see the list of supported destinations here.
Speaking of international travel, Google today also announced two special offers for Google Fi. Today, November 28, customers who buy a phone from Google Fi will receive the same value back in their choice of travel gift cards that can be spent on flights with Delta and Southwest or lodging with Airbnb or Hotels.com. Customers who'd rather bring their own phone will get $200 of service credit when they sign up.
Google Fi is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses the networks of T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular for its coverage. Phones that are "designed for Fi" and sold by Fi can seamlessly switch between these networks to give you the best coverage, but other phones rely on T-Mobile's network for their coverage.
Adding support for bringing your own Android phones and iPhones is a welcome addition to Google Fi, and it could get more people to try the service out. It is disappointing that phones not "designed for Fi" can't automatically switch between Fi's networks, but that is a technology that Google developed with its partners. If you do try Fi with your current phone and like the service, you could move to a "designed by Fi" phone in the future. Hopefully Google expands its list of "designed by Fi" phones to include devices from companies like Samsung and OnePlus in the future.