Apple, Android, Huawei, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T & Verizon. The juggernauts of the mobile phone industry have been pulling the strings of our pockets for two decades. Some spend hundreds per month to operate these devices that are digital extensions of ourselves. Fortunately, in April 2015, a large data company saw an opportunity in the mobile device industry, Google. We all know Google. The company known for making free products that collect massive amounts of data on users, repackage it(I hope), and sell it to advertisers. Fast forward two years, and I’m having the orgasmic feeling of removing the plastic screen protector from my new Nexus 5X. And so the experience begins…
Why Google FI?
Google FI (previously known as Project FI) offered features that many providers didn’t. Previously, I held a plan with one of the larger ‘budget’ providers in the United States, Sprint (what a strange name for a phone company). Even with the advertised “low prices”, I was guaranteed to spend $120/month. I started looking for a cheaper alternative. Two features that pulled me in were ‘Paying for what you use’ & ‘International Use’.
‘Pay for what you use’
Google FI offered the ability to ‘pay for what you use’, or only pay for…. well what you use. The going rate was $10/GB of data used. If you use less, you will be charged less. For example, In December 2018 I used 0.025 GB of data, and I was charged $0.25! Being someone who likes to save money, the ability to reduce my phone expenses, if needed, is a huge benefit. It is also possible to reduce your bill, without much effort, by operating only in WIFI zones. Which is not difficult because most people have WiFI at two places they spend the most time, home & work. More supermarkets, churches, parks, and restaurants are offering free WIFI than ever before. Also, in 2018, Google FI capped charges for data usage to 6 GB. Therefore, you can only be charged a maximum of $60 per month. I’m sure this was to compete with the ‘Big Box’ companies’s Unlimited Data plans. Well… It worked (at least for me). With this added feature, I was determined to become a loyal customer of Google FI.
My first time using Google FI , outside of the U.S, was on a trip to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. I didn’t want my first Carnival to be ruined with spotty or sub-optimal cell service. I reached out to Google FI and asked if this international service thing was a scam. They promised that I would be able to tap into the local cell towers without any headaches and still be charged the same domestic rates. My previous provider would have charged me a ridiculous amount of roaming fees and international calls fees. I was a new customer to Google FI and didn’t think it would work. Boy was I wrong! When I stepped off the plane I had a strong connection, maybe even better than in Atlanta. I ordered an UBER from the Airport and enjoyed using the service for the remainder of the trip.
I’ve also used Google FI in some of the Caribbean Islands with a similar experience. I knew the true test would be my trip to China. China had “the Great Firewall” that limits access to the World Wide internet. Would I be able to access the “real internet”, or be trapped in the dark? Google FI pulled through again! Don’t ask me about the technology, but I was able to access all of my sites like I never left home.
Some would argue that the Google FI’s line up of devices is sub-par. Personally, I believe that smart phones are so similar that I refuse to pay more than $300 for a device. Therefore my first Google FI device was the cheapest phone on the lineup, the Nexus 5X, with a sticker price of $299. Then, a year and a half later I upgraded to the Motorola Moto X4, also $299. (Just make sure you pay for the $5 phone protection) Both devices ran the latest software and ‘aged’ well. So… if you are one of those people who likes to have the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy I wouldn’t recommend using the Google FI network. Google’s Pixel is making some moves, but the lineup doesn’t include the most popular phones aside from the Pixel.
Well… the purpose of this blog is to share ways that I have saved money. Google FI has been huge at allowing me to do that. Here are the numbers.
Last year I saved almost $500 in cell phone charges. With almost no change in my experience with the smart phone. If you are interested in signing up for Google FI, click here.