Following Tuesday's speculation about Google's Wi-Fi first network, Project Fi is expanding its lineup of compatible phones and changing its name. The service, now dubbed Google Fi, will be available for certain Samsung and OnePlus phones, as well as iPhones -- though the latter will be in beta for the time being.
Before Wednesday's announcement, Google Fi only worked with a small number of Android phones: four LG and Moto phones, and Google-branded devices such as Pixel and Nexus phones. By expanding its network to other handsets, especially non-Android phones, and dropping the provisional-sounding word "project" from the name, Google is signaling serious efforts to broaden its user base and boost device support.
Watch this: Getting to know Google's wireless service, Project Fi
To promote Google Fi's expansion, Google is also offering special deals for today only. If you're a new or existing customer and purchase a Google Fi phone, Google will give you back the amount you paid in the form of a gift card for Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Airbnb or Hotels.com. If you're a new subscriber and bring your current phone to Fi, you'll receive $200 off via billing credit.
Also note that not all plan features will be available to any Android or iOS phones you bring to the network. In order to access all features, Google recommends using a phone specifically designed for Google Fi.
What makes Google Fi different to most major carriers is that it uses local Wi-Fi networks first (the same kind you set up at home, or connect to at a coffee shop or airport) to patch calls, send texts and browse the internet. If Wi-Fi coverage is not available or too weak, the network will then switch to US carriers T-Mobile, Sprint or US Cellular's networks.
But Fi isn't the only network that operates this way -- Republic Wireless is another Wi-Fi first network. As for T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, these carriers do have similar services like Wi-Fi calling, but plans on Google Fi are generally cheaper, and any unused data you purchase for the month will be refunded back to you. Fi also offers international and unlimited plans.