CNET First Look
Getting to know Google's wireless service, Project FiUsing Wi-Fi coverage as default and partnering with US carriers Sprint and T-Mobile, Project Fi is an alternative mobile wireless service from the search giant Google.
[MUSIC] Hello everybody, I'm Lynn La for CNET and today we're gonna take a closer look at Google Project Fi. Launched on April 2015, Project Fi is a tech giant's take on a mobile wireless service. It enables you to make calls, send texts, and search the internet. By default it uses local WiFi networks, the same kind you have set up at your home or find in a coffee shop or airport. Because some WiFi spots are public, Google promises to encrypt your data so it is secure. If WiFi coverage is unavailable or too weak, you automatically Seamlessly be switched to either Sprint or T-mobile's ceullar network. For now you can only use Project Fi on Google's flagship handset, the Nexus 6. That's because there's a specialized radio inside the phone that supports multiple cell networks. And it works with a unique Project Fi SIM card that has multiple carrier support as well. Part of the service's appeal is it's easy to understand pricing structure. The base cost is $20/month, which gives you unlimited calls and texting in the US, unlimited international texting in the US to a 120 or more country and WiFi tethering. If you want data, that costs $10 a gig per month. So, for example, if you sign up for four gigs, that'll cost $40, bringing your total monthly bill to $60. Whatever data you don't use at the end of the month gets refunded back to you. If you end up using 3.1 out of the allotted 4 gigs this month, that means you have 900 megabytes leftover and you get nine bucks back. [SOUND] Now, some of our own preliminary testing has shown varying data Download rates have ranged from three to 13 megabits per second, while upload rates range from one to 18 megabits per second. Of course take these results with a grain of salt. Data speeds vary widely for a number of reasons, including location and time of day. What we're observing here is just a miniscule sample size in our San Francisco offices. Now Google isn't alone in its wireless endeavors. Carriers like Republic Wireless and Scratch Wireless offer similar services. With the former charging $10 a month for talk, text, and WiFi and $15 per gig of data. Google has described Project Fi not necessarily as a competition to its carrier partners, but rather an ongoing experiment that will hopefully push these companies to offer cheaper and more efficient services. If you're interested in experiencing Project Fi for yourself, you'll need to go online and request an invite. And for more information on this and other tech news, be sure to check out CNET.com. [SOUND]