From AT&T to Cingular to Verizon to T-Mobile to Project Fi

pfiI signed up for my first wireless plan in 2000; only the actual phone number has remained constant.

The eternal quest for the cheapest/best/reliablest(sp?) plan has taken me to Google’s Project Fi beta. What’s Project Fi? Google Fi gives you a new type of sim card that allows you to connect to more than one carrier and/or wifi hotspots for making phone calls or using data. I was a T-Mobile customer before Project Fi, so this plan keeps my access to T-Mobile, while adding Sprint and any public wifi that registers as strong enough to support voice/data.

The plan is $20 for unlimited talk minutes and text + $10.00 per gigabyte of data. The idea is that having quick switch to open wifi will cut down on data needs. Since my phone number is a Google Voice number, trying out the service is really easy… although transferring a number over is as easy as transferring a number to any other carrier.

Why switch? I currently use T-Mobile’s “not that well-advertised” $30 plan; it is unlimited data (although throttled after a few gigs of use) with 100 mins of talk per month. This plan requires either rooting or additional payment for tethering. It’s a cheap plan and it works pretty well, but there are many T-Mobile dead zones (including my house!) and I tether often, so it’s annoying to have to face dropped calls and to keep rooting every time Google releases a new android version. Project Fi is more expensive per gig, but calls/texts are unlimited and they refund any unused data credits each month, so you literally pay for only the data you use. If you need more data in a certain month, you’re billed for the additional data at $10.00 per gig. I’m banking on public wifi handling most of my data needs… hopefully most everything except turn-by-turn directions and tethering.

Hopefully Project Fi offers solid switching between T-Mobile, Sprint, and public wifi. In any case, both plans are off-contract, so switching back is as easy as switching out the sim card.

Project Fi currently requires a Nexus 6, 5x, or 6p, and you get some benefits from purchasing a new Nexus directly through Project Fi. You can pay for your phone over time without fees or financing, and they throw in a half-price case. Unrelated to Project Fi, Google throws in a $50 credit to the Play Store, so if you’re looking to escape from the iPhone or Windows Phone, you can now replace a good number of apps for the price of a Nexus… which is really the only Android phone I’d suggest buying at this point.

Phone Hardware and Carriers so far:

  • Nokia feature phone (AT&T, Cingular)
  • OG Motorola Droid (CDMA – Verizon)
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus (CDMA – Verizon)
  • LG Nexus 5 (GSM – unlocked – T-Mobile)
  • LG Nexus 5x (GSM – unlocked – Project Fi)

I don’t know yet because I have a papaya…

What the ....?

This is an actual speech to text conversion presented to me with a straight face (I presume) by Google.

“They’re an automatically. I moved out. But if you were expecting that talk to you Is it right I don’t know yet because I have a papaya. It’s a lot, bye hello, and I will get along very well. Mediation lenient directions. I don’t know, i’m you know community and The neither of the week. It’s those hang up on the actually and hang out, and call. Hey, but, Shh, Shh, trying to call. Yeah.”

For the record… I was talking about mangoes, not papayas and NO ONE calls me the “neither of the week” and gets away with it!