Google is going wireless, and that is probably for the better. It wasn’t too long ago that the Internet had become abuzz with rumors and speculation about Google’s attempt to build a network to become eventually competitive in the cable business. While the buzz around that has died down, the new buzz is all about wireless, and that couldn’t be better. Google announced Project Fi, which would work to compete with the major wireless carriers in the U.S., by providing a better service and do so significantly more affordably than any of the other companies have been able to do thus far.
Even more impressively, Google thinks they’ll be able to give the same type of contracted service, without the contract – or any of the tricky tactics that tie most consumers long-term to a carrier that they really don’t love. The function of Google Fi is relatively simple on the surface. The network will be based on Sprint and T-Mobile networks here in the U.S. Right now, the project is by invite only, but in due time Google says that it will begin launching it on a larger scale. To sign up, all a user needs is a Google account – and they can sign up for Google Fi.
However, it won’t just be Sprint or T-Mobile that Google will use to take care of their customers. They will also be partnering with some pretty significant entities to enable Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. Their devices will naturally toggle between Wi-Fi, Sprint, and T-Mobile networks depending on where the user is – but this shows just how serious Google is about getting into the wireless business.
It’s unclear what Google’s long-term objective is here, but this could be a significant opportunity for them – as they’re partnering with Sprint and T-Mobile. Down the road, if Google Fi launches successfully, we could be talking about a massive acquisition that would put them in direct competition with AT&T and Verizon. Given the fact that Google will be working with Sprint and T-Mobile though, pretty clearly sums up Google’s intentions though.
Google is going to be delivering a impressive package, too, for users who are looking for something with a little grit or bang for their buck. In fact, Google will be offering the most competitive and unique package – without factoring in various taxes yet, of any carrier in the U.S. Just getting prices back in a manageable price range will be enough to convert many wireless users – if given the opportunity.
Plans will start at $20 per month. That will be for unlimited voice and text. After that, data will be charged by what you use. It’ll be set up so that the user can choose a certain amount of data to carry in their plan – and if they choose 2GB of data that will be an extra $20 in their bill each month. However, if they only use 1GB of that – the consumer’s bill will be prorated for what they used. Instead of paying $20 for data that month – they will see a $10 credit in their next billing cycle.
This could save wireless users hundreds of dollars each month compared to other carriers. That’s one of the big issues though for Google right now. They’re looking to test this in the U.K., too, and many are saying that it isn’t necessary. For consumers in the U.K. that is the truth. There isn’t a pricing challenge like there is here in the U.S. Prices are generally higher here in the U.S., and actually in the U.K., things aren’t just less expensive, but the competition makes the companies better instead of just making them all more expensive.
At this point, only the Nexus 6 will be making its way to Google Fi, for those who have adopted the new program. However, as the heat turns up and popularity continues to grow within the trial period – we can certainly expect to see more Android devices added to this list. Google Fi will also put Apple in an interesting situation. For a company that is as meticulous as they are about getting their customers on board with some innovative projects – one would have expected them to beat Google to the wireless carrier space. However, it looks like Google is there – and surprisingly many will be receptive to it.
For Google, their biggest concern has to be getting people comfortable with the idea of giving them access to more of their life – as Google already dominates a large portion of people’s online life through advertising, search, and much more. Wireless carriers should be worried, and wireless users should be celebrating the introduction of a new wireless carrier.