Google has unleashed Project Fi onto the mobile scene and the goal is to change the way wireless business is done. Today the company uploaded two videos that are intended to be practical explanations of how the service will work. However, a lot of questions are being raised about this potentially being a data scam for Google. In a way this would be their opportunity to lock down another section of the digital world, and gain even more data on their users. The service might have some drawbacks, but at the end of the day, the service is at least comparable to what is currently on the market – and more competition never hurts.
On the surface, Google Fi will rent-a-network from both Sprint and T-Mobile here in the U.S. It’s a great idea on the surface, but is definitely going to face some challenges. For example, the first problem that Google is going to face renting network coverage from both T-Mobile and Sprint is that they won’t be able to do a lot with prices because of that rental agreement. Obviously, Sprint and T-Mobile aren’t going to undercut their own business, and they would never agree to such a thing. That means for Google to really be competitive, they’re going to have to compete for customers that don’t use a lot of data – until they’re able to build their own infrastructure.
One of the videos reveals how the data packages will work. Essentially, users will only pay for the data that they actually use. Instead of being tied to a set amount of data each month, they will only be responsible for paying for as much as they use. The rest of the amount that they do not use – will be applied in a correlating dollar amount to their next bill. It’s a really simple business model but the problem with it is that customers will still be paying a lot depending on how much data they use.
If a family of four needs a cell phone plan, and they choose Google Fi here is how the pricing might look. It’s worth pointing out, too, that there are also very few devices that will be included in the program. However, that might change as time goes on. For a family of four though, they would pay $20 per line each month – and then $10 per gigabyte of data they want to include in their plan. For a family of four, that could mean as much as eight, or ten gigabytes of data. That would equate to an additional $80 or $100 per month tacked onto their bill.
It’s not that it’s a bad price, and having access to two networks instead of just one might come with its own benefits that outweigh the downside – but it’s still almost as expensive as Verizon or AT&T. It certainly keeps them competitive.