iPhone support added to Google Fi wireless internet access program

Posted:
in iPhone
Google has expanded the range of smartphones that can use the low-cost carrier Google Fi, formerly known as Project Fi, with the service opening itself up for use on iPhones for the first time, albeit with support offered in "beta."




As part of the rebranding effort, Google Fi now includes support for a wide variety of smartphones from a number of manufacturers, rather than the limited range previously offered. As part of this, the iPhone is also formally supported by the Google-operated MVNO for the first time.

While previously it was possible to get an iPhone onto Google Fi by changing various data settings after installing the SIM, as well as the ability to use a data-only SIM in an iPad, Google's change now specifically allows newer iPhones to work straight away. Notably the device checker advises the iPhone 5S and newer models will work with the service, including the iPhone SE, but the iPhone 5C and older devices are incompatible.

Google warns Fi for iOS is in beta, meaning that not every feature of the service will be available from the outset. While it will work with iMessage straight away, some MMS settings need to be adjusted for it to work properly with non-iPhones.

Visual Voicemail will not work, however traditional voicemail will, as well as Google Fi's text message transcripts. Features including 4G LTE connectivity and no roaming fees in more than 170 countries are still offered, but international tethering is not yet supported on iOS.

There is also a new Google Fi iOS app, which is used to activate the service, check usage and bills, and to manage the account and other settings.

Google Fi costs $20 per month for unlimited talk and text, with each extra line priced at $15 apiece. Data is provided at $10 per gigabyte up until 6 gigabytes in a month, with any extra data usage on top provided at no cost due to the carrier's Bill Protection cap.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    the prices seem great, but only if your phones are paid off and and wanna bring them, upgrading the phones and prices are the same elsewhere but can’t buy iphones through google fi
  • Reply 2 of 16
    There’s the cost of the service, but then data is $10/GB... that seems a bit hefty.

    Maybe I’ll wait for a phone that can take advantage of Elon Musk’s SpaceX run Starlink satellite service once it goes online. Once it becomes available, expect it to be a major disruptive force in cell services and cable/satellite TV with it’s extremely low-latency, high-bandwidth service.
    edited November 2018
  • Reply 3 of 16
    There’s the cost of the service, but then data is $10/GB... that seems a bit hefty.

    up to 6GB only. You get data after that but the pricing is capped at $60. 

    So 2 lines w/ "unlimited" data - runs you $95 mo. That's pretty competitive. If they threw in Google services like Music or YouTube or Play credits, it would probably get more people. 

    No visual voicemail and not auto switching to another carrier (it will be TMO only) is the drawback for iOS folks. 

    **** 
    NM - I was wrong about this. The data cap scales based on # of lines. https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6201699/?hl=en&authuser=2 ;

    2 lines = 10GB billing cap. $135 mo. 
    edited November 2018 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 4 of 16
    FYI: After 15GB they throttle data.

    For me, the deal breaker was no IPad LTE support...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 16
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 200member
    ... satellite service ... with it’s extremely low-latency, high-bandwidth service.
    I have a great deal on a bridge which I think might interest you.

    Starlink as it is currently planned has two constellations arranged like concentric shells. The low-altitude constellation is planned to be at 210 miles, so the absolute minimum round-trip distance you will ever see is 840 miles (210 up, 210 down, then the reply has 210 up, 210 down). The high-altitude constellation is going to be at 750 miles. If you have to go through a high-altitude relay, your minimum round-trip distance now goes to 3000 miles. Plus, you'll have to contend for timeslots with every other user seen by the satellite serving you, since radio waves are a shared medium. This will not be low-latency.
    beowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 16
    zimmie said:
    ... satellite service ... with it’s extremely low-latency, high-bandwidth service.
    I have a great deal on a bridge which I think might interest you.

    Starlink as it is currently planned has two constellations arranged like concentric shells. The low-altitude constellation is planned to be at 210 miles, so the absolute minimum round-trip distance you will ever see is 840 miles (210 up, 210 down, then the reply has 210 up, 210 down). The high-altitude constellation is going to be at 750 miles. If you have to go through a high-altitude relay, your minimum round-trip distance now goes to 3000 miles. Plus, you'll have to contend for timeslots with every other user seen by the satellite serving you, since radio waves are a shared medium. This will not be low-latency.

    Here are the alleged actual details:

    The Internet communication satellites are expected to be in the smallsat-class of 100-to-500 kg (220-to-1,100 lb)-mass, which were intended to be in Low Earth Orbit(LEO) at an altitude of approximately 1,100 kilometers (680 mi). However, SpaceX ultimately decided to keep the satellites at a relatively low 550 kilometers (340 mi), due to concerns about the space environment.[41] Initial plans as of January 2015 were for the constellation to be made up of approximately 4000 cross-linked[36]satellites, more than twice as many operational satellites as were in orbit in January 2015.[5]
    The satellites will employ optical inter-satellite links and phased array beam forming and digital processing technologies in the Ku- and Ka band according to documents filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).[42][43] While specifics of the phased array technologies have been disclosed as part of the frequency application, SpaceX enforced confidentiality regarding details of the optical inter-satellite links other than that they will utilize frequencies above 10,000 GHz.[44]
    The satellites would be mass-produced, at much lower cost per unit of capability than existing satellites. Musk said "We’re going to try and do for satellites what we’ve done for rockets."[45] "In order to revolutionize space, we have to address both satellites and rockets."[5] "Smaller satellites are crucial to lowering the cost of space-based Internet and communications."[11]
    In February 2015, SpaceX asked the FCC to consider future innovative uses of the Ka-band spectrum before the FCC commits to 5G communications regulations that would create barriers to entry, since SpaceX is a new entrant to the satellite communications market. The SpaceX non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) communications satellite constellation will operate in the high frequency bands above 24 GHz, "where steerable earth station transmit antennas would have a wider geographic impact and significantly lower satellite altitudes magnify the impact of aggregate interference from terrestrial transmissions."[46]
    The system will not compete with Iridium satellite constellation, which is designed to link directly to handsets. Instead, it will be linked to flat user terminals the size of a pizza box, which will have phased array antennas and track the satellites. The terminals can be mounted anywhere, as long as they can see the sky.[36]
    Internet traffic via a geostationary satellite has a minimum theoretical round-trip latency of at least 477 ms (between user and ground gateway), but in practice, current satellites offer latencies of 600 ms or more. Starlink satellites would orbit at 1/30 to 1/105 of geostationary orbits, and thus offer more practical latencies of around 7 to 30 ms, comparable to or exceeding existing cable or fiber networks.[47]
    The system will use a peer-to-peer protocol claimed to be "simpler than IPv6"[48], though no details have been as yet released.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink_(satellite_constellation)#Satellite_hardware


    And here's the link to the FCC's approval for SpaceX to deploy their second lot of satellites (PDF link):

    https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-354775A1.pdf

    edited November 2018
  • Reply 7 of 16
    tedp88 said:
    There’s the cost of the service, but then data is $10/GB... that seems a bit hefty.

    up to 6GB only. You get data after that but the pricing is capped at $60. 

    So 2 lines w/ "unlimited" data - runs you $95 mo. That's pretty competitive. If they threw in Google services like Music or YouTube or Play credits, it would probably get more people. 

    No visual voicemail and not auto switching to another carrier (it will be TMO only) is the drawback for iOS folks. 

    **** 
    NM - I was wrong about this. The data cap scales based on # of lines. https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6201699/?hl=en&authuser=2 ;

    2 lines = 10GB billing cap. $135 mo. 
    wow. 

    Here red in Ireland I pay $18 a month for unlimited calls  texts and 40gb Data on a network that offers 96% LTE coverage, 

    Always fascinated at the insane cost of data plans in the US
    mbenz1962chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 16
    65026502 Posts: 143member
    I don't get why people think google Fi is a great deal. You can get 5 GB of high speed data (unlimited low speed) for $35 at Cricket (on a better network). This is $70 at Fi. The only advantage I see is you can travel international and stay on the plan without any extra charges.
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 16
    KP81 said:
    tedp88 said:
    There’s the cost of the service, but then data is $10/GB... that seems a bit hefty.

    up to 6GB only. You get data after that but the pricing is capped at $60. 

    So 2 lines w/ "unlimited" data - runs you $95 mo. That's pretty competitive. If they threw in Google services like Music or YouTube or Play credits, it would probably get more people. 

    No visual voicemail and not auto switching to another carrier (it will be TMO only) is the drawback for iOS folks. 

    **** 
    NM - I was wrong about this. The data cap scales based on # of lines. https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6201699/?hl=en&authuser=2 ;

    2 lines = 10GB billing cap. $135 mo. 
    wow. 

    Here red in Ireland I pay $18 a month for unlimited calls  texts and 40gb Data on a network that offers 96% LTE coverage, 

    Always fascinated at the insane cost of data plans in the US
    It is because everything that has todo with internet here is incredibly expensive and unfortunately quite low qualified service if you compare with Europe. You are incredibly lucky if you can get a 300 Mb hardwired internet here. And the. You get to pay $150/month. Something that is half as slow and 4x as expensive as when I lived in Sweden 11 years ago.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 16
    I am from India and paying $15 per month for 500GB data broadband, $3 per month for 1 GB data every day and unlimited calls.
  • Reply 11 of 16
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,094member
    Even Canada -- renowned for its lousy cell deals -- has better offerings than Google Fi. I pay $45/month for 4GB data and unlimited call/text (including unlimited US texting). Plus, my carrier lets me use 1.1.1.1 and a VPN for added privacy -- maybe Fi does as well, but as the point of this service is to gather user data, I'd be interested to see the fine print in their agreement (not that I'm ever letting Google near my cell phone ...).

    I guess it's not a bad deal for unlimited talk and text if you're not much of a data user and don't care about privacy ... think mom/dad or grandma/grandad ...
    edited November 2018 SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,884member
    KP81 said:
    tedp88 said:
    There’s the cost of the service, but then data is $10/GB... that seems a bit hefty.

    up to 6GB only. You get data after that but the pricing is capped at $60. 

    So 2 lines w/ "unlimited" data - runs you $95 mo. That's pretty competitive. If they threw in Google services like Music or YouTube or Play credits, it would probably get more people. 

    No visual voicemail and not auto switching to another carrier (it will be TMO only) is the drawback for iOS folks. 

    **** 
    NM - I was wrong about this. The data cap scales based on # of lines. https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6201699/?hl=en&authuser=2 ;

    2 lines = 10GB billing cap. $135 mo. 
    wow. 

    Here red in Ireland I pay $18 a month for unlimited calls  texts and 40gb Data on a network that offers 96% LTE coverage, 

    Always fascinated at the insane cost of data plans in the US
    Swings and roundabouts.  Have you ever counted all the posts bitching about how expensive Apple hardware is in Europe compared the USA?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 16
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,808member
    chasm said:
    my carrier lets me use 1.1.1.1 and a VPN for added privacy -- maybe Fi does as well, but as the point of this service is to gather user data, I'd be interested to see the fine print in their agreement (not that I'm ever letting Google near my cell phone ...).

    I guess it's not a bad deal for unlimited talk and text if you're not much of a data user and don't care about privacy ... think mom/dad or grandma/grandad ...
    It is SO easy to find answers to your questions, assuming of course that you really are interested as you say:
    https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6181037?hl=en

    Now compare this to the privacy policy for your current provider to see what differences there are if any. For instance here's the link to ATT's for those that don't know how to find it:
    https://about.att.com/sites/privacy_policy/terms#collect

    edited November 2018
  • Reply 14 of 16
    Ugh, I wish I knew this before getting my iPad Pro wi-fi only... Whenever I check for iPad LTE plans they all kinda suck. It'd awesome if they came up with an Apple Watch plan. I don't want to give AT&T any more money for a terrible reception and poor customer service. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 16
    shingyshingy Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Great news that Google has opened Fi up to iPhones. I’ve been using the service for 2 years now and it’s been great. Traveling overseas and not having to worry about massive roaming charges or having to buy a local sim card has been awesome. I’ve also been able to call my cousin and brother who both live abroad and it only costs $0.01/min. Definitely happy I switched! If anyone is looking to sign up and wants to save $20, use this referral code: URL: https://g.co/fi/r/EHC6VC Code: EHC6VC
  • Reply 16 of 16
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 200member
    zimmie said:
    ... satellite service ... with it’s extremely low-latency, high-bandwidth service.
    I have a great deal on a bridge which I think might interest you.

    Starlink as it is currently planned has two constellations arranged like concentric shells. The low-altitude constellation is planned to be at 210 miles, so the absolute minimum round-trip distance you will ever see is 840 miles (210 up, 210 down, then the reply has 210 up, 210 down). The high-altitude constellation is going to be at 750 miles. If you have to go through a high-altitude relay, your minimum round-trip distance now goes to 3000 miles. Plus, you'll have to contend for timeslots with every other user seen by the satellite serving you, since radio waves are a shared medium. This will not be low-latency.

    Here are the alleged actual details:

    The Internet communication satellites are expected to be in the smallsat-class of 100-to-500 kg (220-to-1,100 lb)-mass, which were intended to be in Low Earth Orbit(LEO) at an altitude of approximately 1,100 kilometers (680 mi). However, SpaceX ultimately decided to keep the satellites at a relatively low 550 kilometers (340 mi), due to concerns about the space environment.[41] Initial plans as of January 2015 were for the constellation to be made up of approximately 4000 cross-linked[36]satellites, more than twice as many operational satellites as were in orbit in January 2015.[5]
    The satellites will employ optical inter-satellite links and phased array beam forming and digital processing technologies in the Ku- and Ka band according to documents filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).[42][43] While specifics of the phased array technologies have been disclosed as part of the frequency application, SpaceX enforced confidentiality regarding details of the optical inter-satellite links other than that they will utilize frequencies above 10,000 GHz.[44]
    The satellites would be mass-produced, at much lower cost per unit of capability than existing satellites. Musk said "We’re going to try and do for satellites what we’ve done for rockets."[45] "In order to revolutionize space, we have to address both satellites and rockets."[5] "Smaller satellites are crucial to lowering the cost of space-based Internet and communications."[11]
    In February 2015, SpaceX asked the FCC to consider future innovative uses of the Ka-band spectrum before the FCC commits to 5G communications regulations that would create barriers to entry, since SpaceX is a new entrant to the satellite communications market. The SpaceX non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) communications satellite constellation will operate in the high frequency bands above 24 GHz, "where steerable earth station transmit antennas would have a wider geographic impact and significantly lower satellite altitudes magnify the impact of aggregate interference from terrestrial transmissions."[46]
    The system will not compete with Iridium satellite constellation, which is designed to link directly to handsets. Instead, it will be linked to flat user terminals the size of a pizza box, which will have phased array antennas and track the satellites. The terminals can be mounted anywhere, as long as they can see the sky.[36]
    Internet traffic via a geostationary satellite has a minimum theoretical round-trip latency of at least 477 ms (between user and ground gateway), but in practice, current satellites offer latencies of 600 ms or more. Starlink satellites would orbit at 1/30 to 1/105 of geostationary orbits, and thus offer more practical latencies of around 7 to 30 ms, comparable to or exceeding existing cable or fiber networks.[47]
    The system will use a peer-to-peer protocol claimed to be "simpler than IPv6"[48], though no details have been as yet released.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink_(satellite_constellation)#Satellite_hardware


    And here's the link to the FCC's approval for SpaceX to deploy their second lot of satellites (PDF link):

    https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-354775A1.pdf

    That's outdated. From the same article, "By September 2017, the planned number of sats in each constellation had not changed, but the altitude of each constellation became explicit: the larger group—7,518 sats—would operate at 340 kilometres (210 mi) altitude, while the smaller group—4,425 sats—would orbit at 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) altitude."

    So again, 840 miles round-trip minimum, up to 3000 miles round-trip if you need to go through a high-altitude relay.

    Having worked with satellites, I would be shocked if the total latency, including channel contention, was less than 100ms.
    watto_cobra
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