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- Most expensive phone plans in the U.S.
- $20/mo + $10/GB used, or $70/mo. for unlimited data
- Access to T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular networks
- Special deals on Google Pixel and Motorola moto g phones
- Excellent customer support through Google’s help features and all-inclusive Fi app
Google Fi is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) owned and operated by Google. As an MVNO, it leases space on the T-Mobile (recently merged with Sprint) and U.S. Cellular networks. To make it easier to purchase a cellphone plan, Google Fi offers just two types of plans: Flexible and Unlimited.
Since Google owns Google Fi, you can access special deals on some Google phones. Yet, Google Fi’s phone options are limited. You can bring your current phone over to Google Fi, though some Androids aren’t compatible, and there’s a somewhat complicated process to successfully move an iPhone over to the network.
The main benefit of Google Fi is its compatibility with Google platforms. You can manage your entire account and billing through the Fi app, along with requesting immediate customer support.
Google Fi phones
Special deals on Google, Motorola and Samsung phones with limited offerings for other device carriers.
|Phone||Google Fi||Retail price|
|Google Pixel 5||$700||$700|
|Google Pixel 4a||$350||$350|
|Google Pixel 4a (5G)||$500||$500|
|Samsung Galaxy Note20 5G||$700||$1,000|
|Samsung Galaxy S20 5G||$700||$1,000|
|Motorola moto g stylus||$100||$300|
|Motorola moto g power||$50||$250|
Prices updated 11/05/20
*Monthly payments and new Unlimited line required
Google Fi offers some excellent deals on Google, Samsung and Motorola phones, but its offering is very limited. If you’re in the market for a new phone, you can choose between a Google Pixel 5, Google Pixel 4a, Motorola moto g stylus, moto g power and a variety of the latest Samsung Galaxy models.
Compared to larger carriers, the prices are about the same for each phone. Verizon has cheaper prices on Motorola phones, while you can get a slight discount on Pixels through Google Fi. AT&T and T-Mobile don’t carry these phones at all, though, so Google Fi is a great place to pick them up if you have your eye on one. Its deals on Samsung Galaxy phones are outstanding — as much as $300 off most models.
When you purchase a new phone through Google Fi, you can access easy monthly financing with 0% APR. Compared with other providers, Fi does have some restrictions. The company will run a credit check first to check if you qualify for financing, though it should only take a matter of minutes. If your credit check is approved, you can pay for your phone within a 24-month period. While the financing is helpful, it isn’t as flexible as other providers that allow you to choose the term length.
Bringing your own phone
Since Google Fi’s phone options are so limited, transferring your own phone may be the best option. Most Pixel and moto g phones are specifically designed for Google Fi, which means they can switch between networks easily to provide the best coverage. These types of phones are most recommended to use with Google Fi.
If you have an iPhone, you’ll need to contact customer support to walk through some extra set-up steps, which can be time consuming. Google Fi is compatible with most Android phones that can access the T-Mobile 5G network.
Affordable device protection
If you purchase a phone through Google Fi, you can sign up for affordable device protection. Monthly costs will vary depending on your device, as well as the deductible for specific repairs. The cost of monthly device protection is as low as $3/mo.
Google Fi plans
Pay for what you use or enjoy unlimited call, text and data.
Google Fi offers two types of monthly plans: Flexible and Unlimited. The Flexible plans let you pay for only what you use at the end of every month with a base cost of $20/mo. plus $10 for each GB of data you use. With the Flexible plan, your data is free after 6GB, so you’ll pay $80 at most per month. If you know you’ll use more than 6GB, it’s more cost-effective to choose the unlimited plan at $70/mo.
|Feature||Flexible plan||Unlimited plan|
|Price||$20/mo. + $10/GB||$70/mo.|
|Hotspot||Usage counts toward monthly data||Usage counts toward monthly data|
|Video streaming quality||Determined by application provider and user||480p|
All plans include unlimited talk and text. Pricing per month plus taxes. Additional fees and terms may apply. As of 11/05/20.
Google Fi’s plans are relatively pricey compared to other providers. Even if you use just 2-3 GB of data per month, the cheapest plan you can pay for would be $40-50/mo. Prepaid carriers like Mint Mobile, meanwhile, cost just $30/mo. for unlimited data.
While Google Fi’s unlimited pricing is on par with some large carriers, it isn’t completely unlimited. Your data is capped at 22GB, and after that, your speeds will be throttled to 256 Kbps — enough to slowly load a web page, but not much else.
With Google Fi, you can add up to six lines on either the Flexible or Unlimited plan. With the unlimited plan, the per-line price gets cheaper up to four lines, and then the per-line price remains at $45/mo. The flexible plan’s per-line price always gets cheaper up to six lines.
|Number of lines||Flexible||Unlimited|
|One||$20/mo. + $10/GB||$70/mo.|
|Two||$18/mo. + $10/GB||$60/mo.|
|Three||$17/mo. + $10/GB||$50/mo.|
|Four||$17/mo. + $10/GB||$45/mo.|
|Five||$16/mo. + $10/GB||$45/mo.|
|Six||$16/mo. + $10/GB||$45/mo.|
All plans include unlimited talk and text. Pricing per line per month plus taxes. Additional fees and terms may apply. As of 10/05/20.
Google Fi has unique pricing for families and groups. With the Flexible plan, you’ll save money per line as you add up to five lines. At three lines, the price is $17/mo. for each line, which remains the same for four lines. From there, the price drops again for five lines at $16/mo. each and stays the same for six lines. The pricing is similar for the Unlimited plan as well where the price drops until you reach four lines.
How do Google Fi’s prices compare?
Overall, Google Fi sits at the high-end of price points. Though there are a few carriers that are more expensive per GB, Google Fi’s plans are about $10.42 per GB. At $70, the Google Fi Unlimited plan is also more expensive than most, which sit at the $50-60 range.
|Carrier||Price per GB*||4GB or less||5-9GB||10-25GB||Unlimited|
|UNREAL Mobile||$3.19||$15 (3GB)||$20 (8GB)||$25 (12GB)||–|
|Mint Mobile**||$3.19||$15 (3GB)||$20 (8GB)||$25 (12GB)||$30|
|Metro by T-Mobile||$4.00||–||–||$40 (10GB)||$50-$60|
|Red Pocket||$4.03||$19 (3GB)||$30 (8GB)||$40 (20GB)||$60|
|Net10||$4.24||$20 (2GB)||$35 (5GB)||$40 (10GB)|
|Straight Talk Wireless||$4.40||–||$35 (5GB)||$45 (25GB)||$55|
|U.S. Cellular||$5.00||–||$40 (8GB)||–||$55-$65|
|T-Mobile||$5.50||$15 (2GB)||$25 (5GB)||$40 (10GB)||$50-$85|
|Simple Mobile||$5.67||$25 (3GB)||$30 (5GB)||$40 (15GB)||$50-$60|
|Boost Mobile||$5.80||$10 (1GB)|
|$25 (5GB)||$35 (10GB)|
|H2O Wireless||$5.89||$20 (2GB)||$30 (6GB)||$40 (15GB)||$50-$60|
|Page Plus Cellular||$7.50||$30 (3GB)||$40 (8GB)||–||$55|
|Verizon||$8.75||–||$55 (5GB)||$65 (10GB)||$65-$90|
|FreedomPop||$8.92||$17 (1GB) $25 (4GB)||–||$35 (10GB)||$55|
|Ultra Mobile||$9.00||$19 (1GB) $23 (2GB)||$29 (5GB)||$39 (15GB)||$39|
|Credo Mobile||$9.15||$50 (3GB)||$55 (9GB)||$70 (15GB)||$70|
|Cricket Wireless||$9.50||$30 (2GB)||–||$40 (10GB)||$55-$60|
|Republic Wireless||$9.75||$20 (1GB) $25 (2GB) $30 (3GB) $35 (4GB)||$40 (5GB) $45 (6GB) $50 (7GB) $55 (8GB) $60 (9GB)||$65 (10GB) $75 (12GB) $90 (15GB)||–|
|AT&T||$10.00||$30 (2GB)||$40 (8GB)||–||$50-$85|
|Total Wireless||$11.33||$25 (1GB)||$35 (5GB)||$50 (25GB)||–|
|Tracfone||$14.17||$20 (1GB) $25 (2GB) $30 (3GB)||–||–||–|
|Consumer Cellular||$16.83||$25 (0.5GB) $30 (3GB)||–||$40 (10GB) $50 (15GB)||$60|
|Google Fi||$18.80||$30 (1GB) $40 (2GB) $50 (3GB) $60 (4GB)||$70 (5GB) $80 (6GB)||–||$70|
*Unlimited plans not factored in.
**Introductory rates, also available with 12-month renewal
All plans include unlimited talk and text. Pricing per month plus taxes. Additional fees and terms may apply. As of 11/06/20.
Google Fi deals
Select phone discounts and special deals, including a customer referral program.
Google Fi offers a couple of promotional deals to help keep costs low and entice customers to purchase a Google Fi phone. As of August 2020, the company is running two deals on phones. When you buy a Motorola moto g stylus or moto g power, you can qualify for $100 off as long as you also purchase a Google Fi service plan.
You can also enjoy some special promo packages, including three-month free trials to YouTube premium and Play Pass. To qualify for these promotions, you need to purchase and activate a Pixel 4a by April 30, 2021.
Other than the promotional deals, there aren’t many ways for customers to save money. The best option is to participate in the Google Fi referral program. When you join Google Fi, you’ll get a unique referral code that you can send to friends if they aren’t already using the carrier. For every friend who signs up, you’ll get a $20 credit after their first month of use.
Google Fi coverage
Google Fi alternates access to T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular networks.
|Consumer Reports Data Score||Very Good||Good||Fair||Very good|
|Consumer Reports Reception Score||Good||Good||Poor||Good|
Data as reported by Consumer Reports
With Google Fi, you can count on good reception and coverage using T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular networks. Keep in mind that Google Fi is still an MVNO, which means that they’re just leasing space on these networks. The providers will tend to prioritize coverage for its primary customers, while Google Fi customers may have slightly less coverage.
Between three networks, it’s unlikely that you’ll experience very poor reception. Especially if you have a phone designed for Google Fi, it can efficiently switch among the networks to find the best coverage. The carrier’s good coverage points to the reason behind its relatively expensive pricing, showing that it could be a great choice for customers who rely on broad connection without the hassle of long-term contracts.
How is Google Fi’s 5G network?
Google Fi connects to T-Mobile’s 5G network, which offers coverage throughout the U.S. Unfortunately, T-Mobile is consistently rated as one of the poorest 5G providers. Yet, customers don’t always get 5G connectivity through an MVNO in the first place, so it’s convenient to have it at least through T-Mobile.
The average T-Mobile 5G speed score is about 64.26, while the leader in 5G is Verizon at 870.50. Research from Opensignal shows similar results, with T-Mobile coming up last in a comparison of global providers. Despite the relatively poor performance, you can still access 5G with Google Fi as long as you have a 5G-enabled device.
How does Google Fi compare to other phone companies?
As far as cost, Google Fi is more costly than many of its competitor MVNOs. At about $10.42 per GB, it can be expensive for people who use a lot of data. Even its unlimited data plan is on the high range, especially given that your speeds are throttled after 22GB.
Since Google Fi operates across two large networks, you are paying for excellent coverage. Especially if you have a phone designed for Google Fi, you can bounce between all three networks efficiently to find the best coverage for your area.
The biggest benefit of Google Fi is its customer support and connectivity. As a Google brand, you have access to the Google forum and help center for nearly any question you might have. The Google Fi app is also designed to be easy to use, much like Google’s other products. Even though Google Fi doesn’t have physical locations, its customer support helps set it apart from other competitors.
Google Fi customer service
Google Fi doesn’t have physical locations or in-person support. Instead, you can reach out for help through the Google Fi support line or go through Google’s standard help process. Depending on your needs, the help process may lead you to consult with a representative via email or chat.
Google Fi FAQs
How does Google Fi work?
Google Fi is an MVNO that leases space on T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular networks. It offers a prepaid unlimited plan as well as a pay-as-you-go monthly plan. Though Google Fi is a smaller provider, its prices are relatively high compared with other MVNOs and large providers. The best deals with Google Fi are for customers interested in purchasing Google or Motorola phones.
Which phones work with Google Fi?
Select Google and Motorola phones are designed to work efficiently on the Google Fi networks, which make them the best options for customers. Users can also bring over iPhones, though there’s an extra set-up process you’ll need to walk through with support representatives. You can also use some Android devices, though they need to be compatible with the T-Mobile 5G network.
What network is Google Fi on?
Google Fi alternates coverage between T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular networks.
Should you switch to Google Fi?
Google Fi offers pay-as-you-go and prepaid plans for individuals, families and groups. You can easily find a plan for up to six lines, whether you’re looking for unlimited data usage or more flexible options. Google Fi operates across three networks, so you may get more coverage than other MVNO providers.
Google Fi is an excellent choice if you’re looking to purchase a Pixel or moto g phone. Through using Google Fi, you’ll get some of the best deals. Yet, Fi offers some of the most expensive pricing on the market. If you know you only use a few GBs of data per month, the Google Fi plans may not be the best option for you.
*Originally written 10/05/20. Last updated 11/05/20.
By Claire Bough
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