Google has its own mobile phone service called Project Fi that I have been using for couple of years and first wrote about back in 2016 (access here). It is very good solution for frequent international traveler because the “domestic” data price now applies 170+ countries up from 135 earlier this month.
Google also changed the data pricing last month. You normally pay $10 for every 1GB consumed (prorated). Now, however, you don’t pay anything for data usage between 6GB and 15GB. After 15GB Google will slow down your data or you can choose to have the usual speed and pay $10 per extra GB
You can access Google Fi here.
The base charge that you need to pay for the Google Fi every month is $20 for unlimited domestic calls and texts (don’t use these but pay anyway). International calls cost 20 cents per minute when on Project Fi network anywhere (cheaper when on WiFi).
Here are the new countries supported by the worldwide data:
Tunis, French Polynesia and Seychelles are on the list where I purchased SIM cards last year due to no Project Fi roaming.
Here are all the countries currently supported:
Surprised that they still don’t have any deal in Vietnam and Nepal?
Here are the updated Pros and Cons:
– No contracts – you are free to switch if you so wish
– No need to buy local SIM cards in most countries
– Perfect when transiting in places like Doha where the public internet just doesn’t work during the peak hours or when the hotel internet fails and work needs to get done
– Getting around content filtering by the local telco operator or country (Great firewall of China)
– Global number where you can be reached anywhere
– Reasonable data $10/GB and calls 20 cents per minute
– You are good to go immediately after landing
– Tethering allowed
– You can have up to 9 data only SIM cards attached to the same account
– You have to buy a Nexus phone (pure Google) and it is not subsidized your carrier (you would pay it anyway in higher monthly fees)
– Google probably has even more information about you
– Sometimes registering for the local network takes a bit of time
– Support was less than stellar one time I tried to use it
– You need to have a US address for SIM delivery (credit card used can be from anywhere)
This has been a perfect SIM solution for me due to being in many countries every year and no longer need to waste time getting local cards where the data often would be more expensive. I still carry few sim cards for Europe, Thailand and the one from Singapore I recently wrote about.
I use WhatsApp or Messenger to call friends and family. When you need to call airlines and hotels, you sometimes cannot use Skype or other similar solutions or they are just impractical. I don’t mind paying 20 cents per minute to call an airline to get my ticket fixed or redemption booking done (knowing that the call won’t drop).
This Project Fi requires you to have a friend in the US whose address you can use for the SIM delivery at the minimum. You may need to buy one of the supported phones too, although there seems to be ways to use unsupported phones too.