Friday, January 27, 2017

Testing (and living with) with Google's Project Fi

Note: The people at Cleveland Sports Torture don't only sit around and dwell on the fact that the first thirty-something years of their lives were spent in sports misery--nope, they also have families and careers and hobbies and so forth. Some of us really like tech, and so you may periodically see one of us get off the couch to give our opinion on something we've tried. Or sit on the couch and do it. Whatever. 

So even though I work in the media business, I'm annoyed by my high bills. Particularly from my
MVPD (that's media speak for cable company) and my cell phone bill. See, I get a bit of a stipend from my company for my phone bill, but it doesn't come close to covering my bill I had with Verizon, no matter what I tried, M-L-XL-XXL, etc. in their never ending changing plan system.

So one night in January 2017 I figured, what the hell, I'd give Google's Project Fi a try. For those who don't know, Project Fi was launched by Google a while back to give people an alternative from their wireless carrier. (The "Fi" is for "Wi-Fi".) Basically you get a new SIM card for eligible phones (*a big caveat), and your phone uses either Wi-Fi, or an available cell network (Sprint or T-Mobile) to route your voice calls, texts, or data. The best thing is the no risk billing.

(Let me be perfectly upfront and transparent--I am not being paid for this at all, I signed up like any other person would.)

The gist of it is, you pay $20 per line, and then $10 per GB of data you use. If you use more, you pay that percentage of the $10, if you pay less than you signed up for, you get a credit on next month's bill. Simple, right? In addition, Project Fi tries to connect you to Wi-Fi as often as possible, secured by VPNs as much as possible, to save that data. And it is meant to switch between wireless networks and Wi-Fi seamlessly. And it works overseas as well at the same rate.

I'll be testing this all out.

*The big caveat is that unless you are a big Google nerd, you may not have a compatable phone. Basically if you have a Pixel or a Nexus 5x or 6p, you are good. All other phones dont.

Now, I've had Project Fi for approximately 27 minutes, it's January 27, and I will let you know how I like it. I can confirm that I can get a call on my phone still. And that Verizon has not send a team of goons to rough me up after porting my number. Yet.

Guess what--if you want to try and use this link, I get like $20 credit on my bill. I didn't even know this existed when I started randomly writing this, and it was not why I wrote this, but give it a try! (And if you don't want to click on creepy links, I get it, maybe give it a try anyway. You can always go back to big Telecom. That's what I'm figuring.