Following the addition of U.S. Celular to its supported networks Google’s Project Fi is making yet another expansion, this time aimed at improving coverage and speeds for those traveling abroad. Today the company announced a deal with Three that will allow customers to use its Project Fi wireless service when traveling in an additional 15 countries, bringing the total number of foreign countries where the service is available to more than 135.
Project Fi already provided service in more than 120 countries worldwide thanks to T-Mobile’s roaming agreements. But to keep costs down data was throttled at 256Kbps. Now, with the addition of Three, users should see speeds "10-20X faster than before," although this might not apply to all 135+ countries Project Fi covers internationally.
“Users will get the fastest connection available on a given network, speeds aren’t capped,” A Google spokesperson told TechCrunch. "In some cases, that would be LTE networks, in others it would be 3G networks (depending on roaming agreements). Different countries will have different speeds, which is why we set a range.”
Google still classifies Project Fi as an experiment and says it’s not interested in becoming a large-scale wireless carrier, but rather pushing other providers into offering more customer friendly and flexible plans. As such, Project Fi has a number of forward thinking features, such as the ability to seamlessly switch between networks depending on the best available signal, using your data allowances abroad without paying any extra roaming charges, and even being credited back for whatever data you don’t use in a monthly cycle.
Plans start at $20 per month for unlimited calls and texts, with an additional $10 per GB of data used. It’s not the cheapest option if you are looking for large buckets of data but it’s strength lies in that pricing per GB is always consistent and you are always charged for what you use. For example, if you go over your data budget by 450MB, $4.50 will be added to your next bill. If you use less data, you’ll receive a credit on the following month’s bill.
One major caveat remains, however. At the moment Project Fi only works with the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P. That’s a tiny portfolio of handsets, as good as they may be. Still if you’re willing to give it a go now it’s a good time to make the move, as Google will be shaving $150 off the Nexus 6P for the next week when you buy and activate Fi.
Header image credit: Cnet