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Google Opens Project Fi MVNO Service To Everyone

Google opened its Project Fi hybrid cellular/Wi-Fi MVNO service to all, having launched the service last April on an invite-only basis.

The low-cost no-contract service connects users to the best wireless network available at the time, whether a Wi-Fi network or the Sprint and T-Mobile LTE networks. Phone calls, texts and data sessions initiated through a home Wi-Fi network or public hot spot are handed off to a cellular network when the user moves out of Wi-Fi range. Service over Wi-Fi is free.

Google’s two Nexus-brand Project Fi phones — the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X — access more than a million public Wi-Fi hot spots.

“We launched Project Fi as an invitation-only early-access program to make sure we could deliver the best quality of service to our first customers,” said Project Fi product manager Simon Arscott. “While Project Fi is still in its early stages, we’re excited to welcome our next wave of customers and look forward to growing and improving together.”

During 10 months of beta service, Google said it learned that more than half of Project Fi users connected weekly to hot spots. In addition, 90 percent monitored their cellular-data usage via a supplied app, and people used an average of 1.6GB of cellular data per month.

Google prices service at $20/month for unlimited domestic talk and texting, unlimited international texting, and usage in more than 120 countries. Cellular data plans cost $10 per GB. Users can sign up for cellular data buckets in increments of 1GB. Data that goes unused under each plan is credited back to the consumer at a rate of 1 cent per unused MB.

In addition, incoming calls and texts will ring any tablet or computer signed into Google Hangouts under the user’s Project Fi account. Outgoing calls can also be made from the devices

Google offers two Project Fi smartphones, the Huawei-made Nexus-brand 6P, starting at $499 without contract, and the LG-made Nexus 5X, whose starting price has been reduced to $199 through April.