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Google introduces Project Fi, its very own cellular service


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I knew about the satellite plans but not this. Doggone it I am not using a Google phone. But were they to have partnered with Verizon, I would have gone Republic wireless. Lots going to happen in the next couple of years.

 

Excerpt:

 

"Google made its long-awaited jump into the wireless market Wednesday with its new "Project Fi," a program with a lofty goal: to kill the dropped call.

 

How, you may ask? The project's goal is to have users' phones switch seamlessly between WiFi and cellular networks, even mid-call. Most people probably have a room or an area in their office where their cell signal does not reach, for whatever reason. In theory, this should get rid of that problem.

 

Google had already confirmed that it was planning to launch its own cell service in March, but this is the first time it's offered concrete details about how that will work and how people can sign up.

 

The project is currently invite-only and will only work with Google's Nexus 6 handset during the early access period. If you don't have one already, you will be able to buy one from Project Fi. The phone currently costs $649, unlocked, at the Google Store. The service won't be available everywhere, either.

 

Google's coverage map shows that it most readily available on the East Coast.

 

Using the WiFi networks allows Google to cut costs that can be passed onto consumers. Project Fi plans start for as little as $20 per month for basic talk and text. If you want to add data -- which you definitely would -- it's another $10 per month per gigabyte. Verizon estimates that most basic smartphone users use between 1 and 2 GB of data per month. But if you're a heavy video and music streamer, download a lot of apps or otherwise use a lot of data, you may want to use more than that.

 

And in the case of Project Fi, it won't actually matter if you overestimate the amount of data that you want to use -- anything you have left over at the end of the month will be credited to your account for the next month. Google's not the only carrier to do something like this -- Republic Wireless announced this week that it would even pay users cash for their unused data -- but it's still a fairly novel idea for the wireless world."

 

Much more including who it is partnering with and more details here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2015/04/22/google-introduces-project-fi-its-very-own-cellular-service/?wpisrc=nl_tech&wpmm=1

 

One thing to remember. Google with another partner just gave Elon Musk and Space X a billion bucks to develop LEO Cell and data satellites. LEO has the same or less latency than normal cell ground based voice and data, unlike GEO which has a lot of lag time round trip for the signal because of the massive distances. Connecting some dots here?

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With Sprint and T-Mobile being the carriers they will be rolling out with.. most RVers won't have too much to gain from this. But we are excited about the buy-back data, and multi-carrier phones - and Republic Wireless's announcement this week of buy-back data. Perhaps these will poke Verizon and AT&T to offer some similar deals.

 

Here's our full analysis for RVers' on this development: Google’s Cellular Service Unveiled: Introducing Project Fi

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Nice analysis, in that link. I especially like the coverage map which pulls everything into perspective.

 

Not a whole lot there for those of us who stay west of the Rockies but still interesting. I don't think this will cause Verizon or AT&T any sleepless nights, though. I can't see them moving to rollover of data, either. Data looks cheap until you get a lot of users sucking down Netflix 24/7. For us coverage is key and then data and coverage is, as always, focused on the large population centers which is probably not where we are looking at.

 

WDR

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Not a whole lot there for those of us who stay west of the Rockies but still interesting. I don't think this will cause Verizon or AT&T any sleepless nights, though. I can't see them moving to rollover of data, either.

I disagree on the impact on Verizon and ATT. Granted, there will be little near term impact. But There will be a considerable longer term impact if they keep at it. And Google is known to keep at things that they consider strategic....and I'd bet a fair amount this falls into that. This has the potential to greatly disrupt the current business model of cellular.

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Finally! Hope on the horizon!

 

Seriously, we have stayed with Sprint since the 1980s and in the recent years and starting with Google Voice, many of the components of the Google Fi network have been in use by those that chose to engage them.

 

I have a new Note 4, not a nexus 6, so I don't get to join the test group right away but it will come. In the meantime, there is very little that FI will do that our setup with Google voice, Sprint and current phones don't already do very well.

 

The auto switching has been working fine for quite awhile. We have not been anywhere that Sprint didn't work and Verizon did but their presence is rarely equal, of course. Sprint's sustained unlimited model has been the precursor to this so there will be little difference for current Sprint users. Our 2 lines run $144/month unlimited family everything including data. I figure the Fi plan (individual only right now) should be about $60/month for each of us on a 4gb plan. (last month Merrily ran 2gb and I had 1.6).

That was with no tethering, just phone use. Lots of pics. Lots of pics.

 

Right now, if we have to tether in a location, we don't shudder at the cost. If we lose the unlimited data, though, that might be a problem. We are moving to the Chimacum SKp SOHO June 1. There, I get 8- 12mbps on 4glte sprint. 1xrtt on Verizon Mifi so for that location, we are gold for now.

 

Still, things change so the sweet spot never stays in the same place or with the same technology for long.

 

It is still heartening, though, to see a forward looking, thinking and acting player like Google entering the mix. I look forward to the day when I can stay focused on what I am doing and not what it is costing me to try.

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Budd,

Yeah this is one more step in the direction cable and cell companies do not want to see taken. It seems from midyear to Black Friday all the new developments are announced.

 

On one point though I am curious if we are on the same page. All our cell phones auto switch, from data through towers, to data on Wi-Fi for years. But switching voice as in a telephone call from towers to a local Wifi as we walk into range, in mid conversation, just like cell towers hand off without the customer noticing, unless the call is dropped, is not being done that I know of except by Republic with Sprint. But other than Republic Wireless, I know of no other company whose phones can auto switch to Wi-Fi voice through the cell phone, let alone continue a conversation without hanging up and switching to a VoIP device like my Magic Jack.

 

Magic Jack tried to male a device and service that would switch your cell to Wi-Fi and stop burning minutes on voice or data and the Telcos freaked and put all kinds of legal barriers up.

 

Republic Wireless cannot let anyone bring their phones, expensive or not, because they require different hardware to do that. https://republicwireless.com/

 

They also use Sprint for their tower handoff from Wi-Fi. I could actually use their service except for two things. No Windows Phones cheap or expensive, and second, Sprint is barely usable where I live and has a total blackout for two miles of my drive into Bossier City through Haughton on highway 80.

 

Does your phone switch voice in mid call from cell tower to Wi-Fi?

 

Anyway my insistence on Windows phones right now is just being bleeding edge, I know. Like when I tried the Raspberry Pi first here, and later sold it to a local guy.I would love to see WP 10 take a third of the market, and see the unified ecosphere Natella is apparently building come to be. It will be a first for all devices to run the OS that is the same except for variances in the phone. But tablets, desktops, AIOs, and laptops all running the identical OS across the board as PCs. And hopefully building in to WP 10 the same feel so it feels intuitive to Windows users.

 

Originally I was Android too. Also ran an early Mac for school in 1986/87. SIU (Go Salukis!) BS Industrial Technology and Engineering courses on base. (They had their own Mac classroom for NC, CAD/CAM and doing mechanical drawings and string takeoffs for factory materials and production line flowcharts.)

 

Google failed on getting reasonable market share for Chromebooks so far, and Apple still has their tablets running their phone OS.

 

I believe that seamless connecting across identical OS' on different devices is just within reach. Apple is trying to make them seamlessly hand of between different OS' and they haven't got it perfected yet. I think that Republic led the way for Google, then Since Sprint is involved in both, they gave them tower rates that they couldn't refuse. Sprint tried with Clearwire/Craig McCaw years ago for a unified Internet connection wirelessly using point to point and point to multipoint WiMax, to connect rural areas at little cost compared to laying fiber.

 

Now let's talk about that concept for a minute. If Google pulls it off, then anyone traveling or staying in a town or city with a free or inexpensive municipal fiber or wireless network will not have to worry about data charges in many stationary stops. Sort of like the coast to coast connectivity that Latvia and Estonia and dozens of other developed countries have, that we do not already have.

 

This is a first step I think. I would bet that their phones will also have something extra for possible future plans for satellite calls and data. Then the entire country can be a Wi-Fi hotspot, using their wireless Wi-Fi, and their own phones, with Sprint joining that network with its phones. Another alternative scenario would be Google selling only wholesale bandwidth to Sprint first. And then adding Verizon's and ATT&Ts and other wireless companies bands that choose to get it from above. But they need a rocket scientist for those things. I wonder where they can find a scientist but also a rocket launching company that might work with them. hmmmm. ;)

 

Maybe here? http://www.newsmax.com/finance/InvestingAnalysis/SpaceX-Google-Fidelity-Elon-Musk/2015/01/20/id/619706/

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Yes.... and No.... When the Sprint/Google Voice started, it was not clear what their end game was. Sprint was already doing unlimited everything for awhile and on some phones, that was mostly WiFi first choice. There were times and places that I jumped through hoops to block WiFi for voice so I could maintain a decent call. Newer phones, like my present Note 4, have options which let you select which to use. I can choose to use cell, Google Voice or both.

 

My Sprint cell # is also my GV # for both incoming and outgoing calls but using GV makes them all free regardless of whether the phone is actually using cell or wifi services to get online.

 

Though not always transparent, this lashup has worked reliably for more than 8 months as we have traveled up the west coast from CA to WA. I have yet to be surprised that I did not have the ability to call even when completely out of a Sprint coverage area. I have also never had any charges for any of these calls even when I was out on the NC outerbanks with no kind of Sprint coverage at all, I still talked, got calls, had data speeds up to 12mbps and never was charged. This was back in 2010 so this lashup has been working at least that long in some places.

 

Yes, it does take a phone that is capable but so far, all of mine have worked dating back to a Galaxy Nexus.

 

Making the connectivity transparent is essential for netbooks to be viable personal tools. This is all about shaping personal connectivity, not business. That is a whole different game that is afoot.

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