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Project Fi To Support Tablets and other Data Only Devices

Project Fi Phone with Logo
Google announced today that Project Fi customers will be able to add data-only devices like tablets to their Project Fi plans soon, possibly as early as this week.

Google's help page for the new feature says that it's been certified to work with the following tablets: Nexus 7 - K009 (US LTE), Nexus 9 - 0P82300 (US LTE), iPad Air 2 - Model A1567, iPad mini 4 - Model A1550 and Galaxy Tab S - Model SM-T807V. Google says that other tablets and even phones can also be used provided they support the T-Mobile network.

Phones with a data only SIM will not be able to make calls or send texts using the cellular network although using an OTT app like Hangouts should work. Using your tablet or phone as a hotspot is also not supported with data-only devices which is surprising as it is allowed with Project Fi phones. Presumably that means you can't add a mobile hotspot. I wonder if cellular capable laptops will be allowed?

At this time, you must have a Project Fi phone account to be able to add a data-only device. Hopefully Google will eventually open data-only device eligibility to users without a Project Fi phone.

Project Fi is invite only and a Nexus 5X, 6 or 6P phone is required. Project Fi on a phone costs $20/month plus taxes for unlimited talk and SMS.  Data is available in 1 GB increments priced at $10 per GB. If you don't use all your data Google will give you a credit of approximately 1¢/MB toward your next month's bill for the unused amount. Data-only devices share a Project Fi share the user's Project Fi phone's data bucket.

Adding a data-only device to your Project Fi account is free and you can add up to nine devices. Project Fi users will be able to order free data only SIMs on the account tab of their Project Fi dashboard.

Unlike Project Fi phones, which switch between the Sprint and T-Mobile networks depending on which one has the best signal, data-only devices are limited to T-Mobile's network.

Sources Google (1), (2), Android Police

Related Posts:
More About Project Fi - What It Is and What it Means
Google Announces $20/month Project Fi Prepaid MVNO

10 comments:

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  1. This post fails to mention that you still need to be a "Fi Basics" member.

    The monthly cost is actually $20 for unlimited talk and text (even if you don't use it!) plus a separate charge of $10/GB.

    It's sort of like how Sprint advertised their $40 plans as costing only $20.

    Anyway, given that the minimum monthly cost for data is actually $30, a 5GB T-mobile dumb-pipe plan would be a far better value for data-hungry phone users.

    As far as data-only tablets go, there's better mobile broadband deals out there.

    For example, Straight Talk offers 1GB for just $15 (half the price of 1GB on Project Fi).

    In terms of heavier usage, T-Mobile offers 2GB for $20 (in contrast to Fi's 0GB) with each additional GB costing effectively $3.75 (in increments of $15/4GB).

    Those are just what I found through 5 minutes of Googling, so there could be even better deals out there.

    The problem with Fi is that it could only be relevant in the sub-$30 market.

    By shoving MUH BASICS down people's throats as a non-optional service, they've already lost their appeal by pricing themselves out of the only niche (cheap paygo) where $10/GB still matters worth a damn.

    If they plan to lose on both value and flexibility then it's a wonder they still have any customers to dupe.

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    1. Thanks, I added information about Project Fi talk and text pricing to the post.

      BTW, the minimum monthly cost of Project Fi is $20 and change, not $30. You only pay for the amount of data actually used, which could be much less than 1 GB.

      To me, one of the most disruptive things about Fi is that data is charged by the amount used rather than in use it or lose it bundles.

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    2. Even if they refund the price of unused data, that $20 is still a $240/yr minimum upkeep for data-only devices.

      If you add data to a data-only device then the price increases to $30 for unlimited talk, unlimited text and 1GB. That's nothing special.

      All a refund (after the fact) would means is that you've still spent $20/mo for nothing, plus a modest sum for data that you could've bought via paygo for slightly (or significantly) less.

      Sure, you could also buy multiple GB a month and get a refund on what you don't use.

      But those who use that much could get even more bundled data for less than they'd be paying post-refund due to that de facto $20 surcharge.

      As for those who only buy and use what they need, there doesn't seem to be any tier from $30/mo to $230/mo where Project Fi can claim to be the best value compared to services like Tracfone, Straight Talk, T-Mobile and others.

      With all that said, it's hard to say that a data-only service with such terrible value is in any way disruptive. The refund is just a gimmick to mask that they're still more costly than competitive plans in the same price range.

      The only truly disruptive thing they could do would be to sell data separately. If they offered 1GB-3GB for $10-$30 and refunded for unsused data, that'd actually put downwards pressure on existing paygo data rates (which would in turn pressure operators to include more data in their plans so as to not get one-upped by MVNOs).

      On the other hand, charging more for less in a price range with better deals only ensures that they're not putting pressure on anyone.

      In that regard, it actually seems more like they're deliberately trying NOT to be disruptive so as to not ruffle any of the Big 4's feathers.

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    3. "For example, Straight Talk offers 1GB for just $15 (half the price of 1GB on Project Fi)."

      And Straight Talk, unlike Fi, works on truly extensive national networks. Much better network, much better value with Straight Talk.

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    4. Fi data is $10 for 1 GB. The $20 monthly charge is for unlimited talk and text, which is not available on the Straight Talk $15 Broadband plan. Neither is better, they are just different, use what works for you.

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  2. I could be wrong, but I am guessing that Google specifically made their plan less inviting than it might otherwise be, both by price and exclusivity (invite, certain phones) bc they want to use this as a test bed, with no interest in becoming a full time MVNO and also that they wanted to start small and ramp slowly.

    Could go either way, and thanks prior poster for pointing out other options, but some of us a not data hungry. I only need 100mb a month and have no interest in subsidizing others unlimited plans.

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  3. T-Mobile themselves offer a better plan on supported tablets. For $10, a user can get 5gb of data for use over 150 days. If used on average at 1gb/month, the cost per month is $2. No taxes either. Better still, once activated on this plan, my tests indicate you can pop the SIM into other devices (including iPhones) and the plan works.

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    1. I believe that offer is only available with new activations of an ipad air 2 or ipad mini 3.

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  4. Current Fi user here, for what it's worth the customer service is light year's ahead of any post paid or prepaid carrier. No wait, they're actually intelligent, and listen. No dumb questions " ..did you try turning the phone off and then on.." And apparently they're available 24/7 , they speak fluent English and you don't even have to wait on hold, they'll call you back. No more automated systems or retarded csrs for me. I've dealt with them all this is by far the number 1 reason I love weather or not it's the best deal.

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  5. Not worth checking out as it is in its beta test, and only works on two networks with pretty bad coverage. I'll wait for Fi 2.0

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