Google entered the mobile phone service market today, launching its MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator — “Project Fi“.
The Mountain View, Calif-based company is partnering with T-Mobile and Sprint to offer the service. Project Fi is modeled after its Nexus program, offering users the chance to experience mobile phone service the way Google believes the business should work.
“By designing across hardware, software and connectivity, we can more fully explore new ways for people to connect and communicate,” the company posted to its blog.
This means that Project Fi will determine the best network for its users to use at the present time — which includes LTE coverage and wifi hotspots the company’s vetted and will secure through encryption — to offer fast and reliable speed. Rates for coverage will be $20 for “the basics” (talk, text, tethering, and international coverage in more than 120 countries), and $10 for each 1GB of data in the US and, interestingly, abroad. The company will also refund any unused data with a credit, which no other carrier is currently offering.
Project Fi will only be available on the Nexus 6 initially. Much of the 50 states are covered, though T-Mobile and Sprint are notorious for poor service in rural areas (the worst case being Montana with coverage in Bozeman and Butte and little coverage anywhere else in the state).
In true Google fashion, the rollout is being restricted to invitations only for the time being.