By Erik Apple
Google has seemingly expanded the range of smartphones that can use its low-cost wireless carrier, Google Fi (previously known as Project Fi), by opening its service to iPhones for the first time, though they did claim the support that is being offered should be considered a “beta”. The news comes as part of Google’s rebrand to Google Fi. The service now includes support for a large range of smartphones from several manufacturers, rather than the previously limited supported number of devices.
People who were really tech savvy and interested enough were previously able to get an iPhone onto Google Fi by changing several data settings after installing the SIM card or by using a data-only SIM in an iPad. Google is now changing the this by allowing newer iPhones to work straight away. The new Google device checker states that the iPhone 5S and newer models will work with the service, including the iPhone SE but the iPhone 5C and devices that are older will not be compatible with the Google Fi service.
It is being warned that Fi for iOS is in beta, which means that not every feature of the service will be available from the beginning. For example, iMessage will work right away but certain MMS settings may need some adjustments for them to work properly with non-iPhones. The Visual Voicemail feature won’t work however traditional voicemail will along with Google Fi’s text message transcripts.
Some of the features included in the deal are 4G LTE connectivity and no roaming fees in more than 170 countries but offerings such as international tethering aren’t supported yet on iOS either. There’s also a new Google Fi iOS app which is used to activate the service, check usage and bills, and to manage the account and other settings.
From a cost perspective, Google Fi costs $20 per month for unlimited talk and text with each extra line being billed at $15 apiece. Data is provided at $10 per gigabyte up until 6 GB in a month with any data usage on top provided at no cost due to the carrier’s “Bill Protection” cap. Overall, a pretty good bargain given the features typically provided (though not all work on the iPhone just yet).
Are any of you considering making the switch or planning on doing so?