Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
lightheir
Posts: 2368
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by lightheir » Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:35 pm

I'm seriously thinking about switching to Google fi from Republic Wireless. I suspect my Moto X phone won't be directly transferable, but my phone is 2 years old now and I'm fine with going for a new Google Pixel or some other fancy phone.

Are you google fi users happy with it? And for you Google Pixel phone users, is it worth the premium to you, or did your lesser <$300 phones work perfectly fine for you? (I've noticed my Moto X type phone has become one of the cheapest phones they offer, and it does work great for me on Republic)

I'm also set to travel to Canada for 2 wks in the summer; I went last year and I had no cell service via Republic (unfortunately the wifi where I was in the entire region was nonexistent, so no wifi phone calls either.) My mother in law had Verizon cell service via Canada plan up there which actually worked fine, hoping Google fi can use that network. (Is texting free internationally with Google fi)

Lastly, I did peruse the mutiple Google fi threads from 2017-18, just hoping for a more recent update.

michaeljc70
Posts: 5229
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:52 pm

I got Google Fi to get a promotion in conjunction with buying a Pixel. I'll offer a few observations:

-I was just out of the country and Fi worked perfect for data. You do have to pay for calls. It was 20 cents/min in Mexico. Other prepaids offer better options for Mexico/Canada with free calls and data. If you travel a lot internationally, Fi is great for that as you pay $10/GB.

-Fi is on the pricey side compared to many prepaids. For example, my other plan is Mint and I get 12GB for around $20 a month. Well, that much data (plus phone/text) would be $80 on Fi plus taxes/fees. Even if you use little data, you'd be paying $30+taxes/fees for using less than 1GB of data.

-The phone choices for Fi, though growing, is still very limited.

-If you have bad coverage in your home, Fi can use Wifi. Other carriers do offer this in some cases though.

-The Pixel 3XL is a good phone. How much better is it than the last two Android phones I had that cost $200-$350? Not that much. Frankly a lot of the things that are better are on the margins. The camera is better. The phone is semi-waterproof. It is faster, which is mostly not noticeable. Things like that. To be more direct, there is no way I'd spend $900 on a phone if there was not a big promotion involved.

-I live in and travel mostly to larger cities (in the US), so the network is not particularly important. It is a plus if you live in or travel to areas with less coverage as Fi uses networks operated by T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular and Three.

User avatar
munemaker
Posts: 4144
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by munemaker » Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:06 pm

I have been using Google Fi for years and am pleased with it. I have used it in several foreign countries (Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Canada, Mexico) and it worked fine. A nice benefit is that unlike most pnones/carriers, the phone and texting works over wi-fi.

You can keep your data use down by using wi-fi. Fi connects using T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular towers so you have pretty good coverage (not as good as Verizon).

I initially had a Nexus 5X handset. It eventually went bad and it was replaced with the Motorola phone. I was using the insurance Google offered and I had a lot of problems with it. They did not want to replace the phone (saying Nexus 5X was no longer available), even though that's how they promoted the insurance. They wanted to give me some small amount of money (might have been $50 - don't remember exactly) and call it done. I paid the difference and fought them continuously until I eventually received what they owed me, a few dollars at a time. It took months and the involvement of the PA Attorney General's office but eventually I did get it all. I would definitely not recommend their insurance.

gogleheads.orb
Posts: 114
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:34 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by gogleheads.orb » Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:09 pm

I use it. It works well. The coverage (sprint + t mobile) can be weak in rural areas. It is a little expensive.
The reason I keep it is that it has data coverage all over the world for the same price as at home ($10/GB). The data works on your phone and on up to 9 other sim cards that you can get for free. When we travel internationally I give one card to my wife to use instead of her normal card. When friends visit from overseas we give them one card to use while they are here.
International texts are free.

bloom2708
Posts: 6392
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:13 pm

The key decision factor is, do you like being a "data watcher"? A data minimalist? A wi-fi searcher? Whatever term you want to use.

Per GB, Google FI is expensive. You are rewarded with a medium bill by not using much data.

Coverage with Sprint/T-Mobile/whatever else they use will not be as good as Verizon or AT&T. That may not matter either.

Google FI has "buzz". I don't think they need to be competitive on price, offer a lot of phones, cater to data users.

If you spend 50% of your time outside of the country, it might be a decent option. Weigh the pros and cons.
"We are not here to agree with you; we are here to provoke thoughtfulness." Unknown Boglehead

User avatar
Vulcan
Posts: 853
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:43 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by Vulcan » Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:15 pm

The best, and most underappreciated, feature of Google Fi are free data-only SIMs.
They come with no monthly fees, and consume data out of the common bucket.
We use them for kids' phones, and are paying about $30/mo for three lines.
They can still make and receive phone calls via their Google Voice number or Hangouts over the data network for about a penny a minute in data fees (or free when in WiFi area).
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

SLHI
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:40 am

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by SLHI » Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:17 pm

I really love Google Fi. I've tried a few other carriers before, but I always had horrible connection. Google fi switches between 2 or 3 networks and also has wifi calling so I get service ALL THE TIME. Pricing is reasonable too, which I like. It's something like 20 per month, and then I only pay what I use in data -- so my bill is usually about $25/month for just me. I recommend it.

hfj
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:22 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by hfj » Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:06 pm

When we moved into a new office, people were complaining that it was in "dead spot" of coverage for the major carriers to the point that they recently installed some hardware to boost the signals. Because I was using wifi calling with FI, I never even noticed.

We like it for the international data, free sims (just lent one to my dad who's headed overseas for a few weeks), and because between home/work/school where we're on wifi, our bill for the family is around $50 cheaper than our old plan. This is a little better than we expected, but what we discovered is that because of the density of xfinity hotspots in our area, we find ourselves logged on through wifi much of the time anyway. We'd consider xfinity wireless also (seems a little cheaper), but stay on google fi for the international part.

Topic Author
lightheir
Posts: 2368
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by lightheir » Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:12 pm

What's an example use of these 'free sims?' just to make it obvious to me? For example, how would a teenager in your family use this, or even a friend or family member?

michaeljc70
Posts: 5229
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:17 pm

lightheir wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:12 pm
What's an example use of these 'free sims?' just to make it obvious to me? For example, how would a teenager in your family use this, or even a friend or family member?
You can put one in an iPad with GSM (cellular data) capability. You can put one in an unlocked phone with no service and use data (without wifi). You can lend one to someone going overseas to use in their (unlocked) phone so they have data overseas (assuming their carrier doesn't support it or it is very expensive). You can put one in a tablet (with GSM) and give it to Grandma that doesn't have internet.
Last edited by michaeljc70 on Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
munemaker
Posts: 4144
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by munemaker » Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:19 pm

hfj wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:06 pm
When we moved into a new office, people were complaining that it was in "dead spot" of coverage for the major carriers
Retired now, but our office was located in a pretty dead area. Employees would wander around to certain areas trying to get reception. Not a problem for me making and receiving calls with Google Fi, as we had good wi-fi.

User avatar
Ged
Posts: 3785
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 1:48 pm
Location: Roke

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by Ged » Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:23 pm

I've had Google Fi for about 4 years now. I don't travel a lot in the US, so can't comment on US coverage much. However it is great for international travel. I've been all over Europe on river cruises etc. Waking up in Finland and having service with no fiddling around is excellent.

My wife is in Chile at the moment with a hand me down Fi phone. Still works there without messing with SIMs.

28fe6
Posts: 401
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:01 am

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by 28fe6 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:02 pm

I posted this before; nothing has really improved in the new city. Waiting for an important call from my lawyer...yep, never rang, straight to voicemail while I'm holding the phone in my hand. Waiting for 2-factor authentication code...yep, never came through. Need to send my wife an important text, on wifi...cannot send, try again later. I'm switching to ATT as soon as I get a chance. I'm afraid at this point my opinion is that Google Fi is just one more half-hearted Google project that they thought looked like a good idea but neglected to actually make it work in the real world. If you do a search like I have many times, there are lots of stories about calls not going through and Google always blames it on the carrier. It might well be true, but that doesn't mean it's not a problem when you need your phone to work.

I can recommend the paid FiSwitch app which lets you see what network you are on and switch between them. Sometimes it's helpful.

Post Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:53 am

I switched from Verizon with two Moto X4 phones purchased through Google. The billing system is the best, the simple international roaming is great, the free data SIMs are great. So it's all great except the actual service is terrible.

We have dropped calls, calls that never go through, poor audio quality. I often get texts from my wife that she's trying to call me and my phone isn't even ringing. I often get calls that get disconnected as soon as I pick up. Also when just using the 4G internet it often just disconnects for 30 seconds and then re-connects which is just enough to be infuriating. If you always call wifi-to-wifi with a good signal, the audio quality is really great, but overall the sales pitch that it "seamlessy switches" between networks is completely over-sold. It's more like a cheap low-priority MVNO with the added problems of switching networks all the time "seamfully".

I've been cell-phone-only for 10 years with no land-line. I'm moving to a new state soon, and I will see if things get any better, if not, it's bad enough that I will have to get a land line to achieve acceptable phone calling, which destroys the value. The good thing is I think my phones will work with Sprint or T-Mobile or maybe even Verizon.

buhlaxtus
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:55 am

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by buhlaxtus » Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:48 pm

Google Fi works pretty well for me. I live in a city where coverage from Sprint and T-Mobile is pretty good. Most of the time I don't use much data. But, a few times a year, I'm traveling and use a huge amount of data because I use the phone as a hotspot for my computer. The overall billing is cheaper than any other plan I've had. $26ish most months, and occasionally $85. Coverage is, indeed, poorer in rural areas compared to ATT and Verizon if that is a consideration.

I am a huge fan of the no-BS billing. Plus on high usage months I don't have to change my plan, then change it back, which is what I was doing with ATT in the past.

User avatar
jpsfranks
Posts: 976
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:45 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by jpsfranks » Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:49 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:52 pm
-The phone choices for Fi, though growing, is still very limited.
This is only partially true now. If you are satisfied with TMobile service only (i.e. no jumping to Sprint) then you can pretty much use any phone that works with TMobile (my mother uses it with an iPhone for example).

I agree with previous posters that the killer features are international service and the additional data sims at no extra cost.

User avatar
TimeRunner
Posts: 1525
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by TimeRunner » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:18 pm

Fi works great for us, but we live in coastal California and there's lot's of cell coverage except in the canyons and wildlands. My typical bill is $23-28/month. I have had a Pixel Xl and am currently using a Pixel 2 XL. Most of my phone/data use is over Wi-Fi, with Google Fi VPN automatically enabled for security. Wife will come over to Fi at the end of Summer when new phones are intro'd and older ones are discounted. I love the clean Android interface and Google services such as Google photos and maps. These work well on Google's phones - as they should.
Man assumes more intelligence than dolphins because he achieves so much, while dolphins just have a good time. Dolphins believe they're more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reason. (HGG)

gtd98765
Posts: 308
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:15 am

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by gtd98765 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:27 pm

I have used Fi for a couple of years now and am very satisfied with it. We moved from Virgin Mobile and our bill for two phones came down to, on average, about $55/mo from about $80/mo. We have used our phones all over Europe, where they just work with no fuss; no more going to a cell phone shop at the airport to get a temporary local SIM card. It is important to note that Fi is not right for heavy mobile data users; it is best for people who are mostly near wifi most of the time.

Fi opened up to a variety of other phones last fall (e..g, iPhone), and I think the consumer response was much bigger than they anticipated. Thus, their formerly-good customer service has suffered from long waits and many complaints. Fortunately, we have never had to call them.

One other thing to note about Fi is that, since your phone is tied to a GMail account, you can, if you choose, protect yourself from "SIM swapping" (stealing your phone number) by amping up the security on GMail to use a Yubikey or Titan key.

We have had only mid-range phones, a NEXUS and a Moto X4, and they have been fine. Not super speedy, but we are not gamers so they are good enough.

Mysmaven
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:50 am

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by Mysmaven » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:40 am

I’d like to share my current experience with a Moto 6, bought from google in May, specifically for travel to Europe. It has been pretty much a fiasco. From the first day it has not been able to connect to international networks. I spent the first day of vacation talking to google support. Eventually they came up with a 4 step process that does get me service, until the next time it drops, which is every time the phone is off, or I move to a new area, or just when it feels like it. If this fix worked reliably, I could deal with it, but this has been going on since June 19, with no improvement in sight.

The experience with support is abysmal- the front line people have very little knowledge, and their only response after all this time and many phone calls, is to ask an ‘engineer’ to email me. These have been pretty worthless too. Yesterday was the capper, ‘no, they can’t get in touch with an engineer and have me talk to them, no, they can’t offer anything else, no they don’t care that my phone is not working (again, after 20 days of the same experience) and the ‘fix, which I have tried 6 times, has not worked, and I urgently need a working phone today in particular’ and the woman hung up on my when I responded that ‘yes, I would like the opportunity to take a brief survey’.

I am surprisingly disappointed that they are essentially Comcast (or name your favorite huge company with no customer service) because the initial setup experience in the states was great.

Is anyone having the same problems? Any ideas? Since I am clearly on my own here. My husband refers to the phone as the brick and he is pretty much spot on.

And if you were thinking of google fi for international travel, I’d think again!

ginrummy
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:26 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by ginrummy » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:00 am

Also have used it for years when traveling abroad. Very happy with it. Right now I'm in Belgium. Hoping from London to Amsterdam, Stockholm, etc. All fine. Takes a little bit to reconnect when you cross borders but all in all...really couldn't live without it. I understand the $10.00 a day gig from Att but if you are away for any period of time at all this just doesn't make sense. Google FI all the way. My Nexus 5 is still working. As a matter of fact I like the Android experience (iPhone in the States) that I'm really hoping to jump ship to full time Android. I'm a Gmail user so it makes a difference. I believe you can still pause FI for up to 3 months? Best of luck.

miles monroe
Posts: 1269
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:14 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by miles monroe » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:41 am

when i'm at home my bill is $30.

when i visit dad (no wi-fi) my bill is $85.

so i "usually" like it...

THY4373
Posts: 1078
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:17 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by THY4373 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:58 am

I have used Google Fi for about three years and love it. I have used it in about 30 countries and it has almost been flawless overseas and pretty much flawless the last two years. I am have wireless at home and at work and my son has it at school. Except when traveling my bill for the two of us is about $50-55/month.

I carry a Verizon iPhone for work and I don't notice significant coverage differences in my area between to the two services.

JBeck
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:54 am

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by JBeck » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:09 am

lightheir wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:35 pm
And for you Google Pixel phone users, is it worth the premium to you, or did your lesser <$300 phones work perfectly fine for you?
I got a new Google Pixel 3A for 300 after I exchanged my old IPhone 6S; I'm happy with it

trexdaddy
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:41 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by trexdaddy » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:15 am

I am a Google Fi user. I am good at it. Here is my reasons:

1, I live in SoCal. No problem with the signal
2, Fees is low and clear
3, their international plan is good. I travel a lot. It makes me easy to login FB, INs, even in PR China...
4, It's by Google. I trust Google more than Verizon and Att....!

michaeljc70
Posts: 5229
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:21 am

Mysmaven wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:40 am
I’d like to share my current experience with a Moto 6, bought from google in May, specifically for travel to Europe. It has been pretty much a fiasco. From the first day it has not been able to connect to international networks. I spent the first day of vacation talking to google support. Eventually they came up with a 4 step process that does get me service, until the next time it drops, which is every time the phone is off, or I move to a new area, or just when it feels like it. If this fix worked reliably, I could deal with it, but this has been going on since June 19, with no improvement in sight.

The experience with support is abysmal- the front line people have very little knowledge, and their only response after all this time and many phone calls, is to ask an ‘engineer’ to email me. These have been pretty worthless too. Yesterday was the capper, ‘no, they can’t get in touch with an engineer and have me talk to them, no, they can’t offer anything else, no they don’t care that my phone is not working (again, after 20 days of the same experience) and the ‘fix, which I have tried 6 times, has not worked, and I urgently need a working phone today in particular’ and the woman hung up on my when I responded that ‘yes, I would like the opportunity to take a brief survey’.

I am surprisingly disappointed that they are essentially Comcast (or name your favorite huge company with no customer service) because the initial setup experience in the states was great.

Is anyone having the same problems? Any ideas? Since I am clearly on my own here. My husband refers to the phone as the brick and he is pretty much spot on.

And if you were thinking of google fi for international travel, I’d think again!
Is it possible that 1) there is something wrong with the phone or 2) that model (I assume it is a US model) doesn't support a lot of the bands used in Europe?

I haven't used Fi extensively outside of the US, but when I did use it it worked without any issues.

I can see how extensive engineering support could be an issue as they are essentially an MVNO reselling services purchased from other companies.

dboeger1
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:32 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by dboeger1 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:27 am

I'm probably chiming in a bit late, but I've been a long-time Google Voice user since before they launched Fi, and I have been on Fi since shortly after it launched. I've also purchased 4 phones directly from Fi (Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Moto x4, and Moto G6). I've even used their international service while in China on about 3 separate occasions. So I have a fair bit of experience with the service.

To be honest, it's a great deal, but other than the pricing and convenient online account system, everything else about it has been pretty subpar. One of the early selling points was the network switching, which sounds great in theory. But in reality, it's very hit or miss. From what I've read on forums, some people love it, but a significant portion find that their phones get stuck on suboptimal networks quite frequently, possibly due to relative costs from the various networks. I live in the SF Bay Area, which is generally regarded as pretty solid when it comes to service from most of the major network providers (I think Sprint is the exception, but people still use it here and it works). And yet our calls frequently chop up, and our download speeds when browsing on LTE can freeze up from time to time. This has been true on all 4 devices we've owned over the years (all of which had separate SIM cards), so it's clearly not just some one-off hardware issue. And like I said, from browsing forums, it seems there's plenty of anecdotal evidence to support that their network switching is not all it was cracked up to be. It's no wonder it plays a much more reduced role in their current marketing.

As if that wasn't bad enough, literally every one of those phones has had serious issues. Thankfully, my 5X was solid the entire time I owned it, but many users reported boot looping issues which I believe were settled with store credit or something like that. The Nexus 6P recently had a class action lawsuit due to batteries dying at 30% charge after not much use, and also a boot looping issue due to hardware. Unfortunately, ours was hit by the battery issue, and we absolutely had to replace it when my wife got a new job requiring reliable phone service while abroad. Strangely enough, the 6P also had a horribly unreliable GPS module, which resulted in more Pokemon Go frustration from my wife than either of us cares to admit. And finally, both the Moto x4 and Moto G6, while excellent budget phones, take the trend of poor voice quality in modern smartphones to the extreme. It's like nobody even cared to test if the phones were usable as phones. I know this is a problem with many modern phones, but people literally can't hear either of us unless we switch back and forth between holding the phones close to our ears to listen and close to our mouths to speak. I rarely make voice calls anymore, but this is absolutely infuriating on those rare occasions when I need to call customer service or roll over a 401k over the phone. While I would say this is more the fault of the phones than Fi itself, I think it reflects on Google and their regard for voice quality that virtually none of the phones they sell sound very good on their mediocre network, and they certainly don't seem to be making any improvements in that regard.

I don't regret using Google Fi, but I don't for one second believe that it's on par with being a direct customer of one of the major networks. My father has been a Verizon customer for 20+ years, and I know from experience that his service quality is vastly superior to mine virtually anywhere. Sure, he pays an arm and a leg for it compared to what we pay, but the quality is on a completely different level. And also, when it comes to international usage, so much depends on the foreign networks you're connecting to, there's no guarantee someone else's experience will be the same as yours. While traveling in China, we've had both excellent and virtually nonexistent service from Fi. We've also had times when Western sites blocked in China were readily accessible, and other times when it was impossible to connect to things like Google Drive (although it was hard to tell if this was due to Chinese interference or just the sheer lack of connection quality). So it's really impossible to give one firm review of Fi's international service.

One of my absolute favorite parts about Fi though is really the stuff it inherited from Google Voice, such as Hangouts integration. 100% of my texting is done from Hangouts, the vast majority of the time while I'm at work in a browser with a tab open to my Gmail account. This lets me respond to my texts with a full keyboard while I'm checking emails. I also love voicemail transcriptions, filtering features, etc. It's actually quite a flexible system. I don't even know if Google Voice is still available separately from Google Fi to be honest, but if it is, I'd recommend checking it out with whatever service you currently use. Sometimes, I even make calls using a headset on my desktop if I need to reference documents saved on the computer. It's great for those occasional calls to customer service across various web sites, when they want you to look up order numbers and things like that.

28fe6
Posts: 401
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:01 am

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by 28fe6 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:32 pm

I'm a Google-Fi negative reviewer, as you can see from my posts above. As I posted before, everything about Google Fi is great except actually working for the purpose of telecommunications. I still constantly get dropped calls where my phone rings one time and then drops the call, or never rings at all. In order to call my wife we usually text first and let the other one know we are trying to call, and try from both directions to get something to go through. This is how it's been since I started with Google Fi. But recently I have a new story that's pretty crazy...

I was taking a nap when my phone rang at absolute full volume. This is strange because I usually don't have my ringer turned way up, because I have children sleeping in the same room. I put the phone on Vibrate, or so I thought, but I was half asleep. About 1 minute later, it rang again at insane full volume. At this point, I hadn't realized it wasn't the normal ring-tone either, it was actually the same ring-tone that goes off when I use Find my Phone feature. I was just angry for being woken up. I put the phone on Do Not Disturb to be sure and tried to go back to sleep. But then a couple minutes later, it rang again at that insane 100% volume ringtone, even though it was on Do Not Disturb. I got up and left the room, and saw 3 missed calls from my mom. When I called her back, she said that she just tried to call me 3 times, but somebody answered on the other end of the line speaking some asian language that she couldn't understand. She called back two more times and got the same person.

I can only speculate that when my mom called me, somehow it routed the call to somebody else, and at the same time it activated my phone to ring at the full volume of the Google ''find my phone'' utility, which over-rides the Do Not Disturb mode on my phone. So now I can add a completely new failure mode:

--my phone randomly ringing at 100% volume even when it's on Do Not Disturb
--dropped calls (never come through)
--disconnected calls and bad audio quality
--calls being routed incorrectly
--picture texts not coming through

On the balance this is not quite enough to balance out the awesome features:

--relatively cheap for low-data users
--simple billing
--truly international
--free data SIMS
--integration with Hangouts (I send SMS from my computer all the time).

Now I have to decide what ''real'' phone company to switch to. When I check my FiSwitch app, my phone is almost always using the Tmobile network, so I could probably get a cheap Tmobile plan and be no worse off.

Google Fi would actually be good as an international data service. I wish I could just pay for the Google Fi data SIM in my tablet and then get a ''real'' plan for making phone calls. However with the current billing structure, it's not competitive to get Google Fi just for the data SIMS, and I don't think they will sell it that way either, unless you give them a burner phone to put the actual voice service on or something.

EDIT: If anyone else is looking to flee Google Fi, Verizon currently has a $250 gift card promo if you bring your own device. Also, they were able to port over by Google Fi phone using my phone number an IMEI (something ATT couldn't seem to figure out). I will report back how my service on Verizon is compared to Google fi.

gtd98765
Posts: 308
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:15 am

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by gtd98765 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:02 pm

28fe6 wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:32 pm
When I called her back, she said that she just tried to call me 3 times, but somebody answered on the other end of the line speaking some asian language that she couldn't understand. She called back two more times and got the same person.
It is probably a glitch as you say, but just in the context of the SIM-swapping stories I have read recently, I recommend you check your Google security settings and make sure you are on the only one logged on to your account:

https://myaccount.google.com/security

Good luck

28fe6
Posts: 401
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:01 am

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by 28fe6 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:53 pm

gtd98765 wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:02 pm
28fe6 wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:32 pm
When I called her back, she said that she just tried to call me 3 times, but somebody answered on the other end of the line speaking some asian language that she couldn't understand. She called back two more times and got the same person.
It is probably a glitch as you say, but just in the context of the SIM-swapping stories I have read recently, I recommend you check your Google security settings and make sure you are on the only one logged on to your account:

https://myaccount.google.com/security

Good luck
I agree that it's concerning, but I went to Google Security and it didn't show any activity or anyone else logged on.

In fact, I'm a little comforted by NOT having yet another aspect of my life (phone service) controlled by Google. There are theories about Google listening to your calls, and people who claim to have proven it happens. I don't know if it's true but I also wouldn't doubt it. The phone companies aren't angels either but maybe the best you can do in today's world is try to have your data controlled by at least a few different megacorporations instead of just one.

User avatar
aj76er
Posts: 684
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:34 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by aj76er » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:42 am

Overall Google FI is a great plan and I’ve been using it for a few years now. However it’s gotten a little pricey compared to other options. I like the international coverage, and the ability to receive text and calls from any device (with hangouts running in a browser). But I dislike the occasional $80 bill when I don’t have access to WiFi and need to use a lot of data.

We are thinking of switching to spectrum in our local market, which is an mvno that uses Verizon network. It has an unlimited plan for $40/month. Google Fi baseline is $30 even if I don’t use any data.
"Buy-and-hold, long-term, all-market-index strategies, implemented at rock-bottom cost, are the surest of all routes to the accumulation of wealth" - John C. Bogle

michaelingp
Posts: 164
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:46 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by michaelingp » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:54 am

I wasn't going to comment since I only have a sample size of one, but since others have brought it up... I was on Fi for several years. I had a Nexus 5x which worked OK while it worked, but it had battery and hardware problems. They fixed it once for $45 but I didn't have use of the phone for two weeks. Then it died completely a couple of days before a trip. Since there aren't any retail stores, I couldn't get a new phone from Google in time for my trip. My wife said, why don't you just use one of my old iPhones on Verizon? In an hour I was ported to Verizon, and I've never looked back. I find the Apple ecosystem to be much more sophisticated than Android. Perhaps that's because all my children have iPhones and between my wife and I we have three iPads. They just all work together so seamlessly. The phones themselves just seem a lot more reliable (again, very small sample size). They are so reliable that they are just handed down from one family member to another (trickle down theory at work!). Apparently you can use iPhones with Fi, but not the one I had on hand, and there are limited capabilities and Google says the feature is "in beta".

To my surprise, my prepaid plan with Verizon is actually less expensive than Fi, and if no family iPhones have trickled down to me, I can buy an inexpensive used iPhone on eBay. When I was at home, my Fi bills were reasonably low, but on trips, the data cost grew (it's capped at $60 per month). Verizon doesn't charge for excess data, although in theory data is throttled when you're over your limit (I've never noticed). Plus, wth Fi, if you travel in Canada, there's a per-minute charge for phone calls, which can add up, and more galling, I was charged for junk calls I didn't even answer.

I did like the fact that you can drive into Canada and the phone just works, but I've signed up for Verizon Travel Pass, which for $5 a day is supposed to do the same thing, plus my data and call charges won't go up.

Oh, to bring the sample size to two, my friend has Fi and is happy with it, and he does a lot more international travel than I do.

lmkm77
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:04 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by lmkm77 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:24 pm

Been using Fi since 3 years on two lines. Very happy with the service, device protection and international coverage. Love the full Google experience from Pixels.

OnTrack
Posts: 470
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:16 pm

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by OnTrack » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:41 am

DW and I have Google Fi service. DW's phone is a Pixel 3 XL. She has had a problem where she presses the "accept" button to answer a call and the button then disappears, but the phone keeps ringing and there is no longer a button to answer the phone! I figured out that when this happens she can try to swipe down fron the top of the screen and the button reappears and she can try again to answer (this sometimes works). Also, sometimes when she is on a call and ready to hang up, the red button to hang up is not there. Due to this and a few other issues, I called customer support and the support person said the phone might have a hardware problem and suggested we get a replacement phone. We talked to someone to get a replacement at no cost. However, when we got the email to order the replacement, it said that it would be a refurbished phone; since we didn't want a refurbished phone, we didn't place the order.

niceguy7376
Posts: 2343
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:59 pm
Location: Metro ATL

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

Post by niceguy7376 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:41 pm

We have been on cricket for 5+ years paying $100 for 5 (grandfathered).
We recently took Google FI service (our individual gmail accounts already had google voice and so used a different gmail account) for wife and kids to use while on one day layover in France.

We inserted the SIM into our iphone XR and setup the settings in iphone while in USA and when she switched it on in France, it worked seamlessly. She used whatsapp to chat with me and voicecall me while she was in Paris and we did use some regular voice alls (at $0.20 per min).

I ordered a DATA sim for me to use while in Asia and it worked fine on my one plus 5 phone.

There is a suspend option on this service and i will try it to see how long we can suspend till we take the next international trip next year or so.

Post Reply