Project Fi, Google's alternative to the services offered by major cell providers like AT&T and Verizon, has been around for quite some time now. Crucially, the service is now (mostly) compatible with iPhones, and to celebrate the change, Google is rebranding the service to just Google Fi.
Long story short, the only way to use Project Fi to its fullest across multiple partner networks is to buy a phone from Google.
For those not in the know, Google Fi will switch between T-Mobile, Sprint, and Wi-Fi networks, depending on which is offering up the best possible service. This gets you better, faster, less-congested coverage than you would get from any single one of these carriers.
Since smartphones need the proper hardware and software to jump between networks and wi-fi for the "full Google Fi experience", some features may be lacking for iPhones and other handsets that can now access the service but were not designed for it.
Today's wider compatibility announcement isn't really fixing this problem.
With the advent of Google Fi, the company says would-be subscribers can get on board with "many Samsung, LG, Moto, and OnePlus devices", as well as iPhones (as part of a beta program). This year Google expanded the service with a few more phones, including models from LG and Motorola. No matter what phone you use with Fi, you'll get great Fi features-like reliable coverage, easy group plans, and high speed worldwide data coverage for the same rates you pay at home. You will also receive voicemails as texts and have them transcribed.
Google's Fi service has been a popular choice, particularly among worldwide travelers, because its plans are flexible and relatively low-cost compared with many other carriers.
We say "up until today" because with Google welcoming all these new phones to Fi, those rules are changing a bit. For BYOP customers, they can get $200 of credit towards Fi service.
Now, the company is making using Fi with third-party phones a lot easier: On Thursday, it released an iOS app that can be used to monitor data usage, billing and more.