Google Fi recently announced the launch of Unlimited Plans, potentially providing a better-priced alternative to their existing flexible plans.
If you already have their service (perhaps after signing up during last year’s amazing deal) or have been considering their service, it’s worth checking out their pricing to see if you’ll be better off compared to your current plan.
Here’s a link to compare Google Fi’s existing plans with their unlimited plans. A screenshot of the cost for four lines can be seen above. At first glance, the flexible plan looks much cheaper seeing as it costs $65 for four people versus $180 for unlimited. However, the flexible plan charges an additional $10 per GB of data used. That means if you’d use 12 GB or more across all four lines, you’d be better off with the unlimited plan.
My wife and I both signed up last year under separate plans so that we could each get the ~$800 in free gift cards. If we combined our plans, we’d need to use 9 GB of data or more combined to be better off under the unlimited plan.
9 GB per month is about how much we currently use, but that’s because we try to limit our data usage so that we can reduce how much we pay for it under their flexible plan. It’s therefore tempting to convert to an unlimited plan so that we don’t have to worry about regulating our data usage. Being able to watch videos or stream Spotify when not on Wi-Fi without having to worry about paying more would be wonderful.
The complicating factor is whether we could get a better plan elsewhere. I’d already been considering moving back to T-Mobile once my Google Fi referral credits are used up to go on one of their unlimited plans. At $120 for two people on their (unlimited) Magenta plan, our cost would be virtually identical to Google Fi. The only difference is that T-Mobile includes taxes and fees whereas Fi adds those on separately. Both T-Mobile and Google Fi offer free data and texting overseas, so they’re matched there too. (Edit: As per Becky’s comment below, Google Fi offers better speeds overseas than T-Mobile, so that tips that part in their favor).
It’s the other perks that T-Mobile offers that makes switching back to them more enticing. For example, their Magenta plan provides a free Netflix subscription, so that would save us $13 per month. T-Mobile Tuesdays can sometimes have decent deals that, while I wouldn’t necessarily pay for them separately, are nice perks to have. For example, they’ll often provide $2 promo cards for Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins, 10-25c off per gallon at Shell, etc. With no additional taxes and fees, a free Netflix subscription and T-Mobile Tuesdays perks, we’d be getting $20-$30 of extra value per month if switching from Google Fi to T-Mobile.
That said, a Google Fi unlimited plan is still tempting for superior coverage nationwide. Not only do they use T-Mobile’s towers, but Sprint’s and US Cellular’s as well. (Edit: As per Charlie’s comment below, only Google phones have access to Sprint and US Cellular towers). We move somewhere new every week, so increasing our chance of having good coverage wherever we are is a real benefit to us, especially when hiking in more remote areas. Whether that better coverage is worth $20-30 in savings/value is harder to decide.