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Old 08-01-2019, 10:27   #1
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Fie on Fi

I think many cruisiers are excited about the phone and internet provider Google Fi because they advertise "seamless coverage in 147 countries." I certainly was and bought in, along with my wife and son, before starting cruising the Caribbean. Well the old adage that when something sounds too good to be true it probably is holds true here and I want to offer some words of caution to anyone considering switching to Google Fi.

Our service was great for a few months and indeed was seamless as we sailed from island to island, including in Martinique. Then 2 weeks ago in the middle of cruising with our 2 sons down for christmas we lost all coverage while in Martinique. No phone or internet. my son needed to telecommute from the boat and I needed to get weather updates via cellular internet. On the hook we couldn't even contact customer support until we got to a wifi cafe. When we did they had us do a bunch of interventions from their handbook, but nothing worked and they concluded there was nothing Google could do to restore our service.

When we got to Dominica service resumed but when we arrived in Guadeloupe (another French island) it was gone again. Again I contacted customer support (not technical support, they don't have any) and they had me do exactly the same interventions which again didn't work.

As we sailed past Dominica again service returned and now back in Martinique there is once again nada and we are here for a month. Google gave me a $20 credit for my troubles.

I just got back from the local digicel office were I bought new SIM cards for my wife and my phones so we can function in this world where phone and internet are essential.

the problem appears to be that Google Fi relies on local carriers and if those carriers go down or stop playing nice with Google then there is nothing Google can do. The customer support person actually told me they "don't have the authority" to contact the local carriers to sort out the problem.

So the whole Fi thing appears to be a house of cards and I suggest waiting before you leap on board (bad mixed metaphor, sorry).

Anyway that's my tale of woe. Anyone with similar experiences?
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:59   #2
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Re: Fie on Fi

Quote:
Originally Posted by okapi3 View Post
the problem appears to be that Google Fi relies on local carriers and if those carriers go down or stop playing nice with Google then there is nothing Google can do
This is true for ANY of the carriers and MVNOs offering multi-country coverage.

There is no other possibility, nature of the beast.

Shame on you for blaming Fi, before they pioneered such a cheap and easy global service, this topic area was **much** dicier and lots more complex!

Your only alternatives are

1. buying local SIMs, or

2. Satellite based $ervice

3. also carrying ones from multiple "International Data Pass" providers, like AT&T Passport, their DayPass option is a $10/day base, T-Mobile has one,

or the specialists like Piranha, Mint, Ting GSM, Lycamobile, WorldSim or Truphone.

What you're buying with those is backup redundancy, hoping they use a **different** local carrier than your main Fi service.

In underdeveloped places there may be only one provider, and if they want to, they can force you to come ashore to buy a local SIM.

HowardForums.com is the best site to google such topics, then post your specific Qs.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:05   #3
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Re: Fie on Fi

Looks like redundancy is needed here. Fi works great across the US and Canada: have not tried it anywhere else yet. I like that they give you a data-only SIM for no extra charge.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:20   #4
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Re: Fie on Fi

Just got it myself. Leaving for Bahamas soon, has been ok in US. Seems to waste a lot of phone battery switching between networks?
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Old 08-01-2019, 20:23   #5
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Re: Fie on Fi

As a remote traveler/worker I switched to Google Fi about 5 years ago. I don't have any complaints that make me regret it. It's the best single source out there compared to the anyone.


I've had very few issues from Panama to the Yukon. Sometimes you need to reboot the phone to force it to register a new network.
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Old 08-01-2019, 21:45   #6
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Re: Fie on Fi

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...ydevs.fiswitch
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