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Old 19-01-2018, 09:02   #1
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Google Fi Phone

Anyone with a Fi phone? What's your experience internationally? Or in general?

I'm looking at options for cell phones while cruising Central America. I have an old Iphone 5s still works quite well. We had it unlocked prior to a trip to the Bahamas last year, but it would not accept a Batelco SIM, which makes me wonder if I'll be able to use a local SIM in the different locales. I also have an old Google Oneplus One, which is supposed to use both types of SIM's.

We want to keep our USA phone number so we would continue a USA cell plan. Currently that runs $84/month.

Option 1: Keep the iPhone 5s and get local SIM's hoping that they'll work. Cost would be $84/month plus the local SIM. If we stay with our carrier and try to make a phone call it will get very expensive very fast...$3/minute for voice. It is a GSM phone and most of the world is GSM.

Option 2: Use the Oneplus One and use local SIM's. Same cost as Option 1. I believe it will accept either GSM or CDMA.

Option 3: Try the Google Project Fi phone. Their cost is $20/month for unlimited talk and text in CONUS (add $0.20/minute for non-Conus voice, but text is still unlimited), and $10/gigabyte for data worldwide (135 countries which includes all of central America). Cap on the CONUS plan is $80/month with unlimited data (some restrictions). With this plan we could ditch our current provider saving their $80/month, offsetting with Fi at a cost of about $40/month including taxes and fees with 1 gig of data.

Appreciate your experiences.
Duane
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Old 19-01-2018, 10:07   #2
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Re: Google Fi Phone

I've used Google fi for about two years. Used it in over a dozen countries. I've been very happy with it. Data is a bit expensive. If you are in country for more than a couple weeks I'd consider a local sim.

Generally I buy budget phones. Think I paid $200 for my LG. Now the base phone is $400. Not sure if I'll stick with google when it comes time to replace.
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Old 19-01-2018, 10:22   #3
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Re: Google Fi Phone

Google did just announce unlimited data for the FI at $80.... even better, it's only a cap price and is lower if you use less than 6gb a month. What were your speeds for data in other countries Dave?

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Old 19-01-2018, 10:34   #4
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Re: Google Fi Phone

My AT&T iPhone has never worked out of the country. It would not accept a Batelco chip, even though the AT&T store said they unlocked it.

When in the Bahamas, we had to buy a Bahamian cell phone and sim. So we had to pay the AT&T plan PLUS the Bahamian plan.

In order to keep our USA cell number, it seems to be cheaper to have a Fi phone at their minimum $30/month (1 gig of data) and then buy local sim service. If we have to use the Fi data, then as you point out it is capped at $80/month for voice, text, and data.

If we were to stay in the USA, there are probably less expensive plans for unlimited data, but we're going to be in Central America for the next few years.
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Old 19-01-2018, 10:41   #5
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Re: Google Fi Phone

No Google Fi experience, but I've been in Central America for a year.

I have kept my US number active and forwarded it to Skype. I use an unlocked GSM phone with local SIMs and a prepaid data plan running the Skype app. If someone calls my US number the Skype app rings, if I call through the Skype app the person I'm calling sees my US number on Caller ID. Very seamless, but requires a good data connection. For direct calling, most carriers have international plans and calls to the US are $2 for 60 minutes in my experience.

For best results you want a phone that can handle the frequencies used by the carriers where you're going. This is likely why your iPhone didn't work in the Bahamas. https://willmyphonework.net/ is a good resource.
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Old 19-01-2018, 10:47   #6
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Re: Google Fi Phone

My cell plans are PayAs youGo. I pay 10 a month for Vodaphone with 3 gig data, have two sim slots, vodaphone and whatever other has a deal at the time.

If I need more data I just buy extra time. With using wifi in restaurants and cafes, usually 3 gigs is enough when out sailing.

I use SKYPE to make all my phone calls. I bought their plan years ago and it allows me to call over 40 countries, USA to cell phones as well for no call charges. I pay about 130 a year for that. I run my business on it.
I cruise the Med but the principle will work anywhere..

I Use Chinese cell phones, Doogee, Cubot Xiomi... most less than 100 and work well.

$ is roughly 1-1 with
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Old 19-01-2018, 11:08   #7
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Re: Google Fi Phone

Carly-
If you just want to keep a little-used US number, port it over to T-Mobiles pay as you go plan, $10 for 90 days with something minimal like 30 minutes per month. You MUST set that up for recurring automatic payments or attend to it--or you'll lose the number.
Or any other carrier, like Cricket or the ones at WalMart who'll gladly set you up for $40 a month sometimes $30. As long as your number is yours you can port it.

Beware of Google, if you port a number in, you may not be able to port it back out afterwards. Confirm that with them, in writing, first.

CDMA phones strictly speaking no longer are sold. CDMA2000 replaced CDMA long ago, and the new "CDMA" phones are CDMA2000, and if they support LTE, or support GSM for overseas use, then they will also have a SIM card in them. The SIM card is actually only used for NON-CDMA service, it is required for that.

The carriers are funny about that as well, there are some LTE phones (4G in the US is really 3G with a high speed backbone, 4G overseas is 4G-LTE, which we call LTE) that will work with any carrier including Verizon, but Verizon will refuse to provision them because they don't support CDMA2000.

And then there's Comcast/Xfinity, who use CDMA2000 phones but even if you buy them, they will only provision phones that THEY have sold.

Lots of games and incompatibilities. Lots of high-churn staff in the shops, who have no idea what really goes on.
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Old 19-01-2018, 11:15   #8
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Re: Google Fi Phone

I have a dual SIM unlocked phone (currently Samsung Note 8, international GSM). SIM 1 is my home number and SIM 2 is from whatever country I am in.

For SIM 1 service I just switched to T-Mobile. Apparently, their data plan is international. But, I have not been overseas yet to verify it. I used to have AT&T service but it was way too expensive.
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Old 19-01-2018, 11:40   #9
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Re: Google Fi Phone

Hey, Duane. Is the the Duane & Peggy Duane with the Amel at BLM? If so, Cindy here from S/V Endurance. We were at BLM for a bit until we left mid-December. Husband is Jim. If not same Duane, please disregard.

Anyway, we switched from Verizon and couldn't be happier. About 1/3 the cost and it worked really well in US. Works in Bimini, so far. Once our watermaker part comes in on the boat tomorrow, we're heading to The Berries on Monday. Will advise if it works there, but I'm guessing it will.

I've got it set to use WiFi first, so we haven't paid for a phone call, but then again, we don't use the phone that often, anyway. I love their data plan, but again, we don't use a ton. Using it down the ICW to get to Miami, for the very first time, I used all the data allowed. All other months we've had money credited. I know it doesn't work in Cuba as we were there last year, but oh, well. I've heard it works well in Mexico...we shall see. I'm hoping it works in all the central American countries.

We bought the old Nexus 5X phones. They're working fine. And I'm cheap.

Just my 3 cents worth.
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Old 19-01-2018, 12:31   #10
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Re: Google Fi Phone

Hi Cindy!

It is Duane & Peggy, good to hear from you! We enjoyed the Berry's, make sure you take in the anchorage between Devils and Hoffman Cay, it's a nice remote anchorage. When we were there we had the place to ourselves most of the time. It's not a bad jumping off spot for Spanish Wells.

I take it you are using Google Fi? I'm glad to hear that the Nexus 5x phones work OK on Fi, that lessens the sting of getting started! Did you buy a used or new phone? Also interested to hear you like the service and price.

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Old 19-01-2018, 12:59   #11
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Re: Google Fi Phone

We have two Nexus 5x phones, bought new from Google. In over dozen countries in the Caribbean and Europe, they work fine. No issues. We are in the Bahamas for the winter and use local BTC SIM as it's much cheaper than Project fi. BTC is $35 for 15gig. Been using project fi since it started.
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Old 19-01-2018, 13:02   #12
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Re: Google Fi Phone

We bought our phones new.
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Old 24-01-2018, 13:46   #13
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Re: Google Fi Phone

I've been using Google Fi and the Pixel for almost two years now. Extremely happy with it, and the Pixel phone is one of the best, certainly the best phone I've ever had. They also provide a free sim card on the same account for a data modem. I installed that in a Netgear 4gLTE modem connected to a MIMO antenna on the stern rail. I have strong data connections up and down the West coast of FL. As someone said, Google announced that they will not charge any more after 6gb of use. Use less, pay less. Haven't tried it outside the country yet, but it sounds like it will work seamlessly with the other local carriers so you shouldn't have to keep switching phone cards.
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Old 25-01-2018, 07:58   #14
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Re: Google Fi Phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Woodward View Post
They also provide a free sim card on the same account for a data modem. I installed that in a Netgear 4gLTE modem connected to a MIMO antenna on the stern rail.
Is that a regular thing, or was it a promotional offer?

That's a very handy thing to have. I've been looking at Fi for a while now. If they offer a 2nd SIM suitable for a data connection on the SAME plan, that clinches the deal!
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Old 25-01-2018, 08:33   #15
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Re: Google Fi Phone

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Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
Is that a regular thing, or was it a promotional offer?

That's a very handy thing to have. I've been looking at Fi for a while now. If they offer a 2nd SIM suitable for a data connection on the SAME plan, that clinches the deal!
It's something Google has offered for at least a year now. Pretty good deal for a second device. Now, I just wish I could find actually data speed info from people outside the US and Europe.

Matt
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