Google has launched ‘Project Fi’, a new US mobile phone service that partners with LTE networks such as Sprint and T-Mobile.
Customers on Fi will automatically switch between free WiFi hotspots, Sprint and T-Mobile based on which offers the fastest connection. The move allows Google to piggy bag their partner networks, removing the need for them to build their own infrastructure.
The company have previously insisted they are not competing with mobile operators. However, Project Fi will put pressure on Google’s relationship with the carriers it depends on to promote and distribute its Android handsets. John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile US, wrote in a blog post that ‘the carriers have dug in their heels and held US wireless back for too long. This industry needs all the fresh blood and fresh thinking it can’.
In a move away from industry practises, Fi will only charge customers for the data that they use and refund any unused data. The cloud based service will also store phone numbers in the cloud, so customers will be able to talk and text from any phone, tablet or laptop.
‘Project Fi enables us to work in close partnership with leading carriers, hardware makers, and all of you to push the boundaries of what's possible’ wrote Nick Fox, VP of Communications Products at Google, in a blog post.
‘By designing across hardware, software and connectivity, we can more fully explore new ways for people to connect and communicate.’