Signing up for Project Fi is simple, just like the service itself.

Google's own carrier, called Project Fi, has been around for a quite a while now. But given its restrictions on compatible devices and just how infrequently U.S. consumers switch carriers, there's a good chance you've only heard bits and pieces of information about Project Fi but haven't ever actually looked into switching.

Just as you'd expect, it's dead simple to sign up for Project Fi — here's the process.

Early on in its life Project Fi required an invite. That hasn't been the case for a while now. Anyone can go to fi.google.com and sign up now. The only restriction that remains is phone choice. At the time of writing, you can only use a handful of compatible devices from Google and one of its partners. That's the Google Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 2, Android One Moto X4, Pixel XL, Pixel, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6. If you have one of these phones, are willing to buy one used or will buy one of the latest devices as part of your Project Fi signup process, you're good to go. Just visit the Project Fi website and get going!

Project Fi setup step 1

Project Fi is tied to your Google account for everything it does. As such, you'll want to use your primary Google account — the one you use for your primary Gmail address, Google Play, Google Payments, etc. It will make the whole process of managing your account and paying your bill much simpler in the future.

Then, you choose what phone number will be associated with your Fi service — a current Google Voice number, a carrier number that you port to Fi, or an entirely new number. This is the "scary" step with lots of words and explanations that are somewhat confusing, but don't worry — it's not as bad as it seems.

If you currently use a Google Voice number as your primary phone number, don't hesitate to port it to Project Fi. You'll still be able to forward phone calls onward to other phones (and Hangouts on the desktop), and make outgoing calls from other phones and computers via that phone number. You lose specialized voicemail greetings and spam filtering, but those aren't worth not going over to Fi for. Just go for it — if you ever cancel Fi, you'll be able to send your number back to Google Voice (for as long as that service is around, anyway).

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Even if you hesitate here, you'll realize this is basically your only choice when you get to the next step. If you instead choose to get a new Project Fi number, it'll force you to release your current Google Voice number so you don't have it anymore anyway. This stems from Google's requirement of only having one Google Voice number (aka Fi number) per Google Account. If you want to keep your current Voice number and get a new Fi number, you may consider paying to port that Voice number to a new Google Account instead.

If you don't have or care about Google Voice, you'll most likely want to port your current carrier number into Project Fi. That'll work just like it does when you're switching carriers — enter your carrier account information, and wait for the port to go through. The porting process won't finalize until you have your Project Fi SIM or new phone with the pre-loaded SIM (or eSIM in the case of the Pixel 2) in hand, so you'll still have your current carrier service until you can actually use Project Fi. Onward.

Project Fi setup step 4

Choosing your plan couldn't be simpler — you'll always pay a base price of $20 per month for unlimited talk and texts, and a flat rate of $10 per gigabyte of data (which also works internationally, by the way). The interesting part about Project Fi is that this is just your best guess as to how much data you'll use — for example you could pay $50 up front ($20 base + $30 for 3GB of data), and you'll get refunded for the data you don't use. If you happen to go over your guess, that extra data will just be tacked onto the next bill at the normal $10 per gigabyte rate instead.

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You can choose between 1-10GB of data per month, but you're never locked down — at any point during the month you can change your plan, and the new price will kick in at the next billing cycle. So don't stress over what you choose on this page — you'll never pay at a higher rate for overages, and you'll never pay for something you don't use.

That's it for the plan, just one page — now you'll need a phone. If you already have one of the compatible devices listed above, you'll have to verify that you have the device to receive your Project Fi SIM. If you don't have one yet, Google makes it easy to buy one — prices for the phones are the same full price as buying from the Google Store, barring any current specials. You'll pay for the phone at the final step of setup, either up-front or with zero-interest monthly financing.

After confirming your billing and shipping addresses for the order, you'll simply confirm your plan and your phone purchase one last time. You'll notice that there isn't any activation fee for the service, but you will pay applicable sales tax and shipping if you bought a phone.

The payment methods you use will be coming from Google Payments, so you'll have to set that up if you haven't already. Double check, press the "continue" buttons and your Fi service and/or device will be on its way!

Project Fi number port confirmation

When your Project Fi device and/or SIM card arrive, you'll simply have to power up your phone and confirm that you really want your number ported to the carrier. After a couple of hours or so, you'll receive a notification that your number is now on Fi and you're good to go!