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Project Fi just launched a highly competitive $80 unlimited plan called 'Bill Protection'

Project Fi has always been a great solution for those who use less than about 4GB of data per month, but now Google's giving the nod to people who want more. A new feature called "Bill Protection" effectively gives Project Fi users an unlimited data option, taking on the big carrier competition that has swung back to heavily promoting unlimited data plans.

So here's how it works. From the start, everything is the same as it always has been. You pay $10 per month for each gigabyte of data you use, and any data you don't use you aren't charged for. But with Bill Protection, once you hit 6GB of data, or $80 for the month ($20 "Fi Basics" + $60 of data), your bill is capped — but you continue to get data service, just like a flat-rate unlimited plan from other carriers.

Really, it's the best of both worlds. In months when you use less than 6GB of data, you only pay for the data you used — and your bill is going to be lower than it would be with an unlimited plan from any other carrier. If you have a heavy month of usage and you crest over 6GB, it's all included and billed as a flat $80. Not only does that $80 figure line up nicely with the competition, but it also is effectively much lower since most unlimited plan users don't actually use over 6GB of data per month every single month. For group plans, the throttle threshold varies as you add more people.

Bill Protection also applies to your international data usage as well, where data used outside of the U.S. is still billed identically to data used at home.

The only catch, as is always the case with "unlimited" plans, is that Project Fi does start to throttle speeds once you've hit 15GB of data usage for the month. At that point, your speeds drop to 256kbps. Somewhat counteracting that is the ability to switch back to full speed if you want to start paying again, at the usual rate of $10 per gigabyte. Other carriers start to throttle in the 15-25GB range (save for T-Mobile, which is even higher), and often don't offer any sort of full-speed buyout option, so it seems like a fine compromise to me. That 15GB of data usage on Fi used to cost you $170 for the month, too — and now it's just $80.

Now you don't have to be scared to use 'too much' data on Project Fi.

For anyone who regularly uses lots of data, say 10GB per month, Project Fi is now merely competitive with the big four U.S. carriers — and even a tad more expensive, depending on what promotions and how many lines you have. But I say that Bill Protection is "highly competitive" because no matter what you may think, a majority of people don't actually use that much data. They may use 6GB+ a couple months out of the year, but the rest of the time they're using less but still paying the same amount for an unlimited plan. In these cases, Project Fi is cheaper than the competition, and now with Bill Protection those people also won't be scared of using data when they need to.

Bill Protection is rolling out starting today for both individual and group plans — just keep an eye on your Project Fi account.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

64 Comments
  • I would be all over this but alas not available in Canada.
  • In fact, it's not available anywhere but the U.S.
  • That. That is how unlimited plans should work. Opportunity to save data on low-use months, competitive pricing for the heavier months, and the option to pay to keep your speed in the most extreme of circumstances. Brilliant.
  • Yes. But I have a family TMobile line, $40 each for 4. They give kickbacks for using less than 2gig, and free Netflix. Not sure it can be *that* much lower.
  • Competitive? Xfinity mobile, $12 per gig for low usage moths or $45 for unlimited. Tethering included at no extra cost.
  • But you have to be a Comcast customer, so there's that.
  • Which means you have to deal with Comcast, which is something best avoided.
  • One word, COMCAST. Nough said
  • Knowing Comcast, that's just the promotion offer and your bill will steadily increase to $176 per month and you'll have to call them and threaten to end service before they give you another promo.
  • Facts. Lol
  • Can you bring your own device?
  • How much do you pay for your home internet? That's counted in the cost imho. As you have to be a Comcast customer, if you're overpaying $50 a month there, you're really at $95 unlimited. Plus dealing with the Devil, I mean Comcast.
  • You also don't have the ability to switch between three different networks on the fly for the best service.
  • Wish other phones were included with Fi. Soon...
  • $10 for 1 GB of data is still expansive.
  • Well, when you see it as 2 gig with unlimited talk+text, and data in most countries for $40, it's not bad.
  • Always been interested in Fi but it couldn't compare to my old plan so I didn't ever bother switching. I currently pay $50/month for unlimited T-Mobile (got the discount through work and its carried over for years). Tmobile is nice as well because you get the tmobile tuesdays, free Gogo wifi on planes, etc. I love all things google so Fi would be nice, and this would at least make it competitive with my plan (I usually use between 3-5gb a month). Is there any advantage or perks to Fi itself right now?
  • Having access to T-Mo, Sprint and US Cellular is a perk. So is the simplified billing, ease of adding/removing devices/people from your account, and the ability to adjust your plan on the fly with no restriction. You also don't have to pay extra for international data usage at full speeds.
  • Sprint not so much. And US Cellular as long as you're in their coverage area. In the next couple years T Mobile will have expanded so much that Sprint will be irrelevant I think
  • Fi already uses T-Mobile, and automatically selects faster available networks based on where you are. It's an advantage over just having only T-Mo coverage.
  • Perhaps. But T-Mo doesn't have a single tower in my county, much to my frustration.
  • Does fi get wifi calling and volte?
  • Yes and yes.
  • Yup, it does.
  • Is tethering included in this new plan?
  • It always has been, the plans are only changing with having a price guarantee now.
  • Yes, there's no restriction on tethering or any other kind of data usage. You pay for the GB, you do what you want with it.
  • If your average usage is what you say your bill would be anywhere from $50-70/month on Fi. Plus you get better coverage.
  • T Mobile is STILL better!
  • Fi has TMobile haha
  • Very cool.
    I'm locked in a contract for 8 more months, then I'll make the move... 👍
  • Great news! I've never used this much data, but glad to know I don't need to worry about it if it comes up.
  • Yup, that's exactly the point of this.
  • Damn looks very tempting now, is there a way to sign up without losing my Google voice number. Yeah I know I can sign up under a different account but wanted to see if I can sign up on my main account without losing the Google voice number.
  • When you sign up they ask you if you want to use your Google Voice number. If you choose no, you give up your GV number.
  • You can move your Google Voice number to another Google account. If that's not an option, you have to choose to either lose the GV number or your cell number. BTW, a Fi number can not be used as a destination for a GV number (I can't add my Fi number as one of my ring numbers should my GV number be called).
  • You have to port your Google Voice number to Project Fi, or use a different Google account. I was worried at first, but honestly Project Fi has been so good it was worth moving my GV number over. Just know that Fi doesn't have a 1:1 feature parity with Google Voice.
  • Sold! This is what I've been waiting for and just switched to get off of the Big Red's network.
  • Anyone know how the Free data only SIM count in this plan?
  • That's a good question... I'm wondering the same thing.
  • I imagine it's still free, and still pulls from the same data pool.
  • A data-only SIM pulls from the same data pool. Just like if you have multiple devices you switch between or have a group plan with multiple people.
  • Signing up. I usually average about a $60-60/month bill on Fi. There have been a few months that I got into the $80-90/ month. This would save me that $10 in the high end, and my bill will be the same as it is now. Good job Google.
  • I would really like to switch to Fi, but there is no way they even come close to Walmart Family Mobile. I get 6GB of data before throttling, and my wife gets 3GB, for a little under $68/month. The most data I've ever used in a billing cycle is just under 5GB, and that is rare. It's usually around 3GB. I have the Moto X4 Android One version, so I actually have the Fi sim sitting in the box. But even if I used just 3GB or less each month, Fi would still be $100/month for my wife and I. That's well over $300/year over my Family Mobile plan. If Fi lowered their rates to $5/GB, I'd jump in a heartbeat.
  • I love Fi but the data rate should be 7 a gig.... Or 10 for the first gig 7 each gig after... Something like that...oh... And entry (calls and text) should be 15 or 17... Just to undercut the big carriers
  • The article says: "The only catch, as is always the case with "unlimited" plans, is that Project Fi does start to throttle speeds once you've hit 15GB of data usage for the month. At that point, your speeds drop to 256kbps." Google says: "When someone on your plan uses 15 GB of free data, they'll get data speeds of 256 kbps until the next cycle starts. All other members will get full data speeds until they use 15 GB of free data." The key difference here is that Google says "15GB of FREE data". I take that to mean, for example, that if you're a single user with a 6GB pay data cap, you'll be able to use an additional 15GB of FREE data (for a total of 21GB: 6GB + 15GB) before you are throttled. This needs to be confirmed and clarified.
  • You always pay $10/GB up to 6GB per month. Anything above 6GB is indeed "free" because you don't pay anything more for it. Your speeds are slowed after 15GB of usage, down to 256 kbps. I think you're getting slightly confused over Google's wording talking about group plans. What it's saying there is that each line has its own data allotment before it gets throttled. Aka if you have your kids on your Fi plan, them using 15GB and getting throttled doesn't start throttling your phone, too.
  • I understand about the shared plans. I'm not confused at all. My point is Google says "15GB of free data". They don't say "9GB of free data" (i.e. 15GB minus the 6GB you pay for). If they really meant that users will be throttled at 15GB of total data usage, why did they say "15GB of free data"?
  • Alright, I just looked again at the site and Google has updated the page. It no longer says "15GB of free data". It now says "15GB of data". So that clarifies it.
  • Do people on project fi get all the cool carrier aggregation, etc?
  • Are taxes and fees included in that cost?
  • Found my answer, taxes and fees are not included
  • That is correct. T-Mo is really leading that.
  • I'm glad to live in Europe... €25 / month for 5GB / day, which can be extended for free with one sms.
  • Ok so Music needs:google play music
    TV needs: google play movies, youtube & youtube TV
    Social needs: Google +, Youtube
    Phone needs: Gooogle pixel
    Laptop; Pixel Chromebook
    Data: project fi Unlimited All thats left for me to never leave googles grasp is an amazon competitior
  • I don't see how this beats $60 for unlimited on MetroPCS. I know Fi also uses Sprint and US Cellular networks but that doesn't really sound enticing to me. Do you have to bring your own device or buy a Pixel outright?
  • I spend around 14GB a month....I also only pay a monthly 60 dollar bill at Tmobile due to my work discount....almost there google...almost there.
  • Close, but $60/month capped for a single line is what would make me jump. I have the hardware, bought and paid for, oh well.
  • For those on TMo (or Metro PCS) thinking about Fi, just know that taxes are not included in the monthly price. For example, we paid $7.43 in taxes and fees last month for our 2 lines that used 2.52 GB of data.
  • Now if they'd just do a family plan.
  • I get unlimited data, sms and speech for 16€/month. No throttling ever. Still I would consider Fi if they could match the prices in Europe if they ever consider coming here.
  • The only thing that bugs me is that you don't even get Google services (music, etc) for free like I do with Tmobile. Seems a little backwards....
  • Fi worked great for awhile. We paid about $45 for 2 lines using about 0.5 Gb of data. Then T-Mobile introduced One Unlimited 55+ for a flat $60. We switched. Oh yeah.
  • Looking at the costs I think UK get very cheap deals.
    I can't get a bloody signal half the time but at least it's cheaper.