Skip to main content

Should you use your Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL on Project Fi?

If you're already set on buying a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, or even have one already, you may be thinking about switching carriers at the same time. Google's own Project Fi service is quite popular, but unless you had a previous Nexus or Pixel phone, you haven't even had the choice to use it. So now that you can use Project Fi, we're going to help you decide whether or not it's the right carrier for your shiny new Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL.

Who should use their Pixel 2 on Project Fi?

Project Fi

Project Fi has a solid set of clear advantages when compared to a "traditional" carrier. For the most part, it boils down to just how simple Project Fi is compared to the competition. With Fi, you don't have any sort of contract, fine print, agreements or even set plans to decide on. You simply pay $20 per month for the base service, and then $10 per gigabyte of data thereafter. That's it! The Fi app and website make your data usage, account management, and billing super simple, removing the stress of dealing with your phone service. You also get a combined nationwide cell network that utilizes T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular towers.

Project Fi is simple, flexible, and intuitive — so long as you don't use much data.

That makes Project Fi useful for people who need to have coverage wherever they go, but at the same time are willing to actively cut back on data usage to save money. Data usage is billed down to the megabyte, so every time you hop on Wi-Fi or wait to make a big download there's a direct correlation to having a lower bill at the end of the month. If you're regularly in the 2-3GB range monthly, you will probably find this to be a good deal compared to your current service.

If you use your phone internationally often, Project Fi is a fantastic choice. You can use your phone exactly as you do at home and pay the same $10/GB, and even save on calls back to the U.S. when you use Wi-Fi or the Hangouts Dialer (opens in new tab). You don't have to change your plan or buy an international package before you leave — just turn on your phone in a new country, and you have service right away.

Sign up for Project Fi

Who should use their Pixel 2 on a different carrier?

SIM cards

Conversely, many of the core tenets of Project Fi can make it instantly unappealing to many Pixel 2 owners. The biggest issue for most people will be the cost of data. At $10 per gigabyte, with no savings or discounts available, Fi gets really expensive if you're using a lot of data on a consistent basis. Anyone who uses 5GB or more in an average month will likely be better off paying for one of the unlimited plans available from the other carriers.

If you use lots of data or have a demanding family plan, you should look elsewhere.

The same goes for people who want to combine multiple lines of service with a family plan. Project Fi does offer a group plan option, but the savings with extra lines are minimal and in the end the same $10/GB data restriction is going to get in the way. The limitation of only being able to use Nexuses, Pixels and the Android One Moto X4 on Project Fi may also be a consideration if you need an inexpensive phone for your children on a family plan.

One other aspect of this whole comparison to consider is that you don't have to stick with Project Fi if you're just looking to save money. Yes Project Fi can be a very inexpensive way to get service on a new Pixel, but there are also many great prepaid carriers that offer more data for the money — just remember it comes at the expense of many of the extra features that make Fi so appealing.

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

53 Comments
  • This is a must have for international travel. The transition is smooth. Arrive at your destination. Turn on your phone, and you have service. Friends and family can call or text using your US phone number. When you don't need Fi, your can pause the service.
  • This a million times. Incredible service abroad, and you can just reactivate service for those trips. Absolute no brainer. Every Pixel owner should have a Fi SIM card for these situations, even if that's the only time they use it.
  • Tmobile has unlimited free international roaming as well......
  • Unlimited free roaming at ~2G speeds. Fi is as fast as it can be.
  • Yes, that is true. For emails and occasional map/browser uses Tmobile is fine, but for everything else you need at least 3G+
  • You should say "yes that is true, now let me make an excuse". I just got back from Cebu City Philippines and was getting 24mbs down on Project Fi most of the time. Why would I settle for 2G on Tmobile?
  • Because not everyone uses that much data.....and most dont even need 24mbs (thats my home wifi speed). I also just came back from EU trip and person traveling with me almost never touched her Tmobile phone in 2 weeks.....just to check emails, get MMS, and some map use.
    People have to realize that Tmobile offered international roaming a very long time ago and it was always free...PS canada and mexico are uncapped by the way.
  • I would like to use project fi for international travel, but do i also have to pay the $20 minimum also? if thats the case then getting a sim card abroad is a better value to me(for me)
  • This link will give you a $20 credit when you join Fi. ! Redeem it at https://fi.google.com/about/?rc=8H6198&utm_source=Website&utm_campaign=R...
  • I would love to use Fi, but being a Google Voice user makes it complicated. I use my Google voice number as my primary number, but use my carrier number for work and other purposes. It would be great if Google had an option to use new number as your Fi number and keep GV separate. Alternatively a separate Google account could be used for Fi, which obviously creates other challenges.
  • I took this into account and created a second Google account for my fi number. So I have my main Gmail with Google vice and a second (GloryUprising)fi account for Google fi. I took the Google fi account and forwarded all emails to my main account and viola getting best of both worlds. Best part is I can have my Google voice forward to fi. And it's transparent to callers.
  • I have never been able to get my Gvoice to forward to fi. It always errors for me since they use the same backend. I basically have to use hangouts to receive Voice calls.
  • I've been on Fi for over two years now and really like it... Thought I'd regret giving up unlimited data but my over all cell phone bill for the year still ends up much lower... The thing about unlimited is that it's only a good deal if you consistently use a lot of data... There have been many months that my fi bill is under 35 dollars and some more that it's been under 25 ... Saves me a lot of money long term and service has been fine... customer service is easy to contact too and has been almost always great.
  • One thing that always gets missed is that the data is per user, not per device. So, if you have LTE tablets (or, any other device you can plug a SIM into), that data is charged at the same rate, with NO DEVICE CHARGE! My spouse and I have two phones and two LTE tablets, and (thanks to being on Wi-Fi most of the time) our combined monthly bill is typically under $60. Most other carriers have a $10-20 device charge for additional LTE devices, which can really add up.
  • If the math makes sense for you, yes! And like@PhiPsi32 said, international travel is seamless.
  • Been on Fi for 2 years...it's a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned. My wife and I have 1 GB each and we rarely go over that. Excluding device charges our monthly bill is around $52.
  • Do y'all share one gig or each have one gig Otherwise 20+15+10+10....before taxes already $55....
  • Not for me -- I use way too much data for Fi.
  • Your perception is NOT everyone's reality. I was ALSO a heavy data user and have yet to have a bill over $100 even when I used 4gbs one month in the Philippines.
  • Neither is yours. I wouldn't say 4gbs is much at all. I'd say like 8 to 12gbs is more what he's saying. Maybe even 20. And then you're paying $100-$250 for the month.
  • One other advantage is Google's open WiFi hotspots which reduce the need to use your LTE data while on the go.
  • This. Unless I'm on a trip somewhere, I never go over 4-5GB per month because most places i regularly visit kicks the Google wifi connector thingamajiggy into gear.
  • I've been on Fi for two years now and the main issue I have is cell coverage in my suburb, which is by no means rural. FI advertises that it will switch back and forth between cell and wifi depending on which is strongest. But, I've found Fi will always favor weak cell over strong wifi. When I make and receive calls from home, FI usually chooses weak cell, and then my calls break up and drop -- even though I have 100 Mbps FIOS internet. I find I need to put my phone in airplane mode and then turn on wifi so that it forces FI to make/receive calls via wifi. This can be a little annoying.
  • I live in a VERY rural area. It makes me laugh that you have FIO's and you state you have Fi coverage issues. Where I live your only choice for internet is either Exede satellite or Hughsnet satellite. For TV it Dish or Direct TV. We dont even have DSL out here. SO, I have no Fi signal except US Cell and its 0 bars. THE SOLUTION to make WIFI calls is to use the Hangouts dialer when making your calls. Does WIFI every time at my house and works fine.
  • Agreed, you can force wifi outbound calls by using the Hangouts dialer...but I need to force FI to choose wifi for inbound calls...hence airplane mode with wifi turned on. Funny how we each have our own use cases.
  • Please dont disparage Project Fi just because you are a Google hater or a Pixel basher. Project Fi users are happy and rarely ever leave the service.
  • I like the pay per GB model best. Other carriers have brackets. You choose the amount of data based on the Max that you may use. Well a lot of people have an odd month where they may go way over that (like me). With Fi you only get charged for what you use. If you go over, you don't get throttled, you just pay a little bit more. When I was away on vacation, I obviously use more data because I am on my local Wifi less. That is exactly the time, I don't want throttled. I also do not want to move up in data to the next bracket for one exception.
  • I've been on Fi since it launched and am very happy with the service. I've got my aunt on Fi as well. I just upgraded her phone to the Nexus 6P now that I have my Pixel 2XL on order. Sure, T-Mo has great deals, but I really don't use that much data in order to make the switch. I'm on a 3 GB plan and never go over it no matter how hard I try. I really want a pair of the earbuds though. It has always been a dream to able to understand what my mother and aunt are saying when they try to hide it by speaking in Japanese. Now, I'll be able to understand what they are saying.
  • Just don't let them know what the ear-buds can do.
  • Fi is perfect for me. Good WiFi at home and work with 2 miles in between. Used over a GB last month because of power outages from our frequent Hurricanes. Last year no LTE on Sprint. This year never lost LTE on Fi. To be fair our storm was much worse last year in Savannah and I assume they had time to firm up some weak areas. But, with T-Mobile and Sprint available (usually T-Mobile at my house) It was nice to still have internet when the power was out. Fi is all I need in a carrier and my bill is usually less than $30. Looks like maybe $26 dollars this month. Should get my Pixel 2 XL in 2 weeks. Plan to add the $5 insurance back that I lost when I switched from a 5X to a refurbished Pixel XL.
  • I've been on. Project Fi for over a year. If you use 4gb or less, it'll probably save you money. Customer service is great. I've never had issues with coverage either. I must admit I'm on wifi a lot. Getting a refund on unused data is great. As a single person, I don't need to pay a major carrier $70+. If you travel internationally, it's a no brainer. If you want to try Fi, use this link & you'll get a $20 credit upon joining Fi. Redeem it at https://fi.google.com/about/?rc=8H6198&utm_source=Website&utm_campaign=R...
  • I have Sprint and ever since they added free 10GB of tethering, I've given up idea of moving to Fi. For Sprint you pay $60/month, so if you regularly use more than 4GB, then Fi costs more. Both have free international data, although with Sprint it's 2G speeds or $25/week if you want high speed. This means regularly use 7GB of data a month or more, then Sprint is still a better value when traveling. Fi really needs to step up and lower the price per GIG to $5, to lower the break-even point to 8GB if they want to capture more of the market. Either that or zero-rate some of the services. A 4GB break-even point used to be competitive two years ago, but not any more.
  • Additional points (some already mentioned): pausing the service, virtually instantaneous and phenomenal customer support, credit back for unused data, data shared among group, billing done separately for each member and can even be paid independently. Special note: I am working in Japan atm and can use a docomo sim for service here (only because my job requires me to have a Japanese number) while also keeping my Fi service to make and receive phone calls to North America with my regular number for free.
  • I will continue to use Project Fi with my Storm Trooper Panda XL, and I will do so with the eSIM technology.
  • IMO Fi is great unless you can manage to get on a family plan. A few co-workers and I banned together and we're on a TMO unlimited plan paying 35 a month for unlimited everything. When I was on my own Fi was the best deal I could find, on my Nexus 6P.
  • I will be using it on Fi for sure. I barely use 2gb of data a month so this is an easy option for me. It is very rare I go over if at all so any high month will balance out.
  • My brother is on Project Fi and is getting Pixel 2 XL to replace his Nexus 6
    BTW he is getting $130 for trade in for his nexus 6 64GB while I am getting $80 for it on T-Mobile
  • My understanding is that the new Pixel 2 phones have eSim so when you use Fi you won't
    have to have a Sim card. It is already installed..
  • Living on the Gulf Coast of Florida, it was nice to see Fi credit everyone's accounts in the area $20. "For those of you whose indicated billing zip codes are part of impacted areas, we’ll be automatically applying a $20 service credit to your account over the next few days. If you have any other questions or concerns, please know that our support teams stand ready to help and can be reached by dialing 611." Little things like that make a difference to me. It was the thought that counted. The service is the best for me for where I live because of all carriers coverage, not just one or two.
  • People who are 55 and up should take a look at T-Mobile's plan for people in that age bracket: you can get *2* lines of unlimited data for $60/month. That's pretty hard to beat if either of the people on the plan use any significant amount of data. It's the lowest my cell bill has been in a long time.
  • The only real downfall of Fi are the carriers it uses... T-Mobile and Sprint have some pretty bad coverage outside the urban areas. Just know if you frequently travel to remote areas, you will not get the same coverage you would get for example with Verizon.
  • That isn't true. T-Mobile has great coverage outside of maybe 3 States T-Mobile has great coverage equal if not better than AT&T or Verizon. I had Verizon for over 10 yrs, would drop down to 3G constantly, not good. Anyone on Verizon knows Just how bad their 3G is, slow as hell. I travel constantly, in the lady 2+ yrs T-Mobile is killing it. Never been happier. Thank You T-Mobile, Thank You John Legere! 🇺🇸👍
  • Don't believe their online map, it BS. Here's a good example, Oregon, IL. T-mobile shows coverage there. Ask my friend that has T-mobile, she gets zero signal. And, that's just one example. She just lives with it. :(
  • I calculated last year, and with how my wife and I use our data, Fi would cost me 900 dollars,. hahahahah
  • My 15yo son is using a Samsung Galaxy 8 with Netflix, Hulu and Crunchyroll installed. I don't think Project Fi is going to be a money-saver in our case.
  • I live in Canada and will be using my Pixel 2 with a physical SIM card most of the time. I do travel to the US from time to time though - anybody know if a Canadian can use Project Fi? It would be great to use the eSIM when travelling.
  • You can save $20 by using referral code V1542M at checkout. This month's referral gift is a new Chromecast - I already have one and will send the Chromecast to the first person to use my code and claim it!
  • My wife and I don't use a lot of data, thanks to prevalent Wi-Fi, but we were still paying $160 or so per month for two phones and two tablets on AT&T. Now, on Fi, our average bill is less than $60 for those same four devices. One of the best things about Fi is that there are no per-device fees for data-only add-ons. Most carriers charge you $15-20 per tablet, not including data. Fi doesn't. Data used simply is charged at the same rate, regardless of the device used. As for signal, it was a bit choppy in Fi's early days, but lately, we haven't had a single problem. T-Mo and Sprint tend to have opposite signals in our area, so whenever one is bad, the other works just fine. All in all, Fi is awesome. Sure, it's not for everyone, but if you're the "typical" user that uses less than 2 or 3 GB per month, it'll probably save you money -- even more so with multiple data devices.
  • Main benefit of Fi would be people who travel internationally a lot. Being able to "roam" for the same rate as in your home territory is amazing. Other than that, Fi is pretty expensive compared to some of the other MVNOs. I had a better deal with StraightTalk than I did with Fi. Now I'm using MintSim, and no way could Fi touch the deal I get. I rarely leave the US, so I would be well suited to just get a local sim card in whatever country I'm in.
  • For a person on WiFi most of the day, it is a no-brainer. No downside for me except during the Hurricane. Still had LTE though, just cost more. Last year on Sprint, no internet at all. Expensive phone selection, but I Love the Pixel series phones and quick updates.
  • I just switched to Find from Verizon. Have only had it account a month and a half. I do love it. Only issue is I couldn't get my number to port over. Google says it won't work with their providers. I thought there is some federal law that requires every number to be portable.
  • What speeds is everyone getting while on Fi? 3G or 4G?
  • I’ve been using the service for about six months now and it’s been great. I was concerned about the constant switching between cell providers, but it’s been incredibly seamless. I’ve also been able to call my cousin and brother who both live abroad and it only costs one cent per minute. Definitely happy I switched! If anyone is looking to sign up and wants to save 20 bucks, use this: https://fi.google.com/about/?rc=EHC6VC&utm_source=Website&utm_campaign=R...