Should I switch from Verizon to Project Fi?
October 23, 2017 11:01 AM   Subscribe

I'm currently a longtime Verizon customer (out of contract and on an old plan that is no longer supported). I just bought a Google Pixel 2 directly from Google. Should I switch to Project Fi or stick with Verizon? Snowflakes inside...

Here's my situation:
  • I use between 1.5 and 2.5 GB data per month (on average) with some months running closer to 3GB (and once 5.5 GB) due to travel.
  • I regularly make international calls to the UK.
  • I live in New York City.
  • I regularly travel for work (mostly within the US or to the UK, but sometimes to other places).
  • I currently use Google Voice for voicemail.
If I stick with Verizon, I will go for the 5GB "new" Verizon plan. This will cost me $40 for the plan, $20 for line access, and $15 for free calls to the UK. I also receive an employee discount, so in total this will come to $65.80 plus taxes and fees. I will continue to use Google Voice for voicemail. I will also purchase a pay-as-you-go SIM from Three for use in the UK.

If I switch to Project Fi, I will estimate my data usage as roughly 2GB per month. This will cost me $40, plus taxes and fees. I will use Project Fi for voicemail, and my Google Voice number will be discontinued. Calling the UK will cost me at most $0.17 per minute (depends on who I am calling) if I'm not using WiFi. I will use Project Fi in the UK and calls will cost $0.20 per minute if I am not using WiFi (data is billed as usual).

As I see it, the pros of switching are:
  • Could be cheaper, depending on how many international calls I make.
  • Don't need a pay-as-you-go SIM in the UK.
The cons of switching are:
  • Worse coverage/service.
  • Could be more expensive, depending on how many international calls I make.
  • I would need to get a new Google Voice number if I switched back to Verizon (though no one knows my GV number, so this isn't a huge deal).
Have I missed anything? What would you do? And if you have relevant experiences with Project Fi (or Verizon) I'd love to hear them.
posted by unhappyprofessor to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I switched from T-Mobile instead of Verizon, but I'm super happy with my Fi service. You mentioned that your number becomes a Google Voice number, and this is my favorite pro - your texts and voicemails come through hangouts, and your voicemails are automatically transcribed. This was something I hadn't considered before switching and it is one of my favorite features. I love responding to texts through Google Chat and reading instead of listening to voicemails. I had a Google Voice number too, and I simply created a dummy Gmail account and transferred it to the new account in case I ever want to use it again.

If I'm doing the math correctly, the equivalent of the $15 free UK calls will be 75 minutes of calling the UK with Google Fi. If you want to be mathematical about this, I guess you could add up previous UK calls to see if they > 75 minutes, and compare any potential overage with the cost of the pay-as-you-go SIM usage.

Personally, I'd do it - I really like the simplicity of Google Fi and knowing my data is billed at the same rate when I travel internationally. My bills tend to be $35-45 a month. I also like that I'm billed only for what I use, and never more.
posted by beyond_pink at 11:16 AM on October 23, 2017

A +1 for Fi. Been using it for a long time, came off an old Verizon unlimited plan for it, and I've been super happy. Service has been no less better than what I experienced on Verizon, even though I'm floating between two networks not known for quality. Super bonus for me is that when I go to my parents who live in the backwoods, even though no carrier gets cell phone service at their house, I still do since it switches to wifi calling.
posted by deezil at 11:22 AM on October 23, 2017

I switched from Verizon (unlimited plan) and am very happy.

Some benefits that you didn't highlight (and might no longer be true - don't know the current status of verizon): Seriously, the customer services is awesome.

Also if you wanted, you could still get the prepaid sim with project fi to use if you're in a location that won't support wifi calling.

Project Fi is no contract, so you could always cancel if you don't like it. Is the Verizon plan no-contract? If not, I would definitely just try the Project Fi plan (before the Verizon) for a few months.

To add to beyond_pink, you also don't have to use google hangouts as your text message app if you do not want to.
posted by czytm at 11:24 AM on October 23, 2017

Fi x1000. My husband is in the UK right now. We Google Duo'd last night for free. Also, once you part a tiny bit of attention to when you're on WiFi, you'll probably use much less data most months. My typical bill from Fi with a Nexus is $35.
posted by mirabelle at 12:10 PM on October 23, 2017

The only reason to be hesitant to move to Fi is if your travel across the country takes you to places where T-Mobile and Sprint coverage is spotty or non-existent. Otherwise, make the switch and if the savings you expect don't materialize, I guarantee Verizon will be happy to open a new account for you.
posted by wierdo at 12:17 PM on October 23, 2017

I've had mixed results with Fi and the customer service was adequate but not stellar. Coverage has been pretty good, but odd areas with no coverage (Stockbridge, MA?). I have done a lot of international usage and the data speeds have been inconsistent even in areas where coverage should be excellent (central Copenhagen, international airports slow 3g?). This all started after Fi sent me a message welcoming me to Sweden when I most definitely was not in Sweden. The kicker is that you must be in the US to reactivate the phone which makes it harder for me to try some fixes, but it sounds like that is not an issue for you. The convenience of not having to get a new sim or a pay as you go when in a new place pretty much outweighs those cons though. Plane lands--you're connected and everyone already knows your number.
posted by Gotanda at 4:06 PM on October 23, 2017

I've had a similar experience to others here: came over to Fi from grandfathered Verizon unlimited plan. I've really enjoyed it, and convinced my wife to move over, too. International travel was a breeze (through Japan, China, and Thailand, though, so can't confirm UK experiences), and I had much better reception than I had anticipated driving through empty Montana (mostly 3G with 4G in major cities; some no-reception areas, like surrounded by mountains in Glacier National Park).

I keep thinking about exploring other options (I'm intrigued by phones outside the Fi-approved list), but can't break away from Hangouts-integrated SMS, where I can text from my computer even if my phone is off. That also lets you receive texts over wifi, which I'm not sure if is common, but is really useful for someone who works in basement mechanical rooms a lot, where there's often wifi, but no cell signal.
posted by BevosAngryGhost at 9:28 AM on October 24, 2017

Response by poster: Okay, you all convinced me! I've made the switch! Thanks, everyone.
posted by unhappyprofessor at 11:40 AM on October 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older Hurricane Harvey flood maps   |   Classic sailing novels Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.