Digital Nomads: Google Fi Has Arrived for the iPhone

by Nov 29, 2018

Digital Nomads: Google Fi Has Arrived for the iPhone

by | Nov 29, 2018

Google Fi launched in 2015 as the company’s attempt to create it’s own cell phone service as a cheaper alternative to what’s already out there. The thing is that until this week it was still in “project” mode and only available to a select few Android devices. Well no more, because this week Google officially dropped the “project” title and announced that Google Fi will now be open to iPhones as well. This is huge news for digital nomads or anyone who travels internationally often.

What is Google Fi?

google-fi-iphone-digital-nomad

Google Fi is what is called a MVNO which stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. This means that technically there is no such thing as Google Fi service, but that instead it allows your phone to switch between several different network operators depending on which one has the best service.

In the United States Google Fi has signed deals with T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular.

The little caveat on this though is that few phones on the market have the ability to use an MVNO – all Pixels, LG V35 ThinQ, Moto X4, and the Moto G6.

As you can see the iPhone is not on that list which means that if you use Google Fi on your iPhone you won’t be able to switch between carriers. In this case when you’re in the US your phone will use T-Mobile exclusively.

Google Fi for International Travelers

Even if you don’t have one of the phones mentioned above to make use of the MVNO, Google Fi is an amazing choice for people who travel internationally often or digital nomads.

Google Fi has brokered deals with carriers in over 170 countries which means that just about anywhere you go you will have service and data without having to switch out SIM cards.

There are a several countries in which Google Fi does not work (here’s a handy map) but possibly the most important one to be aware of is Vietnam. Unfortunately this popular digital nomad destination is not covered by Google Fi yet, so you if you are going there you will still need to get a local SIM.

Making calls internationally on Google Fi will cost you 20 cents per minute, but honestly this shouldn’t be much of a problem with an abundance of WiFi spots (WiFi calling is supported except on iPhones…for now) and options like Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber.

The big issue until now for many people was that you had to have an Android phone, but as of this week you can now use the service even if you have an iPhone

Google Fi for iPhone

Now that the iPhone is supported on Google Fi the process to sign up is pretty straight forward. To sign up just head over to the Google Fi Sign Up page and follow the steps to create an account.

From here the process is pretty straightforward and even though setting up the network with iPhone has a few extra steps you get walked through the entire process.

A few other things to know before signing up for Google Fi with you iPhone:

  • you will have to download the official Google Fi iOS app to help you through the process
  • your iPhone needs to be unlocked

What does Google Fi Cost?

Finally, let’s talk about price. Google Fi only has one plan that gets adjusted to your needs every month.

The base cost is $20 per person (you can add another line for an additional $15) and $10 per gigabyte of data that you use.

If you end up using a ton of data you will be charged up to 6GB and from then on your data usage is free.

The cool thing with this plan is that you only pay for what you use. If you are like me and don’t use much data then this becomes a very affordable option. If however, you need more data next month for whatever reason you would pay extra.

The Google Fi app makes it really easy to track your data usage and how that affects your cost.

This cost remains the same no matter if you use it in the US or internationally removing tons of headaches that as digital nomads and travelers we’ve had to deal with for years.

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