If you’re a fan of Google’s Project Fi hybrid wireless service, you’ll be happy to learn that the company is expanding network coverage with a third wireless carrier partner: U.S. Cellular. U.S. Cellular will join T-Mobile and Sprint, which have provided a patchwork of coverage across the United States for Project Fi subscribers since its inception.
U.S. Cellular has service in 23 states, providing 4G LTE coverage to 99 percent of its subscribers in both rural and urban areas. The addition of a third wireless carrier is great news for those that were put off by the combined coverage are of T-Mobile and Sprint. While U.S. Cellular definitely isn’t as huge of an addition as a much larger players like Verizon Wireless or AT&T, subscribers can’t argue with having additional coverage and the increased likelihood of having access to 4G LTE speeds.
For those that are unfamiliar with Project Fi, it will route your internet and phone calls through Wi-Fi or a cellular connection depending on variety of factors. For example, if you’re at home or at work on Wi-Fi, your calls, texts, and internet traffic will route through Wi-Fi. However, if you’re out and about without a steady Wi-Fi connection, Project Fi will automatically hop between each of the three wireless carriers based on signal strength and speed.
“The majority of Project Fi usage occurs in areas where more than one of our partners offers LTE coverage. But factors like obstructions from nearby buildings can meaningfully impact the speed and coverage available from each LTE connection,” writes Evan Jacobs, Product Manager for Project Fi. “By analyzing speeds from each network, Project Fi is able to predict the fastest network at your location — down to the city block — and automatically connect you.”
According to Google, having access to three wireless carrier networks allows customer to establish a stable cellular connection 99 percent of the time when needed, and 95% of the time, it’s at LTE speeds.
Project Fi starts at $20/month for unlimited talk and text. Data can be added to your plan at a cost of $10 per gigabyte. For example, a plan that includes 4GB of data would run you a total of $60 per month. You’re also refunded unused data during your billing cycle, so if you only use 2GB of your 4GB plan during the month, you’ll get a bill credit of $20.