TECH

Google Launches 'Project Fi', A Mobile Network Designed To Never Lose Signal

23/04/2015 11:45 BST | Updated 23/04/2015 12:59 BST

Google has unveiled its very own mobile network and it's called 'Project Fi'. Launching in the US to begin with it's an experimental attempt to create an umbrella network that'll only charge you for the data you use.

It's only available in beta at the moment and will only be available to Nexus 6 customers as they're the only people that have a phone compatible with how 'Project Fi' works.

nexus 6

Still confused? We were, so here's how it works:

'Project Fi' can switch between WiFi and data seamlessly.

Google has partnered up with two of the largest mobile networks in the US; Sprint and T-Mobile. That means that people with a 'Project Fi' phone will be able to use both network's data. Imagine it as being able to seamlessly switch between O2, EE and Three all while on a single contract.

There's more though. Google will also give you instant access to over a million free WiFI hotspots so the phone will be constant searching for the fastest source of data, whether it's a network or WiFI. It'll then switch over as and when it needs to without you having to do a thing.

'Project Fi' will only charge you for the data you use.

With fixed data allowances there are always going to be situations when you find yourself locked into a contract where you'll either constantly end up going over your data allowance, or in some cases, going under.

To combat that, 'Project Fi' offers you a set contract of say $20 per month for unlimited calls, texting, WiFi and then 1GB of data.

If you end up using only 500MB of data that month, Google will refund you the difference. Same applies to its 2GB, 3GB plans and so on.

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'Project Fi' is an experiment, nothing more.

This is the important bit. The fact that Google has persuaded two major networks to share each other's coverage can not have been an easy task. They're obviously competitors so the idea that they'd happily roll this out on future phones is, well, optimistic.

Then there's the problem with the smartphones themselves. Not only will you need the Nexus 6 (thanks to its dual-antenna capabilities) but you'll also need a special SIM that can work across multiple networks. Both of these things are rare in smartphones today so you certainly wouldn't be able to just switch over tomorrow using your iPhone 6 or HTC One M9.