Is Google’s Project Fi A Game Changer?
So now Google is getting into the cell business. First here are some basics we have seen reported so far.
- Nexus 6 is the only device available (e.g. no iPhone).
- The service is built on T-Mobile & Sprint networks.
- No contract required.
- $20/mo. unlimited talk/text, then $10 per gig of data per month.
- Pay for only what you use. Use 1/2 gig of data, get a $5 credit at the end of the month.
- WiFi tethering is included.
Here is Google’s promo on YouTube.
Apple has long been a proponent of integrating hardware, software, etc. that way the entire user experience is control, optimized, and seamless. Of course this is at a premium because there is no competition in the hardware space to leverage OSx or iOS apps. Microsoft takes a more open approach. Goggle countered with Android to then put their open OS on devices to compete with iOS for phones and tablets. The Nexus came out as Google’s answer to the iPhone.
The interesting dynamic to all of this is that ISP are getting beat up (rightfully so IMO) for not being net-neutral and filtering / throttling traffic such that it disrupts the consumer to use their premium services such as on demand movies versus say Amazon Prime which is free. Now that google is getting into the ISP space by leasing bandwidth, it makes you wonder if they will maintain net neutrality. This certainly gives them a lot more opportunities to track your usage behaviors to further enhance the demographic data they have on the respective consumer.
The other subtle fact is that its leased bandwidth between T-Mobile and Sprint. Neither alone are known for their network quality. Certainly beyond the northeast corridor. But combining the networks, makes for an interesting play assuming Google software can switch seamlessly between the network in addition to leveraging wifi hotspots as well to compete with ATT and Verizon’s coverage service.
In the end, disruption is good. It’s what makes a free market tick that drives competition and technical evolution. As did the iPhone change how we use a phone and make Blackberry’s almost obsolete, Google Project Fi might just make ATT and Verizon give more competitive pricing. Cell service will be commoditized at some point as did electric, wired telephone, and other utilities. But the devil is in the details and reading the end user agreement should say what Google plans to do with the information they gather in this project and if they are over reaching by the level of integration this brings.