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Google puts its own spin on unlimited data plan

Project Fi phone

Google has unveiled a new offering for it MVNO Fi, rebranding unlimited data tariffs as Bill Protection.

To put the Bill Protection plan in the same bracket as the other unlimited data plans would be a bit cruel, as Google has put a bit of a unique twist which we quite like. Just another example of Google doing what it does best; making things awkward for market incumbents.

“With Project Fi, we built our $10/GB “pay for what you use” pricing to put you in control of your phone plan and how much you pay for it,” said Marcia Jung, Product Manager for Project Fi. “Today, we’re taking the next step in that journey with Bill Protection: a new take on a phone plan that combines the simplicity of our existing pricing with the flexibility of an unlimited plan.”

Those who sign up to the plan will pay $10 for every GB of data consumed, until 6GB is reached. From this point onwards, there will be no additional charges for the customer, though speeds will be throttled when you actually get to 14 GB for the month.

We quite like the idea as it puts the control back in the hands of the consumer. Don’t know if you’re going to exceed 6 GB this month, don’t worry about it. Other carriers in the US offer much more stringent plans; if you want unlimited you have to pay for irrelevant as to whether you use the data or not; Google’s doesn’t hold you to the full value of an unlimited plan upfront. It should be noted that Google is throttling speeds a lot sooner than competitors though. T-Mobile US, for instance, won’t force the user onto lower speeds until 26 GB is hit.

Few people should be surprised about this move, which could be a good plug for cash-strapped consumers, as the idea of disruption is built into the foundations of the brand. Fi is relatively unique as an MVNO due to the fact it is not limited to one network, which is the usual approach. Google has partnerships with three carriers, which allows the OS to search for the strongest signal (whether it is one of these networks or wifi) to offer the best experience.

Another interesting perk of Fi is the wifi connection. It has the potential to be irritating, but the clever Googlers have addressed that. Fi will search for the strongest available wifi signal which does not require any action to get connected (such as, enter a password, watch an ad, or check-in).

While Google Fi hasn’t really set the world on fire to date, it has been putting some good ideas out there. Maybe once all these good ideas are stacked up people will start paying attention.

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