I used the Project Fi service on my phone and tablet while in Amsterdam (trip reports) and Jamaica (trip report) earlier this year and this is a report about it. I also used it in Vancouver (trip report) but that report is posted here. I use an application called Signal Check on my cellphone which can display information about my cellular and WiFi connections.
This screen shows that I’m connected to T-Mobile using LTE on a 700 MHz Band 12 connection. I’m also connected to the WiFi in the Delta SkyClub. Project Fi uses the T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular networks when you are in the US for primary coverage. It uses the T-Mobile network and it’s international roaming agreements for coverage outside the US.
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I can’t imagine going on a trip and not having a working cellphone for calls, text messages, and internet access. I’ve tried to just use WiFi for connectivity when on International trips, and while it can be done in some places, it’s not always convenient. I’ve also tried adding on extra cost International Roaming packages to my cellphone when I used AT&T, and that was expensive. I’ve bought a local SIM for cheaper rates, but that requires an unlocked handset and your number changes to something different than what everyone knows as yours, and is trying to call.
The screen above was when I was in Amsterdam and roaming onto the T-Mobile system with a LTE connection. I was also connected to the WiFi system in the KLM Airlines Lounge at the airport.
Project Fi just works with my existing phone and number whenever I go to more than 100 countries worldwide. You get a welcome message like the one above, informing you of the rates. Data is still just $10 per GB which means it is no more expensive than when I am at home in the US. In many countries it is noticeably slower but still works well for email and maps.
The screen above is when I was in Jamaica, and only had a cellular connection. I was roaming and connected to the Digicel system using HSPA which is a slower method than LTE.
Project Fi can use WiFi data connections for calling, receiving calls, and sending and receiving text messages so it’s still possible to use WiFi for reducing costs and expanding coverage areas. I have a data only Project Fi SIM installed in one of my tablets, and it had data service while I was in Jamaica and Amsterdam as well.
If you don’t mind using one of the phones that Project Fi supports, and you don’t use a great deal of data, I think it’s a great solution for the person who travels internationally and wants easy, hassle free service and connectivity. My phone bill wasn’t $10 more than usual when I was travelling and had some voice calls charged at .20 a minute that would have normally been included in monthly service. I don’t talk that much, so your experience might be different.