A few of my friends have picked up Project Fi, a wireless plan offered by Google. This is an innovative service because you can switch between US Cellular, T-Mobile, and Sprint networks in America. Pricing is also very reasonable.
There’s only one plan, starting at $20 per month. The plan requires a minimum of 1GB of data, with each additional GB costs $10. If you don’t use all the data during your billing cycle, you’ll get a refund based on your usage. For new subscribers, you can get a $20 credit for signing up and using the service.
The best part for travellers, however, is that all data is the same price. This is whether you are using data in the US or roaming in any of their included countries. Google Fi is officially supported by selected Google Pixel and Nexus models.
However, Canadians can get Project Fi. There are a few steps you need to complete, but it’s pretty easy to set everything up. As well, Project Fi works with any unlocked device. I use Project Fi with my iPhone with little to no issues, and there are plenty of other accounts online that echo my experience.
For the longest time, I’ve had T-Mobile service for my travels abroad, because they pioneered international data roaming. I’ve now had the service for three years, and don’t plan on dropping it anytime soon since they added coverage for Canada and Mexico. It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve had a $10 Data Plan and now a $20 Voice and Data Plan with no limits. However, I’ve gotten quite dissatisfied with the international roaming speeds from T-Mobile. Even though nothing has changed, I feel the data quality has gotten worse and worse.
Project Fi Canada – Can Canadians Get It?
Even though Google Fi is targeted to the US, Canadians can still get this service. Here are the step-by-step instructions:
- Sign up for Google Fi with a US-based account in the US (or using a VPN).
- Wait for the SIM to be delivered to your US address.
- Download the Project Fi app on Android.
- Activate the SIM Card with a supported device (Nexus/Pixel)
Getting a US Account Using a VPN
This step is very easy. You will have to sign up for a new email address, as you cannot not change countries for existing accounts. You must physically be in the US, or using a VPN with a US location for the account to be eligible. If you don’t have a VPN I recommend ExpressVPN or TunnelBear. For more details about either service, view my post about them here.
Ship the SIM to your US Address
The easiest way to get the the SIM delivered right at your doorstep is to use a US mail-forwarding service. I highly recommend using Shipito, a fantastic company with excellent customer service. The best part is that it’s free to sign up! Shipito charges you for the actual shipping cost and only $2 per package, which is extremely reasonable.
Download and Activate
Now, all you need to do is activate the SIM in a Google Pixel or Nexus phone. With this, I used my friend’s device. If all your friends use iPhones, don’t worry – you can always buy a phone at BestBuy. Now, you’re ready to use Google Fi anywhere!
Here’s a recap: To get Project Fi in Canada, you need a US address, a US-based Google Account, and a Nexus or Pixel Device. This is the only way to do it. The SIM can only be delivered to a US address; shipping is free. After activating the SIM card with a Google phone, you can then use it in any unlocked device. The network switching, however, will not work on an iPhone.
All this was pretty effortless for me, and it should be pretty easy for you given that I’ve done all the work for you. 🙂
Project Fi Canada Review
The speeds internationally are quite good. As per the screenshot below (roaming in Canada on Bell), I’ve gotten speeds anywhere from 2-12 Mbps. It’s sufficient for social media, browsing the web, and using most apps.
Google Fi works with the same carriers and countries as T-Mobile, so coverage is comprehensive. The more data you use, the more your monthly bill will cost. Project Fi is perfect, except just be aware that you may run into technical issues with unsupported devices. This occurs less than 1% of the time, so for me wasn’t a big hassle.
There were two countries where Google Fi could have run more smoothly. In Switzerland, my data wasn’t working, but the fix was tinkering with the network settings. It was pretty easy with a walkthrough on Reddit. In Peru, the primary network didn’t support data, so I had to go in to manually switch carriers. Overall this didn’t really bother me. Support for Google Fi is great because all their call center representatives are based in North America.
If you have instead a supported device like a Pixel, everything should work fine. In that case, getting Project Fi should be a no-brainer. Even if you use an iPhone I still highly recommend it.
Summary – Project Fi Canada
Project Fi has been huge for me. It is able to replace a local SIM (price-wise and usage-wise) in most countries. I love it when my flight in a foreign country and my phone just works. If you travel, getting Project Fi should be a no-brainer. You can pause your service online for up to 30 days, so you don’t have to be billed while at home.
This will save you so much money over normal roaming plans, especially with Canadian wireless providers. While it isn’t perfect because I have an iPhone, I love the speeds offered, and it helps me stay connected on trips. While T-Mobile is cheaper as it includes unlimited international data roaming, Canadians cannot get it without a credit check. You can get Project Fi easily in Canada by following the above steps.