A three-year user of Republic Wireless, I found myself intrigued at the idea of Google providing cellular service. I enjoyed Google a bit already and knew it would only be fitting to integrate into their cell service. I had, however, no reason to leave the Republic for Google’s Project Fi.
Like fate, after 8 months with my latest Republic phone (the 3rd Generation Moto G) it started to fail. It froze several times a day. It would randomly reboot. Hearing the person on the other end of the phone was nearly impossible without inserting the earpiece into my ear. How did Google know?
After a lengthy process with Republic and Motorola, trying to “work it out”, I was ready to take the leap. I tried to stay loyal to Republic for so long, but the feeling wasn’t mutual.
Enter Google’s Project Fi.
Signing up: The sign up was easy over at www.fi.google.com. Enter your phone number, select a phone, a little more information, pay, and the phone is on the way!
The phones: While some view the two phone options as severely limiting, I couldn’t be happier. Republic had prided itself on only a few phone options for the longest time. This was a great premise, until those phone options became limited to two really sub par phones, one of which I already owned. The other phone was a downgrade. Meanwhile, Google’s Nexus 5p was the “less powerful” of their options, but still boasted nice features for $199. My final choice, unwilling to compromise for a sub par phone again, was the Nexus 6p. Wow, does this phone deliver.
Besides a nice design and great specs, this phone is consistent, fast, and fun. It’s a little big for my liking, as it feels big in my pocket and I love a phone that’s simple to handle with one hand. Nevertheless, the quick Android updates (thanks to being stock Android from Google) make this phone awesome.
Republic recently expanded their offerings to ten phones or so. It’s moments like those when I find myself with decision phobia.
I like a couple of options, especially when they are awesome or “awesomer”.
The plan: For $20 a month, in addition to $10 per GB of data, Google offers service on 3 networks. I have yet to find a place where I didn’t have service. Between T-Mobile and Sprint, I’m covered in the bigger cities. When I’ve been in the middle of nowhere, US Cellular has my back like they promote in their advertising. Google seeks WiFi first, if it’s indeed the best option for calls, texts, and data. Hence, I can hold my data usage to virtually zero. Being a minimalist, I learned I don’t need cell data in situations where others might think it’s necessary.
The service also boasts international use, which seems easy to do although I have not needed it yet. 24/7 tech support is available via chat, email, or phone. I had many chats during my setup process, and 95% of the time they were awesome. The people were funny, friendly, and reminded me that I was dealing with people.
Setup: The phone arrived and it was beautiful. The porting process was a mess. It took me seven days in total. While I wasn’t sure who to blame, I ultimately learned that it was Republic’s fault. Their system takes a phone number and treats it as more of a landline. On the seventh day Google recommended that I just cancel my Republic account. I was unable to call or text one person. Strangely, this person was on Republic as well, and of course, happened to be my wife (any married folks out there knows being unable to communicate with them is dangerous). “Don’t worry, we see you’re with us. Just cancel the line and it should fix your trouble.” They were right. What a mess the process was with saying goodbye to Republic.
Now, I couldn’t be happier.
My phone updates quickly. And it, you know, works. It does phone stuff. For instance, it can call and I can hear people. It doesn’t freeze consistently or reboot. The price is great as well. And it’s Google. And, I believe, that Google is awesome and they will continue to be. I’m excited to see what they can do in the future, and I’m excited to be part of the ride.