Many commentators have taken a close look at Google’s MVNO offering, Project Fi, and come away less than impressed. They find Project Fi to be only a little bit less expensive than Tier 1 offerings from other wireless carriers, they question the so-called “seamless handover” from Wi-Fi to LTE (no mention of LTE to Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi to 2G/3G, for example), and wonder about the project’s ultimate scope, since, on day 1, the service only works with the Nexus 6 smartphone. Google has not announced when Project Fi will expand to other smartphones.

 

That said, Project Fi’s advantages are of a kind that could motivate other carriers to provide faster service and more customer-friendly offerings. One benefit is the service’s policy of refunding unused data in the form of credit. Another is the ability to move between Wi-Fi and Sprint and T-Mobile networks, depending on which is fastest. A third resides in the push for standardization in the realm of unlicensed network technologies, in which Google’s investment in R&D will play a large role. If Project Fi’s sole legacy is that it pushed the U.S. wireless industry toward noticeable improvements in speeds and consumer-friendly offerings, it still must be considered a success.

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