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Google officially announces Project Fi wireless service

Google has announced its own wireless service earlier today, named Project Fi.

It is a move to offer the best connection regardless of chosen carrier, alongside cutting down the price of data and international roaming, which others carriers have taken advantage of for far too long.

The big feature on Project Fi is the ability to automatically switch between 4G LTE and WiFi, with Google’s automated system constantly searching for better wireless options based on speed and performance.

It will utilise Sprint and T-Mobile USA’s network. Not the best options given Verizon Wireless and AT&T are the largest wireless carriers in the US, but enough to satisfy most demand in cities.

Google will also start to utilise WiFi, both home and public, in order to make calls and texts cheaper. This also uses the dynamic network system, meaning if you are in a call and move out of WiFi range, it will instantly push the phone to a cell tower without dropping the call.

Price is another area Google is trying to tackle, by offering a simple plan: 1GB of data per month for $10 (£6.66), 2GB for $20 (£13.33), 5GB for $50 (33.32), and so on. Users buy the amount of data they need for that month, and any data not used is refunded.

This is similar to T-Mobile USA’s Data Cache program, where any data unused in the month is stored for up to 12 months. That means users can store unused data for a rainy day when they need 1 or 2GBs extra.

Google is also working with Hutchison Whampoa - the owner of Three UK - to provide free roaming in 120 countries. It plans to bring the service to more countries in the near future, as it looks for more partners across the world.

The first smartphone to support Project Fi will be the Nexus 6. That does remove a lot of the mainstream potential from Google’s wireless service, especially since it will only be available in the US at launch.

That said, Google may look to support other phones in the near future. It is not clear if Project Fi requires a software enhancement to work on other devices, or if extra hardware is also needed to power the dynamic network swapper.

Google will be offering invites to Project Fi throughout the coming months, although it seems the East Coast is the only place offering 4G LTE service, alongside California.

Jennifer Kyriakakis, Founder and VP of Marketing at Matrixx Software comments: "Google Fi’s strongest characteristic is simplicity. It has picked up on two disruptive trends in the emerging MVNO/digital operator market.

"Tailored pricing is a strong differentiator – some MVNOs and nimble MNOs are experimenting with this proposition as well. Pre-set bundles and packages mean higher margins and guaranteed recurring revenue but consumers are fed up with paying for things they don’t see value in. While Google is starting small, it could quickly expand this concept to include all manner of content and Google services through the device via a marketplace.

"Google is eliminating the ‘bad revenue’ cycle by letting customers only pay for things they value vs. something they didn’t use, or overages. In the near future all MNOs will need to let go of any hidden charges and create a value equation that makes sense to the consumer. Otherwise they will lose share.

"It’s the fundamental concepts behind the offering that are the game-changers. Google is a global brand. If it expands some of these concepts into full-fledged offerings, it could quietly be building up to some major disruption across the world.

"Think real-time customer experience, differentiated content, affinity programs, and 4G+ global connectivity. These factors could force major changes to the old business models within the sector."