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Google Fi: Anyone care to post their experience?

Old Sep 3, 2017, 6:37 am
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Last edit by: Zorak
Which countries are supported?

https://support.google.com/fi/answer...intl_countries

Note that in some locations Hangouts (and Gmail) are not available (e.g., China, Russia, Thailand, South Korea, Mexico, Argentina, and more: see link below for full list of excluded countries), so you will need a VPN to access them (or to make VOIP calls via Hangouts Dialer)

https://support.google.com/hangouts/answer/3205646

Exceptions:

Listed, but no/spotty service:
  • Ukraine (Aug 2018) - no service, all providers listed as "forbidden". Post #660
  • Alaska (Jul 2018) -- had voice service, but inconsistent/spotty data (try forcing Sprint)
  • Peru (Sep 2016) post 341, 360
  • Grand Cayman Island (Jan 2018) post 547

Not listed, *did* have service
  • Belize (Jan 2018) post 547 Belize now appears on the "supported" international list
If you are having trouble connecting, level 1 Fi reps recommend you try the following steps before they will escalate. Try each step in the order listed below to see if it fixes your issue - if not, move on to next step.

1- Reboot phone
2- Toggle "airplane mode" on/off. Wait five seconds after toggling off (it resets phone modem).
3- Try manually connecting to each available network (rather than using the auto select feature).
4- Toggle down from 4g to 3g (removing the recommended 4g option) and then try manually connecting to each available network.
5- Toggle down from 3g to 2g and then try manually connecting to each available network.
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Google Fi: Anyone care to post their experience?

Old Jun 25, 2022, 3:06 pm
  #1351  
 
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Originally Posted by Need
One thing about Fi is that it is still not quite 100% working with iPhones. When I had Fi, I didn't switch anyone else on my plan to Fi because they all got iPhones. Here is what Fi page said about iPhone:
"Your Apple device can't make calls or text over Wi-Fi. When you travel outside of the US, tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot options aren't available from your Apple device."
There are some workarounds depending on what you're trying to do.

For example, if you have another primary carrier you can use the Fi data line to make calls from say, a T-Mobile or Verizon primary number.

You can also order a couple Data-Only SIMs to stick in tablets (I have one in my iPad) and it shares data with the cell line.

Really the big losers here are laptops, but I've since stopped bringing my laptop internationally so it's not a huge loss to me.
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Old Jun 26, 2022, 4:05 am
  #1352  
 
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I went ahead and set up youngest son with Google Fi bc it was his first phone ever. And I moved myself over. And planning to bring spouse over in a few days if everything is fine. One kid has to stay on att for a while or I have to buy out his phone. But that gives me an easy route back if I want. It was a pain to set up but everything seems fine now. It occurred to me afterwards that Id been with Cingular/att for 30 years since I first got a cell phone.

My att calls were struggling lately though. Going in and out while on a call. With international travel, I dont really use hotspot bc always have wifi. Or just use phone. I dont understand why iPhone wouldnt be able to do things like text on wifi. Ill have to investigate that. We all have iPhones.
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Old Jun 26, 2022, 9:29 am
  #1353  
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Originally Posted by Need
[...] Here is what Fi page said about iPhone:
"Your Apple device can't make calls or text over Wi-Fi. When you travel outside of the US, tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot options aren't available from your Apple device."
Originally Posted by Stgermainparis
[...] Ill have to investigate that. [...]
Please do, and report your results. If it's not much bother, also please see what happens if you do try to enable a hotspot. Thanks.
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Old Jun 26, 2022, 12:58 pm
  #1354  
 
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Originally Posted by serpens
Please do, and report your results. If it's not much bother, also please see what happens if you do try to enable a hotspot. Thanks.

Well my son, who is in Europe now using Google Fi, is able to text and call over wifi. He doesn't need to hotspot anything, so I don't know about that. I won't be using the international option until Dec.
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Old Jun 26, 2022, 1:38 pm
  #1355  
 
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Originally Posted by Stgermainparis
Well my son, who is in Europe now using Google Fi, is able to text and call over wifi. He doesn't need to hotspot anything, so I don't know about that. I won't be using the international option until Dec.
Couldn't he just "try" hotspot for like a few minutes to test? For science? LOL.
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Old Jun 26, 2022, 2:29 pm
  #1356  
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Originally Posted by Stgermainparis
Well my son, who is in Europe now using Google Fi, is able to text and call over wifi. He doesn't need to hotspot anything, so I don't know about that. I won't be using the international option until Dec.
Thank you. As I recall, you said you all have iPhones, and I assume that includes your son.
Originally Posted by Need
Couldn't he just "try" hotspot for like a few minutes to test? For science? LOL.
Thank you. You phrased that so well.
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Old Jun 26, 2022, 7:14 pm
  #1357  
 
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Originally Posted by Need
Couldn't he just "try" hotspot for like a few minutes to test? For science? LOL.
LOL yes I'll ask him.

Originally Posted by serpens
Thank you. As I recall, you said you all have iPhones, and I assume that includes your son.

Thank you. You phrased that so well.
And yes we all have iPhones.
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Old Jun 29, 2022, 7:36 am
  #1358  
 
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I found this on reddit about avoiding the iphone Google Fi flail, internationally. I personally use a second Pixel 5a to get around this. Link below then interesting comment.

https://www.reddit.com/r/GoogleFi/co...wifi_calling/I have been through this already.

The answer is NO, there is no preference in Google Voice or Google Fi to use Wi-Fi only for calls. Google Fi makes a fortune on calls at $0.20 per minute from outside the U.S. to a U.S. number. These calls are free over Wi-Fi and Google Voice.

In Google Voice, the preference is PREFER Wi-Fi, which means GV can and will, all on its own, switch your call from Wi-Fi (free) to Google Fi (paid) and you'll never even know until you see the bill.

A one-hour call to the U.S. using Google Fi over cellular will cost you $12.00.

If you are using an iPhone (I know nothing about Android and have so far avoided ever using one) you can write an easy shortcut in the Shortcuts app, to turn on Airplane Mode whenever you launch Google Voice. Airplane Mode turns off the cellular radios, keeping your call on Wi-Fi.

Except there is a bug in Shortcuts. If you need to push the call into the background, so you can look up some information to share with the person on the call with you, Shortcuts sees that as closing the app, even though the conversation continues. Because once you are connected and talking, you don't really need a dial pad on the screen.

With Airplane Mode off, Google Voice will now be able to find the radios and use them.

Here's my answer: I dumped both Google Voice and Google Fi. The last straw was getting a letter from Google Fi that they were turning off my international data roaming because I wasn't in the U.S. enough.

Google Fi is not designed for frequent international travelers, and they have started monitoring what cellular carriers you are roaming on and turning off cellular data roaming service with 30 days notice. SMS and Voice still works, but you'll pay for every call or text.

Supposedly they will turn it back on when you are back in the U.S. but unless you will be abroad less than 30 days for each trip, you will get caught and have your data roaming shut off. Eventually, they will just cancel your service entirely. The heck with that. Dump Google, which is what they want you to do. Make them happy and cancel your Google services.

Google did not try to raise rates for digital nomads or change their terms to remove free data after $60 when outside the U.S.

GOOGLE DOES NOT WANT YOUR TELEPHONY BUSINESS IF YOU ARE NOT LIVING I N THE U.S. MOST OF THE TIME.

SOLUTION: Port your Google phone numbers to iPlum.com. The service is $4.99 a month, includes voice mail, SMS, and all the things you might expect with a VoIP provider. Iplum can be set to only work with Wi-Fi or to use your cellular data, but you make the decision, not the software.

The $4.99 a month includes 200 credits a month. Each credit is worth $0.01 US. A penny. Calls to the U.S. from anywhere are one credit per minute. A one-hour call to the U.S. is $0.60 instead of $12.00. You can buy more credits, and they don't expire. Every quarter, I buy 2,000 credits for $20. I never worry about calling back to the U.S. SMS texts are one credit.

So, as long as I'm on Wi-Fi, my phone bill is really low. If I am overseas and need to call locally or to another country other than the U.S. the rates are equally low, it just might be more credits per minute.

Now, when you go outside and there is no Wi-Fi, you still need Internet. I solved that with an eSIM package from GigSky. Global Use (similar to all the countries where Fi works) is $12 per GB instead of $10 that Fi charges. Sold as 5 GB for $59.95. It is prepaid, and you use it or lose it, but you can monitor your use to see how much you've used and how much is left.

But there is no $20 monthly service charge with GigSky. Fi charges that just to give you a phone number and free service in the U.S.

Now, if you don't need Global coverage, you can buy smaller geographies. I am in South American for the next few months at least, so I bought just South America. That's $8 per GB compared to Fi's $10 per GB plus monthly service.

I no longer have any cellular package from any cellular provider on my iPhone. I'm paying $40 for GigSky + $4.99 for iPlum for the phone number, plus pennies for voice calls per minute.|

I am super pleased with iPlum and GigSky, and happy to be rid of Google and their insane rules and horrible support from India.

Happy to answer any questions. I spent a long time researching this. It works, it is cheap but not as cheap as a local SIM.
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Old Jun 29, 2022, 9:35 am
  #1359  
 
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I believe there are several esim global data roaming companies and packages much less expensive than Gigsky. For instance, FlexiroamX frequently has sales on their global esims as low as $40 for 7Gb, good for 360 days of service. That's less than 1/2 the cost of the plan you quoted. Airalo has a 180 day global 20Gb esim for $89. Both of these companies have been around and providing quality data roaming for several years.
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Old Jun 29, 2022, 9:37 am
  #1360  
 
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So, uhh... if the reddit poster is using GigSky for cell service, s/he could still just use Google Voice for free. With no voice service, GV is forced to use data. Same deal if your carrier does have voice service but is outside +1 since you can only link U.S. numbers (Canadian and Caribbean numbers confuse it but it'll try).

And at least on iOS, you can also just refuse to link your device number, which will force GV to use data even if you do have an American SIM with voice service. (I'm 95% sure it can be done on Android as well but don't have an Android phone handy to check)
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Old Jun 29, 2022, 10:10 am
  #1361  
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Originally Posted by der_saeufer
And at least on iOS, you can also just refuse to link your device number, which will force GV to use data even if you do have an American SIM with voice service.
For the technologically challenged (that's me), would you provide more detail, please? (I have a Google Voice number and I don't recall how I set it up. What should I check, and how would I undo a linkage? Thanks.)
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Old Jun 29, 2022, 11:07 am
  #1362  
 
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Originally Posted by serpens
For the technologically challenged (that's me), would you provide more detail, please? (I have a Google Voice number and I don't recall how I set it up. What should I check, and how would I undo a linkage? Thanks.)
Settings > Devices and Numbers

You can see your device's (carrier) number listed under the device, or it'll say "set device number" if it's un-set. If the device number is not set, the app is forced to make calls only over data.

You can see your linked numbers, if any, at the bottom and you should be able to delete them there.

When you first open the GV app on a new phone, it asks you to link the phone's carrier number, but there's a skip button that works even if it's greyed-out.
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Old Jun 29, 2022, 4:10 pm
  #1363  
 
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Originally Posted by serpens
For the technologically challenged (that's me), would you provide more detail, please? (I have a Google Voice number and I don't recall how I set it up. What should I check, and how would I undo a linkage? Thanks.)

For iOS, go to GV settings, make and receive calls, prefer WiFi and data. Thats how I have used my local sim phone in the UK and Germany with GV. Linked number is irrelevant since the app doesnt use the cell number.
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Old Jun 29, 2022, 4:42 pm
  #1364  
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Thank you both. Probably I omitted essential information, like I'm using Voice on an iPad and cellular data is currently wonky (which is a low priority because I usually have Wi-Fi). I wanted to be ready if I install Voice on an iPhone.

Originally Posted by der_saeufer
Settings > Devices and Numbers
[...]
When you first open the GV app on a new phone, it asks you to link the phone's carrier number, but there's a skip button that works even if it's greyed-out.
I don't have "Devices and Number" in Settings, nor in Google Voice settings. When I search for Devices in Settings, I find six items, all under Accessibility.

Probably I skipped that step, if I had the option.
Originally Posted by TGarza
For iOS, go to GV settings, make and receive calls, prefer WiFi and data. Thats how I have used my local sim phone in the UK and Germany with GV. Linked number is irrelevant since the app doesnt use the cell number.
GV settings (again, on my iPad) does not have any setting whose label contains the word prefer or Wi-Fi or data.
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Old Jun 29, 2022, 5:19 pm
  #1365  
 
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Originally Posted by serpens
GV settings (again, on my iPad) does not have any setting whose label contains the word prefer or Wi-Fi or data.
Strange since both my WiFi only and cellular iPad have this setting in the GV app which was added in 2019 because Hangouts was deprecated. Which GV version is installed?
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