Google Fi for a Tablet?

Old Jul 22, 19, 12:37 pm
  #1  
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Google Fi for a Tablet?

I am traveling for two weeks in Italy, Spain and France. My cell runs T-Mobile so I have some data there but at 3g speed. I have an iPad Mini 4 that accepts a sim card but I don't currently have a sim in it. I am happy with my T-Mo service in the U.S. so I don't want to change. I understand that Google Fi has a data only sim that works internationally but you have to have a cell already activated and running Google Fi to get the data sim. I was wondering if it was possible to use a Google Fi voice/text/data sim in a tablet so I can only use it for the tablet?

I know I can pick up a sim card in Italy and use it throughout Europe but I'm wary of spending time trying to get it activated there while I'm on vacation and changing all the settings on the tablet.

Thanks for any info/advice.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 4:12 pm
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Originally Posted by jennj99738 View Post
I am traveling for two weeks in Italy, Spain and France. My cell runs T-Mobile so I have some data there but at 3g speed. I have an iPad Mini 4 that accepts a sim card but I don't currently have a sim in it. I am happy with my T-Mo service in the U.S. so I don't want to change. I understand that Google Fi has a data only sim that works internationally but you have to have a cell already activated and running Google Fi to get the data sim. I was wondering if it was possible to use a Google Fi voice/text/data sim in a tablet so I can only use it for the tablet?

I know I can pick up a sim card in Italy and use it throughout Europe but I'm wary of spending time trying to get it activated there while I'm on vacation and changing all the settings on the tablet.

Thanks for any info/advice.
You'd be silly to activate a Google Fi plan just for two weeks. You'd need to pay the $20 monthly charge for 'regular' service, plus $10 a Gb for the data. You could hack your way into using a regular SIM for the tablet, but that's an expensive way to have data for two weeks.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 9:34 pm
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Check out this thread - Red Pocket Global Data SIM

It's cheaper than Fi, and... well.. we need someone to test it out for us and tell us if it's any good

The best option for Fi would be to try and find someone that already has it and get them to give you a data SIM on their account. That avoids the $20/month fee, so you'd only be paying $10/Gig for data (well, your friend would be)
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Old Jul 22, 19, 10:32 pm
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Check out this thread - Red Pocket Global Data SIM

It's cheaper than Fi, and... well.. we need someone to test it out for us and tell us if it's any good

The best option for Fi would be to try and find someone that already has it and get them to give you a data SIM on their account. That avoids the $20/month fee, so you'd only be paying $10/Gig for data (well, your friend would be)
I was a Fi user early on --bought the first Nexus 5, in fact-- because I liked the $20/month base rate, and was always able to get a strong signal where my mom lives in Florida. Furthermore, $10/G wasn't a bad deal back then.

However, since then several factors turned me off:
-when I traveled to more rural areas within the US (i.e. areas where Verizon was rock solid), I found voice/data coverage were both spotty
-when I returned to China that year, it was easy to get a very strong voice signal throughout Shanghai, but 4G data was extremely fickle (i.e. find a specific 1 sqm place that works, and don't move)
-around the same time, data rates in China, HK, Thailand, and VN dropped dramatically (i.e. down to around $3/G prepaid for 4G+)

Before making this post, I googled Europe data sims, and first page of results was not appealing at all (i.e. mostly companies seemingly set up for the primary purpose of ripping off travelers who require some sort of peace of mind in advance....guys like my dad take such bait, and there are surely lots of them). While I can't say for certain, I'd be willing to bet that street prices in Italy, France, and Spain are pretty reasonable. Furthermore, since you're only buying data, you could presumably buy different SIMs in each country (if this is cheaper than using a single pan EU sim).
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Old Jul 22, 19, 11:25 pm
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Check out this thread - Red Pocket Global Data SIM

It's cheaper than Fi, and... well.. we need someone to test it out for us and tell us if it's any good

The best option for Fi would be to try and find someone that already has it and get them to give you a data SIM on their account. That avoids the $20/month fee, so you'd only be paying $10/Gig for data (well, your friend would be)
LOL. So Red Pocket looked promising but Italy is not on their list of 50 countries(!) so I would have to pay for the more expensive plan which is $15 plus $14 per GB. For, say, 3 gigs, that's $57 instead of the instead of $33 for the basic plan.

I'll have to ask around to see if anyone has Google Fi. I haven't heard about anyone that does but I'll give it a try.

Before making this post, I googled Europe data sims, and first page of results was not appealing at all (i.e. mostly companies seemingly set up for the primary purpose of ripping off travelers who require some sort of peace of mind in advance....guys like my dad take such bait, and there are surely lots of them). While I can't say for certain, I'd be willing to bet that street prices in Italy, France, and Spain are pretty reasonable. Furthermore, since you're only buying data, you could presumably buy different SIMs in each country (if this is cheaper than using a single pan EU sim).
I guess I'm like your dad. I was hoping to avoid having to set up a sim in country. I had so much trouble with a sim in the UK. I could just buy more high speed data from T-MO and use my phone as the hotspot.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 11:25 pm
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The real question is why do u need a tablet sim?
Will u be using it while out and about? Otherwise your hotel/airbnb, etc will most likely have free internet so do u really need to worry about data over your tmo plan?
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Old Jul 23, 19, 12:06 am
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Originally Posted by estnet View Post
The real question is why do u need a tablet sim?
Will u be using it while out and about? Otherwise your hotel/airbnb, etc will most likely have free internet so do u really need to worry about data over your tmo plan?
Based upon personal knowledge of my wants and needs, I want a tablet sim. Need? Maybe not but I don't need a lot of things I want. Yes, I plan to use it out and about and I find the 2G speed T-Mo gives for free to be frustratingly slow. WiFi can also be spotty and slow in hotels and B&Bs especially in the rooms.

Thanks for your post, though.
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Old Jul 23, 19, 12:20 am
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Originally Posted by jennj99738 View Post
Based upon personal knowledge of my wants and needs, I want a tablet sim. Need? Maybe not but I don't need a lot of things I want. Yes, I plan to use it out and about and I find the 2G speed T-Mo gives for free to be frustratingly slow. WiFi can also be spotty and slow in hotels and B&Bs especially in the rooms.

Thanks for your post, though.
OK. just a thought. Which is why I was asking as a question in case you hadn't thought of the wifi option - not knowing if you're an experienced traveler or not (we get both here). No harm meant.
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Old Jul 23, 19, 8:17 am
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Maybe just get a 5GB or 15GB LTE international roaming add on for your phone and tether to your iPad? 15GB for $50 for 2 weeks will give you over 1GB a day for under $4 a day and you don't have to worry about buying/activating/changing sim cards.
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Old Jul 23, 19, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by estnet View Post
OK. just a thought. Which is why I was asking as a question in case you hadn't thought of the wifi option - not knowing if you're an experienced traveler or not (we get both here). No harm meant.
Thank you.

Originally Posted by Need View Post
Maybe just get a 5GB or 15GB LTE international roaming add on for your phone and tether to your iPad? 15GB for $50 for 2 weeks will give you over 1GB a day for under $4 a day and you don't have to worry about buying/activating/changing sim cards.
I may end up doing just this. I was hoping to have a stand-alone option. Thanks.
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Old Jul 23, 19, 5:03 pm
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Local SIM. No sense paying $20/mo + 10/GB for what the Italian carriers will sell you for €10-15. If you buy it in the carrier's shop, you can sit there while it activates just in case you run into any issues.

"All the settings" on the tablet is setting the APN at worst, and if you're buying a SIM from the carrier itself (i.e. not an MVNO), your iPad will set the APN automagically. Ironically it likely won't do that with a Fi SIM.

Or just buy one of the UK SIMs off U.S. Amazon for $20ish and be done with it. Personally, I'd put my UK or Italian SIM in my phone and tether the tablet when necessary--that way you don't have to tear your hair out with T-Mobile's ultra-throttled data.
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Old Jul 23, 19, 5:07 pm
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Originally Posted by jennj99738 View Post
I may end up doing just this. I was hoping to have a stand-alone option. Thanks.
This (post #9 ) is the most sensible advice I've seen in this thread, thus far...easier, cheaper, and probably better performance than Fi. If I had TMo, that's what I would do.
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Old Jul 28, 19, 2:07 pm
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I switched the family all to Fi data SIMs for four iPads back in December. It has been working great. It's very easy to set up. As others have mentioned though its not ideal for a quick trip if you are just going to turn it off right after, but if you are looking for a long term plan its a great data option -- especially if you travel internationally and want to have access abroad.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 6:06 pm
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probably too late but you could do it in Italy. With T Mo. I have done this once about 6 months ago. This is a new plan

https://www.t-mobile.com/news/simple-global-data-passes
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