Friday, February 19, 2016

Google Project Fi vs. Republic Wireless

What does this have to do with Running? Being Vegan? Nothing... but being a mom of 3 I'm always looking for a chance to save $$.

Just for the record Google Project Fi and Republic Wireless did NOT pay me for any of this.


First the background, we had phone service with Republic Wireless, two lines for over 1 year. So I felt like this is a good fair review of both services.

Republic Wireless, a great little company that has grown bigger over time caught my attention when they first started a couple years ago (2011). I waited to be in beta testing but never got in, but once it was open to the public we jumped right in. They had a great promise and great deals.

The Phones
The only catch was you had to buy a phone meant specifically for them. So that meant our old Galaxy S3's were not going to transfer over. Once I did some hunting I found a used republic Wireless Moto X 1st Generation on eBay. It was way less then buying it brand new through Republic Wireless themselves. Still at this time they only let us use Moto G, Moto E and Moto X.

The Service
Signing up was very painless and the prices couldn't be beat! At the time their plans cost us about $25 with all the taxes and fees for 1 gig of cell data and unlimited talking and texting, as well as unlimited Wi-Fi data.
They slowly changed it to refunding us for data we didn't use, which was also a great win and our bills varied from $20 to $25 every month. My husband and I both had lines with them.

The Bad
Slowly over time. My hope in them having seamless service from Wi-Fi to cell and cell to Wi-Fi slowly began to die. I kept hoping that with every update it would get better. I contacted customer service multiple times about trying to fix it and no matter what I did, nothing worked. I kept holding off waiting for the newest Android OS update thinking that would fix it. But I began to feel like it was a carrot dangling in front of a horse.

At first it didn't bother me too much, but as time went on and nothing improved I started hunting for new service. I felt like I was being a traitor!! But the delayed calling issue was the last straw for us. When you would hit send for a call it would take you back to the main menu and act like your call was not happening, after you would try again and again it eventually would send all the calls at once and you would have chaos as well as busy signals! My phone would freeze up and I couldn't end one call only all of them and the process would have to start over.

Again Republic Wireless said it was something they are working on but couldn't fix just yet. The last straw came when we had a minor emergency and I needed to call a tow truck as well as our car insurance company and my husband to arrange for him to get towed. The frustration built as my calls would not go through to my husband he was waiting on the side of the road, as well as calls coming in that we're getting dropped as I was running around the house going from cell to Wi-Fi. Once that issue was clear. We decided we had had it. Time to find a new provider.

Google project Fi

I had heard rumors of Google starting their own cell service and was instantly tempted to find out more. Once I did research and signed up to be on the waiting list I had lost all hope of be able to be a tester. It sounded like exactly what Republic was, but Google powered. But when our experience with Republic Wireless started going downhill I got an email from Google project by inviting us to join.

The Phones
You have to get specific phones but not so proprietary like Republic Wireless. Google wants you to get either a Nexus 5 X, Nexus 6 or Nexus 6 P. All of which could be brought over from other carriers. So finding one on ebay or craigslist was a breeze. You can buy them brand new from Google but being as cheap as I am I didn't want to spend that kind of money, so eBay was my answer. I got a Nexus 6 for under $200.

The Service
We have currently only switched my line over to Google and my husband currently has Republic. But my experience with Google has been amazing! Project Fi is able to do what Republic wants to do but can't seem to figure out how. They definitely have the seamless Wi-Fi to cell hand over, that Republic wishes they had. No configurations on my phone, no contacting customer support, just pop in the SIM card and you're good to go. I've had projects Fi for 1 month now and love it! I wish I had switched over sooner. I'm actually using less data with project Fi, I'm not sure if it's because the Wi-Fi radio inside the phones is stronger or it's just a better phone, but either way less data means less money. To me its almost as if the phones from Republic are to 'slow' to do what they need them to do.

With Project Fi they refund you any unused data as well just like Republic. It's a base $20 unlimited talk and text and unlimited Wi-Fi for data and $10 for one gig on top of that. With last months bill I used .7 gigs and they refunded me for the unused portion they put the credit on the following month's bill.

While both services have their pros and cons my experience with Google Project Fi has been excellent! They have done in a few months what Republic has taken years to figure out how to do. I'm all about supporting the little guy but when it comes to having reliable phone service in case of emergencies it's worth a couple more dollars every month to have that.

If you have any questions about either service feel free to ask!!