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If you’re a US based traveller, there’s one phone service more compelling than many others. In fact, I use it myself and have never looked back since making the switch.

Google Fi is Google’s big answer to mobile phone service, with agreements from a variety of carriers allowing you to access networks all over the world, where your data works the same in over 200 countries as it does when you’re at home. While it’s always been good, a new feature announced yesterday is a game changer: unlimited.

  • Unlimited data in 200 countries.
  • Unlimited calls and texts between 50 countries.
  • Google One membership
  • Cancel or pause any time you wish.

When you go to Paris, or Laos, you don’t pay any silly data roaming charges, you don’t need to switch out your SIM card or swap phones, it just works. In fact, it tells you it works when you land. The plan has allowed me to be a global road warrior on the cheap, thanks to data charged at just $10 per gig. But now, Google Fi has a new unlimited option, which has features not offered on any other plans, which may make it the most compelling travel phone service on the planet…

Google Fi has launched unlimited. Whereas you can presently pay $20 a month per person, plus $10 per gigabyte of data, the new plan is $70 per month for unlimited data, but also includes unlimited call and text capabilities for 50 countries, in addition to the 200+ countries where your data works like you are at home. The more people you add, the cheaper it gets. Two people makes it $60, three makes it $50 per person and four people makes it just $45 per person.

Not only that, it includes a Google One membership for all, which is an interesting new product, given the exclusive hotel discounts it has offered, in addition to the obvious storage space and other net savvy capabilities. The 50 countries include India, Mexico and the United Kingdom, as well as at least 47 others.

The current, non unlimited version doesn’t include the free calling from the US to 50 countries, but does include 200 countries where your mobile data and texting works the same. Just to reiterate, I and anyone else using Google Fi pay $10 per gig in New York, and $10 per gig in Tokyo, with no usage fees or charges abroad.

Crunching the numbers, Unlimited makes for interesting comparison. I presently use a shared plan with my partner, where I pay $20 per month plus my data, and then $15 per month plus my partners data, since each additional member gets the $5 discount.

We typically average between 2-3 gigabytes each, but sometimes go above, which means on average we pay around $100 per month. Going up to $120 between the two of us may not always make sense given the relatively low data usage we currently utilise, but the greatly expanded international calling capabilities are quite tempting, and just a single hotel discount via Google One could justify the long term saving. Even if you’re not using it internationally, it’s a solid option, given the ability to pause or cancel with no contract. No contract is my kind of contract.

However it works out for you, it’s great to see Google iterating with this boundary breaking service.

I can’t tell you how great it feels to travel all over the world and never think about what extra it will cost, or what SIM I need to bring. With the addition of unlimited calling to 50 countries, this is easily the most compelling plan in my opinion, particularly if you’re outside of the country often. I am, and it works for me – but it’s all personal, of course. If you’re curious, you can check out Google Fi here.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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5 Comments

  1. Verizon has a deal where you use your data and cell plan overseas, it is $10 a day when you are using it (so for instance if you have a day where you are on a plane and in an airport with wifi, don’t turn cell service on and you won’t be charged). I use it for work and love it. It makes wandering a medina in Morocco much easier when you can use google maps, and see data on sites and access google translate etc etc. In any event it may be a cheaper option for those who only need a few days of access.

    1. Hey Lara, that’s a great plan and my parents use it, but the point of this one is that you don’t pay any extra.

      The plan would be $45 per person per month (for an unlimited family of four, or $70 solo), and your data calls and text would be unlimited anywhere in the world, rather than having $10 per person or per account per day. Hope I made that clear in the article. So no matter where you go it’s $70, versus potentially $50 for one trip alone with Verizon just in usage fees abroad, and not including whatever you pay for the actual plan.

      Best regards,

      Gib

  2. With these Google One hotel discounts, are you still able to input your hotel loyalty membership to accrue nights/points? Or would it make you ineligible because of the discount rate?
    I love discounts but also value the loyalty rewards benefits too. Any info is welcome.

  3. This sounds great. My husband and I pay the $10 per line per day when in Europe and it adds up to several hundred dollars a year. I was planning to do the SIM card swap on my next trip. I wonder if Google Fi works at my vacation home, in Vieques. If so, I’m in.

  4. Nice. An important clarification regarding “Unlimited calls and texts between 50 countries” though: while texts are included (as in the Flexible plan), the Unlimited plan only includes free calls from the U.S. to those 50 countries.

    The Google text says: “Important: This isn’t international roaming. Calls abroad from the U.S. means that you’re in the U.S. and you make a call to one of the countries listed.” Still good, but not quite as good…

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