Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has announced that it has included U.S Cellular on board Project Fi, adding on to the list of partners.
U.S Cellular now joins a series of other partners including T-Mobile US Inc (NASDAQ:TMUS) and Sprint Corp (NYSE:S) that are also part of Project Fi. Project Fi was announced in April 2015, and it adds value to wireless carriers in various ways. Project Fi phones can switch between Wi-Fi networks and cell networks offered by Sprint and T-Mobile by selecting the strongest network.
Google charges $20 per month to customers subscribed to Project Fi, which is significantly more affordable than what mobile carriers charge. A basic subscription includes international coverage, Wi-Fi tethering, talk, and text. The service then offers a separate data plan at $10 for every GB of data. Project Fi also credits customers for unused data.
Earlier this week, the company reported in a blog post that most areas enjoy cellular coverage by multiple networks and that Project Fi is mostly used in areas where the partners have 4G coverage. Unfortunately, network speeds are often distorted by buildings. Project Fi determines the fastest network in a particular area and switches the user to that network.
U.S Cellular has roughly 4.5 million active subscribers though it is not among the top four carriers. Its presence on Project Fi could help Google to boost LTE coverage beyond the major metropolitan areas and cities. US Cellular offers 4G connectivity to 99% of its customers who are distributed across 23 states. The company also pointed out that it is constantly experimenting on the influence of radio frequencies and cell towers on the speeds offered by the services.
Project Fi intends to introduce a new service where users will receive unlimited local calls and texts for as little as $20 per month while the data plan remains at $10 per GB. The services will not require any monthly contracts. One of the downsides to the project is that it is currently limited to three Nexus handsets; the Nexus 5S, Nexus 6 and Nexus 6P.