Google has just launched the site for “Project Fi,” its heavily rumored MVNO service. The service combines Sprint and T-Mobile along with Wi-Fi and will seamlessly switch between the networks. Google has an interactive coverage map here.
The up-front pricing seems pretty standard. It requires a “Fi Basics” plan, which is $20 a month for unlimited talk and texting, plus taxes. Data is an additional $10 per gigabyte a month. So a $20 basics plan plus 3GB a month would be $50, $5 more than Straight Talk charges for the same thing—but that’s only if you actually use the data. The unique aspect of the billing is that you “never pay for unused data.” Your account gets credited, in money, for data you don’t use. The example shows an unused 0.6GB of data gets you $6 back, so credits aren’t limited to 1GB increments; overages work the same way, with no extra fees. Google also allows Wi-Fi tethering.
For the time being, the “service” is only available to people who buy a Nexus 6 device through Google. And it’s worth noting that Google did not build its own network infrastructure to become a wireless carrier – it’s piggybacking on T-Mobile and Sprint, the two smaller national carriers, with both companies receiving financial compensation in return. But, as with past Google experiments, it’s the beginning of something Google wants to make bigger.
It’s not enough for Google to be dominant in search and mobile advertising. It wants to dominate in every area that it can. Google wants to be the provider of your browser, desktop operating system, mobile operating system, Internet service, DNS service, email, and everything else.
The European Commission is said to be planning to charge Google with using its dominant position in online search to favor the company’s own online services over others, in what would be one of the biggest antitrust cases here since antitrust regulators went after Microsoft.
Europe’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, is expected to make an announcement that Google has abused its dominant position on Wednesday in Brussels, according to two people who spoke on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.
The U.S. government didn’t have the cajones to effectively stand up to Google, but it looks like Europe is ready to confront the Monster of Mountain View with antitrust charges. This is very good news, if true.