New York: Google on Wednesday launched a new US wireless service that switches between Wi-Fi and cellular networks to curb data use and keep phone bills low.
he service, called Project Fi, will automatically switch between the two networks and more than 1 million open, free Wi-Fi spots, depending on which signal is strongest.
Fi is only available by invitation for now, and only for the Google Nexus 6 smartphone.
The service will use Wi-Fi hotspots along with the US mobile networks of Sprint and T-Mobile, and also may be used in 120 countries without roaming charges.
Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of products, said at a Barcelona conference last month the company was preparing to experiment with a mobile network, but that it did not intend to disrupt the wireless industry.
The service will be available on only one device and has limited carrier coverage, so it will not make Google a major wireless industry player, said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.
If Google is able to provide those features, “it’s very possible they could become a major wireless player in the future,” Blau said.
It will be offered at a monthly cost of $20 for basic service plus $10 a month for each gigabyte of data used.
Customers will only pay for the data they use, unlike some carriers which offer packages.