Google Fi used to have the simplest billing around: A single flat rate, plus however much data you used. It was disruptive when it landed six years ago, flexible in a way that saved some customers quite a lot of money, but one size doesn’t always fit all. Back in 2019, it rolled out an “Unlimited” plan with extra flat-rate bells and whistles. Today that $70/mo plan has been renamed “Unlimited Plus,” and it’s joined by a new $60/mo “Simply Unlimited” plan — though the value of either in 2021 is a question.
Simply Unlimited makes things a little more straightforward and more like other carrier plans, with a single regular monthly $60 bill, jumping down to $30 as you increase the number of lines. It gets you the usual unlimited calls and texts that no modern phone plan could be without, but also unlimited data — with a few country restrictions. (Unlimited calls and texts in the US, unlimited data and text in the US, Canada, and Mexico.) On top of that, you get the same Fi features other plans enjoy, like access to a free VPN to protect you on strange Wi-Fi networks and spam blocking.
Unlimited Plus remains as it did before under the old “Unlimited” name: $70 a month gets you unlimited calls, texts, and data, plus international data and high-speed tethering. You even get 100GB of cloud storage via Google One. Of course, the original pay-for-your-data “Flexible” plan is still around. If you want to switch between any of these plans, it just takes a few taps in the Fi app, and it doesn’t sound like anything is preventing you from switching back and forth, either.
You’ll need to do the math for yourself, but the new plan could save those on Google Fi that regularly use more than 4GB of data in a billing cycle compared to the Flexible plan, or it could be a good way for folks on the older unlimited plan to save a few bucks a month if they aren’t using the international data or high-speed tethering.
Still, compared to offerings from companies like Mint and T-Mobile, Google Fi doesn’t really present a bargain these days. T-Mobile has a similar $60 “Essentials” plan that basically matches this, and a set of pre-paid plans that are even cheaper (starting at $15 for unlimited calls and texts with 2.5GB of data, and $25 for 5.5GB). AT&T also has an Unlimited Starter plan that offers a similar experience for $65 a month. In both cases, since you aren’t dealing with an MVNO, you don’t have to worry about being deprioritized as often in congested areas or during heavy load. And if an MVNO is your jam, Visible offers an unlimited plan for $40 a month on Verizon’s network, and Mint has a range of plans in different data sizes, including a $40 a month unlimited plan.
In short, Google Fi’s offerings just aren’t as competitive as they used to be, and this new Simply Unlimited plan honestly sounds like it’s not a great deal unless you really want to be on Fi for some reason.
In celebration of Fi’s sixth birthday (which is today), Google is giving new subscribers that activate their account and port over their phone number $100 off “select” phones, or you can snag a $100 bill credit by bringing your own — more details on that here.