Is a $10 phone service any good? In this short guide, we’ll be comparing Google Fi vs AT&T features, performance, and perks. YES, it’s an unfair duel considering one’s a major carrier and the other a sub-carrier. But as the saying of the judge, book, and cover, even the cheapest stuff can surprise you.
In fact, you’ll realize Google Fi, which is the sub-carrier or MVNO, has lovely perks as AT&T, the major carrier. The difference is that they might not be as many since the Fi plans are essentially cheaper.
Google Fi vs AT&T: A Summary of the Cell Phone Providers
|Carrier Network||T-Mobile, US Cellular||AT&T|
|5G Data Speeds||Up to 900+Mbps||Up to 2000+Mbps|
|4G Data Speeds||Up to 170+Mbp||Up to 300+Mbps|
|Lowest Phone Plan||$20||$25|
|Free Mexico/ Canada Call||YES||YES|
|Phone Unlock Period||At Purchase||After 60 Days|
|Extra Perks||100GB of Cloud Storage||Free HBO Max™, Stadia Pro, AT&T ActiveArmorSM, & 100GB Cloud Storage|
|Home Internet Discount||Not Available||Not Always|
In the chart, Fi has the lowest plan at $20/ month. The plan even gets cheaper as you add more lines. So, it’s an excellent pick if you’d want to cut down your monthly phone bill.
However, Google Fi usually throttles your data after reaching the monthly limit. And for that, you’ll find it most convenient if you already have a wired internet service like Spectrum or Frontier.
Meanwhile, a phone carrier that doesn’t throttle data will be a better suit if you’re a heavy data user and travel a lot. AT&T is a perfect example in that case if you can afford at least $50/ month for the bill.
In the AT&T vs Spectrum review, we saw the major carrier offers all unlimited plans with uncapped high-speed data. But just like with T Mobile or Verizon, the AT&T prepaid unlimited plans will give you deprioritized data. Thus, you’ll experience slower browsing speeds than other traffic when the towers are busy.
Google Fi vs AT&T: Comparing Features & Perks of the Phone Providers
In this section, we’ll now compare Google Fi and AT&T on the features that are crucial in any phone provider. The said features include:
Best Network Coverage
I’m sure you’ve seen somewhere AT&T described as the Super-LTE network. One of the reasons people use that nickname is from its wide coverage across the country. The coverage has even extended out of the big cities, an area T Mobile and its sub-carriers often struggle.
Speaking of T-Mobile, Google Fi is one of the sub-carriers that has made a network deal with the provider. But it also runs on US Cellular, which predominantly covers the Midwestern and Northwestern states.
Even better, Fi usually switches your phone to the strongest signal of the two networks. So, you’ll realize you’ve got a working phone in more areas than T-Mobile and its other MVNOs.
Best Phone Deals & Promos
Neither AT&T nor Google Fi is really good on the device promos. True, they both are amongst the few phone companies that give free phones when you switch. But they have some pretty boring requirements for you to qualify.
For instance, you can only get a $0 phone from AT&T if you have a qualifying trade-in. The rest of the promotion deals with no trade-in required will only give you a partial discount, which you get to redeem as bill credits.
Google Fi also provides a discount in the form of bill credits. But unlike AT&T, all the featured device promos will also require a cellphone number port-in.
Regardless, Fi phone deals can give you a full price rebate on the low-end models. But you can also save up to $600 on the high-end Androids: the carrier doesn’t stock Apple devices.
Bets 5G Data Speeds
In a side-by-side AT&T vs Google Fi speed test, the former takes the full point. A recent speed test with iPhone peaked at 2000+Mbps on the high-band 5G+. But the low-band 5G is the most available, with a speed of around 300-400Mbps on cool days or on the 100s during high traffic.
On the other hand, Google Fi doesn’t have the best browsing speeds. The automatic switch between T-Mobile and US Cellular towers tends to have the phone hanging on the LTE network with a speed of 100+Mbps or less.
But if lucky to have a stable T-Mobile connection, your device can achieve as high as 900+Mbps on the 5G mmWave.
However, do remember Google Fi iPhone support hasn’t improved yet, and that includes 5G availability. So, only the supported Android devices will connect you to the ultra-fast network.
The two cellular carriers should be winners here since you can get domestic roaming at no cost. You’ll also get talk, text, plus data roaming in Canada and Mexico free of charge.
However, AT&T has also extended the unlimited everything (talk, text, & data) roaming to the other nineteen Latin American countries. And if traveling to a destination outside the 21 countries, you can keep the unlimited everything roaming with the $10 international Day Pass.
Alternatively, you can opt for the AT&T pay-as-you-go international roaming rates from as low as $2.05/ MB of data or $1/ talk minute.
However, Google Fi has much better pay-as-you-go international rates, whereby you can talk from as low as $0.20/ minute. Then, some of the phone plans provide data and text roaming free of charge in over 200 destinations.
Phone Plans & Pricing
Early this year, Google Fi updated its phone plans. And not only have they increased the monthly data allotment but also reduced the plan costs by up to ten bucks.
However, AT&T still bags better monthly allotments, including the “Truly” unlimited data with no caps. See below.
Chart 2.1 Google Fi Phone plan Structure
|Features||Flexible Phone Plan||Simply Unlimited Phone Plan||Unlimited Plus Phone Plan|
|Single Line||$20/ month||$50/ month||$65/ month|
|Multi-line Discount||$2-$4/ month||$10-$30/ month||$10-$25/ month|
|4G LTE & 5G||YES||YES||YES|
|Free Mobile Hotspot Data||NO ($10//GB)||5GB||Unlimited (with premium data)|
|Free Calls to Countries outside the US||YES Canada & Mexico||FREE Canada & Mexico||FREE 50 destinations|
|Free data Roaming in Canada/ Mexico||YES||YES||YES|
|Extra Perks||N/A||N/A||100GB of Google One,|
Chart 2.2 AT&T phone plan structure
|Features||5GB Plan (Prepaid)||8GB Plan (Prepaid)||Unlimited (Prepaid)||Unlimited Starter||Unlimited Extra|
|Regular Price||$30/ mo.||$25/ mo.||$50/ mo.||$65/ mo.||$75/ mo.||$85/ mo.|
|Free 5G Access||NO||NO||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Mobile Hotspot||YES||YES||Add-On (5GB/ $10)||3GB||15GB||40GB|
|Video Streaming||HD Quality (1080p)||HD Quality (1080p)||HD Quality (1080p)||HD Quality (1080p)||HD Quality (1080p)||4K Quality (2160p)|
|Free-roaming in Canada/ Mexico||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Free roaming in Latin America||NO||NO||NO||NO||NO||YES|
|Free HBO Max subscription||NO||NO||NO||NO||NO||YES|
If the idea is to cut down your monthly bill, you can see the Google Fi phone plans will cut it. The basic 15GB plan starts at $20/ month for a single line or sixteen bucks when you have five lines under your account.
If you’re a heavy data user, Fi has unlimited plans at $50 and $65/ month per single line. But you could also get a family discount of $10 to $30 with 2-5+ lines under your account.
In the second chart, you’ll notice AT&T phone plans have an almost similar discount with multiple lines under your account. But the standard rates of the major carrier are slightly more expensive, with the postpaid subscriptions starting at $65 to $85/ month. Then, the prepaid service starts at $25 to $50/ month.
Keep in Mind: Both Google Fi and AT&T will charge you the government taxes and fees separately based on your region. So, you can expect the prices advertised to jump by $4 to $8 per month.
Deprioritization & Throttling
AT&T leads in this category as you’ll get the postpaid plans with priority data (doesn’t slow down speed than other traffic during congestion). Then, they also have unlimited data with no throttling (doesn’t slow down speed based on usage). So, you can browse, stream, and game as much as you want.
As for Google Fi, all the phone plans, including Simply Unlimited and Unlimited Plus, have capped high-speed data. So, you might want to be careful while streaming or tethering with your phone.
Does Google Fi work with AT&T?
Technically, Google Fi usually works on T-Mobile and US Cellular networks. It does not work directly with AT&T, except when roaming in areas with poor signals.
What are the pros and cons of Google Fi?
Similar to any other service provider, Google Fi has its unique pros and cons you should know beforehand. They include:
- It has budget-friendly rate plans
- Sells fully-unlocked phones
- Has up to 100GB of cloud storage
- Offers free calling to Canada & Mexico
- Includes free data roaming in 200+ countries
- It Supports both eSIM & physical SIM cards
- It throttles even unlimited plans
- Charges on WiFi calling while abroad
- It still lacks 5G support on Apple iPhones
Can I switch to Google Fi from ATT?
Yes, indeed, a switch to Google Fi from AT&T is one of the ways to cut down your phone bill by a few coins. Thanks to the partnership with US Cellular, Fi also have good coverage in Oregon and other Midwestern/ Northwestern states.
How do I transfer my AT&T phone to Google Fi?
It’s so easy to transfer an AT&T phone number to Google Fi. You just need to signup and activate your service, where Fi will ask if you’d like to join with a new or existing phone number. If it’s the latter, you’ll get the prompt to “transfer your number to Fi” and all you’ll need to do is click on the embedded link and follow the onscreen instructions.
Both Google Fi and AT&T are great phone services, with decent coverage, lovely roaming perks, plus good deals on plans and phones.
On the roaming bit, a lot of people have commended Fi service. And not just for the reasonable rates, but also decent roaming data speeds, which actually come free on the unlimited plan.
However, don’t forget the said Google Fi unlimited plans have capped premium data. So, you might want to consider AT&T if you’re a heavy data user and don’t have wired internet at home.