Don't fret if you don't know how much data you use. There is a way to check. You can see how much data you have used on your phone by going to the settings on the phone. You can see which apps use up the most data by tapping App Data Usage, and you can also see your data usage from previous months. You can see this on the phone by going to settings. The Flexible Plan is the best option if you use less than 3 gigabytes of data per month.

All of the prices are for a single line and go down as you add more. I plan to add a second line to my plan, which will make both lines $55 each, or $110 per month total, plus taxes and fees.

Your chip can be activated.

Once you have picked your plan and signed up, you will be sent a sim card. If it saves me from going to a carrier store, I will take the slight delay. You don't need to wait for a physical card if you set up Fi with an eSIM.

Once your chip arrives, you will need to use a sim tool to insert the card into your phone. You will need to be on the internet to do this, but you can follow the steps in the app. It may take a little longer if you are changing your phone number. After setting up a new number, Fi was up and running in about 5 minutes. You are done.

I have traveled and lived in rural areas for the past five years and have tried many phone and hot spot plans, but none are as simple as this. Red Pocket Mobile is the only one that I still use. There are more recommendations in the Best Cheap Phone Plans guide. In terms of ease of use and reliability, Fi is hard to beat.

A person is using a hot spot.

You can add cellular service to any device that accepts a sim card, like a mobile hot spot. You can put the chip in any device you want, even if you don't have a phone, once you have activated your Fi card. If you go with the unlimited plus plan, you can put your chip in a variety of devices. You are still bound by the 50 gigabyte data limit, so make sure you don't go crazy with the streaming service.

The easiest way to get a data-only sim is to order it. You don't have to use your phone to get the sim activated. There is no difference between data-only and regular sim cards.

Your questions were answered.

  • Do I need a Google account? Yes, you do need a Google account to sign up for Google Fi, but you don't need to be all-in on Google to use Fi. I have an Android phone, and I use Google apps since that's what we use here at WIRED, but outside of work, I do not use any Google services other than Fi, and it still works great.
  • Is Google Fi tracking my every move? Yes, but so is your current provider. Google Fi's terms of service say Google doesn't sell what's known as customer proprietary network information—things like call location, details, and features you use—to anyone else.
  • I'm traveling and want to Use Google Fi abroad. Will that work? Yes. Fi's terms of service do require you to activate your service in the US, but after that, it should work anywhere Fi has partnered with an in-country network. The one possible catch is long-term travel. The TOS says that if you “use Fi service predominantly internationally, you may have your international capabilities suspended.” There's no official clarification on what constitutes “predominantly,” but unofficially I know several people who have been out of the US for years using Fi and have had no trouble. Still, as they say, your mileage may vary.

There are tips and tricks.

You might not know that there are several features in the app. You can forward calls to any phone you want with an old feature of Google Voice. This is possible in other places as well. All you have to do is add a number to the forwarding list and whenever you get a call, it will ring both your cell phone and that secondary number. In places where your signal strength is questionable, you can just route the call to a phone. When you have access to the internet but not a cell signal, it's worth enabling the wi-fi calling feature.

Call blocking is becoming more and more useful as the number of calls goes up. You still get the voicemail if you use the calling app to block calls. If you block a call through the Fi app, callers will get a message saying your number has been disconnected or no longer in service. You have changed numbers, so far as they know. To set this up, open the Fi app and look under Phone Settings for Spam and Blocked Numbers. You can add any number you want to the list by managing blocked numbers. All you have to do is remove the listing if you change your mind.

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