US Cellular Joins Google's Project Fi

Google has announced that US Cellular has joined Project Fi, its initiative to create a mobile network based on 4G and WiFi technologies throughout the US.

The fifth-biggest mobile operator in the country, US Cellular becomes Project Fi's third network partner, after Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. , and should help Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to improve the coverage and speed of its service. (See Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here.)

US Cellular's network is available in 23 states and is said to provide 4G coverage for more than 99% of customers across urban and rural areas.

Google has essentially become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) through Project Fi, but it differs from other MVNOs by drawing on the resources of several partners, instead of just one.

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According to the search engine giant, this means it can provide much-higher quality services to consumers by selecting the best network in a specific neighborhood at a particular time.

"By analyzing speeds from each network, Project Fi is able to predict the fastest network at your location -- down to the city block -- and automatically connect you," said Google in a statement. "We're constantly adapting to consider how factors like new cell towers and newly available radio frequencies are impacting real-world speeds."

The downside is that only Google's own Nexus phones feature the technology allowing devices to switch seamlessly from one network to another.

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

Joe Stanganelli 6/12/2016 | 12:41:12 AM
Good deal This is a great deal for both companies. US Cellular is the biggest outside the "big 4," so it's alliance w/ Google can only mean good things for it to help it grow, and Google gets the benefits of working with a near-top cellular provider w/o dealing with its more direct and aggressive competitors (e.g., AT&T, Verizon, etc.).
Gabriel Brown 6/10/2016 | 10:37:00 AM
Re: NO downside. Interesting comment. Care to elaborate on what you like about it? Any idea how often it switches access network?

I can see a few parts to it:

1. The ability to switch network where signal is poor. This is an obvious benefit. I wonder how effective it is in practice. Does it hit battery life?

2.The cost management part, the data rollovers, etc. This is important in the market, but not so much a concern for me personally as I get a pretty good deal already.

3. I guess also the "googley" nature of it attractive to some. Is ths basically a brand preference?

4. Have you ever had to call customer support?

tojofay 6/10/2016 | 9:39:22 AM
NO downside. As a ProFi guy there is no downside. A fantastic experience! The future is here and Google brought it.

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