Is Google’s Project Fi Ready for an Upgrade?
Making Project Fi more inclusive
Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google has promised to expand the option of phones compatible with its Project Fi wireless network. In late June, Project Fi tweeted about a “new Fi-compatible device” at a “mid-tier price” that’s coming later this year from one of their partners.
Project Fi launched in 2015, and the service is based on the networks of Sprint (S), T-Mobile (TMUS), and US Cellular. However, Project Fi, which offers data, voice, and text services at competitive billing rates, only works with a few devices.
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Supported devices are Google’s own Nexus and Pixel handsets, but these are premium devices commanding premium prices. As such, Project Fi has since launch been out of reach for many consumers.
By adding more reasonably priced devices to its network, Google could make Project Fi more inclusive.
Google Android losing market share
Aside from the benefits to consumers, increasing the number of devices that qualify for the Project Fi network could also help Google stem the decline of the Android footprint in the US (SPY).
According to research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Apple (AAPL) is steadily stealing Google’s share of the smartphone OS (operating system) market in the US. The firm says that Google’s Android accounted for 64.8% of smartphones shipped in the US in the three months ended May 2017, down from 68.5% in the same period of 2016. Apple’s iOS accounted for 34% of smartphones shipped during the same three months (ended May 2017), up from 29.3% during the corresponding period of 2016.