Google adds Three as Project Fi network roaming partner

The Three group became the latest network partner for Google's Project Fi network, which is a U.S.-based wireless service that allows customers to switch between 4G/3G and Wi-Fi networks in order to benefit from the best possible connectivity available.

Three is the first European mobile operator to be named as a roaming partner for the project: existing domestic network partners are T-Mobile US, Sprint and US Wireless. However, the new signing does not mean that Google is taking the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service to Europe beyond roaming for U.S. subscribers -- at least not yet -- although it has caused some to wonder if there will be European availability at some point.

According to Wired, Project Fi has long allowed its subscribers to use their phones in more than 120 destinations worldwide without worrying about large bills for data usage. However, Project Fi previously capped data usage at 2G speeds.

Now, not only will Three add a further 15 countries to take the total number of destinations to 135 but data speeds will not be capped, meaning that subscribers will benefit from 3G or 4G speeds abroad depending on what is available. Three operates 4G networks in a number of European countries including the UK, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Austria, and Denmark, as well as Hong Kong.

Google told TechCrunch that it also worked with several other operators as well as Three to provide its faster international coverage.

"We're now able to deliver speeds 10 to 20 times faster than before," the company said on its blog. "And, just as before, there are no extra fees for using data internationally -- you pay the same $10 (€9) per GB that you do at home…Fi customers now have access to high-speed data in over 97 per cent of the places Americans travel internationally."

As part of a week-long promotion to attract more subscribers, Google is offering $150 off the Nexus 6P smartphone when it is acquired and activated with Project Fi.

Project Fi is able to determine whether to connect to 4G or Wi-Fi for the best speeds by analysing speeds from each network and predicting which network is the fastest at a user's location. Google first unveiled the project in April 2015.

For more:
- see this Google post
- see this TechCrunch article
- see this Wired article

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