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Google Fi drops US Cellular as an official network, but service still accessible

Project Fi’s original technical innovation was the ability to switch between Sprint and T-Mobile for the best possible service. US Cellular was added later, but Google Fi has now dropped the carrier as an official network.

In June of 2016, Project Fi partnered with US Cellular for a total of three available networks. This went back down to two when Sprint was merged with T-Mobile in 2020. 

Recently, Google Fi subscribers have been told by customer support that US Cellular is “no longer an official network for Google Fi, but may still be accessible through roaming on our Extended Network.” 

A Google spokesperson confirmed that MVNO change to us today. T-Mobile is now Fi’s lone “official network,” but US Cellular remains available as a roaming option that you won’t be charged for. You can see where the Extended Network (lightest shade of green) is found on the Coverage map:

Those reliant on the US Cellular network will still have access when T-Mobile coverage is not available, which is important for subscribers in some parts of the country. If both networks are available, you’ll presumably always be on T-Mobile, even if US Cellular is better given this change.

5G DSDS (Fi dual connect technology): Fi intelligently switches between multiple networks to put you on the best signal available. With Fi dual connect technology on Pixel phones, you can connect to two networks at once — including a 5G network — which means you can switch to the best signal even more quickly and frequently.

At the end of the day, Google Fi subscribers can still connect to multiple carrier networks when traveling domestically and internationally. However, this doesn’t occur intelligently in service of providing the best possible connection at all times, which was Fi’s original claim to fame.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: