Project Fi: Getting Started with Group Plans

It was a long time coming, but Project Fi finally added the ability to have group plans.  These new plans let you add additional people onto the same bill, and give you a lot of control over what they can do. See the announcement here.


It really is simple to get started, all you have to do is navigate to the Manage Plan page of either fi.google.com or the Project Fi app on your device. From there, just tap on Add Member and this will start the invite and setup flow of the group plan.

First step is to add the email address of the person you want to invite, followed by selecting the amount of data and then a confirmation screen that informs you that the user has been sent an email invitation.

If the user is already a Fi subscriber, they can just accept the invitation. This will then stop the billing under their current account and move that billing over to the new group.

If the user is new to project Fi, they will need to go through the process of selecting an Area Code for their new number (or the steps to transfer an existing mobile #/GV #) and ordering a device or SIM if needed. This part of the process will be very similar to that of a regular new user signup.  However there is the ability for new devices to be purchased for members on the account. 

A group on Project Fi is any plan that has 2-6 members in it.

New Account Roles

Once they accept the invitation and then activate their device, the original user will become the account owner, and those part of the account will either be Managers or Members. Each role will have the following capabilities:
  • Member: add data-only SIM (if the are 18+ y/o), edit settings for self, view usage and billing for self , pause service for self, leave plan and take phone #
  • Manager:  Add users, remove users, edit plans, change international settings for all members, pause service for all members individually, see usage for each user, and get notifications in real-time about each members data usage so when they reach a plan limit, the data or voice can be paused until next cycle.
  • Owner: all the capabilities of the Manager plus assign roles to each user and responsible for payments

Costs

Costs for group plans is extremely reasonable. Each new member will be add $15 for unlimited talk/text. Just as with the original data portion of Project Fi plans, members will add $10 per GB of data, and will still remain pay as you go. However the pay as you go will be determined by the pause settings, in other words, if they reach their data and you pause the data for the rest of the cycle, there will be no additional charges for data usage since they won't go over their data allotment. 

Using the Fi app or fi.google.com the bill is clearly broken down by user so if needed you can collect the proper payment from the user.


Device Protection

If any of the devices being added to the group plan have Device Protection, then the device protection for that phone will transfer. However, once part of the group plan, only owners will have the ability to add Device Protection.


Financed Devices

If a user is coming into a group plan with a financed device, they will need to pay off the balance prior to coming over to the group. The group owner can finance multiple devices, however this will be limited to the amount of credit the owner has. 


Setting Data Limits

Currently there is not automatic limiting of data for members, however as noted above, Managers and Owners can get real time alerts and if/when users reach their data limit, the managers and owners can pause the data portion of the service, so at least users will have the option to make calls. 

When pausing you will be given an option of just for the rest of the cycle or indefinitely. If you choose indefinitely you can undo that later. 

Owners and managers will be able to easily see how much each user is using in data as each person is assigned a color to the graphs. This color is not customizable at this time, but its a nice way to differentiate the data usage.





Billing

Billing couldn't be simpler. On the website, app or in the monthly PDF statement, the charges for each member are clearly identified. Remember, only the owner is able to pay the bill, so they will need to figure out a way to get the money from the other members if that is how they set things up.



It really is about time that Project Fi added group capabilities. When Fi first launched it was a game changer. In my opinion the addition of group capabilities may be the one feature that will bring more people away from the status quo of Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, or all the others. 






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About Scott Greenstone

Top Contributor: Project Fi, Calendar, Gmail, Inbox by Gmail; Google Play; https://plus.google.com/+ScottGreenstone

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