International Phone - Google FI

I heard about Google Fi device which can be usefull for frequent travel abroad, for receiving /making calls, accessing internet/messages/whatsapp.

It is a actual US cell phone line with coverage over 200 countries, available as Fi Unlimited and Fi Flexible plans. No fixed commitment too.
Costs varies a lot but still better than the usual phone line I have from Brazil. Also I believe it works better than the hotspot device, since it is phone line connection instead of pure internet.

Does anyone have experience with this phone? Any other similar options available?


Google Fi is great only for international data.

Here are the Pros and Cons:


  1. You can use any credit card to pay the bill. It doesn’t have to be a US card. Taxes are not included in the price.
  2. International long distance rates from the US are very cheap with the Flexible plan free with the Unlimited plan.
  3. International data is very cheap at $10 per GB or fraction of a GB.
  4. Up to 4 data-only SIM cards for free (you can use it with your iPad, Hotspot, etc).
  5. Roaming calls are $0.20 per minute.
  6. Unlimited SMS and SMS worldwide.
  7. Email to SMS/MMS gateway (
  8. eSIM support (can be activated anywhere in the world).


  1. Bad customer service.
  2. Non-native iPhone support (doesn’t support Wi-Fi Calling, Visual Voicemail, etc. And you have to set it up manually).
  3. Personal Hotspot (Tethering doesn’t work outside the US).
  4. Some text messages are lost/not delivered.
  5. No Apple Watch support.
  6. No maritime/in-flight/satellite roaming.
  7. Most features are only available in the US with “Designed for Fi phones” (carrier switching, Wi-Fi Calling, Fi VPN, Automatic Hotspot connection, etc).

We have discussed Google Fi a few times on this forum. My verdict is that it’s not a suitable service for digital nomads, perpetual travelers or those that aren’t in the US often. There have been many cases where people traveling abroad (even American residents) for an extended period have had their accounts suspended.

Their TOS is quite clear:

The Services are offered only to residents of the United States. The Services must be primarily used in the United States and are not intended for extended international use. Further, the Services are designed for use predominantly within our network. If your usage outside our network is excessive, abnormally high, or cause us to incur too much cost, we may, at our option and sole discretion, suspend your Google Fi account, terminate your service, or limit your use of roaming.

Here are two topics with more details about Google-Fi:

Thanks for the valuable comments.
Considering I am mostly out of US, does anyone suggest a alternative international phone line/data more reliabke than Google Fi?

I’m not US citizen, and using Google Fi fo more than 6 months already. Always abroad.
Until now it is a best option I have.
Still working for me, but I always try to get a local number if I’m in the country for more than 3 months.

Would be great to have a better service if there is any.

BTW. I’m with 20$/month plan.

Is anyone using StarHub line from Singapore? I heard it is great connection in Asia.

Comments appreciated.

I don’t think T-Mobile US is a good suggestion since apparently roaming excessively outside the US can get your line suspended. Similar to Google-Fi, I think you need to keep majority of your usage on US soil to not get suspended. Either you are very lucky or you spend enough time in the US to be within T-Mobile’s international roaming limits.

In my case, my line got suspended by T-Mobile when I was living in Canada and they required me to visit the US to keep it active. The same thing happened to my two cousins. We all ended up getting Canadian cell phone plans since there was no other way.

On T-Mobile’s website, the following is shown as a disclaimer on the International Roaming page: “Not for extended international use; you must reside in the U.S. and primary usage must occur on our U.S. network.”

Doing Google searches about the subject shows similar issues:

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I bought a US phone number through Skype and a local SIM card with a good data plan. Works like a charm! HOWEVER… sometimes text messages don’t arrive because the sender first verifies if the number is a true cellphone number and won’t allow text messages to be sent to “virtual” phone numbers. But for making/receiving calls and most text messages, it works fine!