Google Fi vs. AT&T: What’s the Better Wireless Option?

wifi 6 vs wifi 6e

Google Fi vs. AT&T: What’s the Better Wireless Option?

Google Fi and AT&T are among the best carrier services in the United States. Both services offer incredible internet speeds and have excellent coverage in the US. However, which of the two should you pick? Will you go for Google Fi’s great connection flexibility or AT&T’s extensive network coverage? In this article, we will comprehensively compare the two carriers and attempt to find the best choice for your needs. Please stick with us as we pit Google Fi against AT&T in search of a better wireless option.

Google Fi vs. AT&T: Side-By-Side Comparison

Google FiAT&T
Services ProvidedMessaging, telephone calls, cellular networks, Wi-Fi, and broadbandWireless networks, internet, calls, landline communication, fiber internet, and digital television
Internet TypeWireless internetFiber, DSL, wireless internet (Wi-Fi)
Plans and PricingUnlimited Plus: $65/mo.
Simply Unlimited: $50/mo.
Flexible plan: $20 + $10/GB per SIM
Unlimited Starter: $35/mo.
Unlimited Extra: $40/mo.
Unlimited Premium: $50/mo.
Founders and Launch datesGoogle, April 22nd, 2015AT&T, June 26th, 2006
Device CompatibilityMost Android devicesBoth Android and Apple
Data Caps15GB-50GB350GB data cap on Fixed Wireless plans. No data caps for its fiber internet plans.
Perks and PromotionsGoogle One, YouTube PremiumHBO Max
largest telecommunications companies
AT&T’s Mobility Wireless Retail Store now offers IPTV, VoIP, Cell Phones and DirecTV.

What is Google Fi?

Google Fi is a carrier service that provides users with calls, messaging, Wi-Fi, cellular networks, and mobile broadband. The American- based service is owned by Google, and since it is a mobile virtual network operator, it uses T-Mobile and US Cellular as its network operators. 

To ensure fast connections, Google Fi chooses between the available networks automatically, selecting the strongest option in each case. The service also uses a VPN, which encrypts the user’s data as they automatically connect to Wi-Fi hotspots and other available networks. This Virtual Private Network ensures that Google Fi users are always safe.

Google Fi exclusively works in the United States, with countries neighboring the US having some access at slightly lower signals. However, the roaming feature allows the service to work in over two hundred countries worldwide. Finally, Google Fi has both unlimited and pay-as-you-go plans. Its device compatibility is superb since it can accommodate most Android phones. There’s also a group plan that charges per user. 

What is AT&T?

AT&T is an internet service founded in 2006 and is amongst the largest cable companies worldwide. AT&T offers internet, TV, and call services. Its internet service uses both fiber and Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL). The DSL uses a fiber-to-the-node application that involves fiber optic cables transmitting internet, voice-over-IP, and IPTV from the AT&T headquarters to distribution nodes strategically placed in neighborhoods. Copper wires are then used to transmit the service from these distribution nodes to the user’s home. 

AT&T’s fiber service uses a fiber-to-the-premises network (FTTP). FTTP uses fiber cables similar to those in DSL, but does not involve any distribution nodes. Instead, the fiber cables go directly from AT&T’s headquarters to the user’s home. FTTP networks are faster and more efficient compared to DSL. In addition, DSL is outdated and puts the carrier at a disadvantage. Finally, AT&T only works in the US, and the service includes both pay-as-you-go and unlimited plans.

Google Fi vs. AT&T: What’s The Difference?

Google Fi and AT&T are amongst the major wireless carriers in the US. How do these internet service providers differ? Let us examine their distinguishing factors.

Services Provided

Google Fi and AT&T provide different services to their users. With Google Fi, you can access several services, from messaging, telephone calls, cellular networks, Wi-Fi, and broadband. AT&T also offers wireless networks, internet, and calls. However, the service differs from Google Fi by offering landline communication, fiber internet, and digital television. AT&T ultimately has more to offer than Google Fi, thus winning this round.

Internet type

One of the major differences between Google Fi and AT&T is the type of internet they offer to their users. Google Fi is a mobile virtual network operator. Being an MVNO, the carrier offers wireless internet from two different operators, T Mobile, and US Cellular. Google Fi does not own the two operators, and they only help provide internet service. As a result, as you use Google Fi, you automatically toggle between the two operators depending on which has the fastest speeds.

Contrastingly, AT&T offers wired and wireless internet. The wireless internet is in the form of Wi-Fi, whereas the wired internet is delivered using fiber and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). DSL is slower since it uses fiber-to-the-node applications where fiber cables transmit the services from headquarters to a distribution node. From these nodes, copper wires then transmit the service to the users. However, AT&T’s fiber internet is fast since it uses a fiber-to-the-premises network (FTTP). In this network, fiber cables similar to those in DSL go directly from AT&T headquarters to the user’s home.

Plans and Pricing

Regarding plans and pricing, Google Fi is cheaper overall. However, AT&T still offers top-notch service even if its subscriptions are more expensive. Google Fi comes with two unlimited plans and a pay-as-you-go plan. The two unlimited plans include the Simply Unlimited ($50/month) and the Unlimited Plus ($65/month). The pay-as-you-go option, Flexible, costs $20/month, with every GB going for $10.

AT&T has three different unlimited plans. The plans differ in price depending on the number of lines you need. We will be mentioning the plan prices for one line. The Unlimited Starter costs $35/month, whereas the Unlimited Extra goes for $40/month. Finally, the Unlimited Premium will cost $50/month. AT&T also has a pay-as-you-go option where users can choose their plans on AT&T’s official website. 

Google Fi surely wins this round since its plans are well-priced. Additionally, the pay-as-you-go option is cheap and offers a lot of flexibility to its users.

Founders and Launch date

Google Fi and AT&T have different founders and launch dates. We will still compare the two carriers regarding founders and launch dates, even if this comparison will not have a winner. Google is the founder of Google Fi, and they officially launched the service on April 22nd, 2015. AT&T was founded on June 26th, 2006. The service originally went by U-verse Internet before later rebranding to AT&T. 

Device Compatibility

AT&T wins in device compatibility by a small margin. The service works on almost all mainstream devices, from Android to Apple. You will need to get set up for the carrier’s GSM format, and you can enjoy using AT&T on any phone. 

Google Fi also works on most Android devices. You can use the service on several phones, including Samsung, Pixel, and Motorola. However, Google Fi is only compatible with iPhone models running iOS 11 or later, which serves as Google Fi’s major disadvantage regarding compatibility. Additionally, you might have to check if your Android phone is compatible with Google Fi before considering the service since some phones will not work.

4G and 5G Mobile Coverage

AT&T has extensive mobile coverage, supporting both 4G and 5G connections. The service covers almost every part of all states in the US. Although most of this coverage is in 4G, it is still worth a mention. While the 5G Plus network is only available in several cities, the 5G network still reaches a lot of areas, showing how excellent AT&T’s mobile coverage is. 

On the other hand, Google Fi also offers superb 4G and 5G mobile coverage. Google Fi uses T-Mobile and US Cellular to boost its range instead of using a single carrier. The service also uses Sprint for CDMA coverage in some locations. Using different operators is advantageous since Google Fi can automatically pick the strongest of the three to deliver high speeds. Google Fi enjoys top-end 5G network speeds in most locations thanks to T-Mobile. 

While both carriers have great 4G and 5G coverage, AT&T has extensive mobile coverage throughout the country, narrowly beating Google Fi. However, Google Fi’s inclusion of different operators serves it well, enabling the service to follow AT&T in coverage closely.

Group plans

Group plans are a good way of saving when using carrier services. Both Google Fi and AT&T have group plans that allow users to add several lines to their accounts. If you are to subscribe to four-line group plans on the two services, Google Fi offers better deals.

The Simply Unlimited plan would cost $80/month, the Unlimited Plus plan $160/month, and the Flexible would cost $65/month and $10/GB for each user. The AT&T plans will cost $140/month for the Unlimited Starter, $160/month for the Unlimited Extra, and $200/month for the Unlimited Premium. Google Fi, thus has better group plans since you save more using the service than AT&T.

Data Caps

Most internet service providers use data caps to keep speeds higher. When a user hits the data cap, these carriers throttle the speeds and charge more for usage above the data cap. AT&T has a 350GB data cap in its Fixed Wireless plans, whereas its fiber option has none. 

With Google Fi, the data cap depends on the type of plan you are subscribed to. For Flexible plans, you get 15GB while the Simply Unlimited plan has a 35GB data cap. Finally, the Unlimited Plus plan has a 50GB data cap. 

Perks and Promotions

Perks and promotions help add value to using a service. As much as we primarily focus on coverage, plans, and price when choosing carrier services, some useful perks and promotions can help sway the user’s decision. 

AT&T offers an HBO Max subscription when subscribing to its Unlimited Premium Elite plan. All the other AT&T plans do not come with any perks. AT&T also beats Google Fi with its insane catalog of discounted devices. If you purchase an Android phone from AT&T, you can get up to $800 off the device, with the option to trade in an Android phone. Further, you don’t have to be a new user to enjoy these AT&T perks and promotions. 

With Google Fi, you get a Google One subscription if you subscribe to the Unlimited Plus plan. However, this perk is barely exciting since a Google One subscription only costs $2/month. However, the subscription will boost your cloud storage, earn special deals, and support other Google products. On the promotions side, you can purchase the Samsung Galaxy S22 series from Google Fi for up to $300 off. Additionally, you can get a $150 discount on the Motorola Moto G series and an additional $50 bill credit.

Google Fi vs. Xfinity Mobile
Google Fi is a mobile virtual network operator by Google.

Google Fi vs. AT&T: Must-Know Facts

  • Google Fi offers users several services, such as messaging, telephone calls, cellular networks, Wi-Fi, and broadband. AT&T offers wireless networks, internet, calls, landline communication, fiber internet, and digital television.
  • Google Fi operates on the networks of T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular.
  • AT&T is one of the largest mobile network operators in the US, with its own network infrastructure.
  • Google Fi was founded by Google on 22nd April 2015, whereas AT&T was founded by AT&T on 26th June 2006, bearing the name U-verse Internet.
  • AT&T is compatible with all mainstream devices, including Android and Apple devices. Google Fi is compatible with most Android devices but is only compatible with iPhone models running iOS 11 or later.
  • Google Fi and AT&T have extensive 4G and 5G mobile network coverage. However, AT&T has better coverage than Google Fi.
  • Google Fi group plans are cheaper overall than AT&T group plans when considering four lines on each account.
  • AT&T has a 350GB data cap on its Fixed Wireless plans, whereas Google Fi has a 15GB-50GB data cap that depends on your plan.
  • AT&T offers HBO Max on its top plan, whereas Google Fi offers Google One and YouTube Premium.

Google Fi vs. AT&T: Which Is the Best? Which One Should You Use?

After going through their differences between Google Fi and AT&T, which is the best? Google Fi and AT&T are both good carrier options, and your ideal choice depends on your needs. 

AT&T will offer you extensive network coverage, remarkable speeds, great deals on phones and gadgets, and an HBO Max subscription in its top plan. The service is also compatible with all devices, including Android and Apple. However, all these features come at a higher cost since AT&T typically costs more than Google Fi. 

With Google Fi, you get a solid blend of networks, moderately good device compatibility, and great plan pricing with good deals on group plans. The service will also be perfect for you if you are a Pixel device die-hard.

Ultimately, your choice between Google Fi and AT&T should depend on your individual needs and priorities. If you’re someone who values affordability and flexibility, Google Fi may be the better option for you. However, if you prioritize reliable coverage and fast data speeds, particularly in rural areas, AT&T may be a better fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Google Fi?

Google Fi is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that provides wireless phone and data service to customers in the United States. It uses the networks of T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular to provide coverage, and automatically switches between these networks based on the strongest signal in your area. Google Fi also offers Wi-Fi calling and texting, as well as international data coverage in over 200 countries. It is known for its pay-as-you-go pricing model and flexible plans, which allow customers to pay for only the data they use. Customers can also purchase a new phone directly from Google Fi, or bring their own compatible device.

What is AT&T Internet?

AT&T Internet is a broadband service provided by AT&T that delivers high-speed internet to customers in the United States. It uses a combination of fiber-optic and DSL technology to provide internet access, with speeds ranging from 100Mbps up to 940Mbps, depending on the customer’s location and the plan they choose. AT&T Internet plans also typically include a Wi-Fi gateway, allowing customers to connect multiple devices wirelessly to the Internet. AT&T Internet is available as a standalone service or as part of a bundle with other AT&T services such as TV and home phone.

Which one should I choose, Google Fi or AT&T?

Choosing between Google Fi and AT&T depends on your personal needs and preferences. If you value flexibility, affordability, and the ability to switch between networks, Google Fi might be a better fit for you. It offers a pay-as-you-go plan with no contracts and low rates for international data usage. It also allows users to switch between networks (T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular) to ensure the best coverage.On the other hand, if you prioritize reliable coverage and fast data speeds, particularly in rural or remote areas, AT&T might be a better option. It offers a variety of plans with varying amounts of data and unlimited options.

Can I use Google Fi internationally?

All Google Fi plans include data, calls, and texts within the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Plus, the Flexible and Unlimited Plus plans also come with international data in 200+ destinations, and for supported Pixel and Samsung phones, 5G coverage is available in select countries and territories.

What kind of phones work with Google Fi?

Google Fi works with a variety of Android and iOS devices, including Google Pixel phones, Samsung Galaxy phones, and iPhones. You can also purchase a new phone directly from Google Fi.

Does AT&T offer unlimited data plans?

Yes, AT&T offers a variety of unlimited data plans with varying features and pricing. You can choose from Unlimited Starter, Unlimited Extra, and Unlimited Elite plans, depending on your needs.

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