There was a surprise waiting for me when I fired up my Nexus 5X on the Project Fi network after landing in Amsterdam today: LTE service.
That new find is thanks to Google’s announcement Tuesday that it had formed a new partnership with Three, which covers the United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, and Sweden. The network will bring speeds 10 to 20 times faster than what you used to get on Project Fi, according to Google. In many cases this will be LTE connectivity, which is what I had straight out of the gate.
One of the major allures of Project Fi was how you could go to just about any country and continue to get mobile service. However, you were capped to 3G speeds, severely limiting how much you were able to do online. This expansion, while probably limited in scope, makes the service more compelling for regular travelers. To sweeten the deal, Google will take $150 off the Nexus 6P for the next week if you buy the phone while signing up for new service.
Why this matters: In the U.S. Project Fi bounces between open Wi-Fi networks, T-Mobile, Sprint, and most recently U.S. Cellular. It’s an innovative idea at wireless coverage, designed to let Google learn a lot about mobile usage and potentially upend the market.