Google's Project Fi, the company's wireless service, has a new partner: US Cellular.
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US Cellular, which is currently available in 23 states, joins Sprint and T-Mobile as cellular providers that Project Fi phones will tap into when Wi-Fi is not available. For $20 per month, Google's Project Fi relies largely on Wi-Fi, but switches to cellular when a Wi-Fi network is not available.
"In most areas, multiple cellular networks are available — in fact, the majority of Project Fi usage occurs in areas where more than one of our partners offers LTE coverage," Google said in a blog post this week. "But factors like obstructions from nearby buildings can meaningfully impact the speed and coverage available from each LTE connection. By analyzing speeds from each network, Project Fi is able to predict the fastest network at your location — down to the city block — and automatically connect you. We're constantly adapting to consider how factors like new cell towers and newly-available radio frequencies are impacting real-world speeds."
US Cellular is not one of the so-called "big four" carriers, but has nearly 4.5 million subscribers. Support for the provider will be rolled out to Project Fi customers "over the coming weeks," Google said.
In PCMag's 2015 review of the service, we found that it "combines Sprint, T-Mobile, and Wi-Fi into a virtual network with better coverage than any one of the three has individually, but it fails to become a broadly viable wireless carrier." The addition of US Cellular might help that.