I recently signed up for Google Fi, Google’s mobile phone plan offering. Before signing up, I was using two traditional carriers – one in Japan, one in USA. I also had a separate mobile hotspot plan in Japan as a backup and “on-the-go” Internet connection for work. The hotspot has proven itself useful many times, especially during visits to my wife’s hometown in the countryside.

A few weeks ago, I started rethinking my plan for global data coverage. After a good bit of research, I ended up choosing Google Fi for the reasons below.

  • I often faced SMS 2FA issues in Japan. For example, some of my online shopping accounts are tied to my USA number. If I try to log in to buy something in Japan, it send a verification code to my USA number. Since Google Fi gives me a single number that’s accessible from around the world at no extra charge, I can use that phone number to solve this problem.
  • Having a separate mobile hotspot feels a little redundant. With Google Fi, I can add additional data-only SIMs for free! Since I do most of my writing for work on my iPad Pro nowadays, I can put the SIM card in my iPad directly. Hopefully future ARM Macs have built-in LTE capability as well. Best of all, Google Fi gives me unlimited data in both Japan and USA, and it’s cheaper than the mobile hotspot I was paying for.
  • Google Fi is compatible with my iPhone’s eSIM. This means I can have two voice/data plans in one phone. This is very convenient because I don’t need to carry another device around for the second phone number. Furthermore, it allows me to use my iPhone as a mobile hotspot in case I need to connect to the Internet with my MacBook Pro on the go.

I’m all set up with Google Fi now, and I’ve been loving it so far. My iPhone 11 Pro Max has a physical SIM for my USA carrier and a Google Fi eSIM, and I also have a data-only SIM in my iPad Pro. Just today, I walked to a local park to get some work done on my iPad. It felt pretty awesome to be able to connect to the Internet on my iPad Pro without any kind of tethering setup. When I get back to Japan, I’ll swap out my USA carrier’s SIM for my Japanese carrier’s SIM.

Nice and easy!