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I Feel Like a Google Project Fi Beta Tester in Asia- Issues Seen on the Road

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I set myself up with Project Fi on my Nexus 5X, and was excited to see how well it worked during business travel overseas.  The promise of affordable 'pay as you go" Internet access in different countries and being able to use the LG Google Nexus 5X as a portable hotspot was alluring.

In Japan, I found that Internet access through Project Fi was slow and often times I couldn't even get mobile data access even though I was in dense urban areas such as Tokyo and Yokohama.  

See in the screenshot below that there is no mention of LTE in the Fi Network icon.


In Singapore, from the moment I went through immigration, I also had the same problem with LTE not showing up next to the Project Fi icon and I couldn't access any mobile data.


After restarting my phone several times, I was able to get LTE to show up and get mobile data access again.


However, as soon as I used WI-FI and switched back to using mobile data on Project Fi, I couldn't connect again and the LTE symbol was missing.


At first I tried to manually connect to different networks in my location (Singapore) but that didn't work.





Eventually, I found the only way to get the LTE working again reliability was to actually turn off WI-FI and restart the phone.  This is not such a good user experience for someone using Project Fi traveling in Singapore.


In China, while transferring at the Pudong Airport in Shanghai I couldn't get any data access through Project Fi.


In Malaysia, while in Penang, Project Fi could not be accessed immediately while in the plane. 


However, once I got out of immigration I did get some mobile data through Project Fi, at least enough to see no Uber cars available in the area.


Overall in Malaysia, there were no problems switching between WI-FI and the Project Fi network like I saw in Singapore.

In Bangkok Airport in Thailand, I also didn't have any problems with Project Fi.  This was useful in the airport given lack of free WI-FI access there.


Even thought the service coverage was spotty and not as fast as what you get in the US, it was still better to have Project Fi traveling around Asia than not having it around at all.  By far, the best reason to use Project Fi is when you are in China so you can access all your Google and Facebook services without having to deal with the Great Firewall.



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