Archives for July 13, 2016

Google Fi: Simple, Pay As You Go Cell Plan With High-Speed International Data Included

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

filogoWe recently returned from a family trip to Europe, and I found myself missing my data plan more than ever before. I kept thinking about the slow 2G data that T-Mobile includes in their postpaid plans and how it might power data-light apps like maps, weather, Uber/taxi, and public transit “when is the next one coming?” apps. (Oh, how it would have helped in the pouring rain in the middle of the city with a 1 and 3-year old…) Why couldn’t this be offered to the rest of us for a half-decent price? I didn’t even consider surfing the web fully, watching a video, or streaming GPS directions due to the fear of a huge bill.

If you are a regular international traveler, you may have heard of the Google Project Fi cell phone plan. Here are the basics:

  • $20 a month flat for unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international texts, and tethering. Non-WiFi international calls can get a bit expensive, $0.20 per minute inside the UK for example.
  • $10 a month per gigabyte of data used, either domestic or international. You pay only for what you use, down to the penny! So if you use exactly 1.4 GB of data, you end up paying $14.
  • No annual contract.
  • Taxes and fees not included, as with other postpaid plans.
  • You must use an approved Google phone. The new ones on sale are the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X (starts at $199 with activation). The older Nexus 6 is also an option.
  • Once you have activated service, you can add additional tablets like select iPads using their data-only SIM card, all while sharing the same data plan.

In the United States, your phone will switch between Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular networks based on which has the best signal. You have full access to the fastest 4G LTE networks where available.

Previously, international data was throttled to 256 kbps, which is roughly 3G speed. On July 12th, 2016, Google announced that due to an agreement with Three, those speed caps will increased “10-20X faster than before”. That means you’d be getting close to full 4G LTE speeds for international data. They also announced a limited-time offer of $150 off the Nexus 6P, bringing the base model down to $349 with activation.

There are some cons. If you are a big domestic data user and/or you have a family plan, Google Fi can end up being more expensive than existing plans from the major providers. There also doesn’t appear to be any plans to support other phones like Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.

Bottom line: Although it won’t work out as the cheapest for everyone, the simple elegance of this plan is the most intriguing feature. For you “digital nomads” out there, recent changes now make Google Fi one of the best plans for frequent international travelers that want high-speed smartphone data wherever they go.

UberPool vs. Public Transportation: New York City Promotion

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

It’s no secret that Uber wants to take over the world… or at least replace individual car ownership. Uber just announced a New York City UberPool promotion that offers unlimited rides this July and August:

  • Two-Week Unlimited Commute Card (July or August) for $49
  • Four-Week Unlimited Commute Card (July or August) for $79
  • Eight-Week Unlimited Commute Card (July and August) for $159

Trips must begin and end in Manhattan below 125th Street. Valid Monday–Friday from 7–10 AM and 5–8 PM. Valid for both new and existing Uber riders. A quick view of how UberPool works:

uberpool2

Quartz ran some rough numbers that found that this promotion can make with UberPool cheaper than taking the New York City Subway:

uberpool1

For now, this is a limited promotion. But I wonder about the future. Even as someone who lives in the suburbs, I have enjoyed the convenience and savings of Uber.

Infographic: The Best Paying Job In Each State, Relative To National Average

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

Business Insider mined data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and compared the state average salary and the national average salary for each job occupation. The single occupation with the largest percent difference is listed in the infographic below:

bi_jobpay

The income numbers are not adjusted for cost-of-living, but as that would apply to all jobs, you are still looking at the greatest outlier and thus some interesting outcomes. For example:

  • The average annual salary for welders and cutters in Alaska is roughly $72,000. That’s 80% more than the national average of $40,000.
  • The average annual salary for tile and marble setters in Massachusetts is roughly $75,000. That’s 70% more than the national average of $44,000.
  • The average annual salary for physical therapists in Nevada is roughly $128,000. That’s 52% more than the national average of $84,000.
  • The average annual salary for judicial law clerks in New York is roughly $111,000. That’s 104% more than the national average of $54,000.

I’m sure there are some economic (or “freakonomic”) explanations for some of these variations. It would also be interesting to run the same numbers for the worst paying job in each state, relative the national average.

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