Google Cancelled My Google Fi Service for Using It in Mexico Too Much
I had a feeling it would happen.
Access to the internet always tops the list when people ask me to name my biggest challenges on the road. I have it mostly figured out in the United States, but it's a different ball game in Mexico. You've probably seen my previous posts on staying connected South of the Border:
I used Google Fi in multiple countries from 2018 to 2020.
Before I hit the road full-time, I was a happy Google Fi customer. I only switched to a different plan because their 20 GB limit on high-speed data worked well in the suburbs but was mediocre for full-time travel.
The thing I loved most about Google Fi is that the service worked well while traveling overseas. I have used it in Dubai, the Maldives, Jamaica, Belize, Mexico, and Honduras.
Google threatened to suspend my international data.
While browsing the Google store, I came across a new Google Fi offering: 50 GB of high-speed data that also worked while overseas. I hopped on the plan and had excellent service in Mexico for a month. Then, I received this email.
Google deprioritized me, which led to NO DATA.
I didn't meet their exemption requirements, so I decided to cancel my service once they suspended my international data. Google didn't wait until 30 days to take action, though. About 20 days later, they deprioritized my service, which led to no connection. You can see that in the graph below.
The graph also shows that they restored my service, so what happened?
I left Mexico on December 7th to move my storage unit from New Mexico to California. I had data again as soon as I got close to the border. Then, when I returned to Mexico on December 9th, Google immediately restored my data.
I cross the border at least twice per month, but I'm usually so close to Mexico that it tricks the phone into thinking I am still in the country. So now, I'll make the extra effort to travel further away so that Google Fi registers my trips back to the U.S. as American data usage.
Google Fi is one of many phone companies that do this.
Several other companies will attempt to suspend your service when you try to use them for extended periods overseas. Examples include T-Mobile, Verizon, and Visible. Some companies will provide an easy exception if you ask (Visible did this for me!). Others will turn a blind eye if you keep crossing the border.
Google Fi is the strictest I have encountered so far.
Still, you can't beat 50 GB of high-speed international data for $72. For comparison, it currently costs roughly $25 for 6 GB on the TelCel carrier in Mexico. If you plan to travel for extended periods, your best bet is to find somewhere with reliable WiFi, but always have a backup plan. Be sure to call your phone company and identify the rules for traveling internationally on their service — or whether it will even work overseas.
Next week, paid subscribers will receive a second email describing my current data setup in Mexico.
PS:- Are you a full-time or frequent traveler looking for a data solution? Here's my Google Fi referral link. (All customers have one!) You get a $20 credit on your bill if you use it to sign up ― and so will I!