Author Topic: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?  (Read 1855 times)

economista

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Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« on: October 13, 2021, 08:45:54 AM »
Hello mustacians! I'm running into trouble with my phone service. My husband and I have been using google fi for 5 years and we love the business model as well as their network, service, etc. However, in February we switched from using pixel phones to using iphones and now we are running into all kinds of problems. I know that when you use an iphone on google fi you can only use the t-mobile towers, which is fine for us, but I didn't realize we would have so many issues texting. iMessages are fine but half of the time we don't get texts that come from android phones. We also cannot send or receive pictures via text from androids. I have already reset all of the message settings and worked with google support twice, and we are still having this issue.

The simple solution is to just switch back to pixel phones. I saw that google has the 5a on sale for $449 right now. However, the reasons we switched to iphone to begin with still stand 1) the apple watch is a million times better than the samsung galaxy watch, and the apple air-pods are better than any of the other wireless headphones we've tried that are in the same price range. Also, my husband is blind and the built-in accessibility options for the iphone are MUCH better than the pixel.

That leaves me with the solution of leaving google fi. My work phone is on verizon and I have perfect service at our current house, so I think a verizon MVNO would be best. We spend most of our time on wifi and usually use less than 1gb of data per month (combined) but, we want to have the ability to go over if necessary. I also really hate the idea of paying for something like 3gb per month, only using 1gb, and then having the unused data just disappear. Paying for exactly what we use is what I like the most about google fi. However, with my searching so far I haven't found any other mvno's with a similar plan.

What advice/recommendations do you all have for me?

MudPuppy

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2021, 08:49:06 AM »
I use Visible. It’s $40-25 per phone a month (depending on how many “lines”) and used Verizon towers. The price includes unlimited everything and that is the only package they offer.

Daley

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2021, 10:21:40 AM »
Ting does Verizon network service now in addition to T-Mobile, and they have both prepaid-style bundle plans and postpaid-ish pay for what you use type buckets. $10/month for "unlimited" talk and text per handset, plus $5/GB shared across devices, plus taxes and fees with postpaid billing is probably the closest you'll get to Fi-style a-la-carte pricing.

However, it's worth noting that Fi-style pricing is a bit more expensive than some of the Verizon MVNO plans you can find with outfits like RedPocket and US Mobile. To illustrate the price difference, $40/month between Ting and RedPocket for two lines, RedPocket provides 3GB of data per line, and Ting provides 4GB of data shared. US Mobile is a lot lower than even RedPocket, given they offer an "unlimited" talk and text plan for $12 with 1GB of data plus tax and fees, and $15 for 5GB of data per line, and they also now have pooled data plans for sharing between lines, at $9/line plus $2 per 1GB and taxes and fees, which puts them at a break even with Ting's prices for two lines and 3GB of data for around $25, with US Mobile being cheaper as data usage scales up. But that requires you buying in bulk and being okay with leaving unused on the table.

Ting's owned by Dish Network now (no longer Tucows), and their website's apparently become a bit dated/inaccurate with some more nitty gritty info, but others here still seem to be happy from what they say for what it's worth.

US Mobile has the cheapest prices of the lot for prepaid pre-bundled plans. I used to be on US Mobile in the past before switching to RedPocket, and they were fine at the time... but I don't know anyone currently on US Mobile, and I've heard that their support quality has begun to reflect their dropping prices, but that's third hand scuttlebutt. They also offload a lot higher service fees into the fine print. Do your own research and read the terms of service with anyone you go with. This said, the axiom of getting what you pay for holds just as true in the MVNO space, and sometimes it's wise to not choose the absolute cheapest... but that doesn't mean you still can't be overcharged.

It's also worth noting that Ting and Red Pocket are on Apple's official approved provider list, so most of the core iPhone exclusive, data-dependent features should work as expected... which is more than can be said of your experience with Google Fi. As Visible has been mentioned, it too is on that approved list... however, US Mobile is technically not, even if they'll activate iPhones and most iPhone features usually work without much fuss on a Verizon MVNO, and hasn't been near the boondoggle that iPhones on unapproved AT&T MVNOs have historically been.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2021, 10:24:48 AM by Daley »

reeshau

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2021, 10:48:36 AM »
I will note that my Mom and brothers are on iPhones, on Verizon (business lines, so coverage.  In a rural area) and they have problems sending and receiving texts to my Android.  I don't think changing carriers is going to fix your problem.

What does work, when they remember, is using Whatsapp.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2021, 11:00:17 AM »
Similar to Reeshau, I don't have fi, and have trouble sending/receiving texts between Android & iPhones. Switching the carrier won't help, but agree on using Whatsapp instead.

economista

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2021, 11:59:50 AM »
Thanks everyone! It sounds like the issue might not be google's problem? We use whatsapp with our friends but there is no way my older MIL will use it. It's a miracle that she texts at all. We've also had some issues lately with my daughter's OT and some service people we've had coming to work on our house. Thankfully they have all called or emailed when we didn't respond (or we called them after not hearing from them). It just seems crazy to me that all of the iphone users out there would be willing to put up with this from apple.

MudPuppy

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2021, 12:01:39 PM »
I don’t have any issues with my android contacts, but ymmv

Daley

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2021, 12:51:56 PM »
So, I just learned something today. Apparently, Google's doing their own messed up version of iMessage exclusive to Android devices called RCS, and it causes just as much problem with receiving texts going from Android to iPhone as iMessage does going from iPhone to Android if you don't disable it before the switch... because open standards are dumb, right?

You have to disable RCS on your old Android device before switching to an iPhone now, just like you have to disable iMessage before switching from iPhone to Android. Details on how with a side of technical rant, here.

So, screw both Google's RCS and Apple's iMessage for trying to backdoor their stupid platform proprietary chat into industry standard SMS/MMS messaging by default instead of just having it as an optional opt-in standalone like all the other proprietary messaging platforms like Telegram, Signal, WhatsApp, Kik, WeChat, etc.

*pours a 40 for Microsoft's Windows Mobile, who didn't do this nonsense*
« Last Edit: October 13, 2021, 12:53:30 PM by Daley »

economista

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2021, 01:48:15 PM »
So, I just learned something today. Apparently, Google's doing their own messed up version of iMessage exclusive to Android devices called RCS, and it causes just as much problem with receiving texts going from Android to iPhone as iMessage does going from iPhone to Android if you don't disable it before the switch... because open standards are dumb, right?

You have to disable RCS on your old Android device before switching to an iPhone now, just like you have to disable iMessage before switching from iPhone to Android. Details on how with a side of technical rant, here.

So, screw both Google's RCS and Apple's iMessage for trying to backdoor their stupid platform proprietary chat into industry standard SMS/MMS messaging by default instead of just having it as an optional opt-in standalone like all the other proprietary messaging platforms like Telegram, Signal, WhatsApp, Kik, WeChat, etc.

*pours a 40 for Microsoft's Windows Mobile, who didn't do this nonsense*

That is crazy. I know one of the trouble-shooting things google had me do was go into google hangouts and make sure my mobile number wasn't listed on there anymore because it was possible that the texts were going to my google hangouts instead of my phone. So dumb all around.

hdatontodo

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2021, 01:50:14 PM »
I use Total Wireless (with an Android phone)

Sent from my SM-G991U1 using Tapatalk


Daley

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2021, 02:07:29 PM »
That is crazy. I know one of the trouble-shooting things google had me do was go into google hangouts and make sure my mobile number wasn't listed on there anymore because it was possible that the texts were going to my google hangouts instead of my phone. So dumb all around.

Yup. Any technology that complicates and potentially prevents communication between loved ones due to invisible vendor lock-in isn't good technology. That's why I've never liked iMessage (especially with the blue bubble elitism growing with many Apple snobs), and now that Google's doing the same thing? Nothing but mandatory data silos imposed by FAANG done solely to scrape data for marketing and locking in a user-base, needlessly complicating communications between people due to tech choices and budgets. Feh.

You know, Ting's technically cheaper than Fi, and getting Verizon without roaming is still superior to T-Mo/Sprint/USCC combined, let alone T-Mo only. I'm no fan of Dish, but nothing speaks to Google more than voting with your wallet... if your iPhones have Verizon Band 13 support already? All the better.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2021, 02:14:15 PM by Daley »

economista

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2021, 03:00:11 PM »

You have to disable RCS on your old Android device before switching to an iPhone now, just like you have to disable iMessage before switching from iPhone to Android. Details on how with a side of technical rant, here.


Thank you so much for this link. The problem the guy described is exactly what we are dealing with. I tried using the google form to disable the chat on my phone number but it gives me an error that says "chat features cannot be turned off for this device or phone number without assistance. Contact your carrier."

I haven't tried putting my sim card into my old phone yet because I don't know where it is. We kept mine but we just moved and it's in a box somewhere. We sold my husband's. Maybe we can pop his sim into my old phone and make it work? Otherwise I have to go back to google support to try and get them to fix it.

I definitely think we are going to try out another carrier once we get the messages turned off. It seems like it will be easier while we have google as the carrier though.

Daley

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2021, 05:51:11 PM »
Thank you so much for this link. The problem the guy described is exactly what we are dealing with. I tried using the google form to disable the chat on my phone number but it gives me an error that says "chat features cannot be turned off for this device or phone number without assistance. Contact your carrier."

I wonder if it would work if you stuffed the SIM into the old phone first, but then, you could do it in the phone's messaging settings at that point. This said, I find it incredibly fascinating that Google is trying to deflect responsibility for removing your number from their own RCS database by telling you that you have to contact them to do it. It's very... circular.

I suspect you'll have to reset the phone and sign in for your husband to do the same.

economista

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2021, 12:12:17 PM »
Well, I'm beyond frustrated. I found the old pixel phone, switched over the SIM card and turned off chat features, but it didn't work. That made no difference at all. I tried using the google form and it says it isn't can't be turned off using that way and I have to contact my carrier. I contacted google fi and they said to reset the carrier settings. The person on the phone sent me a picture from an android phone, I received it, so she said it was all fixed. The next day I started missing texts again and I can't send out a picture. So frustrating. I've tried everything at this point!

Daley

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2021, 01:42:37 PM »
Sorry you're getting stonewalled like this. Google's RCS implementation is certainly looking like an absolute cluster.

I can't help but wonder if you'd have better luck disabling it after porting out to another MVNO that isn't controlled by Google, but that's a grasping at straws solution hoping that something you were planning on doing anyway might help make the process easier.

economista

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2021, 02:34:54 PM »
Yeah, I feel like my only options are to switch back to the Pixel phone (after un-registering my number with imessage), or switching my phone number completely but that will be a giant cluster. The downside is that my husband is blind and he can't switch back to android. The accessibility on the iphone makes a drastic difference in his quality of life. He also happens to have the family members who always try to text and complain when we don't text back, particularly his mom. We've told her SO many times to just use facebook messenger, but that is too hard for her to figure out.

We have decided to switch to red pocket. Maybe that will magically fix the problem?!

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2021, 09:19:48 PM »
I recently had to troubleshoot a similar problem.   My kids have iphones and use Tmobile through ting.  They could not send texts to my Android phone (also tmobile/ting).

Solution for them was to make sure they had the very latest software update on their iphones.  Apparently some fix for this was in the latest release.

Might be worth a shot.

economista

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2021, 06:56:02 AM »
Thanks, but I do have the most recent release, iOS 15.1. I've done quite a bit of google and everything I find says that you have to turn on MMS in the messages settings. There is usually a screenshot included that shows the messages settings screen and there is a setting for Send as MMS with a toggle button next to it. I don't have that option! I have the one for send as SMS, but nothing for Send as MMS.

I actually posted yesterday on the apple technical support forum and included a screenshot. Maybe they will be able to help me on there? I'm sooooo tired of this issue. 

economista

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2021, 10:22:04 AM »
I just wanted to update everyone that I fixed the issue and it does appear to have been an issue with google fi. I removed the SIM and google fi from my phone and completely reinstalled the google fi sim card. I went back through the setup wizard, updated the carrier message settings for the thousandth time, and restarted the phone. This time it seems to have worked! The MMS toggle is in my settings now and I was just able to text back and forth with my dad, including pictures.

I think after the last iOS update I needed to reinstall the SIM for some reason. I'm just glad that it is all working now!

economista

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2021, 10:30:34 AM »
@Daley - quick question about switching to red pocket - I checked their coverage map and it says for my city there is 5G coverage but for both areas where our families live there is just LTE. Does that mean our phones wouldn't work well in those areas?

Daley

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2021, 01:34:57 PM »
Glad everything is finally working for you!

As for your question, don't worry about it and just ignore the figee coverage. It's a data only thing, as it can't even support voice calling, and although Verizon's deploying coverage in bands N2/5/66, most of their deployments are either millimeter bands or in heavy urban traffic areas anyway... and they won't even be retiring their CDMA network until the end of next year. Consider 4G LTE the floor for coverage these days and hopefully through the end of the decade, and plenty fine for coverage. 5G is mostly just marketing jibberish right now to push pointless hardware upgrades, network jockeying, horse paste, and to dazzle the consumers into to spending more money for more geez.

Namaste, shalom, and figee .
« Last Edit: November 04, 2021, 02:00:51 PM by Daley »

economista

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2021, 01:57:32 PM »
Glad everything is finally working for you!

As for your question, don't worry about it and just ignore the figee coverage. It's a data only thing, as it can't even support voice calling, and although Verizon's deploying coverage in bands N2/5/66, most of their deployments are either millimeter bands or in heavy urban traffic areas anyway... and they won't even be retiring their CDMA network until the end of next year. Consider 4G LTE the floor for coverage these days and hopefully through the end of the decade, and plenty fine for coverage. 5G is mostly just marketing jibberish right now to push pointless hardware upgrades, network jockeying, horse paste, and to dazzle the consumers into to spending more money for more geez.

Namaste, shalom, and figee .


Ha! Thanks :) Is there a difference between LTE and 4G LTE? Some areas on the map say 4G LTE but the (very rural) areas where our families live are giant swaths of just LTE. I am completely illiterate with this kind of stuff so I have no idea if that means our phones won't work when we are visiting them. 

Daley

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2021, 02:05:38 PM »
Ha! Thanks :) Is there a difference between LTE and 4G LTE? Some areas on the map say 4G LTE but the (very rural) areas where our families live are giant swaths of just LTE. I am completely illiterate with this kind of stuff so I have no idea if that means our phones won't work when we are visiting them.

No difference. LTE is 4G. And once CDMA coverage is retired, voice calling will literally only be possible over Voice over LTE (VoLTE). No LTE coverage, no voice coverage... no voice coverage, no data coverage either. Your phones will be fine.

EDIT: The only exception would be if your specific iPhone model doesn't have LTE band 13, which is a key VoLTE band, and necessary for Verizon activation, but given most all unlocked models supporting iOS 15.1 (excuse the Sprint branded first gen SE - A1723, if I'm recalling correctly) already have that band included, you should be fine.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2021, 02:19:31 PM by Daley »

economista

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Re: Google fi trouble - switch to verizon mvno?
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2021, 02:21:25 PM »
Thank you! That makes me feel much better about switching! It will also drop our cost from $65/$70 per month to $40 per month. Definitely a win!