Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) like Google Fi and Xfinity Mobile are growing in popularity as alternatives to major wireless carriers. MVNOs provide cellular service by purchasing wholesale access to existing carrier networks. This allows them to offer competitive rate plans and features while tapping into the coverage and performance of big-name networks like T-Mobile and Verizon.
But how do you decide whether Google Fi or Xfinity Mobile is the better fit for your wireless needs? This in-depth comparison covers everything you need to know to pick the best MVNO for your situation.
Introducing the Contenders
Before diving into the details, let‘s look at an overview of each provider:
|Google Fi||Xfinity Mobile|
|Launch Date||April 2015||April 2017|
|Network||T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular||Verizon|
|Headquarters||Mountain View, CA||Philadelphia, PA|
|Key People||Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President||Dana Strong, CEO|
Google Fi was unveiled in 2015 as Project Fi before rebranding under its current name. It combines networks including T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular.
Xfinity Mobile entered the scene in 2017 from Internet and cable provider Xfinity. It utilizes Verizon‘s extensive network nationwide.
Now let‘s compare how these services stack up across a range of factors:
Availability and Compatibility
One of the biggest considerations when choosing a wireless provider is ensuring your devices are compatible.
Google Fi supports most unlocked Android devices including popular models like:
- Samsung Galaxy (S21, S20, Note, etc)
- Google Pixel (6, 5, 4, 3)
- OnePlus (8, 7 Pro)
Limited iPhone support includes iPhone SE 2nd gen and newer models. Specific excluded models are listed here.
Xfinity Mobile is optimized for iPhone devices, supporting iPhone 5 and newer. Compatible Android phones include:
- Samsung Galaxy (S9, S8, S7, Note8, Note9)
- Google Pixel (4, 4XL, 3, 3XL)
- LG (G7, G6, V40, V50)
Google Fi allows anyone to sign up for service online, while Xfinity Mobile is only available to existing Xfinity Internet customers.
If you want wireless service bundled with your existing Xfinity services, then Xfinity Mobile offers a convenient combo. But Google Fi is the more flexible option if you don‘t have Xfinity internet.
Network Coverage and Performance
Understanding how the networks behind each MVNO perform is key to picking the right provider.
4G and 5G Coverage
According to 2022 analysis from RootMetrics, Verizon (used by Xfinity Mobile) ranked #1 in overall nationwide performance, while T-Mobile (used by Google Fi) came in second place:
Verizon edged out T-Mobile in reliability and accessibility metrics. However, T-Mobile won speed awards in more test regions.
Both networks offer solid coverage overall and are quickly expanding next-gen 5G availability:
- Verizon 5G covers over 230 million people
- T-Mobile 5G covers 270 million people and counting
So Xfinity Mobile on Verizon‘s network has a slight coverage advantage, especially in rural areas. But Google Fi users still get strong coverage through T-Mobile alongside extra reinforcement from Sprint and U.S. Cellular when needed.
Plan Options and Value
How do the rate plans stack up? Let‘s compare what each provider offers.
Google Fi‘s unlimited plan runs $60/month for one line. You get:
- Unlimited talk and text
- 22GB high speed data
- Speeds may be slowed after 22GB of usage
- Add‘l lines $15/month per line up to 6 people
Xfinity Mobile offers three unlimited options:
|Plan||1 Line Price||2 Line Price|
|Unlimited||$45/month||$30/month per line|
|Unlimited Plus||$55/month||$40/month per line|
|Unlimited Premium||$65/month||$50/month per line|
The Unlimited Plus and Premium plans include 20GB of hotspot data.
Based on these rates, Xfinity Mobile offers cheaper unlimited pricing for individual lines. But Google Fi is more affordable for two lines or more.
Google Fi‘s pay-as-you-go Flexible plan is $20/month for unlimited talk and text, then $10 for each GB of data used. You only pay for what you utilize.
Xfinity Mobile‘s By the Gig plans come in 1GB($15/month), 3GB ($30/month), and 10GB ($60/month) options. Unused data rolls over for a year.
Xfinity Mobile‘s per GB rate is lower compared to Google Fi. But Google Fi‘s plan allows finer control over data use and spending.
One major perk of Google Fi is its robust international roaming. You pay the same rates for talk, text and data abroad in over 200 countries.
Xfinity Mobile only includes free texting and calling, with data costing $7/day for 512MB internationally.
For those who travel overseas frequently, Google Fi is by far the better choice. Xfinity Mobile is better suited for those who predominantly stay in the US.
Other Features and Perks
Some other things to consider:
- Google Fi supports data-only SIMs that can be added to compatible tablets and laptops
- Xfinity Mobile allows mixing unlimited, by-the-gig, and no data lines on the same account
- Google Fi enforces one plan per account so family members must share data allowance
- Xfinity Mobile offers better streaming video quality while Google Fi maxes video out at 480p
If you have devices beyond just phones to connect, Google Fi‘s data SIMs are handy. But Xfinity allows more flexibility for families that need customized options per line.
Signing Up and Getting Started
Ready to take the plunge? Here is the process to get started with each provider:
- Go to fi.google.com and select your plan
- Choose a new compatible phone or bring your own device
- Transfer your number during online signup OR get a new number
- Download the Google Fi app on your phone to manage your account
- Ensure you are an active Xfinity internet customer
- Visit xfinitymobile.com and select "Sign Up"
- Choose your device and plan
- Transfer your number or get a new one
- Download the Xfinity Mobile app to manage your account
For the smoothest transition, be sure to port your number directly through your new provider when signing up.
Making the Right Choice
So which MVNO reigns supreme? Here is a quick summary of what types of users are best suited for Google Fi and Xfinity Mobile:
- For existing Xfinity internet subscribers with iPhones, bundling mobile service through Xfinity Mobile is a no-brainer for the savings and convenience. Their broad coverage on Verizon‘s network and affordable pay-as-you-go rates are ideal if you use minimal data.
- Heavy data users and larger families get more bang for their buck with Google Fi‘s unlimited plan pricing and flexible data SIMs. Access to T-Mobile‘s rapid 5G buildout and unbeatable international roaming also keep Google Fi competitive.
- Those who travel overseas frequently or desire maximum network redundancy will prefer Google Fi. But Xfinity Mobile is fine if you rarely leave the US.
- For utilizing the latest 5G-enabled devices, Xfinity Mobile today has a slight edge given Verizon‘s more mature 5G network. But T-Mobile‘s 5G availability is rapidly expanding.
At the end of the day, assessing your data usage, device needs, network coverage priorities, and budget will guide you to the right fit. Both Google Fi and Xfinity Mobile combine savings and flexibility with access to premium wireless networks – so you can‘t go wrong!