Google Fi Activation Outside the United States

I crossed over to Canada with my phone still activated with my $25 plan with Visible (Verizon) and realized immediately that it wasn’t going to work in any part of the country.

I went to switch over to my Google Fi eSIM to activate the service and kept getting a non-descript error message every time I tried. It really didn’t seem to work with any Android VPN apps on my Pixel 3 XL because of the Google VPN (comes with Google Fi) wanting to start up, which would immediately close out the VPN connection.

I am sharing a couple ways to overcome this issue.

SETUP OPTIONS:

Easy: Activate Google Fi With a VPN (Windows)
– OR –
Advanced: Activate Google Fi With a VPN (Windows/Mac/Linux)

Google Fi

Easy: Activate Google Fi With a VPN (Windows)

Requirements:
1. Google Fi Compatible Phone + Fi SIM OR eSIM
2. WiFI-enabled Windows 7/8/8.1/10 Computer

Connectify Hotspot 2020

  1. Download Speedify VPN. There is a free Speedify Trial which I will walk you through step by step.
2. Click on Agree and Continue

3. Click on the gray ‘X’ on the left-handed side on the top.

4. Click OK

5. Your screen should look something like this and you should be connected to the nearest VPN location.

Speedify VPN

With Speedify, you can combine multiple Wi-Fi, 3G/4G, and wired Internet connections for faster speeds and increased reliability, but in this tutorial we will just be using it for awesome ability to create a hotspot for your future Fi phone and ease of use.

  1. Download Connectify Hotspot. There is a free trial which I will walk you through step by step.
2. Click I Agree
3. Click Agree
4. Select “Reboot now” and click on Finish to reboot.

We’ve detected an active 3G/4G device!

5. You can ignore or signup if you like here, but you can just close this window if you want to begin the free trial. No credit card required.

6. You will be prompted with three options. Click on “Try it Out” button for free trial.

7. Here is the Connectify Hotspot 2020 interface. You will be prompted with a tutorial. Follow through.

8. From Settings tab, click on “Start Hotspot” at the bottom of the window.

9. The button you just clicked will now state “Starting Hotspot” momentary.

10. Your Hotspot should be up and running.

If you run into any problems here. You might need to stop/start Speedify and try turning on the Connectify Hotspot again.

Instructions

  1. We will use Speedify + Connectify to get a US IP address and create a hotspot. (there is a 2GB Starter Plan, which is free!)
  2. Make sure your account address is listed somewhere in the United States like a co-working space or other address inside the country.
  3. OR Use Borderlinx to get an address for the shipping of the Google card + phone for activation. Alternatively, you’ll just need to use the built-in eSIM in your Pixel 2/3 phone.
  4. Sign up for Google Fi while connected to your USA VPN and download the Google Fi app from the App Store.
  5. Now we use Connectify on your WiFi enabled computer so that you can share your VPN connection to your phone.
  6. I found I was still receiving non-descriptive errors while my phone was connected to a VPN and so I went to Settings => Network & Internet => Mobile Network => Tap on ‘Google Fi ‘ and tap on ‘Advanced’ at the bottom of the screen. Last, tap on ‘Erase SIM’ and I found this got my eSIM to activate on Google Fi while in Canada! 🙂 Enjoy!

Advanced: Activate Google Fi With a VPN (DD-WRT)

Requirements:
1. Google Fi Compatible Phone + Fi SIM OR eSIM
2. NETGEAR WiFi Router, flashed with DD-WRT firmware

Sign up for Surfshark VPN

  1. Sign up for Surfshark (RAM-only VPN Servers!) $1.99/mo
  2. Make sure your account address is listed somewhere in the United States like a co-working space or other address inside the country.
  3. Use Borderlinx to get an address for the shipping of the Google card + phone for activation. Alternatively, you’ll just need to use the built-in eSIM in your Pixel 2/3 phone.

Find your Surfshark details

Surfshark service credentials are different from your Surfshark account credentials, namely your e-mail and your password. You’ll need Surfshark service credentials in order to connect to the VPN using a manual OpenVPN configuration that is explained below.

Here is how you can get your Surfshark service credentials:

  1. Login to your newly created Surfshark account and visit the manual connection guide.
  2. Scroll down on this page to see your different location configuration files, as well as your service credential username and password. You’ll see something like the photo below.

You may need to log in before proceeding to this page. In that case, enter your email address and your password, then click Log in.

Choose Surfshark server

  1. On this same page, you will find a list of VPN locations and there corresponding hostnames. The hostname is listed underneath each of the locations.
  2. Note the hostname you want to connect to. You will want to copy the one you want to connect to later on in this guide.

Configure the OpenVPN client

  1. Login into your NETGEAR WiFi Router (with DD-WRT) at http://192.168.1.1 (typically)
  2. In the DD-WRT control panel open the Setup tab, scroll down to the Network Address Server Settings (DHCP) and enter the following information:

Static DNS 1 = 162.252.172.57
Static DNS 2 = 149.154.159.92
Static DNS 3 = 0.0.0.0 (default)Use DNSMasq for DHCP = Checked
Use DNSMasq for DNS = Checked
DHCP-Authoritative = Checked

Then, click Save and Apply Settings.

3. Then, click on the Service tab, select VPN, and find the OpenVPN client.

4. Enter the following information:

Server IP/Name: enter the server hostname that you have collected in the “Choose Surfshark server section of this tutorial.

Port: 1194;
Tunnel Device: TUN;
Tunnel Protocol: UDP;
Encryption Cipher: None;
Hash Algorithm: SHA-512;
User Pass Authentication: Enable;
Username: Your Surfshark service username that you have found at the “Find your Surfshark details” section of this guide.
Password: Your Surfshark service password that you have found at the “Find your Surfshark details” section of this guide.

Note: If there are no Username and Password fields, fill in the other fields as specified in this tutorial and proceed tostep 3.1.

Advanced Options = Enable (this will enable additional options);
TLS Cipher: None;
LZO Compression: Disabled;
NAT: Enable

Surfshark recommends that you avoid changing any other fields.

3.1. (Optional, depending on step 3.) If you do not see any fields to enter your credentials, please advance to Administration > Commands, and enter these commands:

echo "USERNAME
PASSWORD" > /tmp/openvpncl/user.conf
/usr/bin/killall openvpn
/usr/sbin/openvpn --config /tmp/openvpncl/openvpn.conf --route-up /tmp/openvpncl/route-up.sh --down-pre /tmp/openvpncl/route-down.sh --daemon

Please make sure to replace USERNAME and PASSWORD with your Surfshark service credentials that can be found at the bottom of this page. Click Save Startup, and return to the previous VPN tab.

Also, add this line to the field of Additional Config:

auth-user-pass /tmp/openvpncl/user.conf

5. In Additional Config field enter these commands:

remote-cert-tls server
remote-random
nobind
tun-mtu 1500
tun-mtu-extra 32
mssfix 1450
persist-key
persist-tun
ping-timer-rem
reneg-sec 0
cipher AES-256-GCM
auth SHA512
log /tmp/vpn.log

5. Copy the Certificate from here and paste it to the CA Cert field.

-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----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-----END CERTIFICATE-----

6. Copy the Static key from here and paste it to the TLS Auth Key field.

-----BEGIN OpenVPN Static key V1-----
b02cb1d7c6fee5d4f89b8de72b51a8d0
c7b282631d6fc19be1df6ebae9e2779e
6d9f097058a31c97f57f0c35526a44ae
09a01d1284b50b954d9246725a1ead1f
f224a102ed9ab3da0152a15525643b2e
ee226c37041dc55539d475183b889a10
e18bb94f079a4a49888da566b9978346
0ece01daaf93548beea6c827d9674897
e7279ff1a19cb092659e8c1860fbad0d
b4ad0ad5732f1af4655dbd66214e552f
04ed8fd0104e1d4bf99c249ac229ce16
9d9ba22068c6c0ab742424760911d463
6aafb4b85f0c952a9ce4275bc821391a
a65fcd0d2394f006e3fba0fd34c4bc4a
b260f4b45dec3285875589c97d3087c9
134d3a3aa2f904512e85aa2dc2202498
-----END OpenVPN Static key V1-----

7. Make sure you have entered everything correctly and click Save and Apply Settings.

Connect to the VPN

Once you click the Apply Settings after configuring your OpenVPN client, your router connects to the VPN automatically.

In order to disconnect from the VPN, go to Services -> VPN -> OpenVPN client and disable the OpenVPN Client. To reconnect, enable it again.

To make sure you have connected to the VPN, go to Status -> OpenVPN. If the connection was successful, you should see this:

Congratulations – you have successfully installed and configured Surfshark VPN on your router! As long as you’re connected, your location is private, and your sensitive data is secure. You are now able to activate your Google Fi device wherever you happen to be as long as you select a US-based VPN location! 🙂

If you have any further questions, contact Surfshark customer success team is here to help you 24/7 over a live chat or email.

Other reasons to try out Surfshark

  1. RAM-only servers – They recently changed to ONLY operate on RAM-only servers, which ensures stronger privacy and security by automatically wiping off any information from the server once it’s turned off.
  2. Access to 15+ Netflix libraries – Access more content!
  3. Access to Peacock streaming service – Outside USA
  4. Unlimited devices – Many other service providers have limitations on the number of devices you can connect and protect by the VPN.
  5. Built-in Adblocker CleanWeb – Extra protection.
  6. Kill Switch – The Kill Switch feature protects you from accidentally exposing your data when your VPN connection drops by disconnecting you from the internet.

How did it go? Please leave a comment below if I missed anything or if everything worked for you. I would love to hear from you! 🙂

I found Speedify + Connectify to be one of the easiest ways to get things working straight away without too much hassle. You can use other VPNs but you still need a way to get your phone onto the VPN network somehow and they have these two tools setup to do that.

I used Google Fi from Comber, Ontario to Quebec and had service almost all the time, besides Mont-Tremblant National Park where there is little cell reception. If you can, try to make phone calls over WiFi apps otherwise it’s 20 cents per minute when calling back home to the United States.