How Well Does Google Fi Work in Iceland?

This article was updated on November 6th, 2020

I was very impressed with the coverage I received on my trip to Iceland last February 2019. Here's a credit of $20 if you want to try Google Fi.

I'd like to start this article by sharing that 75% of households in Iceland have had fiber connectivity since 2016, which will help explain how well 4G services work in this European country. Speeds of 1 Gbit per second are available.

How Well Does Google Fi Work in Iceland? 1
Where is the 4G coverage?

Another thing to bear in mind when taking a tour is that the bus may be equipped with a 4G / LTE hotspot and you can avoid using up data on your smartphone or laptop. I found out that I only used 1-2 Gb of data when I visited Iceland because I was able to use our Iceland travel guide, Sigis hotspot, which was sufficient for SMS and staying in connection with family.

But… how much does data & voice cost?

Google's plans are quite simple: you only pay $10 per GB of data. The monthly fee is $20 per month. If you call the US from Iceland, it costs $0.20 per minute if you do not use Wi-Fi. SMS is unlimited.

How Well Does Google Fi Work in Iceland? 2
Iceland Usage

NOTE: If you ever have more than 6 GB of data, you will not be charged any additional fees beyond this threshold.

How Well Does Google Fi Work in Iceland? 3
Snæfellsjökull National Park

Which carriers does Google Fi operate on?

In the United States you have Sprint / T-Mobile and US Cellular, the three major network operators in Iceland are Siminn, Vodafone and Nova.

I recommend FiSwitch if you want to know which network you are connected to. Also, you can force your phone to connect to your chosen network, or reset your phone's radio, etc. I find this very helpful!

Will I need to change SIM cards when I enter Iceland?

Luckily, thanks to the Pixel 3 with a virtual SIM card, you don't have to change your SIM card when you travel to a supported country. Google's Wi-Fi app welcomes you as soon as you connect to the supported international network.

Which phone should I get with Google Fi?

I would recommend Google Pixel 5-5G or Google Pixel 4A / XL. They have opened their offerings with iPhone compatibility, but with widely limited service and it will not connect in Iceland.

Google Pixel 5-5G Android Phone – Water Resistant – Unlocked Smartphone with Night Sight and Ultrawide Lens – Sorta Sage (Amazon)

Google Pixel 5
  • New, unlocked Android phone gives you the flexibility to change carriers and choose your own data plan; unlocked smartphone works with T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and other major carriers[1]
  • 5G capable[2] smartphone gives you an extra boost of speed so you can download a movie in seconds,[3] enjoy smooth streaming in ultra clear HD, play games at home and on the go,[4] and even share your 5G speed with friends[5]
  • Charge your cell phone wirelessly[6] or use it to wirelessly charge other Qi-certified devices[7]
  • The all day battery can last up to 48 hours with Extreme Battery Saver[8]
  • Your phone will automatically receive the latest OS and security updates for at least 3 years;[9] the custom-made Titan M chip helps secure the operating system and sensitive data, like passwords

Google Pixel 4a with 128 GB of Storage – Just Black (Amazon)

Google Pixel 4a
  • New, unlocked Android phone gives you the flexibility to change carriers and choose your own data plan; works with Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and other major carriers
  • Capture great photos using your cell phone on the 12 MP dual pixel rear camera with features like Live HDR+, Night Sight, and Portrait Mode; share photos directly from the viewfinder of your Pixel camera to Google and popular third party apps
  • The Adaptive Battery lasts up to 24 hours[1] as it learns your favorite apps and reduces power to the ones you rarely use
  • HDR+ makes your photos look better by automatically adjusting for color and lighting; Night Sight lets you capture rich detail and color even in the dark; Portrait Mode helps you take beautiful portraits with a DSLR quality look
  • Get things done with just your voice: Send texts, get directions and reminders, and multitask on the go on your mobile phone with help from Google

Google – Fi SIM Card Kit (Amazon) OR sign up for your free SIM Card kit and account here.

Sale
Google Fi SIM Card Kit
  • Activation in the U. S. required (does not include territories)
  • Insert SIM card into a Fi compatible phone and download the Google Fi app to finish activation - For a full list of compatible phones, please visit the link in the product description
  • Choose between our Unlimited or Flexible plans based on your data usage
  • 4G LTE coverage at home and abroad
  • 5G coverage nationwide for 5G compatible Android phones

Google Fi vs Buying an Icelandic SIM Card

Siminn has a few prepaid options. They offer free delivery to your hotel, airBnB or hostel.

5 GB data- 50 min talk- 50 texts for 2.900 kr

OR

10GB data for 2.900 kr

Thoughts: Google Fi equivalent would cost $70 (5GB of data+voice+text) + $10 ($.20 per minute) for 50 minutes of talk in Iceland = $80.00 USD.

As of August 11, 2019, 2.900 Icelandic Króna converts to $23.00 USD.

It depends so much on how much you already pay for your phone plan and how much it costs to add international coverage. Chances are that you will have access to some WiFI while travelling through Iceland, especially if you are in Reykjavík.

Google Fi vs Adding Verizon Travel Plans

Verizon has a few other plans for travel.

TravelPass
$10 daily cost per device. On their website are listed some important things.
“Data speeds are reduced after the first 0.5GB of daily session. You can purchase additional High Speed for the remainder of your session.” AND “**4G LTE World device is required. Must be on a qualifying plan.”

Monthly International Travel Plan
500MB of data- 100 min talk- 100 sent txts (unlimited received) for $70 (extra)
2GB of data- 250 min talk- 1000 sent txts (unlimited received) for $130 (extra)

The clear winner here is Google Fi!

$20 USD Off!

Get $20 off your first month of Google Fi! Click here!

Note: There are some blind spots, especially around large mountain peaks, ice caves and fjords.

Google has added a new $70 plan that includes 22 GB of “unlimited data” and 100 GB of Google One storage. If you add 3 or more lines, the price drops to $45 / per person for this unlimited plan.

Last update on 2020-11-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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