Project Fi Phone Service For Real Estate

By
Real Estate Agent with Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info DB-17066
https://activerain.com/droplet/4Ypb

Isn't it frustrating as a Realtor that as you drive around your community that your cell phone carrier drops signal or doesn't have data service in certain parts of your market?  I think I finally found the answer:  Google Fi.

Why, because unlike every other carrier, it isn't just one carrier.  Wait, . . . what?

Google is a hybrid cell phone carrier that will switch between Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and WIFI even when you are in the middle of using it.  This is huge for me because here in the Boise, Idaho area, my Sprint signal gets week just west of Eagle.  However, in that part T-Mobile picks up the slack.  In my basement, no cell phone service works well, so it switches over to my home WIFI.

Sprint took away my ability to use voice and data a few years ago unless I was on WIFI, so now, with Google Fi, I can force the network to switch to T-Mobile which does offer that ability without WIFI but entering *#*#FITMO#*#* and voila, I can read the email you sent me while we are on the phone together!

Another incredible benefit to Realtors is the ability to use your phone as a hotspot without paying additional hotspot fees.  You only pay for the data you use with no additional monthly surcharge.

Speaking of charges, how much does it cost for this service?  The base service for unlimited phone and text is only $20 a month.  Then you pay a flat rate of $10 per Gig for data and you get a monetary credit on your bill for unused data.  No contracts - no overage penalties!   If you travel internationally, the cost differential is . . . $0!

If you still need more access to data, you can always go on Craigslist and buy a used Verizon MIFI device and sign up for their Pre-paid option, just in case you can't take the risk of being somewhere that Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular or WIFI won't have you covered.

Also, Project FI recently added a Family Plan.  Each additional line is only $15 and you share the same allotment for data.

I highly encourage you to try this out for yourself.  You can buy a used Nexus 5 or 6 to try it.  When you fall in love with it, then upgrade to the Pixel or Pixel XL.  When you get your phone, change settings to sync, update and download over WIFI so you aren't using your allotment.

Since Realtors live on their phones, you should also love the recharge rate on the Pixel phone is only 15 minutes.  Also, with all the photos and videos you will be taking with the highest rated smart phone camera, you get to store them ALL in the cloud thanks to Google (be sure to set to uploan via WIFI though to save your data fees).

Take a look at the Google Store for more details - I think you will love it as much as I do!  

 https://store.google.com/product/pixel_phone

 

 

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Tags:
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Rainmaker
165,323
Jim Shepherd (360) 229-2235
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Shelton - Shelton, WA
Find Shelton Homes

Hi Jim, I am also in a rural area and use Project Fi. One important issue to note is that it does not work with the Supra ekey app.  You still have to carry around the old active key. Hopefully that will be corrected sometime in the near future.

Dec 12, 2016 11:13 AM #1
Rainmaker
303,320
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID
Owner,Broker

Jim Shepherd (360) 229-2235 thanks for the heads up!  I just did some research on this and it appears that the key gets confused when the phone switches between phone carriers (Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and WIFI). When I get my new Pixel XL tomorrow, I will set it up on Project FI and see if I can figure out how to force it to update on WIFI only and that should solve the bug for now.  For some reason, SUPRA has never acknowledged updates via WIFI only even though I used it for about a year with the original iPAD and a few PDA's that they never supported because they couldn't out how to update it without being a phone.  I even posted a video on Supra's site of my using my iPAD a few years ago and they still never even acknowledged it would work!

Dec 13, 2016 05:16 AM #2
Rainmaker
303,320
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID
Owner,Broker

I got my new phone and will update this regarding Supra after I test a few work arounds.  I admit I smiled when I read their response today about my previous work around (that might still work on Project Fi).  "Mr Paulson's fix for the iPAD (and other devices) is ingenious and I applaud him, but we really can't support it." 

 

If you want to try Project FI, I just learned of an invite code that you can enter that will go you (and me) each a $20 credit on your bill after you have been on the service for a month.  The code is:  https://g.co/fi/r/RNE2V4 

Dec 13, 2016 07:23 PM #3
Rainmaker
303,320
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID
Owner,Broker

Supra won't support Google Fi, however mine has updated twice without problems so far (probably because it is updating via my wifi connection and therefore not getting confused by which cell phone carrier).  If I start to experience problems, I will update this.

Dec 15, 2016 02:10 PM #4
Rainmaker
165,323
Jim Shepherd (360) 229-2235
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Shelton - Shelton, WA
Find Shelton Homes

Will be interesting to see what you experience.  I believe mine also updated but could not verify when showing homes and the cell carriers changed.

Dec 15, 2016 03:59 PM #5
Rainmaker
303,320
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID
Owner,Broker

The main thing I want it to do is just update automatically so I can use the lockbox.  I hope we can get other Google FI based Realtors that use SUPRA to share their feedback so we can trouble shoot any issues that might come up so we can work together to become our own tech support until Supra decides to support it. 

Dec 15, 2016 04:06 PM #6
Rainmaker
303,320
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID
Owner,Broker

After working well for a few days, it glitched again updating with Supra.  It is easy to cure by logging in and getting an update code for the day, but is a step I would rather not have to take.  I just "unchecked" the "location tracking" to see if that helps.  Worse case scenerio, I can keep my old phone and have it update via WIFI and use it as my key. (until Supra programs a WIFI only update option or some other work around).

Dec 23, 2016 08:39 AM #7
Rainmaker
165,323
Jim Shepherd (360) 229-2235
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Shelton - Shelton, WA
Find Shelton Homes

Hi Jim, I am hopingyou find a way to get it to work and am following your progress. I was not sucessful and am back to carrying around an ActiveKey.

Dec 23, 2016 09:10 AM #8
Rainmaker
303,320
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID
Owner,Broker

Jim Shepherd (360) 229-2235 , good news - SUCCESS (better bandaid anyway).

When your eKey fails to update:

  1. On your phone, go to the Supra Web button (you might have to scroll to pay 2 of the Supra Display) and click it.
  2. It will launch Supra Web and ask for your Key Serial Number:  (found on the about key tab on first screen but might be saved from previous time) & then PIN (your four digit code). It should default to your Association/MLS.
  3. Click "Login"
  4. Click "Authorization Code" (not "update code").  This resets the device on SUPRA's end.  You don't need to actually re-enter the code.
  5. Go back to the SUPRA home screen and click "update Key".
  6. Click Wireless update.
  7. Lucky Number 7 here says that should have worked!
  8. If not, you probably did these steps yesterday so you can't do them on your phone two days in a row.  Just log into Supra Web on your computer and click the quick link for "Authorization Code" which will reset your phone code at Supra.
  9. Go back to your phone and repeat steps 5 and 6 above.
  10. This completes my 10 step program for the work around.

Hope this helps!

Feb 20, 2017 08:33 AM #9
Anonymous
L. Keith Wheeler

Jim Paulson, I appreciate your detailed update on using Fi with eKey. I too found this model to work (at least for a while). Now for some reason sending the Authorization Code no longer functions reliably. Supra cannot tell me why, but they send out a reauthorization code and away I go...(at least until the next house and network change).
So the method at least for me is unreliable.
Currently I see two options.
1) One is to go to ActiveKey and hope the device isn't a pain in the back side.
2) Use something like SignalSpy to send network codes and force my phone to be on a specific network when updating or using eKey. I add using as yesterday I experienced an interesting issue. I had updated the key successfully after obtaining a new Authorization Code and in the middle of unlocking the box the key failed with an error stating I was using a "copied piece of software" and the action was unauthorized.

I am not sure I want another device to carry around, but I also don't think I want to remember to force a specific carrier before I use my key. One memory slip and I'm back to calling Supra and waiting outside a home looking less than intelligent.

If Supra would simply remove the requirement for Network ID and go to some newer method of authentication/authorization this problem would be history. Also with more Virtual Network Operators coming online and success of the methodology with Fi, I expect to see this model growing and any vendor using Network ID as a security mechanism for their application will have problems.

Jun 22, 2017 05:11 AM #10
Rainer
2,450
Nancy Huhta
Slocum Properties - Marco Island, FL

Glad I found this site as there is so little information on the Google Pixel and eKey problems. (Wonder if Google has anything to do with that info search!) My LG went into deadly boot loop three days after our Board dispensed with allowing us to use ActiveKey. Immediately bought the latest version Google Pixel as I was out of town on vacation and when I returned to home board could not activate eKey on Pixel phone. Did my research and found the work around, but has been just giving me grief every day. Horrifying when with clients! I did receive a prompt responses from Supra and Google support, but no one has anything in the works yet to fix this app. So, after 12 days with my new Pixel I am turning it in on day 14 and getting the latest Samsung. Everything else is extraordinary on the Google phone. It really is like a beautiful little computer that lets you do so much, but in my case NOT LET ME WORK! Glad I found your blog--I needed reinforcement for my decision. Maybe in two years I will be Pixeling!!!

Aug 09, 2017 03:27 PM #11
Rainmaker
303,320
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID
Owner,Broker

SUPRA is still amazingly quite on this issue.  I just went to their Facebook page and they have not even posted to their page in 3 months.  I found a copy of their 2017 midyear report and they say they are "investigating" Google Project Fi's Nexus 6P and 5X phones; however, those are now obsolete.  Even the next generation of Pixel's is about to be replaced with a new line.  

One thing that appears to help in the meantime is to turn off other nearby Bluetooth devices (smart watches, car Bluetooth, etc.) so it doesn't get confused.  I am not sure if the Bluetooth issue is a factor on other services / devices.  

Please share your experiences and work arounds.

Aug 10, 2017 07:22 AM #12
Rainmaker
303,320
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID
Owner,Broker

Two weeks after my post, SUPRA sent me an email follow up.  Still no fix.  Wouldn't a setting that allowed a WIFI only update keep the system from crashing due to it getting confused by different cell service providers?  If you take away the cellular componant, and used it like an Active Key, I would think that would be a near term band aid solution.  Thoughts?

Aug 28, 2017 10:33 AM #13
Rainmaker
303,320
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID
Owner,Broker

FYI, Still having issues with Sprint/Tmobile confusing the authorization and bluetooth connecting to my vehicles instead of the lockbox sometimes, but at least I have figured out how to resolve them short term.

Mar 27, 2018 12:38 PM #14
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