Project Fi new global roaming rules kill wild data bills

International phone service is generally something no one wants to talk about. International roaming charges at the big four US carriers can wind up being ridiculously expensive if you don't monitor your usage closely, and it isn't uncommon for folks to come back to phone bills that are much more expensive than what they're accustomed to paying. Google's Project Fi, on the other hand, is taking a more laid back approach to international coverage.

Project Fi already tries to make international service a little less of a headache by charging you the same amount for data as it does domestically – $10 per gigabyte. Google's recent changes to data billing, which includes capping your monthly data charges at $60 but letting you continue to use data after that, also apply to international data usage, which is a nice little bonus.

Today, Google announced that it has expanded Project Fi international coverage to more than 170 destinations. The list is indeed long, and can be seen in full over on Project Fi's international coverage page. If you're planning a trip, you can also search for your specific destination to see if you've got coverage there, saving you the time of combing through nearly 200 locations just to see if yours is on the list.

If you happen to be using a Gmail account to schedule your trip, you don't even need to do any planning in advance as far as your cell service is concerned. Google also revealed today that it will begin using your international bookings from Gmail to prepare and send reminder notifications to your phone a few days before you leave. These notifications will tell you if the country you're traveling to is supported by Project Fi, along with what your rates will be while you're visiting.

Of course, that's not to say that there's zero risk of runaway charges while using Project Fi abroad. While data stays at $10 per gigabyte and text messages are free, any international calls you make on Project Fi will clock in at 20 cents per minute, opening up the potential for a hefty phone bill if you're not paying close attention to your talk time. Still, that's a lot better than what many other carriers offer, so if you travel internationally a lot, you might want to consider jumping to Project Fi.