Google is taking the next step in competing with mobile operators by extending its free Wifi alternative for voice and data “in the next few weeks”.
The service, called Wifi Assistant, will be available to all owners of Google Nexus phones in the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK and Nordic countries, said Google in a statement.
“This will roll out to users over the next few weeks,” said the company. It promises “more than a million free, open Wifi hotspots” that will connect automatically to allow Nexus owners to move their data off mobile networks.
This feature was originally a feature of Project Fi, Google’s US-based mobile service that uses capacity on Sprint, T-Mobile US and US Cellular networks, but also Wifi where available.
“To stay connected in places where your cell connection isn’t as strong, you can have your phone or tablet automatically connect to open Wifi networks that we’ve verified as fast and reliable,” says Google. “Wifi Assistant is a free service that makes these connections for you securely.”
Users will be able to select Wifi Assistant from their phones. The phone screen will show a virtual private network sign and the Wifi connection will read: “connected via Wifi Assistant”.
In the US, Google charges $20 a month for access to Project Fi, but Wifi Assistant will be free.