Some groups on Google Fi have been saving $15 a month per person by putting data-only SIMs into their phones. By grabbing a virtual number and using it with their VoIP and web-based messaging apps — along with a little work in the APN settings — they could circumvent the base cost for voice and text service that a smartphone SIM brought. And while it might be completely acceptable to do, the carrier has sought to cut down on how many people can take advantage of what's effectively a loophole. It just introduced a new limit on how many data-only SIMs each account may have active.
That limit, previously nine — wait, you have nine devices in your house that each need dedicated cellular service? — has dropped down to four per account. Today, Google Fi emailed customers who have more than four data-only SIMs activated that they are entitled to keep them active. However, if those customers want to activate another data-only SIM, they must deactivate one first, effectively capping the number of data-only SIMs they can own to their current level.
If you (and your group of friends and relatives) would like to use more than four data-only SIMs on Google Fi, you will have to start a new Fi account and maintain at least one primary line, paying $20 monthly for cellular calls and SMS.