- Comcast on April 6 launched a new cellphone service, Xfinity Mobile, making it the first major US cable provider to enter the highly competitive wireless market. By offering what (at least on first glance) appears to be a serious discount on wireless service to existing Comcast internet customers. So if you start out on the unlimited plan, but notice that you're not using that much per month, you can switch to the other option. Consumers can buy unlimited data plans for $45 or $65 a month, or a 1 gigabyte of data for $12 a month and continue adding gigabytes, at $12 a pop, as needed during the month.
According to a slide in the presentation, it will offer "the most popular mobile phones", naming Apple, Samsung and LG, while also promising (without specifics) that bundled pricing will save customers money. The selection is far from exhaustive, but with the most recent Galaxy and iPhone models available, it should be enough for most users. Instead, they will be required to purchase a phone through Comcast.
Xfinity Mobile is using a combination of 4G LTE service that it is reselling from other carriers as well as its own 16 million wi-fi hotspots, located in commercial venues and subscribers' homes.
Comcast didn't say when the service launches publicly. For now, Comcast insists that selling wireless through Verizon's network is the long-term strategy.
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Roger Entner of Recon Analytics says Comcast's new wireless service might boost the company's bottom line, while having a relatively low impact on competition.
Comcast's prices are competitive but not always the cheapest in every circumstance.
Unlike Verizon Wireless, Xfinity Mobile won't be available in areas that don't also offer Xfinity cable service.
Comcast is basing the service on the combined reach of its more than 15 million Wi-Fi hotspots and an MVNO deal carved out in 2011 with Verizon. For instance, Sprint revamped its Unlimited Freedom plan Thursday with unlimited data, talk and text for $50 a month for the first line, two lines for $40 a month and four lines for $30 a month.
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Comcast's mobile product is being spearheaded by Greg Butz, who joined Comcast back in 1993 as director of business development for the erstwhile Comcast Cellular Communications, and who had been in working in various sales and marketing roles since that time.
Customers can also pay as they go at $12/GB of data - and switch from that plan to unlimited and back again with no penalties. As with most unlimited offerings from carriers, though, speeds will be throttled after you pass 20GB of data use in a month.
Tech analyst Roger Entner of Recon Analytics says Xfinity Mobile's failure to offer a consumer incentive for switching--Comcast is not paying off rival's early termination fees or assuming remaining device payments-will significantly limit its growth potential. Comcast executives said the Verizon partnership featured good economics for both sides even though the companies will compete. So you'll need to be locked into the Comcast ecosystem to take advantage of its newest service for mobile devices.
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