Cable giant Comcast offers cellular plans on Verizon network

Lynne Hanson
April 7, 2017

Comcast (CMCSA) said today that it is launching a wireless service called Xfinity Mobile which boasts an unlimited data plan.

Comcast on Thursday leapt into the cutthroat market for cellphone service by unveiling Xfinity Mobile, a move that other cable companies are expected to follow as consumers' rising Internet consumption increasingly pits providers of home and mobile broadband against each other.

Comcast will offer unlimited calling, texting and data plans which cost either $45 or $65 a month per line, depending on how many other Comcast services are bundled together. So if you're on the pay per gig plan but you notice that you're using a lot of data in a single month, you can switch to the unlimited plan for that month and then switch back to the pay per gig plan the next month.

Xfinity Mobile will offer the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, - both also available in (PRODUCT) RED variants - iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE as well as the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge or the LG X power. Comcast is promising that its customers will be on equal footing with Verizon customers when accessing that network.

Xfinity Mobile will include access to the company's 16 million Wi-Fi hotspots, so that users can browse the web, stream music, watch video and other content without having to pay for cellular data.

Watson added that Comcast expects "positive economics" on a per-subscriber basis from wireless products.

He added that the service, dubbed Xfinity Mobile, was priced to be profitable for Comcast.

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Customers must already be buying Internet service at home from Comcast.

Analysts at JPMorgan wrote in January that building a wireless business could cost Comcast hundreds of millions of dollars annually in the first few years, potentially cutting as much as 5 cents to 10 cents off earnings per share in 2017. Comcast says up to 80 percent of smartphone data in the US travels over Wi-Fi, not cell networks, so Comcast won't have to pay Verizon as much for the data. You can also switch from the $12/GB plan to the "unlimited" plan midway through a given month if you find yourself eating up too much data.

Similar to telecom carriers' policies, Comcast will slow download speeds for unlimited customers after they use 20 gigabytes in a month.

Folks with more than one line have the option to mix and match plans.

The service will be called Xfinity Mobile, and it's supposed to launch sometime in the near future. If you're okay with non-Verizon networks, Sprint, Boost, and MetroPCS all undercut Comcast's single-line unlimited deal at $50. So you'll need to be locked into the Comcast ecosystem to take advantage of its newest service for mobile devices.

But Comcast says each wireless subscriber will be profitable once the company reaches a critical mass of users, a number it didn't disclose.

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.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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