Comcast will launch $65 / month unlimited mobile service later this year

Source Xfinity

Comcast this morning unveiled its new Xfinity Mobile wireless service for smartphones - making a pitch to its customers to ditch their existing carriers and double-down with the cable giant, saving money by bundling a cellular plan with other Xfinity services.

Comcast's wireless service will be offered in bundled packages with the operator's other Xfinity services. This way, if a Xfinity Mobile customer is using more data than expected during a particular month, he can switch to unlimited and revert back to the pay by GB plan for the following month. Many customers won't qualify for the special pricing, though; for them, unlimited data for four lines will cost $260.

According to Comcast, customers will be able to select from several popular mobile devices, including but not limited to: iPhone 7 (including red edition), iPhone 7 Plus (including red edition), iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, popular Samsung phones. The list of carrier bundles is used by iTunes and iPhones to determine whether the iPhone's SIM is supported by a service provider with whom Apple has an agreement, then provisions the phone accordingly.

In fact, the company first dove into the cellphone market in 1988 with the acquisition of American Cellular Network - forming the Comcast Cellular Communications division - and in 1992 it acquired a controlling interest in Metromedia's Metrophone cellular phone system. It will also use Comcast's 16 million Wi-Fi hot spots, allowing customers to switch automatically onto Wi-Fi from 4G LTE.

So what is Comcast's motivation to become a wireless carrier?

With the introduction of Xfinity Mobile today, Comcast Corp. In Xfinity's case, it'll draw from Verizon's existing wireless network.


Wireless carriers are contending with slowed growth and a cutthroat price war for mobile customers, while cable companies like Comcast are navigating a saturated pay-TV business under assault from cord-cutting and cheap online video options.

Prices aside, Comcast's wireless offering didn't prove terribly impressive in part due to its reliance on Wi-Fi to do a lot of the heavy lifting. 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. The difference is that, rather than investing in an entirely new network, Comcast can just pay Verizon for access as needed.

However, Comcast may wait to see if Sprint and T-Mobile merge, which could ease fierce competition in the wireless industry. Comcast said it has simplified that process.

Another caveat about Comcast's MVNO is that you can't bring your own device at this time. The plan pricing seems decent, at least if you've got one or two lines, and the customer support via text messaging is an interesting option for folks that hate talking on the phone.

There's been speculation that Comcast may try to acquire a wireless firm such as T-Mobile, perhaps by teaming up with Charter. Very simple math shows that customers who use more than 5GB of data per month might as well pay for the unlimited plan.

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