Comcast threw its hat into the wireless price war ring Thursday with the long-awaited unwrapping of its Xfinity Mobile product.
While Wall Street has been waiting with bated breath for the mobile offering – a product of Comcast’s Mobile Virtual Network Operator agreement with Verizon Communications, Xfinity Mobile appears to compete mainly on price.
At an analyst briefing Thursday (April 6), Comcast said Xfinity Mobile will combine Verizon’s 4G cellular network with the cable company’s 16 million WiFi hotspots, offering a better wireless experience at a lower price.
The service will be available only in Comcast’s existing footprint and will be initially tested by employees. The product is expected to be fully rolled out across the footprint by the end of the current quarter.
“We’re doing mobile differently by bringing our customers the best networks and a product designed to save them money in an increasingly data-driven world,” Comcast Mobile president Greg Butz said, in a statement. “Mobility is more important than ever to consumers, so we’ve designed Xfinity Mobile the way mobile should be – a simple solution for internet and entertainment in and out of the home.”
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The Comcast offering is big on price discounts and flexibility – customers don’t have to pay line access fees (which can save them up to $20 per month per line) and can either opt for an unlimited data plan or a pay as you go service that charges only for the Gigabytes the customer uses. Other wireless operators have been rolling out unlimited data plans, so Comcast is entering an already crowded field.
The plans available with Xfinity Mobile, which must be paired with at least one Comcast product (video, voice or high-speed data), are:
-Unlimited –$65 per line on up to five lines with no usage limits, or $45 per line for our customers with Comcast's "best X1 packages."
-By the Gig – $12 per Gigabyte of cellular data across all lines on an account each month.
-Flexibility – Families can mix-and-match on an account so that each person can choose the way to pay for data that makes sense for them.
-No Penalties – Easily switch back-and-forth between data options at no cost. If customers find that they’ve used more data on a “By the Gig” option one month, they can switch to “Unlimited” for that month, then switch back the next month with no penalties.
The service also allows customers to connect to Comcast WiFi by auto-connecting to Comcast hotspots. In addition, when using Xfinity Mobile, customers are already signed into their other Xfinity apps so they don't need to continuously authenticate.
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Customers also will be able to select from a variety of devices, including the Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus – along with the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition – iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. Xfinity Mobile will also feature devices from Samsung and LG.