Comcast unveils Xfinity Mobile, its new wireless service

Comcast's mobile service due to be announced Thursday will be available on the iPhone. Image Gonzalo Baeza  CC BY 2.0
Comcast's mobile service due to be announced Thursday will be available on the iPhone. Image Gonzalo Baeza CC BY 2.0
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07 April, 2017

Shares of Comcast climbed 2 percent, or 84 cents, to $38.18 in early New York Stock Exchange trading.

The basic features are available only with an internet subscription.

Comcast has announced plans to launch a new wireless service in the United States called Xfinity Mobile.

Take the friction out of connecting to Wi-Fi by auto-connecting to Comcast's millions of Xfinity WiFi hotspots and finding the best internet connection at home.

Comcast is an infamously ruthless company. "The transformation of the industry is forcing Comcast back to the drawing board".

Comcast introduces Xfinity Mobile on Thursday, April 6, 2017, combining America's largest, most reliable 4G LTE network and the largest Wi-Fi network, which includes 16 million hotspots. The company will not operate its own cellular network - at least not at this time - but instead will rely on an agreement with Verizon that dates back several years to when Comcast and other cable companies sold spectrum to Verizon and experimented, briefly, with a co-marketing program with Verizon.

As The Associated Press points out, Comcast's "pay-per-gigabyte approach is similar to what Google is doing with its wireless service, Google Fi".

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Schwartz says, "every inch of their network will be available to our subscribers as well". The difference is that, rather than investing in an entirely new network, Comcast can just pay Verizon for access as needed.

The executives noted that 80% of smartphone data today is consumed on Wi-Fi, even though customers have to initiate connectivity. "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".

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. Out of the gate you won't be able to bring your own phone to the service. 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. About 70% of customers use less than 5 GB per month, Butz says.

The idea is that if you're a Comcast wireless subscriber, you'll be more likely to keep getting broadband, or pay TV, from Comcast as well.

Each line can pay $65 per month for unlimited data. It's a bundle that will compete with AT&T and Verizon, which have a big head start on wireless but are still behind in those other areas.

There's also an unlimited data plan which covers up to five lines. So you might put your kids on the unlimited plan while keeping you and your spouse on the metered gig plans.

In recent months, the four major USA wireless carriers - Verizon Communications Inc VZ.N , AT&T Inc T.N , T-Mobile US Inc TMUS.O and Sprint Corp S.N - have offered unlimited data plans ranging from $50 a month for a single line to $90 a month.


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