The wireless industry has gotten very active and very crowded this year. While the major players have all released new unlimited data plans, a swarm of prepaid carriers have been falling over themselves trying to offer the lowest prices. Into the fray jumps Comcast, but the new wireless plan they’re unveiling this week isn’t meant to go toe-to-toe with those other options.
That’s because Xfinity Mobile is only for existing Comcast customers. Those who already get their home internet service from Comcast can sign up to add wireless service to their bill. While the convenience of getting both of those things on one bill is probably the main selling point, the pricing isn’t that bad — it’ll be either $45 or $65 per line per month to get unlimited 4G LTE data, calling, and texting. The $45 price is only for Xfinity X1 customers, who are already paying more for home internet service.
There are some upsides and downsides. Xfinity Mobile uses Verizon’s network — some parts still only have Verizon as the lone reliable carrier in their area, not so good because Verizon’s CDMA network will limit possibilities for those who want to use their existing phone with the service. Unless you have an iPhone, a Samsung phone, or an LG phone, it won’t be possible to use your existing phone with the network.
Comcast has one nice advantage, though — a huge number of Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots scattered around the nation. Subscribers will be able to connect to those hotspots automatically, offloading their traffic to a Wi-Fi network. With unlimited data that’s not as big of a deal, but there still will be a 20 GB threshold, after which data speeds can be slowed significantly. There are also no line access fees, which would make switching to the new service a lot more palatable.
The service only applies to those living within Comcast’s sphere of influence, too. Places served by Time-Warner Cable generally don’t have Comcast anywhere nearby (New York and Los Angeles are two examples), so they wouldn’t be able to get in on this. Non-Comcast customers who live in a Comcast area can, but they’ll need to subscribe to Comcast home internet service, too.
In addition to the unlimited plan, Comcast will offer a $12 per GB plan, in which customers will only pay for the data they use. For multi-line accounts, individual lines can be either unlimited or pay-per-GB — they don’t all have to be one or the other.
Via USA Today