Comcast, the company fueling most U.S. TV sets with cable, is venturing into wireless phone services next. It'll be called Xfinity Mobile, and while no specific release date is set, it's bound to arrive anytime in Q2 this year.
Comcast Unveils Unlimited Data Plans For Phones
The company unveiled its unlimited data plans for phones Thursday, April 6. This makes Comcast the first high-profile U.S. cable company to enter the highly competitive market, and it's undercutting its competition to start.
The unlimited plans will cost either $45 or $65, which depends on which Comcast cable plan a customer has installed at home. The "unlimited" part is sort of a stretch, since speeds will be throttled to 1.5 Mbps after passing 20 GB; 750 Kbps for uploads. There is, however, a $12 per 1 GB plan for users who don't find the unlimited plans viable to their internet habits and usage.
Keep in mind that these unlimited plans will only be available to Comcast cable or internet customers, so those who don't have Comcast already installed are out of luck.
Other U.S. carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have also recently outed their own individual unlimited plans, ranging from $50 to $90 for one line. It's pretty clear that Comcast's initial unlimited plan offer of $45 is the lowest among what the top carriers are offering, and it runs the risk of starting another price war that'll further lower costs.
Xfinity Mobile: What You Need To Know
Based on the official announcement, here are the main takeaways regarding the plans:
• Each line will include unlimited texts and calls.
• There'll be no zero-rating. Comcast video will still count against the data usage tally.
• As previously mentioned, users would need to be subscribed to Comcast's home internet service to leverage Xfinity Mobile.
• The $65 tier is meant for customers with a basic Comcast service, while the $45 tier requires an Xfinity Premier Double subscription or Triple Play, which costs around $149 per month.
• As previously mentioned, for users who don't care for the unlimited plans, there's a $12 "by the gig" option that'll still include unlimited texts and calls.
• Plans may be mixed: other members of a family, for example, can pay for the normal tiers while others can pay by the gig.
• Users can shift to different plans mid-month depending on their usage. If users feel as if they're not using much data, then they can opt for the $12 pay by the gig plan. The opposite is also true: if users find that they're spending too much for data, they can switch to the unlimited plan sans any penalties. Plan-changing is done via the Comcast mobile app. There's also 24/7 customer support via phone and text message.
• There will be no line access fees, meaning $45 and $65 are the actual full prices, though not including taxes or other fees.
• Like other carriers, Comcast will also offer smartphones from Apple, LG, and Samsung at retail price. These may either be paid in full or parsed to two years with a 0 percent interest rate.
• The plans will go live Q2, positioning the release between present time and the end of June.
• Though it's a feature that's not yet available, Comcast hopes that users can soon bring their unlocked phones to subscribe to its mobile services.
Piggybacking On Verizon
It's worth noting that comcast will rely on Verizon Wireless for cellular data, but that could soon change if the cable company ends up building its own cell towers. But Comcast, for now, prefers Wi-Fi, and it's a wise choice since most smartphone data usage is done through Wi-Fi instead of cellular data. This preference may even increase with Comcast enabling its customers to automatically connect Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots, coupled with threats of throttling once 20 GB is used.
Thoughts about Comcast's forthcoming unlimited data plans? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!