Back in January, T-Mobile CEO John Legere forecasted the cable industry was on a path to failure in the wireless arena as Comcast and Charter announced they were looking to soon pull the trigger on their MVNO agreements. Both have publicly discussed plans to take a deep dive into offering subscribers mobile services, and it looks like we’ll soon find out if Legere’s prediction pans out as Comcast revealed details on its Xfinity Mobile service plans on Thursday.
Comcast’s strategy is obviously about the bundle, as many pundits had guessed it would be. Xfinity Mobile is touting competitive pricing and flexibility, but it will only be on offer to Comcast’s internet and TV subscribers across its existing footprint. The company didn’t give a firm launch date, but expectations are that it’ll happen around mid-year after initial testing by employees is completed.
Comcast will depend heavily on its 16 million WiFi hotspots supplemented by coverage from Verizon Wireless, which Comcast entered into an MVNO with several years back. In a statement, Comcast points to an NPD Group report, “Smartphone Data Consumption Report, Oct. 2016,” which suggests that up to 80 percent of smartphone data traffic in the United States travels over WiFi, not cellular networks.
Comcast’s wireless service will be offered in bundled packages with the operator’s other Xfinity services. Subscribers can get up to five lines automatically included when they add Xfinity Mobile to Xfinity Internet service, with no line access fees, unlimited talk and text, and the first 100 MB of shared 4G LTE data included.
Data options include an unlimited choice for $65 per line per line on up to five lines with no usage limits, or $45 per line for customers with premium X1 packages. Speeds are reduced after 20 GB of cellular data usage. Subscribers also get a per-gigabit choice that goes for $12 per GB of cellular data across all lines on an account each month. Customers can switch between data options at no cost. In a further nod to flexibility, families can mix-and-match on an account so that each person can choose individual data options.
Mobile devices on offer will include iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus – including the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition – iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. Xfinity Mobile also will feature devices from Samsung and LG.