Xfinity Mobile Isn't a WiFi Phone Service

With mainstream wireless carriers such as Verizon and AT&T ramping up offerings in unlimited data and online video, Comcast said offering cellphone service can help the company retain customers and extend the reach of its traditional TV product. Comcast is looking to give you another option. The company revealed that the advantage customers enjoy is that they could pay the data they use and the flexibility to switch back and forth easily between data options with Xfinity Mobile app without any additional cost. The iPhone's latest list of carrier bundles includes "Verizon_Comcast_LTE_US", and mentions the service "Xfinity Mobile". Depending on how much money you pay Comcast each month will determine how much you pay for Xfinity Mobile.

The cable and Internet provider spelled out the details Thursday on the wireless service that CEO Brian Roberts announced last September would be coming. Comcast is also placing a clear priority on its highest-value customers in selling the new product.

Get up to five lines automatically included when you add Xfinity Mobile to your Xfinity Internet service, with no line access fees, unlimited talk and text, and your first 100 MB of shared 4G LTE data included - all at no extra cost.

Comcast's rate of $45/month for 20GB (plus more, after throttling) on the Verizon network, available only to "premium X1 subscribers", looks like a great deal. Butz is known for having spearheaded the creation of Comcast's Xfinity Store chain. A source pointed out the reference to FierceWireless, and a different source with knowledge of the matter confirmed that Comcast has indeed partnered with Apple ahead of the launch of Xfinity Mobile. Comcast's 16 million WiFi hotspots are accessible for free.

The new offering is aimed at helping Comcast compete outside the home as Americans' Internet usage increasingly shifts to mobile devices.

Comcast adds that customers can mix-and-match plans per family member, and that users can switch what plans work for them each month without penalties - a move we feel is a step in the right direction, given Comcast's notoriously poor reputation for customer satisfaction. Xfinity Mobile will also feature devices from Samsung and LG. For instance, Comcast is offering big discounts on Xfinity Wireless service if you pay for the company's most expensive cable plans.

Xfinity Mobile is focused on consumers first, but has plans for business service in the future. But then again, it wouldn't be a Comcast program without a little bit of customer frustration, so it all sounds about right.

Comcast executives seemed surprisingly unaware that this might be an issue. Voice, smart home and Comcast Business were all new markets that were thriving.

"We're not getting into the mobile business to be the No. 1 carrier", said Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer with Comcast Cable. "It will be created to support the core cable business".

  • Joe Gonzales