Comcast Goes Mobile With Cellphone Service For Existing Customers

Comcast Goes Mobile With Cellphone Service For Existing Customers

Kenneth Drake
April 7, 2017

On Thursday morning, Comcast will finally unveil its secretive plan to launch a new mobile service. Oh, you want to know which carrier's network Comcast will use? Unlike some rival MVNO's - mobile virtual networks, or those that run atop another carrier's infrastructure - Comcast's reach is limited. With traditional carriers, unused data might get carried over to the following month; even if not, the customer still pays for the unused amount. Today's customers are cutting their pay TV subscriptions, but then often turn to the same business to buy access to TV yet again - except, this time, it's via the internet and streamed to their phones, as with AT&T's DirecTV Now or Dish's Sling TV, for instance.

Comcast's approach is to charge $45 a line for unlimited plans for its best customers.

Comcast's service will support iPhones, high-end Samsung phones, as well as more modest handsets from LG. 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. For subscribers with some of the top-tier X1 packages, an unlimited mobile data plan will only cost $45 per month, with no additional line access fees. That data won't count toward monthly caps, and it'll likely be delivered at faster speeds than what's offered over Verizon's wireless network. Comcast also might not be able to fully monitor the Verizon network, which would make it hard to implement throttling only when there's network congestion.

Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst at New Street Research, said in a note earlier this week that Comcast's agreement with Verizon was merely a way to enter the market.

We recently asked you to support our journalism. Charter Communications has said that it intends to launch a wireless service sometime next year.

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Not only that, but Comcast will use their own network of 16 million WiFi hotspots to boost connectivity for customers.

In telecom circles, Comcast's plans and efforts to wade into the mobile market go back years. However, that's a price that will only be available to the company's best customers.

Importantly, Comcast plans to sell its mobile offering, dubbed Xfinity Mobile, only in bundles with the company's high-speed data service and only within its existing service territory.

"We are happy to have those arrangements with Comcast and others", Verizon finance chief Matt Ellis said in February. Customers can also switch between data options at any time during the billing period with no penalties.

"Wi-Fi today is not what it should be", Comcast Cable president Dave Watson said, according to The Verge. Seems like a deal before you realize how much cash you're shoveling in Comcast's direction under the guise of a getting good deal. "We've got a business that's got tremendous momentum - the core cable business".