Cable company Comcast just introduced its version of re-branded Verizon wireless service-Xfinity Mobile-which will be sold to existing Comcast customers for $12/GB of data or up to $65/line for an "unlimited" plan. Xfinity Mobile customers will be able to take advantage of Comcast's WiFi hotspots when available, and Verizon Wireless' cellular network coverage when needed.
USA wireless carriers Verizon Communications Inc VZ.N , AT&T Inc T.N , T-Mobile US Inc TMUS.O and Sprint Corp S.N have recently offered unlimited monthly plans ranging from $50 to $90 for a single line. Customers can also choose to pay $12 per gigabyte each month. Also, customers can only get the $45 option if they have one of Comcast's high-end internet and cable bundles, which start at $150 a month.
Phones from Samsung, LG, and Apple will be offered as Comcast tries pairing hardware with the service itself for customers who are coming empty-handed. 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.
And as with those others, Xfinity Mobile's plans aren't really unlimited: Comcast says it will reduce speeds after you use more than 20GB of mobile data. The idea is that whenever an Xfinity Mobile subscriber is within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot, their phone will switch off the LTE network and onto Wi-Fi. Instead, the effort seems to be about being able to offer a more complete package to its customers at a time when the TV, broadband and wireless industries are merging and overlapping. With Xfinity Mobile, it looks like Comcast is trying to get customers to add another service to their bills, but there are some nice features included with Xfinity Mobile.
"I view Xfinity Mobile as Comcast's experimental wireless endeavor with training wheels", Entner says.
Over time, the wireless product could also help bring new customers to Comcast, they argued.More news: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe appear in second 'Mummy' trailer
Some factors pushing Comcast into this new market include the company's interest in improving customer retention and stiff competition from new TV providers like AT&T's DirecTV Now, YouTube TV (which launched yesterday), and Hulu's upcoming live TV streaming option.
The Xfinity Mobile deal quickly becomes less of a deal if you want to add more lines, because Comcast isn't offering discounts on those extra lines. While AT&T and Verizon have the ability to bundle all four services in some markets, neither company has done so aggressively. Comcast said it has simplified that process.
Xfinity Mobile is not immediately available, but will launch sometime later this year. In other words, Comcast is using this confusing new pricing structure and good-seeming wireless service to keep people trapped in the Comcast ecosystem.
Now let's find out what makes Xfinity Mobile its own thing in the wireless industry.
In recent months, USA wireless carriers Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), AT&T Inc (T.N), T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) and Sprint Corp (S.N) have offered unlimited data plans ranging from $50 a month for a single line to $90 monthly.