Cable giant Comcast offers cellular plans on Verizon network
It's set to launch within the next two 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 recently offered unlimited monthly plans ranging from $50 to $90 for a single line.
AT&T has launched its DirecTV Now service that streams live television to smart phones and mobile devices - a service that Comcast can't offer on its own without Xfinity Mobile. (Charter has a similar deal.) Major wireless companies already rely on Wi-Fi hotspots to offload some wireless traffic to mitigate congestion, and some companies have tried to do a cellphone service fully based on Wi-Fi. That area covers markets across the nation, but is missing in places such as New York City and Los Angeles. For that to happen, Comcast will have to prove that it can make Wi-Fi handoffs happen without interrupting customers' connectivity.
Wireless carriers are contending with slowed growth and a cutthroat price war for mobile customers, while cable companies like Comcast are navigating a saturated pay-TV business under assault from cord-cutting and cheap online video options.
It will be available only to the 29 million Comcast customers who subscribe to media or internet services.
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. While the mobile plan will mainly be powered by its 16 million Wi-Fi hotspots, it will also leverage Verizon's (VZ - Free Report) wireless network.
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Xfinity Mobile has been in testing inside of Comcast, and today the company is beginning to expand the test to all of its employees.
Up to 80 percent of smartphone data traffic in the US travels over Wi-Fi and not over cellular networks, according to a news release. When you use a phone on Xfinity Mobile, it will automatically connect to all those networks.
The wireless service will be available on Apple Inc's AAPL.O iPhones as well as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd 005930.KS Galaxy phones.
By way of comparison, Google's Project Fi, part of an MVNO partnership Google has with Sprint and T-Mobile, is limited to Google's own Pixel, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6 and Nexus 5X devices.
Comcast wireless pricing will start at $45 per line for unlimited service for customers who have signed up for the company's Best Xfinity package. The unlimited plan includes unlimited talk and text, and there is no per line access charge. Customers will also be purchase plans by the gig, at $12 per gigabyte of data across all lines per month. That might not work for everyone who need to adjust the exact day they pay from month-to-month, due to fluctuating access to funds. Many subscribers will save money, especially if they don't use a lot of data. Prices looked comparable to other major carriers; you'll be able to pay up front for your phone, or over a 24-month payment period. Many customers won't qualify for the special pricing, though; for them, unlimited data for four lines will cost $260. And unlike most wireless services, customers can switch back and forth between data options at no extra cost.
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Apr 06 2017