Published: Fri, April 07, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Comcast unveils Xfinity Mobile, its new wireless service

Comcast unveils Xfinity Mobile, its new wireless service

The plans, which will run on Verizon's wireless network, offer current high-speed internet customers an unlimited mobile voice and data plan for $65 a month.

Comcast says its new service will compete not just on price but also by making it seamless to switch between cellular and Wi-Fi and by giving customers more flexibility than other carriers, like letting family members choose different plans or switch between plans depending on which one saves more money.

If you think you or anyone else on your plan will only use a small amount of mobile data per month, you can pay "by the gig", in which each GB cost $12.

On their own, Comcast's unlimited plans are less expensive than similar offerings from T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, which range from $70 a month to $90 a month. ○ Use the Xfinity Mobile app to view your data use and call logs in real time, manage payment options, switch back-and-forth between data options, order a new device or add additional lines.

Details released on Thursday offer a glimpse of how Comcast plans to make inroads in an oversaturated market for USA wireless service that is increasingly price-driven. With that said, Xfinity Mobile will support the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and iPhone SE.

You won't be able to bring your own unlocked phone to the Comcast mobile service at launch, but Comcast hopes to add that ability in the future.

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The basic features are available only with an internet subscription. Most notably, AT&T announced its eyebrow-raising $85 billion deal to buy media company Time Warner (TWX - Free Report) previous year, in addition to its various moves to diversify into the entertainment industry, like its purchase of DirecTV.

But Google Fi hasn't caught on, in part because it works with only a few Google-branded phones and uses networks from T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular, which aren't as robust as Verizon's.

However, Comcast says it will bolster that network with its 16 million WiFi hotspots around the country.

The details released on Thursday removed some uncertainty in the market on how Comcast would price and roll out its service, dubbed Xfinity Mobile. Comcast last fall had announced its intentions to enter the wireless business by mid-2017.

And if you already shell out the big bucks for Comcast's upper-tier cable packages, an unlimited plan will be $45 per month. Mobile customers can use the Xfinity Home app, too, in order to remotely control their smart home devices. The company calculated the typical offering by averaging competitors' pricing for equivalent service. A couple of caveats include a prerequisite, for now, that customers must purchase a new phone (options include Apple, Samsung and LG) and a note that unlimited plans may face slower speeds after 20 gigabytes.

Xfinity Mobile will surely stir up this ultra-competitive industry, and it's not that hard to imagine Comcast as a telecom leader someday.

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