Comcast goes into U.S. wireless business with unlimited data plans

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07 April, 2017

Other downsides include the fact that Comcast won't offer family plans, at least not right away, and users won't be able to bring their own devices to the Xfinity Mobile service at launch. Comcast says it will add that option sometime in the future. If unlimited data doesn't sound necessary, Comcast will offer a "By the Gig" plan that costs $12 per GB of data.

Another detail worth noting is that Xfinity Mobile customers will automatically connect to Comcast's network of 16 million Wi-Fi hotspots while out and about.

For instance, 5GB on the Verizon network with Walmart's Total Wireless costs $35/month, less than Comcast is charging.

Other caveats to the service: "Unlimited" data will be slowed after 20 GB of usage in a month.

The company says the service is "designed for the way people use their phones today, with Internet and data at the center of the experience". 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.

24x7 customer support via text message - created to support the way customers use their smartphones today. Comcast had an MVNO agreement with Verizon as far back as 2011, and is just now taking advantage of the deal it made with the nation's largest carrier. Seventy percent of US wireless customers use less than 5 GB of cellular data per month3, so families can share their data across devices and will only pay for what they use. As with most unlimited offerings from carriers, though, speeds will be throttled after you pass 20GB of data use in a month.

However, Comcast may wait to see if Sprint and T-Mobile merge, which could ease fierce competition in the wireless industry. It'll run on Verizon's 4G LTE network and will be available to Comcast customers soon.

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It will be available only to the 29 million Comcast customers who subscribe to media or internet services.

Customers must already be buying Internet service at home from Comcast. This is good for someone who thinks they'll only use a small amount of data per month.

Analysts at JPMorgan wrote in January that building a wireless business could cost Comcast hundreds of millions of dollars annually in the first few years, potentially cutting as much as 5 cents to 10 cents off earnings per share in 2017.

Comcast said that this demonstrated the importance of Wi-Fi in mobile data consumption.

Comcast will initially require customers to buy phones through the company.

Users will be able to switch between plans whenever they want without a penalty. Xfinity Mobile service payments will be automatically billed through the customer's credit card.

"The economics really work", Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts said in January. Verizon has doubled down on digital media as well, with plans to acquire Yahoo's (YHOO - Free Report) core business.

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