Comcast this morning unveiled its new Xfinity Mobile wireless service for smartphones — making a pitch to its customers to ditch their existing carriers and double-down with the cable giant, saving money by bundling a cellular plan with other Xfinity services.
Unlimited plans will start at $45/month per line for customers who have the company’s top X1 bundles, going up to $65/month per line on a standalone basis. Customers will also be purchase plans by the gig, at $12 per gigabyte of data across all lines per month. Up to five lines can be added to existing Xfinity Internet packages without line access fees.
Comcast will operate as mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, leveraging Verizon’s existing 4G LTE infrastructure and Comcast’s own network of Xfinity WiFi hotspots to provide wireless service across the country. The service will be available on the latest Apple iPhones, as well as Android devices from Samsung and LG.
The company’s move underscores the convergence taking place in the cable and telecommunications industries, and the ongoing push by the major providers to bundle a variety of services to increase sales and overall market share. One of Comcast’s major television competitors, DirecTV, is part of AT&T, allowing for TV and wireless bundles.
“We get it. Wireless is a very hyper-competitive marketplace,” said Dave Watson, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, on a conference call with analysts this morning. “We understand that. We’re used to competing.”
In addition to rivaling AT&T’s DirecTV wireless bundles, the new Comcast offering could provide new competition to existing carriers such as Sprint and T-Mobile, the Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless carrier that has been aggressively challenging AT&T and Verizon and steadily growing its customer base.
Comcast didn’t announce a launch date but said the service is “coming soon.”