Are you one of the three people in America who’s always wanted to get cell service from America’s most-hated company? Well, good news: Comcast has taken time out of its busy schedule of customer service, and put together a cellphone division.
Sometime in the “near future,” Comcast will launch Xfinity Mobile, a virtual cell company operating on Verizon’s towers. Initially, service will only be open to the company’s existing customers, so you’ll need to have Comcast cable, internet or home phone to qualify.
Details on the plans are scarce for now, but we know that pricing will start at $65 per month for unlimited data. That price can drop as low as $45 per month depending on your cable package, as Comcast seems to intend to bundle the wireless service heavily with its other plans. There’s also a pay-as-you-go service for $12 per gigabyte, which thanks to the lack of line access fees, could work out to be a good deal for low-use customers.
When it launches, Comcast’s service will support the most recent phones from Apple, Samsung and LG. The selection is far from exhaustive, but with the most recent Galaxy and iPhone models available, it should be enough for most users.
Comcast’s big trick in this whole thing is to try and use its existing Wi-Fi network to reduce the load on Verizon’s cell network. Comcast has access to 16 million Wi-Fi hotspots across the country, including many piggybacking off residential home internet. 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.
It’s supposed to reduce the load on Verizon’s network and ultimately cost less money, but it could end up being a headache for Comcast. Switching off between Wi-Fi and LTE is already a headache for many users; hopping between hundreds of different Wi-Fi networks could prove to be incredibly frustrating for subscribers. But then again, it wouldn’t be a Comcast program without a little bit of customer frustration, so it all sounds about right.