Good things never last, and that doubly goes for unlimited data plans. Xfinity Mobile, Comcast’s wireless reseller that used to offer one of the best unlimited plans on the market, just sent an email to customers warning them about upcoming changes to the plan. As you might expect, these changes are not good.
Two features of the unlimited plan are getting nixed: Video streams are now going to be limited to 480p standard definition, and mobile hotspot speeds are getting throttled to 600kbps, what networks call “3G speeds.” Those changes bring Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited plans in line with the rest of the big competitors, which include similar restrictions, and there’s now much less of a reason to jump ship to Xfinity Mobile.
Here’s the email that Xfinity Mobile sent to customers:
To help you conserve data, we’ve established 480p as the standard resolution for streaming video through cellular data. This can help you save money if you pay By the Gig and take longer to reach the 20 GB threshold if you have the Unlimited data option.
Later this year, 720p video over cellular data will be available as a fee-based option with your service. In the meantime, you can request it on an interim basis at no charge. Learn more
This update only affects video streaming over cellular data. You can continue to stream HD-quality video over WiFi, including at millions of Xfinity WiFi hotspots.
If you have the Unlimited data option, your speeds on any device connected to a personal hotspot will not exceed 600 Kbps. At this speed, you’ll conserve data so that it takes longer to reach the 20 GB threshold but you’ll still be able to do many of the online activities you enjoy.
Want faster speeds when using a personal hotspot? The By the Gig data option will continue to deliver 4G speeds for all data traffic.
Of the two changes, the limits to hotspots are probably going to be more annoying. 480p video on a smartphone is just fine, but capping speeds at 600kbps can make it challenging to do anything practical.
Xfinity Mobile still has one of the cheapest single-user unlimited data plans, at $45 per month, and the Verizon network that it runs on has arguably the best coverage nationwide. But with these changes, it’s looking less like a steal, and more like the rest of the unlimited data plans on the market — not really unlimited.