Comcast just announced their own wireless cellphone service: Xfinity Mobile. And while that itself isn’t the big news, they are also going to start offering unlimited plans starting at just $65 a month. The service will run off the Verizon 4G LTE network and if you buy cable through Comcast, this service is supposed to be cheaper. How does this stack up against other wireless plans? Right now, you can get the same plan from Verizon for $80 a month, or $90 if you go with AT&T. My first question is – how can Comcast offer a lower price than Verizon, when it runs on their network?
But that’s not the only thing to consider. This offer is only for one line. If you want additional lines, you’re better to get a family plan through Verizon or AT&T. Xfinity Mobile simply doubles the cost, if you want additional lines for the account. Making it not much of a deal from this perspective.
The good news is it’s availability. As I mentioned, Xfinity runs off the Verizon network. Which means it might the only option for some rural areas. The bad news (and I will elaborate more) is that it is only available to customers who are already with Comcast. Further, in order to qualify for the $65 deal, you need to be a cable subscriber. And the cost for the cable plans are quite expensive. Which makes me wonder if this is really such a great deal over all? Also, if you live in an area where you can’t get Comcast home internet, you can’t get Xfinity Mobile at all.
What confuses me is around the idea of being eligible for this service. Now, I could be confused, but it sounds like this is only applicable to existing customers. And for those who have Comcast in their area already? Which leads me to believe that this is extremely limiting. Again, I might be confused on this, but you have to purchase cable AND be in an area that has Comcast home internet. So does this service rely on you having home internet through Comcast?
Now let’s assume that’s accurate. And that in order to purchase this “deal”, you need both. A quick look on Xfinity’s website shows a variety of TV and home internet packages. Ranging up to $70 or so. For both. You’re looking at a baseline of $140 (or more) plus $65 for the wireless service. Paying over $200/month for wireless, home internet and TV. That seems a bit high.
So what’s in it for Comcast? Obviously this is a money maker for them. Not only providing existing customers this service, but there is potential to grow their customer base in a holistic sense. Meaning, you’re now getting multiple services from them. As opposed to JUST wireless or just cable.
I think Comcast is missing the mark on this quite a bit. We all know that more and more people are cutting the cord and doing more online, including streaming TV and movies. Would this actually provide an incentive to people to stick with old fashioned cable? With all the new streaming options online, I think the odds are stacked against Comcast. That being said, there are some people in a particular demographic that aren’t tech-savvy enough to be able to cut the cord. But Comcast isn’t trying to appeal to them. They want to keep the customers who they are afraid are going to leave.
I think any company that is worried about losing customers should come up with a strategy to try to keep them. But I’m not sure that requiring two other services in order to get a discount on one is the way to do it. What’s interesting about this, is that we see this all the time in Canada. I remember the TV ads trying to get people to keep their land lines, and as an incentive they were reducing the monthly rates. I also remember thinking that it didn’t matter how much you reduced the monthly rates, in order to have a land line, you were paying $30 a month. That was just for the service and the phone number. It didn’t include long distance. So all I’m doing is increasing my monthly expenses.
And that is what Comcast is doing. We are no longer watching TV in the same way that we used to, and it’s the big cable companies that are losing out. What they need to do is transition, or come up with new and innovative ways to be a player in this market. Maybe through its own online streaming service. I’m thinking along the lines of Netflix, or Amazon… Where it’s stand alone and you can purchase it for a flat fee per month. Just spit balling here. Maybe that exists and I’m unaware of it. Either way, they’re going at this all wrong in my opinion. Buyer beware.