Cable Tech

Comcast slashes price on unlimited, multi-line mobile packages

Comcast is getting more aggressive on the mobile front by slashing the prices on its mix of multi-line unlimited packages.

Comcast, which no doubt hopes the new pricing scheme will further accelerate mobile subscriber growth, also claims its new pricing undercuts that of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, the major US market incumbents that are already in the midst of a pricing war.

Comcast, whose Xfinity Mobile service is based on an MVNO agreement with Verizon, has cut pricing to $30 per line when customers take between two and four lines per account. That price drops to $20 per line for mobile lines beyond four, up to a maximum of ten lines (based on the customer's credit qualification). Comcast's single-line price for mobile service remains unchanged, at $45 per month. The new pricing is available for new and existing Xfinity Mobile customers, Comcast said.

Comcast introduced Xfinity Mobile in April 2017. 
(Source: Comcast)
Comcast introduced Xfinity Mobile in April 2017.
(Source: Comcast)

Comcast said it's also supporting various device promotions, including $450 off a new Samsung phone or a $200 Visa prepaid card when customers activate a new line and port a number with an eligible device.

Comcast's "By The Gig" pricing (1GB for $15/month; 3GB for $30/month; and 10GB for $60/month) remains unchanged.

Pricing comparisons

Comcast's new pricing effectively enables customers to get $30 per line on their first four lines, matching a previous pricing scheme that required mobile customers to buy four lines to lock in pricing of $30 per line.

Xfinity Mobile's prior unlimited packaging pitched $80 per month for two lines ($40 per line), $100 for three unlimited lines ($33.33 per line), and $120 for four lines ($30 per line). Comcast's prior unlimited, multi-line packages also dropped the price to $20 per additional line for any line taken beyond the first four – again, up to maximum of ten lines, based on customer credit qualification.

Comcast introduced its prior unlimited plans in April 2021, the result of the company's revised MVNO deal with Verizon, which opened the door to more flexible packaging options and the ability to sell mobile services to business customers. Charter Communications, which also has an MVNO relationship with Verizon, unleashed its own family-oriented plans in the fall of 2021.

Altice USA, which offers mobile via a fresh MVNO agreement with T-Mobile, has also adjusted pricing on Optimum Mobile, including an unlimited plan that starts at $30 per month.

Comcast contends that its new unlimited pricing mix represents savings over similar plans from AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Here's how that pricing stacks up when viewed through Comcast's lens:

Click here for a larger version of this image.  
(Source: Comcast)
Click here for a larger version of this image.
(Source: Comcast)

Comcast's aggressive move with unlimited multi-line packages arrives as the operator continues to grow its mobile base. Comcast added 317,000 mobile lines in Q2 2022, extending its total to 4.61 million.

Mobile aggressiveness arrives as broadband growth slows

This new, more aggressive stance by Comcast is also coming about as the operator's primary growth engine – broadband subscribers – is showing signs of sputtering. Comcast, which bundles mobile with home broadband, saw flat broadband subscriber growth in Q2 2022. Mobile is rapidly becoming the new growth story for a segment of the US cable industry.

Led by Comcast, Charter and Altice USA, US cable operators nabbed nearly half (49.2%) of the mobile industry's net adds in the second quarter of the year, according to an analysis by MoffettNathanson. Their combined take of more than 9 million mobile lines represents about 3% of the US industry.

Emerging price war

Comcast's price adjustments enter the picture amid a growing price war between AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile as overall mobile subscriber growth shows signs of stalling.

Amid some subscriber losses, Verizon recently introduced a new "Welcome Unlimited" service plan that removes some digital perks but enables the company's entry-level pricing to compete with those of its rivals. Verizon's new plan arrived in the wake of T-Mobile's "Bare Essentials" plan and AT&T's "Value Plus Plan."

Some analysts see cable and T-Mobile among the best positioned in mobile should a recession come to pass.

"Unlike the last major recession, the locus of value is now in postpaid rather than prepaid. T-Mobile & Cable would likely be the big winners at the expense of Verizon and AT&T," the analysts at New Street Research predicted in a research note issued over the weekend. "[T]he better value is now in postpaid, with T-Mobile and Cable best positioned to benefit."

In a mobile industry report issued last week, MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett also argued that "AT&T and Verizon may have further to fall" in the current environment. But, he added: "Slowing growth will pressure net additions for all operators."

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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