Comcast's Xfinity Mobile to Tweak By-the-Gig Pricing

Comcast is planning to fine-tune the By-the-Gig pricing on its Xfinity Mobile service in order to offer more options. The moves are a nod to the growing number of customers who are choosing the provider's plan.

Comcast's Xfinity Mobile currently offers two pricing plans: an unlimited data option at $45/month per line and a By-the-Gig option at $12 per month per Gigabyte. But, according to sources who spoke with Light Reading, the company in the coming days will announce two new By-the-Gig options: 3GB for $30/month and 10GB for $60/month. The 1GB for $12/month option will continue to be available, and Comcast will continue to sell additional data at 1GB for $12 per month to customers who exceed their monthly data allotments.

Comcast's By-the-Gig options are shared among all the customers on an account. So, for example, a couple who use a combined 8GB per month would be able to purchase the 10GB for $60/month option and share that data, rather than paying $90 per month for each line to have unlimited data, or $96 per month for the 1GB for $12/month option.

Importantly, Comcast is also eliminating the 100MB per month of free data it currently offers its mobile customers. Instead, Xfinity Mobile customers will be required to purchase some kind of data plan, with the cheapest option at $12 per month for 1GB of data.

Xfinity Mobile customers will continue to be able to change their pricing plans at any time. So, for example, if they need more data in a given month they can upgrade from the 3GB plan to the 10GB plan without any penalties.

Interestingly, Comcast is also introducing a new feature called "Data Saver," which will give customers the ability to scale their data usage up or down. When it is "on," video resolution is lowered to SD and hotspot speeds are throttled to 3G, in order to reduce customers' data usage. And when it is "off" customers can get HD video and LTE hotspot speeds. Customers will be able to switch back and forth.

Comcast's Xfinity Mobile service gained 181,000 mobile lines in the second quarter, raising its total to nearly 1.6 million lines. The company launched Xfinity Mobile in 2017.

Comcast's Xfinity Mobile MVNO basically piggybacks on the wireless network of Verizon; MVNOs like Xfinity Mobile provide services like activation and billing while network operators like Verizon handle the underlying connectivity. The MVNO relationship between Comcast and Verizon stems from Comcast's participation in the sale of AWS spectrum holdings to Verizon in 2011 for $3.6 billion.

Comcast's new Xfinity Mobile pricing changes likely will hit the market shortly before Altice USA launches its own MVNO through Sprint. As Light Reading previously reported, Altice USA is providing its employees with a first look at its forthcoming mobile service, priced at $25 per line. The unlimited talk, text and data offering -- which is currently just available to Altice USA employees but is scheduled to launch commercially later this summer -- only supports iPhones, offers unlimited hotspot data, appears to only be available in the operator's cable footprint and offloads users to the operator's roughly 2 million public WiFi hotspots.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

Mike Dano 7/31/2019 | 11:01:52 AM
Update I just updated this story with some details about the new "data saver" feature.
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