Comcast goes into US wireless business with unlimited data plans

There are no line-access fees, and Xfinity Mobile includes talk and text with the first 100 megabytes of shared 4G LTE data included. Don't freak out quite yet. Comcast's goal with this approach is to be more flexible when compared to other carriers' offerings and it may come in handy, especially if, say, you're going on a trip and you'll need data without limits or overage charges.

It's set to launch within the next two months. So if you start out on the unlimited plan, but notice that you're not using that much per month, you can switch to the other option.

Who will be able to use Xfinity Mobile? This puts Verizon in the driver's seat, to an extent, since it could theoretically raise the rates for using its network if Xfinity Mobile ever eats into its mobile business. Four lines is $260 and so on.

Customers must already be buying Internet service at home from Comcast. A Comcast phone plan could therefore cost just $12 a month for 1GB of data and unlimited talking and texting. Xfinity Mobile will also feature devices from Samsung and LG. Comcast executives declined to reveal whether the company's agreement with Verizon prevents it from building its own cellular network. The idea is that as you step into a house, or store, with a Comcast wifi connection, your phone will automatically switch over to the local network.

Comcast has introduced Xfinity Mobile, a new mobile service combining the operator's LTE network with its 16 million Wi-Fi hot-spots.

Unlike Verizon Wireless, Xfinity Mobile won't be available in areas that don't also offer Xfinity cable service. They'd allow customers to consolidate under a single bill, and the phones will auto-authenticate to Comcast Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots to improve speeds and coverage.

Sometime in the "near future", Comcast will launch Xfinity Mobile, a virtual cell company operating on Verizon's towers.

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While wireless carriers are contending with slowed growth and a cutthroat price war, cable companies like Comcast are navigating a saturated pay-TV business under assault from cord-cutting and affordable online video options.

Comcast is focused on selling to its 29 million customers so marketing, distribution, servicing and other expenses are lower. At 59, it's one of the lowest in the ISPs group, and at 62, it's below average for "subscription television services". Butz is known for having spearheaded the creation of Comcast's Xfinity Store chain. "All we want to do is just make it simple".

In recent months, the four major USA wireless carriers - Verizon Communications Inc VZ.N , AT&T Inc T.N , T-Mobile US Inc TMUS.O and Sprint Corp S.N - have offered unlimited data plans ranging from $50 a month for a single line to $90 a month.

The unlimited plan will cost $65 per line or, if you subscribe to Comcast's Xfinity Premier Double Play or Triple Play, $45 per line.

The Wall Street Journal expressed this tension well by invoking a sort of hostage situation. Some analysts say Comcast could use its new spectrum to renegotiate its network leasing deal with Verizon on better terms.

If that's the way you like to party, go right ahead.

  • Toni Ryan