Comcast's new mobile service just matched Visible’s $25 unlimited plan — here’s why I’m not switching

Phone showing Xfinity logo next to a router.
(Image credit: Xfinity)

I’m always looking at ways to cut down on my monthly expenditures. One of the best things I’ve done was ditching my postpaid wireless service and switching to a $25/month unlimited data plan from Visible, which happens to be one of the best cheap cell phone plans you can find right now. 

But Visible's getting some competition, courtesy of Comcast. The internet provider already operates Xfinity Mobile, a mobile carrier that has one of the better unlimited data plans of its own, especially if you can take advantage of discounts by adding multiple lines. Now, Comcast is launching a lower-cost option that matches Visible's lowest rate.

Similar to Visible, the new NOW Mobile service from Comcast gives customers access to an unlimited plan for $25/month. This beats the $40/month unlimited plan that the cable company charges for a single line of its Xfinity Mobile service.There are differences between the two, like how speeds are throttled after 20GB of data with NOW Mobile (versus Xfinity Mobile’s cap of 30GB), but the new plan is an option for those looking to cut back on their spending.

I’m thrilled by the new low-cost wireless service option available via NOW Mobile, but it’s not enough to persuade me to drop Visible in the interim. Here’s why.

Only available to Xfinity/NOW cable customers

Plan details on Xfinity NOW Mobile.

(Image credit: Xfinity)

What I love about Visible is that there's no prerequisite to coverage, meaning I don’t need to have an existing service to get it, so anyone can go online and sign up for the service. Meanwhile, NOW Mobile is only available to existing customers with either Xfinity internet service or the newly launched low-cost internet service also available under the NOW brand — so you can’t just sign up for this unlimited cell phone plan unless you are getting broadband service from Comcast in some way.

That wasn’t a problem more than a year ago when I still had Xfinity’s TV and home internet service in my apartment, but I’ve since made the switch to Verizon FIOS because Xfinity wasn’t available in the area where I bought my home. This is what really sets apart the two services, as the Verizon-backed Visible service is open to anyone.

Not everyone needs or wants at-home internet service, but it doesn’t help those looking to save money by requiring them to have a totally different service in order to get on NOW Mobile. (NOW's reason for this requirement is that it takes advantage of Comcast's network of 23 million-plus Wi-Fi hotspots.

No option for smartwatch data

Apple watch walkie-talkie feature

(Image credit: Future)

Another reason why I’ve stayed with Visible for the last year is because it’s one of the few prepared service providers that give customers the option to add data service to their wearables and smartwatches. I previously had Mint Mobile, which I've found incredibly reliable and speedy with its service, but unfortunately it didn’t offer data service for wearables.

It’s one of those annoyances I’ve had when I briefly had Xfinity Mobile, which I thought would somehow be available with NOW Mobile — but that’s not the case. Most people may be satisfied by just the Bluetooth connection between their smartwatch and phone, but I can’t tell you how helpful it is to have dedicated cellular service on my Apple Watch Series 9. It’s only a $5/month add-on with my Visible service, allowing me to make and receive phone calls directly on my Apple Watch without having my iPhone 14 Pro Max nearby.

Visible’s annual plan saves me more

Plan details of Visible's annual plan.

(Image credit: Visible)

As much as I’m thrilled about NOW Mobile's cheaper cell phone plan, it still doesn’t beat Visible when it comes to the long term savings. That’s because of Visible's new annual plans, which essentially let customers pay a year’s worth of service upfront. For example, Visible charges $275 for an entire year’s worth of service — whereas the standard rate for its $25/month plan for 12 months turns out to be $300. You’ll save $25 in the process by choosing to pay annually, which comes to about $23/month.

Sure, the savings may not be enough to cover any of the best streaming services around, but there’s one photo editing app I use religiously that charges a subscription of $2/month for premium features. I’ll take the savings I’d get from Visible and apply it to that.

There’s one big incentive with NOW

Xfinity Mobile

(Image credit: Jeff Fusco/AP)

All is not lost with Comcast's NOW Mobile service. Why’s that? Well, there’s one incentive that I love and that I've already mentioned — access to those 23 million Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. In densely populated states like New Jersey and New York, I usually find an Xfinity hotspot whenever I’m out and about.

They’re helpful because they let users tap into fast speeds for sending large files or streaming content. It’s also useful in places where I suddenly find myself in a cellular dead zone. Still, it’s not enough to convince me to ditch Visible.

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John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.