Chances are you’re already getting cable, internet and home phone service from Comcast. The company figures you’ll want to throw in mobile service as well.
Credit: Jeff Fusco/APThat’s the idea behind Xfinity Mobile, a service that Comcast launched last year that's available nationwide.
No, Comcast hasn’t erected its own cellular towers. Rather, it’s become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (or MVNO), which piggybacks on the existing network of one or more of the major carriers. (In Comcast’s case, that’s Verizon’s network coupled with the internet provider’s own Wi-Fi hotspots.) For wireless customers, getting service from an MVNO can sometimes mean a better deal than what you’d get from a major carrier while still enjoying the same great coverage.
With Xfinity Mobile, it’s all about the bundling, as it is with Comcast’s other services. In fact, you aren’t even eligible for Xfinity Mobile if you don’t already do business with Comcast or are willing to make the company your internet-service provider. Meet that criteria, and Xfinity Mobile service could be yours for as low as $45 a month for unlimited talk, text and data.
Should you turn to Comcast for your cellular service? Here’s a closer look at the rest of the details to see if Xfinity Mobile is right for you.
What Is Xfinity Mobile?
Xfinity Mobile is a available exclusively to Comcast subscribers. The wireless service relies on Verizon’s network (the clear winner in our Fastest Wireless Networks testing), along with access to Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide.
If you subscribe, you can pick between an unlimited data plan and paying only for the data you use. Unlimited nationwide talk and text are included regardless of your data choice. Xfinity Mobile users pay no access fees for up to five lines. (In contrast, Verizon charges its subscribers $20 per line in access fees on top of their regular monthly data plan rate.)
Comcast TV subscribers will be able to use the Xfinity Stream App on their smartphone to stream live TV, on-demand content and shows stored on a cloud-DVR, no matter where they are; it will count against your data allotment, though if you don’t have an unlimited plan with the carrier. (More on that in a moment.)
How Exactly Does Xfinity Mobile Work?
Xfinity Mobile combines Verizon's LTE network with Comcast's Wi-Fi hotspots. (Credit: Comcast)For the most part, Xfinity Mobile works just like any other wireless carrier. The two most notable differences are you must maintain a Comcast subscription and your connection will automatically transfer over to a Comcast Wi-Fi hotspot when one is in range. (There's a pretty good chance one will be — Comcast says it has 18 million hotspots around the country.) Using Wi-Fi instead of a cell tower should typically represent a boost in speed, and if you aren’t on the unlimited data plan, it will help save you data charges. (Several other low-cost carriers, such as Republic Wireless and TextNow, both use this Wi-Fi/cellular approach).
How Much Does Xfinity Mobile Cost?
Prices vary from $12 a month up to $45 a month, depending on the options you choose. Be aware that these prices do not include taxes and fees, which will vary from state to state. When Comcast originally launched Xfinity Mobile, it had suggested only customers with select packages would qualify for the $45-a-month pricing on unlimited data while others would pay $65, but that $65 tier seems to be MIA. (Not that you'll hear Xfinity Mobile customers complain about that.)
The bare minimum $12 plan gets you 1GB of data along with unlimited talk and text. If you go beyond 1GB, you are charged an additional $12 per GB. Comcast rounds up, so 2.1GB or 2.9GB of data usage would both be treated as 3GB, and cost you $36.
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You share data between lines, so a family of three that uses a total of 11GB ($132) or less together would still save versus even the cheapest unlimited option for three people ($135). Subscribers have the option of moving between the “By the Gig” plan and unlimited plan at any time without penalty, so if you just have the occasional heavy-data-usage month you could make the switch when necessary.
Credit: ComcastTurning to Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited plan, it costs $45 a month. There are no discounts for adding additional lines, as some carriers offer for families. Like other carriers, Xfinity will slow your speeds if you go over a set amount of data — 20GB during a month in this case. That's lower than the major carriers' threshold, as both Verizon and AT&T let unlimited customers use 22GB of data before throttling speeds.
Under a promotion that's running through May 23, Xfinity is offering a $200 prepaid gift card to anyone who switches over to its wireless service and signs up for an unlimited data plan.
Regardless of whether you opt for unlimited data or by-the-gig pricing, you need to maintain at least one subscription to either Xfinity TV, Internet or Voice services when you're an Xfinity Mobile customers; otherwise, you'll need to tack on another $10 per line.
Is a Contract Required?
You can cancel your Xfinity Mobile plan within 30 days of your next billing cycle date and you are only responsible for charges for the current month on your account and any remaining device payments you might have. In the first 30 days, you can cancel and return your device for a full refund, minus a $35 restocking fee. Beyond 30 days, you would be responsible for the restocking fee and any outstanding charges on the device.
Which Devices Can I Use on Xfinity Mobile?
Device selection is probably the biggest downside to Xfinity Mobile, which only sells top flagships. At least the selection of phones at Xfinity is pretty up to date, though. On the iPhone side, you can pick from the iPhone X, iPhone 8 or 8 Plus (including the new [RED] edition), iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus and SE. Android fans can turn to Samsung's latest flagships including the Galaxy S9 and S9+ and the Note 8; you can opt for last year's S8 or S8+ to save $120 to $150 off Samsung's newer models. Budget shoppers opt for the LG X Charge, a slightly larger version of the LG X Power with a bigger battery
The Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7 are among the devices you can use on Xfinity Mobile. (Credit: Sam Rutherford/Tom's Guide) Device-payment options and flat pricing for all devices is comparable to the other carriers, so while the need to purchase a new device is inconvenient, you at least have solid options at reasonable prices.
As of January 2018, Xfinity started to loosen up on phone selection, allowing iPhone users to bring their own device, provided that it's unlocked. iPhones dating back to the iPhone 5 are eligible, though you'll have to visit a brick-and-mortar Xfinity store to take advantage of the BYOD option. Comcast says it's working on adding a BYOD option for Android users, but for now, that's not an option.
There are no tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots or other connected devices available through Xfinity Mobile, so if any of those are part of your mobile arsenal you are going to need to find another option.
Is Xfinity Mobile Worth It?
It depends on your situation, but for some customers, Comcast’s mobile service seems like a solid value. A single user who already subscribes to Comcast internet would qualify for the $45-a-month unlimited plan. A comparable plan through Verizon would cost $75, though video speeds are restricted to 480p resolution and Verizon reserves the right to slow your data speed at that price tier. Multiple lines on an unlimited plan balance out with Verizon’s pricing, so it would be a matter of whether you value such extras as the Xfinity Stream App or Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots.
Users that can get by on just 1 or 2 GB of data per month would also likely do well on Xfinity Mobile. Republic Wireless offers 1GB of data plus unlimited talk and text for $8 more a month than Xfinity Mobile’s $12 plan. Use more data than that, though, and you’ll likely want to look at options outside of Comcast.
Xfinity Mobile is more appealing now that you can bring your own iPhone to the service, though Android users are currently shut out of that option.
You can use Xfinity Mobile when traveling to other countries, though you'll be charged for talk, text and data. (Rates vary by country.) In other words, international travelers have better options elsewhere.
How Do I Cancel Xfinity Mobile if I Don’t Like It?
Forget about canceling online. You need to call 888-936-4968 to cancel your Xfinity Mobile service. There are no penalties for canceling your service, but you must cancel at least 30 days before the start of a billing cycle to avoid charges for the next month, and you are responsible for any outstanding payments on your devices.
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