Chances are you’re already getting cable, internet and home phone service from Comcast. The nation's largest cable and internet provider figures you’ll want to throw in mobile service as well.
That’s the idea behind Xfinity Mobile, a service that Comcast launched in 2017. And plenty of people have taken Comcast up on its offer: Xfinity Mobile ended 2018 with 1.2 million subscribers and the number has only ticked upward since then.
That rapid growth didn't happen because Comcast started erecting its own cellular towers. Rather, it’s 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.
Xfinity Mobile Fast Facts
- In August, Xfinity introduced a new shared data scheme for new customers that purchase data By the Gig. The more data you spread across multiple lines, the less each additional GB costs — but the tradeoff is slower speeds when the network is stressed.
- Xfinity now allows Android users to bring their own device. Previously, only iPhones could be brought to the network.
- The mobile service is only available to Comcast's Internet customers.
- Available plans include by the gig ($12 per GB of data) or unlimited data ($45 a month).
- Service comes via Verizon's towers and Comcast's network of Xfinity hotspots.
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?
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 now has 19 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, 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.
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.
In August, Xfinity modified By the Gig for new customers that share the same bucket of data across multiple lines. Under the new system, you choose the amount of data you want to use upfront, with reduced costs for the more data you use. For example, whereas 1GB normally costs $12, 3GB costs $30 and 10GB is just $60.
However, there are caveats. New customers will only see a max of 720p quality for video streaming, and are also liable to have their "data speeds slowed during times of network congestion." Interestingly, Xfinity stipulates that existing subscribers will see "no change to their service at this time" if they joined "prior to launch of the new plans."
Turning 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. Xfinity now charges $20 extra per line if you want to stream video in HD over your cellular connection.
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.
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 $20 per line. That allows you to keep your mobile service if you move out of an area Xfinity serves.
A few other notes about Xfinity's plans: both unlimited and By the Gig (excluding the new shared data plan) options restrict video streaming to 480p resolution when you're connected to cellular data. Hotspot speeds are capped at a sluggish 600 kbps for unlimited plans.
Should you opt for Xfinity Mobile, be sure to enable two-factor authentication for your account and get a PIN linked to your account, as some customers have reported that their mobile numbers have been hijacked.
How Does Xfinity Mobile's Pricing Compare to Other Carriers?
Stacked up against the Big Four carriers, Xfinity Mobile offers attractively priced plans. The most affordable unlimited plans available from those carriers — Sprint's Unlimited Basic and T-Mobile's stripped-down Essentials — start at $60 a month. That's $15 more than what Xfinity Mobile will charge you.
Xfinity's advantage disappears as you add more lines, since the best cell phone plans all offer discounts for families. While a family of four would pay $120 a month for unlimited data through the T-Mobile Essentials plan, that same family would be on the hook for $180 at Xfinity Mobile. That's as much as some of the major carriers charge for their higher-end unlimited plans. (Xfinity would counter that you can mix and match different lines, so that some members of your family can get unlimited data while lower-data users can pay by the gigabyte. That approach can lower your monthly bill.)
Xfinity Mobile's per-gigabyte pricing is more generous than some of its fellow MVNOs, but it's not the lowest price you can find. At Tello, for example, you'll now pay $19 a month for 4GB of LTE data, $11 less than what Xfinity now charges for 3GB of data. Google Fi charges $10 for each gigabyte of LTE data on top of $20 for talk and text, but instead of rounding up once you pass a certain gigabyte mark, you're charged $1 for every 100MB. (Using 2.1GB for example would cost $21, for example.) Neither of those services require you to get your cable or internet from Comcast.
As for pricing on its unlimited plans, Xfinity charges less than popular MVNos Metro and Boost, where unlimited data starts at $50 a month. To find a lower price than what Xfinity charges for unlimited data, you'll have to turn to other upstart carriers. Visible, which also uses Verizon's towers for its cellular service, has a $40 a month unlimited data plan, as does TextNow.
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 had been the biggest downside to Xfinity Mobile, which largely sells top flagships. However, Xfinity is beginning to broaden its selection of Android devices, and now allows users to bring those handsets to the network as well.
iPhone users will notice a fairly up-to-date selection. You can opt for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max, or save some money by buying the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone 8, or iPhone 7.
The latest Galaxy phones — the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10e plus the Galaxy Note 10 — are available from Xfinity as are older models like the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 and S9+. You can opt for the older Galaxy S8 to save $400 or so off Samsung's latest models. Xfinity recently broadened its lineup of Android flagships with LG's G8 ThinQ as well as the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.
Xfinity now offers Samsung's midrange Galaxy A50, too, if a $350 phone seems more appealing. Other budget Android options include the $240 Moto G7 Power, the $300 LG Stylo 5, the $120 LG K30 and $150 Moto E6.
Device-payment options and flat pricing both compare well to other carriers, so while the need to purchase a new device is inconvenient, you at least have solid options at reasonable prices.
If you prefer to bring your own phone, Xfinity lets iPhone users bring their own device, provided it's an iPhone 6 or newer. The company is now making an effort to include Android users too, though initially only select models from Samsung, including the S9 series, S8 series, Note 9 and Note 8, are eligible for BYOD service.
If you've got a supported phone, you send away for a free SIM card from Xfinity, and then sign in once you've received it to activate your account.
Xfinity Mobile now sells tablets (all iPad models) and smartwatches (all Apple Watches) in addition to other mobile accessories like cases and charging pads. You'll pay $10 per line per month for an Xfinity Mobile plan covering those devices.
Is Xfinity Mobile Worth It?
It depends on your situation, but for some customers, Comcast’s mobile service seems like a solid value, especially for single users who want unlimited data. Families would benefit from the multi-line discounts other carriers offer, though if some members of your family use less data, you can benefit from Xfinity Mobile's by-the-gigabyte pricing. (Verizon and Sprint offer similar flexibility by letting you mix-and-match different tiers of its unlimited plan.)
Users that can get by on just 1 or 2 GB of data per month would also likely do well on Xfinity Mobile. But as noted above, the more data you use at Xfinity Mobile, the less attractive the service becomes in light of other low-cost wireless options.
Xfinity Mobile is more appealing now that you can bring your own iPhone to the service, though most Android users are still 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.