Finding the right mobile carrier is extremely important. People are connected now more than ever so finding reliable and affordable cell service is a high priority. The problem is most unlimited phone plans from major carriers can cost quite a lot. Hence, people tend to look for prepaid alternatives to stay connected. However, not all prepaid plans are good, and it’s hard to find a worthwhile yet affordable deal. Thus, here in this article, we’re looking at Xfinity Mobile and its unique and affordable plans. Are Xfinity Mobile plans worth it? Do they stack up against other carriers, especially against similarly priced alternatives? Let’s find out.
What Is Xfinity Mobile?
Perhaps you’ve only heard of T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. That’s not surprising since they’re the top mobile carriers in the country. However, they’re also notorious for their expensive mobile plans that not everyone can afford. Enter Comcast, a company that provides multiple services like cable TV, internet, and home phone services. From the outset, it might not seem like Comcast offers anything similar to a cellular plan. They certainly did not erect any cell towers to compete with the country’s top mobile carriers. Instead, they introduced Xfinity Mobile in 2017, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) with affordable pricing.
How Does Xfinity Mobile Work?
Unlike other MVNOs, Xfinity Mobile provides you with cellular service if you’re already subscribed to Comcast’s Xfinity internet service. Yes, that means you’re required to subscribe to them for your home internet. It’s kind of like a Comcast mobile offering that you can add on to your current subscription. Thus, this bundling with Xfinity Mobile is only truly worth it if you’re already subscribed to them. On the other hand, you could also subscribe to both if you’re looking for home internet and a mobile carrier.
With that said, this can come as a huge disadvantage for consumers looking only for prepaid mobile plans. It’s essentially a deal exclusive for Comcast subscribers and isn’t open to everyone. Moreover, if you’re already subscribed to Comcast’s internet and cut your service later, you’ll encounter problems with your mobile service. Specifically, you’ll need to contact Xfinity Mobile and pay a line access fee to keep using the service. It’s truly only good if you’re into the Comcast ecosystem. Although, it’s not exactly as seamless as the walled garden that is Apple’s ecosystem. However, the gist is somewhat similar so make of that what you will.
What Network Is Xfinity Mobile Using?
If you’re unfamiliar with MVNOs, they boil down to one thing: they use other cell carriers’ towers to provide data. Xfinity Mobile is no different and also piggybacks off another carrier’s towers to give its users cellular data. So, what network is Xfinity Mobile using?
You’ll be pleased to know that it’s piggybacking off of the United States’ top mobile carrier, Verizon. Verizon has the most extensive coverage throughout the country. Not only that, but Verizon also provides the fastest download speeds among the top mobile carriers. It’s certainly top-tier when it comes to speed and coverage so Xfinity has that as a major advantage. The best coverage for low prices certainly sounds attractive.
What’s the Coverage Like for Xfinity Mobile?
When people think of coverage, they mostly think about how much of a country a cellular carrier can reach. You can typically determine a carrier’s reach based on how many and how scattered and far-reaching their cell towers are. However, Xfinity Mobile has a few tricks up its sleeve that gives it an edge over some of the competition.
Verizon’s coverage is the most impressive out of all of the country’s mobile carriers. It has the widest reach, although AT&T and T-Mobile are catching up in recent years. However, Verizon remains the top one for the widest coverage within the United States. They even provide cell service outside the country’s borders. However, do keep in mind that Verizon doesn’t have 100% of the country covered. You should still check out their coverage map to see if you have sufficient coverage for your area. Otherwise, it’s useless to even think about subscribing to Xfinity Mobile.
Apart from Verizon’s coverage, Xfinity Mobile also offers coverage based on Comcast’s Wi-Fi hotspots. That’s a major edge against the competition if you’re looking for extensive coverage. Why? Well, because Wi-Fi hotspots add to your reach if Verizon doesn’t cover all the bases.
Comcast has over 18 million hotspots across North America. You don’t even have to use your cellular data when you connect to their hotspots. Moreover, your phone should automatically connect to these Wi-Fi hubs if it locates one nearby. Plus, these hotspots provide faster speeds compared to a cellular data connection. It’s a win-win situation, especially if you frequent places with Comcast Wi-Fi hubs. This both increases your network’s efficiency and saves you money on data costs.
LTE & 5G
If we’re talking about coverage in terms of bandwidth, Xfinity Mobile boasts both an LTE and 5G connection. They only recently offered 5G to their Xfinity prepaid users, so that’s a big plus if we were to compare their offerings from last year. With their 5G network, you can connect to Verizon’s fastest speeds. However, 5G availability is only for select cities within the United States. You have to check where it’s available if the main thing you’re after is a cheaper 5G connection. Otherwise, you might be wasting your time.
How Much Does It Cost?
Xfinity Mobile offers multiple plans with different data caps. There’s an unlimited plan (with slowdown after 20 GB) and “By the Gig” plans with different pricing for different data allowances. Here’s a basic breakdown of all the Xfinity deals:
|1 GB||3 GB||10 GB||Unlimited|
As you can see, the only real difference for each plan is the amount of data you’ll get. You won’t have to worry about texts or calls because each one comes with unlimited talk and text nationwide. The only thing you’d need to assess now is how much data you want to have monthly.
By the Gig Plans
Xfinity’s By the Gig plans may not seem like much, but they’re great for folks who are on a budget. However, as you can see, the 10 GB option is $15 more than Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited data plan. Thus, opting for the unlimited plan over a 10 GB prepaid plan will benefit you more.
With a By the Gig plan, you can share your data allowance across different lines. Yes, you can have multiple lines on one account. That may or may not be ideal for your situation. You can save as much as you can and consume only what you and your family need. On the other hand, it could be a downside given that you may need more data for yourself. If irresponsible family members consume data haphazardly, this could prove to be a terrible downside.
The unlimited plan goes for $45 per line per month. However, like most unlimited plans out there, there’s a data cap before your browsing speeds start to slow down. You’ll get their promised 4G LTE speeds and 5G speeds in available areas on a normal day. However, once you consume 20 GB worth of data on your plan, your speed will start to slow down.
Indeed, one of the key advantages of Xfinity Mobile is its plan customization. You can customize both By the Gig and unlimited plans pretty well. For example, you can switch from a By the Gig plan to an unlimited plan at will. There are no additional charges to incur even if you change plans within your current billing cycle.
Moreover, you can also mix and match different lines with different data plans. Of course, that’s as long as you have multiple lines for an account. You can let one line subscribe to By the Gig, and another subscribe to an Unlimited plan. It’s all up to you which makes Xfinity Mobile so convenient.
Perhaps you’re looking for more than just unlimited calls, texts, and data within your country. Many people have relatives overseas and contacting them is difficult without international call capabilities. If you’re interested in Xfinity Mobile, you won’t have to worry about this because they offer calls to overseas numbers. Xfinity Mobile gives you unlimited call capabilities to Mexico and Canada through their international service. Moreover, this offering also allows for international long-distance and roaming services in over 200 countries. With this, it’s easy to contact anyone you want overseas for only $10 per line per month.
What Does Xfinity Mobile Offer?
We’ve discussed a bit about Xfinity’s pricing. However, we haven’t delved deep into what they specifically offer in these plans. So, what does Xfinity Mobile offer? Let’s check out some of the things that Xfinity Mobile offers apart from just data.
If you want to use data for streaming videos, then streaming quality should be a big factor in shopping for plans. There’s a big difference if you compare the unlimited plans’ streaming quality to the By the Gig plans. If you thought that you’d get better quality with unlimited, then you’ve got another thing coming.
Unfortunately, there’s a cost to having unlimited mobile data and that is the streaming quality. By default, your videos and streams will load at 480p. It’s a tolerable resolution but it’s certainly not HD quality. If you want HD resolution (720p and 1080p for phones and tablets, respectively), you need to buy an HD pass. It costs $20 per month per line so you can stream in higher video quality. Not only that, but the HD pass also boosts your service when the network is congested.
On the other hand, you can get HD streaming automatically with a By the Gig plan. That may sound strange, considering it costs less, but streaming in HD will deplete your data faster. If you don’t want that to happen, you can turn on a data saver to manage your data usage.
As the saying goes, sharing is caring. However, not all mobile plans offer the capability of a mobile hotspot. That’s especially when your mobile phone service is a prepaid plan that costs very little. Thankfully, that trend is changing and many low-cost services now offer mobile hotspots as a service. That includes Xfinity Mobile.
However, while “By the Gig” plans do offer mobile hotspots, they’ll differ in speed compared with the unlimited plan. Surprisingly, By the Gig plans offer faster speeds compared to the unlimited plan. The unlimited plan can offer speeds of around 600 Kbps mobile hotspot. You can get by with that if you’re going to use your email or browse the web. However, videos and streams might buffer on that kind of speed.
On the other hand, By the Gig plans can only offer 4G LTE speeds. However, do note that mobile hotspot for By the Gig plans count as data consumption. The higher speeds can work to your disadvantage and deplete your consumption faster. While Unlimited plans have slower speeds, you get the trade-off of using the hotspot without any data caps.
Not everybody might consider a carrier’s phone plans, but if you do, Xfinity Mobile has a few phones available. Some of these options include the latest phones from major brands. For example, the iPhone SE, iPhone 11, Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G, and Google Pixel 4 are all included. They also offer mid-tier phones such as the Samsung Galaxy A50 and the Moto G7 Power. If you want a discount, sometimes they offer deals up to $300 off for new line subscribers transferring their number.
You don’t have to buy a phone from Xfinity Mobile to avail of their plans, though. Xfinity Mobile allows subscribers to bring their own devices when signing up for the service. However, they’re limited to phones from major brands like the Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and the Google Pixel.
Most MVNOs don’t have great quality customer service. They don’t even have physical stores most of the time, which makes customer service suffer a great deal. However, with Xfinity Mobile, you at least have local stores available that you can visit. You could also opt to get started with their service online. Visiting local stores isn’t required.
For customer service support, you can contact them via landline at (888) 936-4968. You can also contact their customer support through chat or text online. If it’s something simple, though, you can easily access their mobile app to manage your account. With it, you can manage payment info, check your data usage, or even switch plans easily.
Verdict: Is Xfinity Mobile Worth It?
The answer to this isn’t a simple yes or no, unfortunately. It’s complicated because Xfinity Mobile comes with many different pros and cons. By far, the biggest hurdle to entering the service is its requirement to subscribe to Comcast’s home internet service. If you’re looking into Xfinity but you’re not a Comcast subscriber, it might be a hard pass. Meanwhile, current Comcast subscribers should be delighted to find that Xfinity Mobile is an option open to them.
If you’re a Comcast subscriber already, Xfinity Mobile is a proper mobile carrier worth your consideration. That’s especially if you want an unlimited data plan with 5G capability that won’t burn a hole in your wallet. It’s most ideal if you’re a single user, though. That’s because families and groups would benefit more from other carriers’ family deals and discounts.
If you’re someone that doesn’t mind getting only 1 or 2 GB of monthly data, Xfinity Mobile’s also a good option. However, the higher up you go on data allowance, the less worth it Xfinity Mobile appears to be. That’s especially true if compared to prepaid mobile plans from other carriers. It’s also a disadvantage that Xfinity Mobile requires specific Samsung and Google phones if you want to bring your phone to the service.