Comcast adds 5G to its MVNO service for free

Comcast is offering 5G on all its Xfinity Mobile plans. (Comcast)

Comcast is offering 5G on all its Xfinity Mobile plans. Xfinity Mobile is Comcast’s mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service that rides on Verizon’s network. So essentially, Comcast is piggybacking off Verizon’s 5G network.

Today, Comcast is launching new data plans with 5G services included free, regardless of how customers choose to pay for their data, whether it’s unlimited or by the gig.

Comcast’s wireless pricing has been somewhat disruptive. The company offers two types of plans: an unlimited plan and a by-the-gig usage plan. The plans can be mixed and matched within families. For example, a parent who mainly uses Wi-Fi can choose the by-the-gig plan, while his teenagers might each need the monthly unlimited plan. And customers can use the Xfinity Mobile app to switch their plans on-demand at any time. So it’s basically a form of dynamic pricing.

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RELATED: Comcast taps its 19 million Wi-Fi hotspots to offload Xfinity Mobile traffic

Existing Xfinity Mobile customers can opt-in to a 5G data option through the Xfinity Mobile app. 5G phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra are available for purchase on xfinitymobile.com.

Comcast’s 5G announcement follows a similar announcement from Charter, which earlier this year said its Spectrum Mobile MVNO service would offer 5G to its unlimited customers. Spectrum Mobile also rides on Verizon’s network.

RELATED: Charter offers 5G for unlimited data plan users

MVNO heats up

The two largest cable MVNOs — Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile and Charter’s Spectrum Mobile — reported postpaid wireless net adds in the first quarter that surpassed both AT&T's and Verizon’s postpaid net adds.

RELATED: Marek’s Take: Mobile operators shouldn’t underestimate their cable competitors

Comcast and Charter together added 505,000 postpaid customers in the quarter. AT&T added just 87,000 postpaid customers, and Verizon lost 68,000 postpaid customers. Of course, those 505,000 postpaid cable customers are actually wholesale customers on Verizon’s network, which means Verizon ultimately makes money from these customers through its MVNO deal with Charter and Comcast.

Charter’s CEO recently said the company was in talks with AT&T to perhaps use AT&T’s network for its MVNO rather than Verizon’s.

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