Comcast zeroed in on multi-line accounts, aiming to boost its share with fresh discounts on Xfinity Mobile’s 5G unlimited plan.
The operator, which has a wireless MVNO agreement with Verizon, originally added 5G access to Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited and by-the-gig plans in May 2020. At the time, its unlimited offering cost $45 per month per line.
While the unlimited plan still starts at $45 for a single line, Comcast is now cutting the price for each additional line added. That means it will now cost $80 for two lines, $100 for three lines and $120 for four lines.
A Comcast spokesperson told Fierce “families are a natural fit for the new unlimited plans because the more lines you add, the lower the price on a per line basis, but $45 for one line is also the best you can get in the industry as an individual.”
Speaking with Fierce, Recon Analytics founder Roger Entner said the move will better position Comcast to compete with AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon for bigger accounts.
He said MVNOs like Comcast and Charter Communications (which also has a deal with Verizon) have a line structure that is “very heavily one and two lines, and almost nobody has three and four because they’re not competitive.”
“The three nationwide MNOs, they’re giving you a lower price and they’re throwing HBO Max, Netflix or Disney and ESPN in for free. That makes these three and four lines from the MNOs really attractive,” he explained. “This is what Comcast is addressing with this new price plan.”
The big catch for Comcast unlimited customers is that the company said it may slow speeds after 20 GB of usage, while larger rivals have higher caps ranging from 50 GB to 100 GB depending on the plan.
Entner said customer retention is likely the end goal for Comcast since multi-line accounts “typically churn less.”
Comcast ended 2020 with 2.8 million wireless customers.
Company executives have highlighted the wireless segment as a strategic priority, with CEO Brian Roberts explaining during an investor conference in March “your mobile device is as important as your broadband connection. It's as important as your television…so we needed to recognize that.”
The company expanded its MVNO deal with Verizon in Q4 2020. While Roberts said at the conference he couldn’t discuss the details of that agreement, he noted it would allow Comcast to offer “different kinds of packaging and pricing” which were expected to “increase our sales and increase our velocity in the wireless business.” He also hinted a mobile offer for business customers was in the works.
Interestingly, both Comcast and Charter are planning to build some of their own wireless infrastructure using recently acquired Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum to offload traffic as their customer bases grow.
Providing an update during Q4 2020 earnings, Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson said the company was “working on development plans around the targeted use of the CBRS spectrum in dense, high-usage areas.”