Comcast's Xfinity Home offers cellular backup, but the carrier remains a mystery

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Image: Comcast

Like some other connected home products on the market, Comcast’s Xfinity Home does a variety of things: It’s a home security system that can be managed remotely, it can detect water and monitor smoke, and it can send you a text message if, say, the front door doesn’t open when you expect your kid to come home.

It even has cellular backup to stay connected in case Comcast’s wireline network goes down or lines are cut. But Comcast isn’t talking about which carrier – or carriers – it uses for that wireless connection.

Comcast mentioned the cellular backup feature during a tour of a home outfitted with its Xfinity system several weeks ago. But company representatives declined repeated requests from FierceWireless to disclose the name of its carrier partner.

The most likely candidate appears to be Verizon. The nation’s largest mobile carrier has an MVNO deal in place with Comcast, and the cable operator seems poised to launch commercial wireless service in the coming months. Also, Comcast’s Xfinity business sells Verizon Wireless’s products and services through its website.

Representatives from Verizon didn’t immediately return requests for comment from FierceWireless.

The wireless backup feature reportedly uses only enough data to communicate major events such as a break-in, and Xfinity Home is an early offering in a market that is only just beginning to emerge, so the deal isn’t likely a big money-maker for whichever mobile network operator Comcast is working with.

But Comcast is the second-largest multichannel video service provider in the U.S. with more than 22 million subscribers, and it’s beginning to market its connected home product aggressively. So providing cellular backup could become a lucrative service as Comcast grows its offering.

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