Comcast's Xfinity Mobile surpasses 250K subscribers

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts previewed the early subscriber numbers on the company's quarterly earnings call.

Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile has garnered more than 250,000 since its launch five months ago. And the company is hoping to leverage the upcoming release of Apple’s iPhone X to entice more users to sign on.

The massive cable company launched its wireless service in May, offering unlimited data for $45 a month to customers who subscribe to its most expensive internet and TV bundles. Users who don’t have those high-end bundles can pay $65 a month for Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited-data service, and the company also offers a wireless plan for $12 per GB.

Importantly, the wireless service is available only to the company’s existing subscribers. But Comcast’s MVNO has already notched more than a quarter of a million customers, company executives said this week.

“Our newest connectivity business, Xfinity Mobile, really highlights the value of our broadband service by bundling access to the best high-speed internet data with a unique wireless offering,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said Thursday during the company’s quarterly earnings call, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. “We are pleased with the early results, surpassing 250,000 customer lines in a short period of time since our launch in May, and we are poised to scale the product from here.”

Comcast’s offering runs over Verizon’s wireless network and stems from a deal that Comcast and other cable operators inked with Verizon in 2012 as part of Verizon’s $3.9 billion purchase of their AWS spectrum.

And while the U.S. wireless industry is notably tranquil even as the holiday season approaches, Xfinity Mobile is pushing the iPhone X hard, as Matthew Niknam of Deutsche Bank Markets Research observed in a research note earlier this week. The service provider is offering a $500 gift card through Dec. 3 to new customers who buy the high-end phone and sign on to its “triple play” of TV, internet and mobile in a move that could see the company lure customers away from AT&T.

Xfinity Mobile remains a tiny player in a massive wireless market, of course—Sprint, which is the smallest nationwide carrier, claims more than 50 million customers, for instance—but Comcast clearly plans to grow its wireless customer base in a big way. And while growth in the U.S. mobile market has slowed to a crawl, Xfinity Mobile provides an opportunity to better monetize customers who are already paying for the company’s traditional offerings, Roberts said.

“Well, I like our wireless strategy a lot. Wireless revenue is going backwards for a couple of companies that reported, and cash flow is the same,” he noted. “So that's a business where we have 0% market share. And so as we begin, and 250,000 subs is a great achievement, but its 250,000 subs, so we're very small. We're using wireless to help our very valuable broadband business."

“You can only get wireless if you take our broadband. And it's an extension of our broadband to what I was just commenting on earlier. And yet we've been able to say when we hit a certain scale, hopefully, the next year or so, we will then be able to be in a position where every sub is profitable on its own merits, and that's the nature of the wholesale relationships that we've made.”