Xfinity Mobile: What is it and is it worth it?

Xfinity Mobile is built around a simple idea — if you’re already getting cable, internet or home phone service from Comcast, why not throw in mobile phone service as well?

It turns out a lot of people are willing to take Comcast up on that offer. Xfinity Mobile launched in 2017 and has since grown to 2.4 million subscribers as of August 2020. 

That rapid growth didn’t happen because Comcast started erecting its own cellular towers. Rather, Xfinity Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (or MVNO), which piggybacks on the existing network of one or more of the major carriers. (In Comcast’s case, that’s Verizon’s network — including 5G coverage — coupled with the internet provider’s own Wi-Fi hotspots.) For wireless customers, getting service from an MVNO can sometimes mean a better deal than what you’d get from a major carrier while still enjoying the same great coverage (though your speed may be “deprioritized” — that means “slowed down” — if there’s a lot of traffic on the network).

With Xfinity Mobile, it’s all about the bundling, as it is with Comcast’s other services. In fact, you aren’t even eligible for Xfinity Mobile if you don’t already do business with Comcast, or are willing to make the company your internet-service provider. Meet that criteria, and Xfinity Mobile service could be yours, with unlimited talk, text and data only costing you $45 each month.

Should you turn to Comcast for your cellular service? Here’s a closer look at the rest of the details to see if Xfinity Mobile is right for you.

Xfinity Mobile fast facts

• Available plans include by the gig (1GB starts at $15 a month) or unlimited data ($45 a month).
• The more data By the Gig customers purchase, the less each extra GB costs.
• You must have Xfinity internet to sign up for Xfinity Mobile.
• Service comes via Verizon’s towers and Comcast’s network of Xfinity hotspots.
• Xfinity Mobile now supports 5G on Verizon’s network, though you’ll need a 5G phone to use it.

Xfinity Mobile: How it works

Xfinity Mobile is a available exclusively to Comcast subscribers. The wireless service relies on Verizon’s network (the clear winner in our fastest wireless networks testing), along with access to Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide.

If you subscribe, you can pick between an unlimited data plan and paying only for the data you use. Unlimited nationwide talk and text are included regardless of your data choice. Xfinity Mobile users pay no access fees for up to five lines. (Some carriers charge subscribers as much as $20 per line in access fees on top of their regular monthly data plan rate, though for unlimited plans, those access fees are often baked into the monthly rate.)

Comcast TV subscribers will be able to use the Xfinity Stream TV App on their smartphone to stream live TV, on-demand content and shows stored on a cloud-DVR, no matter where they are; it will count against your data allotment, though, if you don’t have an unlimited plan with the carrier. (More on that in a moment.)

Xfinity Mobile combines Verizon's LTE network with Comcast's Wi-Fi hotspots. (Credit: Comcast)

(Image credit: Xfinity Mobile combines Verizon’s LTE network with Comcast’s Wi-Fi hotspots. (Credit: Comcast))

For the most part, Xfinity Mobile works just like any other wireless carrier. The two most notable differences are you must maintain a Comcast subscription and your connection will automatically transfer over to a Comcast Wi-Fi hotspot when one is in range. (There’s a pretty good chance one will be — Comcast told us a while ago that it has 19 million hotspots around the country.) Using Wi-Fi instead of a cell tower should typically represent a boost in speed, and if you aren’t on the unlimited data plan, it will help save you data charges. (Several other low-cost carriers, such as Republic Wireless and TextNow, use this Wi-Fi/cellular approach).

Xfinity Mobile: How much it costs

Xfinity Mobile’s prices vary from $15 a month up to $60 a month, depending on the options you choose. Be aware that these do not include taxes and fees, which will vary from state to state.

The bare minimum $15 plan gets you 1GB of data along with unlimited talk and text. If you go beyond 1GB, you are charged an additional $15 per GB. Comcast rounds up, so 2.1GB or 2.9GB of data usage would both be treated as 3GB, and cost you $45.

Last year, Xfinity modified By the Gig for new customers that share the same bucket of data across multiple lines. Under the new system, you choose the amount of data you want to use upfront, with reduced costs for the more data you use. For example, whereas 1GB normally costs $15, 3GB costs $30 and 10GB is just $60.

By the Gig plans include video streaming at HD resolution and LTE hotspot speeds. A Data Saver feature lowers video resolution to 480p and slows down hotspot speeds to 600 kbps, all in the name of preventing you from going over your data limit and racking up a higher monthly bill than you counted on.

Xfinity Mobile: from $15/month for 1GB
Available for Comcast customers only, Xfinity Mobile offers both by the gig and unlimited plans. The former starts at $15/month for 1GB, whereas the latter costs $45 per line/per month. Even better, get a free $50 prepaid card when you bring your phone to Xfinity Mobile. View Deal

xfinity mobile

(Image credit: Comcast)

Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited plan costs $45 a month. There are no discounts for adding additional lines, as some carriers offer for families. Like other carriers, Xfinity will slow your speeds if you go over a set amount of data — 20GB during a month in this case. That’s lower than the major carriers’ thresholds. Verizon’s Play More and Do More Plans will only slow data speeds if you use more than 25GB or 50GB each month, respectively, though those plans also cost $35 more than what Xfinity Mobile charges.

Unlimited plans restrict video resolution to 480p when streaming over cellular. Hotspot speeds are similarly capped at 600 kbps. If you want HD video at all times, you can pay an extra $20 per month.

Subscribers have the option of moving between the “By the Gig” plan and unlimited plan at any time without penalty, so if you just have the occasional heavy-data-usage month you could make the switch when necessary.

Should you opt for Xfinity Mobile, be sure to enable two-factor authentication for your account and get a PIN linked to your account, as some customers have reported that their mobile numbers have been hijacked.

Xfinity Mobile offers attractively priced plans compared to the best unlimited data plans from the major carriers. Your cheapest unlimited plan option at T-Mobile costs $60 per month for the carrier’s stripped down Essentials plan. AT&T customers pay $65 a month for Unlimited Starter. So you’re saving $15 to $20 just by using Xfinity Mobile and its unlimited data plan.

Some rival MVNOs charge less for unlimited data — at Visible, which also uses Verizon’s network, you’ll only pay $40 a month for unlimited data with taxes and fees included. Mint Mobile goes even cheaper at $30 a month, though to get that rate, you’ve got to commit to a year of service.

Xfinity Mobile’s pricing advantage disappears as you add more lines, as the best family cell phone plans discount per-line pricing the more lines you have. A family of four would pay $120 a month for unlimited data through the T-Mobile Essentials plan, while that same family would be on the hook for $180 at Xfinity Mobile. (Xfinity would counter that you can mix and match different lines, so that some members of your family can get unlimited data while lower-data users can pay by the gigabyte. That approach can lower your monthly bill.)

Xfinity Mobile’s per-gigabyte pricing is more generous than some of its fellow MVNOs, but it’s not the lowest price you can find. At Tello, for example, you’ll now pay $19 a month for 4GB of LTE data, $11 less than what Xfinity now charges for 3GB of data. Google Fi charges $10 for each gigabyte of LTE data on top of $20 for talk and text, but instead of rounding up once you pass a certain gigabyte mark, you’re charged $1 for every 100MB. (Using 2.1GB would cost $21, for example, as opposed to $30 at Xfinity.) And, of course, neither of those services require you to get your cable or internet from Comcast.

Xfinity Mobile: What about 5G?

The Verizon 5G network launched in 2019, so it was only a matter of time before MVNOs like Xfinity Mobile were able to use the faster 5G service. Xfinity Mobile 5G service went live in May, and the good news is, you don’t have to pay extra for the faster service. It’s included with regularly priced Xfinity Mobile plans. 

That means Xfinity customers who pay $45 a month for unlimited data are getting access to 5G for around half the cost of what Verizon customers pay. (Verizon includes 5G with its Play More and Do More unlimited plans, which start at $80 for a single line; the $90-a-month Get More plan also includes 5G.)

There are some caveats to Xfinity Mobile’s 5G service. First, you’ll need a 5G-ready phone. Until recently, the only 5G models available through Xfinity were pricey, like the $999 Samsung Galaxy S20 5G UW and $1,299 Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Thankfully, that’s slowly changing, as lower-cost options like the $649 Galaxy A71 5G are becoming more common, and Apple’s 5G-ready iPhone 12 lineup is available through Xfinity.

Verizon 5G now reaches coast to coast, covering 2,700 cities and towns, though those speeds aren’t much faster than LTE. To get high-speed mmWave, you’ll need to be in one of the cities where Verizon has installed the high-speed service — Verizon’s on track to have mmWave deployed in parts of 60 cities by the end of 2020.

Xfinity Mobile: No contract required

You can cancel your Xfinity Mobile plan within 30 days of your next billing cycle date and you are only responsible for charges for the current month on your account and any remaining device payments you might have. In the first 30 days, you can cancel and return your device for a full refund, minus a $35 restocking fee. Beyond 30 days, you would be responsible for the restocking fee and any outstanding charges on the device.

Xfinity Mobile: What devices are supported?

Device selection had been the biggest downside to Xfinity Mobile, which largely sells top flagships. However, in recent years Xfinity has broadened its selection of Android devices, and now allows users to bring some of those handsets to the network as well.

iPhone users will notice an up-to-date selection. You can opt for any of the new iPhones — the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, with Xfinity offering discounts on all four models as of this writing. You can also save money by buying the iPhone 11iPhone XR or iPhone SE 2020.

Either the iPhone 12 Pro Max or iPhone 12 Pro can be had at Xfinity Mobile.

Either the iPhone 12 Pro Max or iPhone 12 Pro can be had at Xfinity Mobile. (Image credit: Future)

As for Android devices, both the Galaxy S20 and Note 20 models are available at Xfinity. The Pixel 4a 5G is there, too, if you want to spend less on a 5G-ready device. You find a pair of handsets available for less than $200 — the Moto E and LG K51. 

Device-payment options and flat pricing both compare well to other carriers, so while the need to purchase a new device is inconvenient, you at least have solid options at reasonable prices.

If you prefer to bring your own phone, Xfinity lets iPhone users bring their own device, provided it’s an iPhone 6 or newer. The company is now making an effort to include Android users too, though BYOD service is currently limited to select Samsung and Pixel models.

If you’ve got a supported phone, you send away for a free SIM card from Xfinity, and then sign in once you’ve received it to activate your account.

Xfinity Mobile also sells tablets (all iPad models) and smartwatches (all Apple Watches) in addition to other mobile accessories like cases and charging pads. You’ll pay $10 per line per month for an Xfinity Mobile plan covering those devices.

Xfinity Mobile: Canceling your service

Unfortunately, you can’t cancel online. Rather, you need to call 888-936-4968 to cancel your Xfinity Mobile service. There are no penalties for canceling your service, but you must cancel at least 30 days before the start of a billing cycle to avoid charges for the next month, and you are responsible for any outstanding payments on your devices.

Is Xfinity Mobile worth it?

It depends on your situation, but for some customers, Comcast’s mobile service seems like a solid value, especially for single users who want unlimited data, especially now that Xfinity throws in 5G coverage on top of its regular service. Families would benefit from the multi-line discounts other carriers offer, though if some members of your family use less data, you can turn to Xfinity Mobile’s by-the-gigabyte pricing. (Verizon and Sprint offer similar flexibility by letting you mix-and-match different tiers of its unlimited plan.)

Users that can get by on just 1 or 2 GB of data per month would also likely do well on Xfinity Mobile. But as noted above, the more data you use at Xfinity Mobile, the less attractive the service becomes when compared to the best prepaid phone plans.

Xfinity Mobile is more appealing now that you can bring your own phone to the service, though Android users will need to have very specific Samsung or Google phones to take advantage of that feature.

You can use Xfinity Mobile when traveling to other countries, though you’ll be charged for talk, text and data. (Rates vary by country.) In other words, there are better international data plans.

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