Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile acts as proof that consumers are willing to pick up wireless service from the same company that provides home internet and television services. Wireless service from Comcast arrived just five months ago, and Xfinity Mobile already has about 200,000 subscribers. It’s not an official number from the company, but Bloomberg spoke to multiple people familiar with the situation.
The wireless service launched in May as an exclusive offering for people locked into other Xfinity products. Xfinity Mobile will sell you data by the gigabyte or allow you to go unlimited. Aside from being like any other carrier, Xfinity Mobile also provides access to millions of Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the United States. It may sound like a lot of work went into creating Xfinity Mobile, but the service was (and continues to be) very cheap for Comcast.
Xfinity Mobile doesn’t have its own network. It’d be far too costly even for Comcast to build one from nothing. Instead, the company pays Verizon for access to the largest network in the nation. Comcast is reportedly spending $3 or $4 per gigabyte and then turning that around to consumers for $12 per gigabyte on the pay-as-you-go plan. Those are huge margins, and the relatively small number of subscribers on Xfinity Mobile still effectively increase Comcast’s bottom line.
Over the last few years, Comcast was rumored to be getting into wireless with its own service. Charter, too, has been very interested in selling wireless service as a bundle. As we’ve seen, purchasing spectrum to grow a network can cost hundreds of millions and sometimes billions of dollars, but Comcast opted to forgo massive costs and just pay Verizon for something that already exists. Now the decision to piggyback on another network looks brilliant.
Other companies are expected to begin offering wireless service upon seeing the type of revenue Comcast generates with just 200,000 subscribers.