Xfinity’s Flailing Attack On T-Mobile Home Internet

Recently, I’ve been hearing a radio ad for Xfinity that attacks T-Mobile Home Internet. The ad’s message is roughly: “T-Mobile Home Internet is lousy. Pick Xfinity instead!”

The ad encourages listeners to visit On that page, Xfinity’s supposed advantages are split into three categories: speed, reliability, and entertainment. Let’s go through them one by one.


Xfinity claims, “T-Mobile is 10-36x slower than Xfinity.”

I have no idea where those numbers come from. Ookla’s last report put Xfinity’s median download speed at 226Mbps. Speeds 10x to 36x slower would be 6 to 26Mbps.

I couldn’t find Ookla speeds specifically capturing T-Mobile’s home internet products, but Ookla’s last report gives numbers for mobile networks more broadly. On modern chipsets, T-Mobile had a median download speed of 151Mbps. Looking only at 5G connections, T-Mobile had a median download speed of 217Mbps.

Next in the speed section, we get this bit:
Text that reads as follows:  Storms, mountains, cars — being inside — can slow down your speed  T-Mobile says: 'Weather, the surrounding terrain, use inside a building or moving vehicle' all affect speed and performance.
I’m not sure what Xfinity is getting at with the point about cars. I tend to use my home internet at home.


Xfinity draws attention to how T-Mobile prioritizes subscribers on mobile phones over home internet subscribers.

Customers may notice reduced speeds in comparison to customers with a higher priority during network congestion.

It’s a fair point.


On the anti-T-Mobile side, we find this:
Text that reads: Watch TV on T-Mobile's terms
Use Hulu Live and Sling Live TV? Not anymore
T-Mobile says: "Not compatible with some live TV streaming services" including "Hulu Live and Sling Live TV".

Do you use Hulu Live or Sling Live? Me neither.

On the pro-Xfinity side, there’s a pitch for Xfinity’s Flex TV box:
Text that reads: Entertainment: Stream all your favorites with Xfinity
We'll even give you a free 4K streaming TV box

Xfinity used to offer subscribers a free Flex TV box. It’s $5 per month now. The page needs an update.


Props to T-Mobile. Xfinity feels threatened.


T-Mobile To Acquire Mint

Today, T-Mobile announced plans to acquire Mint Mobile. The deal is expected to close later this year.

T-Mobile’s acquisition will involve the entirety of Mint’s parent company, Ka’ena Corporation. Ka’ena also owns the carrier Ultra Mobile and the cellular wholesaler Plum. The acquisition price isn’t set in stone, but it could be up to $1.35 billion.1

For the moment, Mint’s founders will stay with Mint. Ryan Reynolds will also continue his role in Mint’s marketing.

My Take

In the short term, I don’t think this acquisition will change Mint too much. I doubt the quality of Mint’s customer experience or overall value will plummet shortly after the acquisition.

It’s hard to predict what this acquisition will mean in the long run. As years pass, the lines separating Mint and T-Mobile will probably fade. Mint might gradually lose its distinctive low prices. As a result, the wider cellular industry may become a bit less competitive.

For the moment, I expect I’ll continue to recommend Mint—though with a bit more hesitation than I had previously. I’ll note that my friend Joe Paonessa has a more negative take on today’s announcement:

Time will tell.

Man holding phone while putting money in piggy bank

Visible Promo Brings Back $25/Month Rate

From today through March 31st, Visible is running a promotion that brings is the Visible Base Plan down to $25 per month (the same rate that was previously available with Visible’s retired Party Pay program). During the promo, Visible+, the carrier’s premium plan, is also being discounted from $45 per month to $35 per month.

As I understand it, customers that take advantage of the program will continue to pay the reduced rate indefinitely.1 More about the promo can be found on Visible’s homepage. Here are the terms mentioned there:

Offer disclosure: Offer Ends 03.31.23; subject to change.

New members or existing members upgrading from the Visible Unlimited Plan qualify to receive $10/mo off the Visible+ Plan or $5/mo off the Visible Plan. Promotion will automatically apply to qualifying members, reflected as either a $10 discount off the normal rate of the Visible+ Plan or a $5 discount off the normal rate of the Visible Plan.

Promo is not transferable, not redeemable for cash and has no cash value. Member must maintain service on the Visible+ Plan or Visible Plan to maintain promotion; no value will be provided to the member if an account is terminated or migrates to an ineligible plan.

Promo applies to service charges and the member is responsible for all applicable taxes and fees. Promo may not be combined with any other service promotion, such as VIP/VBPP discounts and Connection Protection Program. Promo is stackable with the Choose Your Own Gift Card program and the Bring a Friend Program.

Void where prohibited, taxed, or otherwise restricted. Visible reserves the right to change or terminate this offer at any time, with or without notice, including for any violation of Visible’s terms of service. If Visible, in its sole discretion, determines that a member has engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with this offer, or that the member intends to do so, Visible reserves the right to disqualify the member from this promotion.

Traffic jam

Starlink Introducing Capacity-Based Pricing

Starlink just announced it will adjust pricing for residential customers. Service will become cheaper in areas the company has extra capacity, and service will become more expensive in capacity-constrained areas.

Here’s the key bit from the email I got last night:

The Starlink monthly service for residential customers is changing as follows:

  • $10 increase in areas with limited capacity. New price will be $120/month.
  • $20 decrease in areas with excess capacity. New price will be $90/month.

As a current customer in an area with limited capacity, your monthly service price will increase to $120/month beginning April 24, 2023. For new customers in your area, the price increase is effective immediately.

While it’s not great to see my bill increasing, I’m glad to see efforts to tie pricing to capacity in different regions.

Whether we’re looking at cell service or residential internet, the level of network congestion in an area can significantly affect the quality of service customers experience.1 In a somewhat convoluted way, congestion also affects the cost of delivering service.

I find it surprising that services tend to be priced as uniformly as they are throughout the country. Moving away from that uniformity probably makes the market more efficient.

Earth from space

Starlink Announces Fair Use Policy

Starlink just announced that it will implement a Fair Use Policy for residential customers in the US and Canada sometime in December. Here’s the key bit from an email Starlink sent me:

Under the Fair Use policy, all Residential customers will receive unlimited data, and will start each month with Priority Access, which means their data usage will be prioritized during times of network congestion.

Customers who exceed 1 TB of data use on a monthly basis (currently < 10% of users) will automatically be switched to Basic Access for the remainder of the billing cycle, which means their data usage will be deprioritized during times of network congestion, resulting in slower speeds. Data used between 11pm - 7am will not count towards your Priority Access.

I figured a policy like this had to be coming for Starlink’s unlimited plans. It strikes me as a good approach. 1TB is a reasonable allotment, and heavy users still get good speeds when there’s no congestion. The exemption for data use during the lowest-traffic time of day is particularly clever. Folks with a one-off need to download a big piece of software (e.g., an AAA video game) can plan to do that at off-peak hours and avoid burning through a bunch of prioritized data.

Photo representing the concept of "update"

Visible Updates

Last week, Verizon’s flanker brand, Visible, launched a major update. Previously, Visible offered only one plan. The plan included unlimited minutes, texts, and data. It had a base price of $40 per month, but the price dropped as low as $25 with Visible’s Party Pay program.

With Visible’s latest update, the carrier is retiring Party Pay and offering two plans:

  • Visible’s standard plan: $30 per month
  • Visible+ plan: $45 per month

Standard Plan

Visible’s standard plan includes unlimited minutes, texts, and data. As was the case with Visible’s old plan, data is low priority. Subscribers may experience slower speeds than other users on the network during periods of congestion.

With Visible’s standard plan, subscribers can access Verizon’s LTE and 5G Nationwide services. (5G Nationwide is Verizon’s term for it’s low-frequency 5G service. 5G Nationwide has extensive coverage, but the speeds may fall short of the hype around 5G.)


The Visible+ plan has a $15 per month premium and comes with a few extra perks. The first 50GB of data each month is high priority. Additionally, subscribers can access Verizon’s Ultra Wideband service, which offers better performance in some places. Visible+ also includes international texting and calling to some destinations.

Network Improvements?

A common complaint about Visible is that latency with the service can be substantially worse than latency on a Verizon-branded plan. I don’t understand all the details, but Visible has historically had some underlying infrastructure that differs from Verizon’s typical infrastructure. A press release covering the recent changes suggests some improvements are on the way:

Existing members can move to these new plans at any time through their Visible account. A new SIM will be required, as Visible is also expanding coverage and upgrading the core network routing experience in conjunction with these plans, which should provide customers with improved speeds and latency.

Existing Customers

For the moment, existing customers can continue with the old plan and Party Pay rates as low as $25 per month. Here’s another bit from the press release:

Existing Visible members have the option to maintain their Party Pay discount while on their current plan and will have their Party Pay rates locked in based on their Party status as of October 18, 2022.

It looks like Visible will force all subscribers to transition to the new plans (and abandon Party Pay) around the start of 2023.

My Take

While service will increase from $25 to $30 for many users, I think most of these changes are great. Party Pay has always been a bit weird, and part of me is glad to see it going away. Perhaps its retirement will pave the way for Visible offering better options for family plans or combined billing.

While low-priority data is fine for many users, it can be a pain in some regions or for subscribers that want peak performance. I’m glad Visible is giving customers the option of paying up for a better experience.

While I’m unsure what the changes to Visible’s routing system entail, I’m hopefully that between (a) those upgrades, (b) high priority data, and (c) Ultra Wideband access, Visible+ will offer service on par with Verizon’s premium plans.

I’m somewhat surprised that the standard Visible plan doesn’t include access to Verizon’s Ultra Wideband. I expect that will change eventually. Dropping restrictions on who can access Ultra Wideband will lead to more efficient use of Verizon’s network capacity and spectrum. If Verizon wants different tiers of service quality, it can throttle or deprioritize Ultra Wideband service on low-cost plans.

For incoming subscribers wondering whether to choose Visible’s standard plan or Visible+, my advice at the moment is to start with the standard plan. You can always consider upgrading if you regularly find yourself with decent signal strength but lousy speeds.

Hands shaking

Dish Amends Its Agreement With T-Mobile

While convincing regulators to approve a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, T-Mobile committed to allowing Dish to offload traffic to T-Mobile’s network for several years. Then, roughly a year ago, Dish announced that it formed a similar agreement allowing the company to piggyback on AT&T’s network.

On Tuesday, Dish announced that it renegotiated the arrangement with T-Mobile. Among other things, the amended agreement involves better pricing for Dish:

DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) signed an amendment to the 2020 Master Network Services Agreement…The amendment…incorporates financial and operational changes, including improved pricing and enhanced roaming solutions.

The new agreement will need to be approved by regulators. It’s expected to get a green light by the end of the summer.

Mike Dano at Light Reading wrote a more detailed article covering Dish’s announcement. While I don’t entirely trust the numbers, I found this excerpt especially interesting:

New Street analysts wrote in a note to investors Tuesday that Dish paid T-Mobile a little less than $2 billion in 2021 for access to its network, which equates to $17 per subscriber per month, or about $2 per GB. The analysts estimate that Dish’s deal with AT&T is closer to $1.50/GB, with a path to $1/GB over time. They said they believed Dish’s new agreement with T-Mobile is likely in line with its $1.50/GB deal with AT&T.
Paint roller being used to repaint

Visible’s “By Verizon” Rebrand

Visible, Verizon’s low-cost flanker brand, has been making its connection with Verizon more explicit. Here’s how the Visible logo used to appear on the header of its website:

Recently, the words “by Verizon” have been tacked on:

Visible logo showing the words "by Verizon"

The new branding suggests a change in strategy. Previously, Visible was coy about its relationship with Verizon. That was almost certainly by design. A major carrier doesn’t want its low-cost brands to cannibalize the higher-profit subscribers of the mainstream brand.

While it was never difficult to figure out that Verizon owned Visible, I expect a fair share of the carrier’s subscribers were unaware. With Visible’s relationship to Verizon now in the front and center, Visible may be more appealing to consumers. On the other hand, the rebranding may lead to pressures to create further discrepancies between the service quality received by Visible’s subscribers and Verizon’s direct subscribers.

Image of dollar melting, abstract representation of inflation

Mint Mobile Promo Pokes Fun At Price Increases

Mint Mobile’s latest promotion pokes fun at carriers raising prices in response to inflation. New Mint Mobile subscribers that take advantage of the promotion can get the first three months of service on any of Mint’s plans for $15 per month.

The promo is set to run through July 5th. Here’s Ryan Reynolds explaining the deal:

Terms for the promo:

Limited time, online only, new customer offer, avail. from 8:00 AM EST on June 15, 2022 through 11:59 PM EST on July 5, 2022, while supplies last & subject to change w/out notice. New subs. may purchase any 3-month data plan from for equivalent to $15/mo. ($45 upfront payment req’d). Taxes & fees extra. Promotional rate for first 3 months only; discount has no cash value, is non-transferrable & may not be applied to any other purchase or plan length. Unlimited customers using >35GB/mo. will experience lower speeds. Videos stream at ~480p. Addt’l restriction apply.
USA Map Abstract Showing Concept Of Network Connections

Dish’s Project Genesis Expands To 128 Cities

Today, Project Genesis, Dish’s 5G service powered by the company’s new network, allegedly went live in over 120 cities. Previously, the service was only officially available in Las Vegas.

Here’s the tweet from Stephen Stokols, CEO of Boost Mobile (Boost is owned by Dish):

With service going live in the new cities, Dish is poised to meet a commitment it made with the FCC to cover 20% of the US population by mid-June.

The Project Genesis website has a list of cities where service is available. I don’t know how comprehensively Dish covers the included cities. As of today, service is available in 128 cities by Dish’s counting:

  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Altoona, IA
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Asheville, NC
  • Bay City, MI
  • Bellevue, NE
  • Bentonville, AR
  • Binghamton, NY
  • Boise, ID
  • Bowling Green, KY
  • Brooksville, FL
  • Brownsville, TX
  • Carson City, NV
  • Cary, NC
  • Casper, WY
  • Champaign, IL
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Chester, VA
  • Cheyenne, WY
  • Chicopee, MA
  • Clarksville, TN
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Cocoa Beach, FL
  • Columbus, OH
  • Concord, NC
  • Corpus Christi, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Davenport, IA
  • Daytona Beach, FL
  • Denton, TX
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Duluth, MN
  • Eagle, ID
  • Elmira, NY
  • El Paso, TX
  • Evansville, IN
  • Fayetteville, AR
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • Flint, MI
  • Fond du Lac, WI
  • Fort Smith, AR
  • Fresno, CA
  • Ft Worth, TX
  • Gadsden, AL
  • Grand Junction, CO
  • Greensboro, NC
  • Gulfport, MS
  • Harrisonburg, VA
  • Hartford, CT
  • Hattiesburg, MS
  • Henderson, NV
  • Hendersonville, TN
  • High Point, NC
  • Hot Springs, AR
  • Houston, TX
  • Huntsville, AL
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Ithaca, NY
  • Jackson, MI
  • Jackson, MS
  • Kansas City, KS
  • Johnson City, TN
  • Johnstown, PA
  • Kingsport, TN
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Lansing, MI
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Lawton, OK
  • Lexington, KY
  • Lincoln, NE
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Louisville, KY
  • McAllen,TX
  • Mechanicsville, VA
  • Merced, CA
  • Meridian, ID
  • Middletown, CT
  • Midland, MI
  • Midlothian, VA
  • Modesto, CA
  • Murfreesboro, TN
  • Nashville, TN
  • New Braunfels, TX
  • Norfolk, VA
  • Ocala, FL
  • Ogden, UT
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Omaha, NE
  • Orlando, FL
  • Palm Bay, FL
  • Petersburg, VA
  • Pine Bluff, AR
  • Prescott, AZ
  • Provo, UT
  • Pueblo, CO
  • Raleigh-Durham, NC
  • Rapid City, SD
  • Reno, NV
  • Richmond, VA
  • Rochester, MN
  • Rochester, NY
  • Saginaw, MI
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Sioux Falls, SD
  • Sparks, NV
  • Spokane, WA
  • Springfield, IL
  • Springfield, MA
  • Springfield, MO
  • St Joseph, MO
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Stockton, CA
  • Suffolk, VA
  • Superior, WI
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Texas City, TX
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Urbandale, IA
  • Utica, NY
  • Valdosta, GA
  • Victoria, TX
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Wildwood, FL
  • Williamsburg, VA
  • Winter Garden, FL
  • Yuma, AZ