Xfinity Mobile Review – What You Should Know Before Signing Up

Xfinity Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) run by Comcast. As an MVNO, Xfinity Mobile offers wireless service but does not directly operate its own network hardware. Instead of operating a network, Xfinity Mobile resells its subscribers service over Verizon’s network. Since Verizon has the most reliable network in the nation, Xfinity Mobile offers its subscribers excellent coverage.

Xfinity Mobile’s service is available to current Xfinity Internet customers, and the service is unusually well-priced. All plans come with unlimited minutes and texts at no charge. Customers can then choose either an unlimited data option for $45 per month or a pay-by-the-gig option. Pay-by-the-gig users who don’t use much data can often get service for a shockingly low price.

While Xfinity Mobile’s prices are great, customers should be wary about indirect costs that may come from becoming locked into Xfinity-branded products. To be eligible to sign up for Xfinity Mobile, individuals must be users of Xfinity’s Internet service. If an Xfinity subscriber doesn’t continue paying for another Xfinity service, they’ll receive an extra $20 per line monthly charge.


Visit Xfinity Mobile


Key details

  • Service over Verizon’s extensive network
  • Unlimited talking and texting included
  • Available for current Xfinity customers
  • No activation fees
  • No long-term contracts
  • Flexible plan options
  • Compatible with Wi-Fi calling

Plans & pricing

Unlimited talking and texting are included with all of Xfinity Mobile’s plans. Customers can then choose either Xfinity’s “By the Gig” plan or Xfinity’s unlimited data plan. The unlimited plan has a base price of $45 per line each month. The By the Gig plan has three pricing tiers with different data allotments. Additional data can be added to any package at a rate of $12 per GB.

  • 1GB of data per month – $12
  • 3GB of data per month – $30
  • 10GB of data per month – $60

Xfinity Mobile charges reasonable taxes and fees beyond the base prices mentioned previously, but Xfinity Mobile does not charge any activation fees.

Mix, match, share, and switch

Xfinity Mobile offers subscribers a lot of flexibility in their plans. It’s possible to switch between tiers on the By the Gig plan or switch between By the Gig and Unlimited plans in the middle of a billing cycle. Subscribers can even mix-and-match price structures on family plans. One person on a family plan can have unlimited data while two other people on the same plan share By the Gig data.

Indirect costs

Only existing Xfinity home internet customers are eligible to sign up for Xfinity Mobile. If an Xfinity Mobile subscriber cancels other Xfinity services, the subscriber will be charged additional monthly fees:[1]

$20 per line monthly charge applies if at least one of the following post-pay subscriptions are not maintained on the account: Xfinity TV, Internet or Voice service.

In other words, choosing Xfinity Mobile for wireless service may come with the indirect cost of reducing people’s flexibility when choosing an internet service provider. I encourage potential customers to take this indirect cost seriously. I previously discussed Xfinity Mobile’s pricing structure in more detail in a blog post.

Coverage

Xfinity Mobile offers excellent coverage in most of the U.S. via Verizon’s extensive network. In another article, I dive into coverage maps published by Verizon and Xfinity Mobile to tease out differences in the coverage profile offered by each carrier. As far as I can tell, Xfinity Mobile’s coverage is nearly identical to Verizon’s:

  • Both companies appear to offer coverage over all of Verizon’s own, native network.
  • Most of Verizon’s roaming partners do not cover Xfinity Mobile subscribers.
  • A very small amount of coverage area where Verizon only offers 3G service appears unavailable to Xfinity Mobile subscribers.

Hotspot coverage

In addition to Verizon’s cellular network, Xfinity Mobile’s subscribers can connect automatically to Xfinity hotspots. While connected to a hotspot, subscribers can use the internet without pulling from their monthly data allotments. Fortunately, there are about 20 million Xfinity hotspots scattered throughout the United States. Often, these hotspots can deliver strong connections in areas where cellular signals tend to be weak (e.g., in basements). Xfinity shares a map of hotspot locations on its website.

Speed

When Verizon’s network is not congested, Xfinity Mobile subscribers will probably experience speeds comparable to those experienced by Verizon’s direct subscribers. In general, Verizon delivers solid speeds, but what any individual subscriber experiences will depend heavily on the subscriber’s location and signal strength. In my own experience with Xfinity Mobile, speeds were excellent. That said, I wouldn’t take my own experience too seriously unless you also live in Boulder, Colorado:

Results from speed tests with Xfinity Mobile

By default, Xfinity Mobile subscribers are not subject to any max speeds or throttling on general data use. However, heavy users will be throttled to a maximum download speed of 1.5Mbps if they exceed 20GB of data use in a month. At 1.5Mbps, the internet will still be usable, but performance may be sluggish for demanding activities.

After 20 GB of monthly data use, speeds are reduced to a maximum of 1.5 Mbps download/750 kbps upload, determined and applied on a per line basis.[2]

Video throttling

While Xfinity Mobile usually does not throttle general data use, the carrier does throttle traffic for streaming video. Here’s an excerpt from Xfinity Mobile’s Broadband Disclosures page:[3]

For customer accounts established on or after August 1, 2019, lines utilizing the “By-the-Gig” data option will have 720p established as the default resolution for streaming video on smartphones (1080p on tablets), while lines utilizing the ‘Unlimited’ data option will have the default resolution for streaming video set at 480p.
Customers on the Unlimited plan that want higher quality video streaming can pay $20 per month for Xfinity Mobile’s HD Pass, which allows streaming in 720p quality.

Priority

By default, Xfinity Mobile subscribers are subject to deprioritization during periods when Verizon’s network is congested.[4] As a result, Xfinity Mobile’s subscribers may experience slower speeds than Verizon’s direct subscribers when the network is under a heavy load. In most areas, congestion is relatively rare, but your mileage may vary.

Subscribers who pay $20 per month for Xfinity Mobile’s HD Pass will receive a higher level of priority during congestion. While I don’t think most subscribers should purchase the pass, I’m glad Xfinity Mobile offers it. Not many MVNOs allow customers to upgrade their prioritization levels.

Mobile hotspot

Xfinity Mobile supports personal hotspots and tethering. For subscribers on By the Gig plans, hotspots will deliver full-speed connections. When testing mobile hotspot on a By the Gig plan, I received excellent speeds from a connected device:


Mobile hotspot speed test showing a download speed over 50Mbps


On the Unlimited plan, mobile hotspot speeds are throttled to a maximum of 600Kbps.[5] At that speed, hotspot may be usable, but performance will be sluggish for many activities.

Compatible devices

At the time of writing, Xfinity Mobile sells about thirty devices through its website. Most of these devices have fairly standard prices. Several devices are part of a promo where new customers who purchase an eligible device, port in an existing phone number, and maintain service for 90 days will receive a $250 prepaid card.

Bring your own device

Xfinity Mobile has a bring your own device program, but only a limited set of devices are supported at this time. Most Verizon-compatible, unlocked iPhone 6 devices and newer iPhones can be used with Xfinity Mobile. Bring your own device options for Android are more limited. At the moment, only a handful of Samsung Galaxy devices are supported at this time. Most Samsung Galaxy 8, 9, and 10 devices as well as Note8 and Note9 devices are eligible. I discuss Xfinity Mobile’s bring your own device program in more detail elsewhere. You can check whether a specific device is compatible with Xfinity Mobile using a tool on the carrier’s website.

Signup and activation

I had a great experience signing up for Xfinity Mobile and activating service. I purchased service and an iPhone 7 from Xfinity in October of 2019. Ordering was simple, and I received my phone, a SIM card, and activation instructions in the mail a bit later.

Phone and materials from Xfinity Mobile

Activation instructions from Xfinity Mobile

Activating service was quick and easy.

Bottom line

Xfinity Mobile offers excellent service over Verizon’s network at great rates. Potential customers should be aware of possible deprioritization during periods of congestion, limited bring-your-own-device options, and indirect costs from reduced flexibility when choosing an internet provider.


Visit Xfinity Mobile


Footnotes

  1. The excerpt comes from additional information that appeared after clicking “Pricing & Other info” on Xfinity Mobile’s homepage on 10/14/2019.
  2. The excerpt comes from additional information that appeared after clicking “Pricing & Other info” on Xfinity Mobile’s homepage on 10/16/2019.
  3. The excerpt cames from the Broadband Disclosures page on 10/16/2019.
  4. Subscribers that are grandfathered into Xfinity Mobile’s older plan options may have higher prioritization than those who sign up for the service today.
  5. From Xfinity Mobile’s How do I use my phone as a personal hotspot? article on 10/16/2019:
    If you have the Unlimited data option, speeds on any connected device will not exceed 600 Kbps.