Want to get your cable TV, internet, home phone and mobile phone services all in the same place? Well thanks to Comcast, you can.
On Thursday, the nation’s largest cable TV company unveiled its newest product offering, Xfinity Mobile, which will provide unlimited calling, texting and data plans for either $45 or $65 per month for a single line, depending on the services chosen. That’s up to $25 cheaper than other prominent cellular providers such as AT&T and Verizon.
But if it seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. The lower $45 price tag is only available to customers who also opt for an internet and cable bundle, which costs $150 per month or more. Even further, Comcast admits that its “quad play” offering — a bundle of cable TV, home internet, home phone and mobile services — is an attempt to dissuade customers from cutting the cable cord.
It’s a necessary effort, as Americans are abandoning traditional cable services in droves. Fortune reported that one in five U.S. households had cut the cable cord by the end of 2015, and the second quarter of 2016 saw more than 800,000 cable subscription cancellations, according to SNL Kagan.
Comcast isn’t the only cable provider trying to prevent streaming services like Netflix from usurping its throne. After buying DirecTV in 2015, AT&T has been experimenting with ways to maintain its cable customers, namely through a video streaming service called DirecTV Now. Verizon is also developing its own proprietary streaming service that it says could compete with cable bundles.
But Comcast’s new and improved bundle services are about more than just sales. The cable giant has a shadowy reputation when it comes to customer service, ranking dead last among top TV service providers in a 2016 customer experience survey. In a statement about the new mobile offering, President of Comcast Mobile Greg Butz said, “This is about changing perceptions around our brand.”
Comcast’s plunge into the mobile landscape is a step in line with other recent mergers and acquisitions cable companies have undergone to stay afloat in an ever cordless world, but don’t be blinded by the shine of a new product. More isn’t always better, and bundling might not save you money if you don’t need every service available.
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