Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile plans to launch BYOD, trade-in services this year—but $65 tier remains postponed

Comcast executive Randall Hounsell said the company maintains a team dedicated to improving its Xfinity Mobile MVNO service, and that later this year the company expects to launch a device trade-in program as well as a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) option for Xfinity Mobile.

“We’ve got a team focused on introducing new features and enhancements into the whole experience. One of the things we’re focused on now is the bring-your-own-device,” Hounsell, VP of product management for Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile, told FierceWireless. “I think you’ll see some version of that by the end of the year. And when we do it, we’re going to try to do it right. It’s going to be a very clean, simple experience.”

When questioned on exactly when Comcast might support device trade-ins and BYOD services, Hounsell declined to provide specifics. “It’s unclear the timing of stuff. It’s a focus of ours right now. I’ll think you’ll see some flavor or some beginnings of bring-your-own-device by the end of the year.”

Added Hounsell: The BYOD feature “is a popular request, and we’re excited about offering that for our customers.”

The same, he said, is true for device trade-ins. “By trading in the device, we’ll give back the value of that device, and they can put that against the cost of their new device and bring down the cost of the service,” Hounsell explained. “So effectively it reduces the cost of switching for the end user.”

“So those two tools [BYOD and trade-ins], think of them as tools, will really help our customers switch and defray those switching costs,” he added.

Interestingly, Hounsell added that Comcast plans to continue to offer a $45 unlimited wireless option to all of its customers, not just those who subscribe to its “best” X1 video offerings. “We decided to just indefinitely offer all of our subscribers the $45 for unlimited. Anyone can take advantage of that. And in the future, as we get into next year, you’ll see us provide a better price for our best X1 customers, but we’re not there right now,” he said.

When Comcast first announced its Xfinity Mobile pricing options, the company said it would sell each GB for $12, and would also have two tiers of unlimited service: “$65 per line on up to five lines with no usage limits, or $45 per line for our customers with our best X1 packages.” But the company so far has not instituted the $65 tier, and is instead offering all of its customers the $45 tier.

During Comcast’s recent quarterly earnings call with investors, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts boasted of Xfinity Mobile that “while it’s still early days, the customer feedback confirms our belief that we have an attractive proposition in the market.”

Specifically, Comcast executives said that roughly half of the company’s new Xfinity Mobile customers are signing up for the service through Comcast’s digital channels. Further, the executives said that most Xfinity Mobile customers are selecting the company’s per-GB pricing plans, rather than the unlimited data tier.

Comcast's Xfinity Mobile is an MVNO service that runs on Verizon's LTE network; the two companies inked the MVNO agreement as part of an AWS spectrum sale by a group of cable companies to Verizon.

Article updated August 29 to clarify the status of the $65 tier.