In the crowded internet service provider space, companies are getting creative in an attempt to stand out. Comcast recently introduced prepaid internet services, and plans to offer prepaid video services by the end of 2017.
The new service, called Xfinity Prepaid Internet, was initially tested in select markets like Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Florida and Indiana in 2015. Now, the service is available across the entire Comcast service footprint.
Comcast has a deal with Boost Mobile, a prepaid mobile division of Sprint, to sell prepaid internet services in thousands of their stores. By the end of 2017 Comcast says they hope to have their Xfinity Prepaid Internet products in close to 5,000 Boost Mobile locations.
This prepaid service is designed to target an, often neglected, audience of people who may not have bank accounts or qualify for a post-paid service. These prepaid internet services do not require any kind of contract or credit check.
The starter package for the Xfinity Prepaid Internet service costs $80 and includes a wireless DOCSIS 3.0 gateway, speeds of up to 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads and 30 days of service. Once customers have purchased the starter pack they will be able to purchase continuing service in seven or 30 day increments. These service continuations will cost $15 and $45, respectively.
Now, this prepaid internet package could easily cause Comcast to cannibalize its own customer base—which is why Comcast has taken several steps to ensure this doesn’t happen. Firstly, as you may have surmised from the 10 Mbps speed, there is a cap on how fast prepaid internet will be. You will be able to get much faster service if you buy a post-paid package. Finally, and perhaps most intriguingly, Comcast will now allow an Xfinity Prepaid Internet package to be used at an address that has an active billed-services account with Comcast.
Comcast’s announcement, predictably, comes a few weeks after Verizon announced their own prepaid internet, television and phone services. However, unlike Verizon, Xfinity Prepaid Internet customers to not have to purchase a bundle. Comcast clearly hopes to tap into a previously underrepresented audience with this product but their message is clear: if you can afford post-paid internet, get that.