Comcast has revealed a change to its Xfinity Mobile wireless phone service, one increasingly common among carriers: a hard cap on video streams resolution when on cellular data. Some of Verizon's and AT&T's unlimited plans include resolution throttling to 480p. "Our By the Gig data option will continue to deliver 4G speeds for all data traffic", said Comcast. The full statement is available at the bottom of this article. For everyone else, the company plans to roll out these changes in the coming weeks. The wireless carrier announced new data prioritization rules that will affect all of its subscribers. Video chat could be one particularly notable area that could suffer from this sort of throttling-without a high-quality connection and video stream, video chat services can be frustrating to use.
So, the telco has chose to implement throttling on all of its customers when they are on an LTE or CDMA network.
In Comcast's case, the moves are likely geared toward reducing the amount of money that Comcast must pay Verizon for the use of Verizon's LTE network. Today's news probably won't do the internet service provider any favors, as the company has started informing its customers of limitations it will start imposing on its mobile offering, Xfinity Mobile.
News of the change, which also impacts hotspot usage, first surfaced on Reddit via a user post that claimed throttling was inbound.
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Comcast previous year began selling mobile plans with data, voice, and texting. Those numbers were slightly ahead of most Wall Street analyst expectations.
"We're making two changes to our service to help us maintain the low price point of Xfinity Mobile".
Comcast says, "This can help you save money if you pay By the Gig and take longer to reach the 20 GB threshold if you have the Unlimited data option". It's a Verizon MVNO that gets you unlimited nationwide talk and text and either $12 per GB of data or an "unlimited" plan for $45 per month (capped at 20GB). Later this year, however, it will charge for 720p streaming, and it reportedly does not have plans to allow 1080p streaming or higher over cellular. This will be allowed "on an interim basis at no charge", Ars Technica reports. Xfinity Mobile will continue to let customers paying by the GB to use their hotspots with 4G data.
In addition, subscribers to its unlimited data plan get throttled to 3G speeds when acting as a hotspot for another device.