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Xfinity Mobile: 5 Month Review

We’re about five months into our experiment with Xfinity Mobile (see previous posts) and we’re still really happy with it. The service feels identical to what we had with Verizon, and that makes sense because it runs on the same network. I wondered how easy it would be to switch between plans from month to month and I don’t think it could be easier. I just click a couple buttons on my phone and it’s done. I did go through a couple support calls though to understand how the billing works so I’ll share my experience here.

  • Bumping up your plan: When you go over your data for the month, buy extra gigabytes gets more expensive than if you just had a bigger plan. But don’t worry. Even if you catch it after you’ve gone over, you can change your plan and just be on a bigger plan as if the overage never happened. So we just leave our plan set to 1GB and then a day or two before the end of the billing cycle, I look to see if we should have a bigger plan and I make the adjustment.
  • Decreasing your plan: Similarly, at the end of the month, if you’ve been paying for the 10GB plan but you only used 3GB then switch down to the 3GB plan before your billing date and voila, cheaper plan.

We also spent a month on the unlimited plan. I just flipped it on for both lines and we did whatever we wanted for a month. the next month we were back down to the 1GB plan.

I love how easy it is to switch and how cheap the service is. As I mentioned before, we’re already used to light data use on our phones and we spend most of the day at the house with WiFi anyway, so many months we end up with a total cell phone bill (including both lines) for under $20. If you have Xfinity internet and you get a good Verizon signal at your house, this service is a winner.

If only their Internet and TV side of the business bore any resemblance to the way the Mobile division is run…

Xfinity Mobile One Month Review

It’s been just over one month since we switched from Verizon to Xfinity Mobile. We have two phone lines and I started us with just 1GB of shared data between us. We were used to sharing 2GB before, but during the pandemic, I’ve been working from home and we were only averaging around 0.9GB/month. I really wanted to see if the bill would actually be under $20 so I left my data off all month.

The month is up and *drumroll* here’s the bill…

It actually worked! This feels so much better than the $80/month we were paying for almost exactly the same thing before. (It literally is the same cell network behind the scenes.) At some point in the next couple months, we’ll be in a situation where I think I’ll switch us to unlimited data for a bit but it’s very nice to be able to adjust up and down just by clicking a button in the app on my phone. Our choices right now (before taxes) are:

  • 1GB $15
  • 3GB $30
  • 10GB $60
  • Unlimited $80. Technically we could switch one phone line to unlimited for $45 and leave the other one one the shared 1GB plan but we’ll generally want to switch both phones to unlimited.

Anything that bills us monthly gets extra attention from me so I’m very happy to have this bill be more reasonable and under our control. I do have to say that it annoys me that I didn’t do this last fall when we got our new phones and this carrier switch possibility opened up to us. We easily wasted $300+ by not doing this sooner. Better late than never though!

Switching From Verizon Wireless to Xfinity Mobile

Last week I wrote that I had signed up for Xfinity Mobile. As a reminder, my bill is dropping from $76.40 (including an $8 monthly discount) to $19.70 total for two lines. when we left off, I was waiting for the SIM cards to arrive.

It took a while for them to arrive but we finally got them on Sunday evening. I opened the website and filled out the form to activate my line and switch my number from Verizon and was immediately greeted with an error saying that I needed to call tech support which of course wasn’t open until the next day. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that getting both lines converted wasn’t easy. Here’s what I learned which would have made my life easier:

  • We had “Number Lock” enabled on both of our Verizon lines which means that nobody can switch the number away from our account. That needs to be disabled before activating the new line.
  • I had to generate a Number Transfer Pin from my Verizon account to allow Xfinity Mobile to take over. I assumed there would be one number for each line so I didn’t save the pin after I used it. Wrong. It applies to all lines on your account. Canceling a pin and regenerating a new pin isn’t easy so make sure you write down that number.
  • After getting through all those problems with multiple calls to each side, the transfer process went through but my phone refused to make any calls. It turns out that my two SIM cards had come mislabeled and I was trying to activate Tyla’s SIM card on my phone. There’s no way you could know that ahead of time but it’s something to keep in mind I guess.

I’m thankful that we did this toward the end of our Verizon billing cycle. We have about a week left and I expected a refund for the remainder of the month. No such luck.

So now we’re paying under $20 for two phone lines with 1GB of shared data. That will cover our lockdown life but as we emerge from our bunker I’ll probably bump it up to 3GB which will be $35. There’s an app that lets me make adjustments on the fly without talking to any service reps or signing new contracts so it will be easy for us to bump up to unlimited when we take trips and then save money again when we get home.

I’ll provide an update in another month or two once we have time to use the service for a while, but for now, I love looking at my phone and knowing that I’m saving ~$60/month!

Switching Carriers

I’ve been a Verizon Wireless customer since 2000, partly because I like their coverage and partly because the companies I’ve worked for have always had employee discounts with them. When we were part way through the pandemic, I started wondering why we were paying so much for cell phones when we hardly ever left the house. We had the minimum 2GB plan (shared between both of us) but it was still $83/month. I have known about Xfinity Mobile for a long time but never really dug into it until recently. I should have considered it more seriously months ago! This week, we get our new SIM cards and we’ll be switching over. I dropped down to 1GB shared between the two of us but the grand total for our bill after all taxes, fees, etc? $19.70.

So what’s the catch? The first big one is that if you’re already an Xfinity customer (they provide our internet) then they don’t charge you anything per line. You basically get unlimited calling and messaging for “free” but you have to add on some kind of data. The smallest one is the 1GB chunk for $15/month before taxes and fees. Their service also only works with certain phones. If you’ve got Samsung you’re out of luck but it looked like most recent Google and Apple devices were available.

Here are some reasons why I was willing to give it a shot:

  • Xfinity Mobile is a Verizon MVNO which basically means that they use Verizon’s infrastructure but sell their own service. I should get the same cell coverage that I did before. One downside is that Verizon does have the right to throttle MVNO usage on their network but I’m hoping/expecting that won’t be a problem.
  • There are no contracts. I can change my mind and go back to Verizon at any point.
  • I can adjust my data allotment by the month. 1GB is $15, 3GB is $30, 10GB is $60 and unlimited pricing varies by the number of lines you have but for us it would be $80. So even if we go all the way to unlimited, that’s within a couple dollars of being the same amount that I’m paying right now for 2GB of data on Verizon. (Note that “unlimited” applies to the first 20GB per line and then you are throttled to 1.5 down and 768kbps up.)
  • Some day Elijah will have a phone and this makes it a lot cheaper to add him on. It’s also easier if we want to start adding some tablets, watches, etc on to the plan. Those aren’t all totally free to add on but they’re cheaper than Verizon.
  • They have a deal right now for a $25 prepaid card per line when you switch so that’s $50. Plus I ended up doing it over the phone because I started by asking some questions and agreed to let him get the sale. He tossed in an extra $25 credit since I’ve been an Xfinity customer for a long time.
  • 5G is included. We don’t have 5G phones now but it’s nice to know there’s no goofy “with or without” 5G plan options.

We’ll see if I regret this in the future but even if I use this but it’s going to have to be pretty bad for me to want to pay that much more to go back to my old Verizon contract. As we start to think about traveling again, I’m excited to have the option of easily going to unlimited data for a month and then flipping to a lower setting when we get back.