Comcast Launches NOW: A New Era of Affordable Connectivity

Comcast, a provider of telecommunications and entertainment services, has unveiled NOW, a brand offering low-cost Internet, mobile, and streaming TV products.
Comcast NowComcast said NOW empowers consumers with flexible month-to-month options, delivering reliable connectivity and entertainment whenever they need it.

NOW Internet introduces a prepaid service boasting enhanced reliability compared to fixed wireless alternatives, all at a competitive price point. Meanwhile, NOW Mobile revolutionizes the prepaid category by combining unlimited 5G data with access to over 23 million WiFi hotspots, setting a new standard for connectivity options.

Powered by the Xfinity network and 5G technology, NOW ensures seamless connectivity for users whether they’re at home or on the move. Furthermore, NOW’s user-friendly approach eliminates the hassle of contracts and credit checks, allowing customers to easily sign up, pause, or cancel their services online at any time.

In a statement, Dave Watson, President and CEO of Connectivity and Platforms at Comcast, emphasized the company’s commitment to meeting consumer demands for affordable, user-friendly connectivity and entertainment solutions. He highlighted NOW as a testament to Comcast’s dedication to delivering superior network capabilities and streaming services tailored to diverse consumer needs.

The NOW portfolio includes NOW Internet, NOW Mobile, NOW TV, and NOW WiFi Pass, providing a comprehensive range of options for consumers seeking quality connectivity and entertainment. NOW Internet offers two prepaid plans: 100 Mbps for $30/month or 200 Mbps for $45/month, both with unlimited data and an Xfinity gateway included. NOW Mobile provides unlimited 5G data, talk, and text for $25 per line, alongside exclusive access to Xfinity’s extensive network of WiFi hotspots.

For those enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), NOW Internet and Mobile offer an additional avenue for affordable, reliable connectivity, complementing Comcast’s existing low-income broadband adoption options. The initial rollout of NOW Internet and Mobile is currently underway in select cities, with a nationwide launch anticipated in the coming weeks. NOW TV and WiFi Pass are available immediately across all Comcast service areas, providing accessible connectivity and entertainment solutions for all.

CHALLENGES

This strategic move comes at a pivotal moment in the industry, characterized by increasing competition from fixed wireless access (FWA) providers and the imminent expiration of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) broadband subsidy credit, says Charles Garrett, Principal Global Telecom Consumer Services Analyst at GlobalData.

Charles Garrett noted that the timing of Comcast’s rollout of prepaid connectivity services is opportune, considering the challenges posed by FWA competitors and the uncertainty surrounding the future of the ACP broadband subsidy.

Charles Garrett emphasized that Comcast’s move represents more than just a reaction to market dynamics; it reflects the company’s efforts to expand its market reach while safeguarding its existing residential broadband customer base.

Charles Garrett highlighted Comcast’s experience in the prepaid home internet sector and suggested that NOW Mobile could benefit from similar success, leveraging the company’s expertise and infrastructure. Despite the perceived audacity of entering a new market, Charles Garrett viewed Comcast’s move as relatively low-risk, given its strengths in the telecommunications industry.

However, Charles Garrett acknowledged the challenges inherent in establishing brand awareness and refining service details in the competitive U.S. market. He noted that the internet and mobile components of the NOW portfolio are still in trial phases, and the channel approach remains to be defined. Additionally, he raised questions about the potential for app-driven customization in NOW subscribers’ digital service management.

A significant aspect of Comcast’s NOW launch is its entry into the wireless prepaid space, a departure from its traditional offerings. The prepaid wireless market in the U.S. is volatile and contracting, with major players experiencing subscriber losses. Despite this, he recognized Comcast’s strategic move to tap into the value-oriented segment of the market, especially at a time when consumers are closely scrutinizing their monthly expenses.

In financial terms, Comcast’s capital expenditures fell by 6.9 percent to $3.3 billion, with 19.4 percent lower spending on customer premise equipment and infrastructure to $2.1 billion, offset by 28.5 percent increase investment in line extensions and content experiences to $1.2 billion.

Comcast’s foray into the prepaid connectivity market with NOW represents a calculated strategy to navigate the evolving landscape of telecommunications services in the U.S., balancing opportunities for growth with inherent market challenges.

Comcast earlier revealed that it added 310,000 wireless customer in the fourth quarter and 1.3 million for the full year. Comcast’s wireless customer lines increased 24 percent compared to the prior year period reaching 6.6 million.

Baburajan Kizhakedath