July 3, 2018
Comcast has begun informing Xfinity Mobile subscribers that it plans to drop video resolution from 720p HD to 480p (DVD quality), including subs on unlimited data plans. Subs seeking to maintain 720p resolution, are advised to use one of Comcast’s 19 million Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide.
The media giant launched Xfinity Mobile in May 2017 and ended the first quarter (ended March 31) with more than 577,000 subscribers.
With over-the-top video services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu pushing for greater mobile viewing, data usage on mobile networks is soaring.
Two years ago, Netflix began throttling its video streams to subscribers using Verizon Wireless and AT&T mobile networks to 600kbps to help users stay within their data caps. Sprint and T-Mobile offer unlimited data plans that reduce streaming speed when subscribers exceed their data caps.
“We believe restrictive data caps are bad for consumers and the Internet in general, creating a dilemma for those who increasingly rely on their mobile devices for entertainment, work and more,” Netflix wrote in a blog post at the time.
Comcast said the new restrictions would help it reduce the cost of delivering mobile video to subscribers. It also offers subs the option to pay “By the Gig” ($15 per GB), that drops streaming speeds to 1.5Mbps when usage exceeds 20GB per month.
“Starting July 16, you can call us at (888) 936-4968 to enable HD streaming on an interim basis. In the future, HD-quality video will be available as a fee-based option with your service,” Comcast said.