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Comcast (CMCSA) Rolls Out NOW Prepaid Phone and Internet Plans

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Comcast (CMCSA - Free Report) has introduced NOW, a new suite of affordable and no-contract Internet, mobile and streaming TV services. The NOW portfolio is designed to provide consumers with connectivity options that they can purchase month-to-month without long-term commitments.

The centerpieces of the new brand are NOW Internet and NOW Mobile. NOW Internet is a prepaid high-speed Internet service that promises more reliability than fixed wireless options at a lower cost. It comes in two speed tiers, 100 Mbps for $30 per month or 200 Mbps for $45 per month, with unlimited data included.

NOW Mobile is a prepaid 5G mobile service with unlimited data, talk and text for $25 per line. Uniquely, it provides access to Comcast's network of more than 23 million WiFi hotspots across the country.

Backed by CMCSA's powerful Xfinity network and reliable 5G connectivity, NOW aims to deliver a dependable connection for the Internet, mobile, or streaming services at home or on the go.

The NOW portfolio also includes NOW TV, a streaming offering for Xfinity Internet customers with live and on-demand programming from more than 40 networks, FAST channels and Peacock Premium for $20 per month. Additionally, NOW WiFi Pass provides unlimited access to more than 23 million Xfinity WiFi hotspots for $20 for 30 days.

With the federal government's Affordable Connectivity Program, set to end in April if not renewed, the NOW portfolio is poised to be an impactful option for Americans seeking cost-effective connectivity. It will complement Comcast's existing low-income broadband adoption programs, Internet Essentials and Internet Essentials Plus.

Customer trials for NOW Internet and Mobile have already begun in Hartford-New Haven, Houston and Miami, with a full-scale national launch across all Comcast service areas expected in the coming weeks. NOW TV and WiFi Pass are available in areas where the company provides service.

CMCSA's NOW Tiers to Compete in Fixed Wireless Access Market

Comcast's newly announced NOW Internet tiers will compete against fixed wireless access (FWA) services that have been gaining significant traction in the U.S. broadband market.

While FWA services from providers like Verizon Communications (VZ - Free Report) and T-Mobile US (TMUS - Free Report) do not advertise capped data speeds, network performance monitoring firm Ookla reported that its 5G-based FWA services are providing average download speeds of around 122 Mbps. These FWA services are available for $25-$60 per month, depending on deals and promotions.

According to a recent report from Leichtman Research Group, the U.S.-based FWA service providers added nearly 3.7 million new connections in 2023, representing a 15% increase from the previous year. Notably, last year's FWA growth accounted for 104% of the total net broadband additions in the United States compared with 90% in 2022 and just 20% in 2021.

Nearly all of last year’s FWA connection growth was on the back of two operators, Verizon and T-Mobile, which finished 2023 with a combined FWA base of nearly 7.9 million connections. This growth has been bolstered by relatively inexpensive price plans. Meanwhile, Comcast lost 34,000 broadband customers during the final three months of 2023, which is expected to have been a low point for this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for first-quarter revenues is pegged at $29.81 billion, indicating marginal growth of 0.39% from the year-ago quarter’s reported figure.

In the low-cost arena, Charter Communications (CHTR - Free Report) made a bigger push by announcing two new offerings — Spectrum TV Stream and Spectrum Stream Latino. Spectrum TV Stream features more than 90 channels, including networks from partners, such as Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery, for $39.99 per month. Spectrum Stream Latino includes more than 45 Spanish-language networks for $24.99 per month. Both services are delivered through the Spectrum TV app and include access to thousands of on-demand titles.

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