Comcast adds wireless, Internet subscribers

A picture of the Comcast logo on the front facade of a retail building.
The Comcast logo is seen on a retail store in Sacramento, California on July 3, 2015. (Photo: Matthew Keys/Graphic: The Desk)

Comcast reported growth in its Internet and wireless phone businesses on Thursday, indicating a strong shift away from the cable company’s legacy television service toward data offerings.

In a quarterly earnings release on Thursday, Comcast said its broadband Internet business grew by 461,000 subscribers to end the quarter with more than 28.7 million Internet customers.

The company also saw growth in its emerging wireless phone business, where it operates as a mobile virtual network operator. The company convinced more than 278,000 to sign up for its Xfinity Mobile wireless service, according to its earnings report.

More than 3.1 million customers are now subscribed to Xfinity Mobile, where they have unlimited access to Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE and 5G network. The service costs $45 a month per line if bundled with another Xfinity-branded service, or $70 a month on its own. Tiered plans with a limited amount of wireless data are also available at a reduced price.

The gains help offset a shift in Comcast’s traditional video service, where it lost 491,000 customers. The company now has around 18.5 million customers who are willing to pay for traditional video service, either through Comcast’s digital cable offering or on the company’s next-generation X1 platform. That’s down from the previous years, when Comcast reported it had 19.9 million video customers.

The losses are not unique to Comcast: Customers of other cable and satellite providers have increasingly dropped those packages as higher programming costs shifted to bills. Many of those customers ultimately opt for cheaper streaming services, which require a broadband Internet hook-up or robust wireless network access like the ones Comcast sells.

While Comcast is bleeding video customers, they’re not necessarily leaving the company completely: In its quarterly earnings report, Comcast said it added more than 370,000 customer relationships to end the quarter with over 31 million subscribers who have at least one of their products. That’s an increase from 29.4 million customer relationships at this time last year.

Thanks for reading and supporting The Desk. If you have a question, comment or news tip, send a message by email or text, or connect on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Also, check out our new membership service The Desk: Pro Access for exclusive reporting, news scoops and in-depth analysis.