Comcast reported 2Q19 results today and shared more insight on its mobile business. Xfinity mobile subscriber growth continued in 2Q19, with net adds of 181K subscribers as of June 30, 2019.
Xfinity Mobile total lines, as of the end of 2Q19, are 1.58 million, with year-over-year growth of 103%. The foray into wireless is expensive for Comcast, with the mobile unit losing $88 million in the quarter, based on $244 million in revenue.
That money losing profile isn’t expected to change anytime soon, as Comcast executives pointed out today on their 2Q19 earnings call. Subscriber acquisition costs for Xfinity mobile are expected to increase in the coming quarters, Comcast warned today.
“While we expect this overall trend of improvement in Xfinity mobile’s financial performance to continue, we anticipate customer-related acquisition expenses will increase in the seasonally strong 3rd and 4th quarters,” said Comcast CFO Michael J. Cavanagh on today’s earnings call.
Comcast notes that the goal of Xfinity mobile continues to be a value-add strategy for its core broadband business, which continues to grow. Comcast added 182K broadband subscribers in 2Q19 and now has 25.6 million residential broadband internet relationships. Xfinity mobile is only available to Xfinity internet subscribers.
“We’re quite pleased with the beginning to see churn reduction benefit caused by, in the mobile space, overlapping with what Dave just described in broadband,” said Cavanagh. “In our footprint we’re taking a very meaningful portion of the opportunity in terms of net adds available to the entire wireless market.”
Cavanaugh went on to say they’ll need to see mobile penetration of Comcast’s broadband base in the mid to high single digits before they begin to see positive financial performance for mobile on a stand-alone basis. Today’s reported numbers suggest that penetration is roughly less than 1%, meaning Comcast has a long way to go to reach profitability for mobile, if ever.
Comcast charges $45/month for unlimited data usage, but also offers a pay-by-the-gigabyte plan for $12 per GB. Comcast uses a hybrid network that leverages their extensive Wi-Fi footprint, combined with access to Verizon’s network where Wi-Fi is not available.
Responding to an analyst question regarding the future of Xfinity mobile, Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts commented, “I don’t know why we would change direction and you know, things could always change, but we’re pretty satisfied that we have a great product and it fits with the suite of products we offer customers.”