Comcast has revealed a change to its Xfinity Mobile wireless phone service, one increasingly common among carriers: a hard cap on video streams resolution when on cellular data. Though the resolution cap doesn’t apply when a subscriber is connected to WiFi, it greatly reduces the quality when a video is watched over the 4G LTE network, bringing it down to “dvd” quality.
News of the change, which also impacts hotspot usage, first surfaced on Reddit via a user post that claimed throttling was inbound. According to that post, Comcast plans to reduce the video-over-cellular data throttle from 720p to 480p, which carriers have a tendency to call “dvd resolution.” That doesn’t mean you’ll never have the option of 720p mobile video streaming…you’ll just have to pay more to access it.
In addition, the report claimed that Unlimited subscribers will henceforth have their mobile data hotspot throttled to 600kbps max even before hitting their 20GB/month threshold. This is presented as a type of benefit that will help users delay the amount of time it’ll take to reach that 20GB cap. “By the Gig” subscribers will still get 4G speeds with their hotspot.
To help you conserve data, we’ve established 480p as the standard resolution for streaming video through cellular data. This can help you save money if you pay By the Gig and take longer to reach the 20 GB threshold if you have the Unlimited data option.
The option to pay more for 720p video streams won’t go live until later this year, according to the email, though the 480p cap will start. During this time period, subscribers will have the option to request upgraded 720p video streams, which they’ll receive for free until the billing option is activated. After that, they’ll have to pay or downgrade.
Comcast has since confirmed the news to Fierce Wireless.
SOURCE: Fierce Wireless