Optimum Mobile struggles when it comes to pricing, but it may work well for specific customers
Optimum Mobile Review 2023
We’re not going to sugar-coat it: Optimum Mobile (formerly Altice Mobile) is not the best cell phone carrier out there. There’s really only one decent plan that it offers (the $55 Unlimited Max Plan), and that plan is only available at that price to existing Optimum cable TV or internet customers, otherwise you'll pay an extra $20 per month.
But don't forget about deals this holiday season. If you bundle Optimum's internet and mobile services between December 4th and January 7th, you'll get a discounted price lock for two years.*
Whether you’re an existing customer or not, if you’re considering Optimum Mobile, then you should probably read this review first.
Is Optimum Mobile right for you?
As you can probably tell from our introduction, we’re not thrilled by Optimum Mobile overall. But, that said, there may be a select few customers who fit right into the company’s niche market.
Optimum Mobile is an MVNO that used to be called Altice Mobile, and the company is still owned by Altice USA.
All of Altice USA’s services (internet, cable, landline telephone, and mobile) are based in just three states: New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. If you live outside of the company’s service area in these states, you can’t get on Optimum Mobile, even if you want to.
If you do live in these areas, you can sign up for Optimum Mobile, but it’s really only a good deal price-wise if you’re also signed up for another Optimum service.
So, the long story short is: existing Optimum internet and TV customers may find Optimum’s cell phone service to be a good deal. Everyone else should skip it.
We recommend the Unlimited Everything Plan
Optimum Mobile’s best cell phone plan is definitely the Unlimited Max Plan for existing customers. It gives you unlimited talk and text, plus 50 GB of full-speed data and unlimited data at slower speeds.
This plan gives you access to all of Optimum’s Wi-Fi hotspots, so you can get super fast internet speeds without sacrificing your limited data (when you’re in the right area). It also allows you to use your phone as a mobile hotspot device.
At $55, this plan isn’t as cheap as we’d like it to be. But it’s still cheaper than Optimum’s $70 unlimited plan for those who aren’t already customers.
Optimum Mobile cell phone plans
Optimum’s offers three different plans: 1 GB, 3 GB, and Unlimited Everything. Each plan has a “normal” price and then a discounted price for existing customers. You can see these prices in the chart below.
All three of Optimum’s plans come with unlimited talk and text. And all of them will get you access to T-Mobile’s 4G LTE and 5G networks (we’ll talk about this network more below).
Even on the highest tier plan (Unlimited Max), your data speeds will take a huge dip after you hit your data cap. You’ll have a hard time streaming video, using your mobile hotspot, playing games, and even playing your favorite podcast on Spotify after you reach your high-speed data limit.
Even when you’re using your high-speed data, your video streaming will be throttled to 480p. This is pretty standard for MVNO carriers to do, but we still don’t like it, especially when you’re already paying so much for just 50 GB of high-speed data.
As if Optimum didn’t have enough problems, there’s a $20 fee for every new line you add to your account. Why? We don’t know. They call it an “activation fee.” Whatever that means.
How does Optimum Mobile compare to other cell phone plans?
Here’s a little breakdown of how the best T-Mobile MVNOs compare to Optimum Mobile.
As you can see, Optimum is not only the most expensive carrier out of these six (even with an existing customer discount), but it also offers the least amount of full speed data. So you get less for more.
Optimum Mobile family cell phone plans
One of the best ways to get more bang for your buck with your cell phone plan is to add new lines for your family members. Family plans often come with amazing price-per-line savings, extra perks, and the ease of merging multiple bills into one.
Fortunately, Optimum Mobile does offer additional savings for adding additional lines. For example, four lines on its Unlimited Max plan will save you $60 a month.
If you also have internet or TV service through Optimum online, you can use the Altice One app to stream entertainment anywhere you have a cell phone signal. That’s one small perk of bundling your multiple services together.
As you can see in this chart, the price of an Unlimited Max Plan with four lines (for existing customers) is $160 a month. That’s $60 less than it would be if you had four separate lines at $55.
And fortunately, if you’re looking for an affordable and powerful family plan, there are plenty of other carriers that are willing to help you out if Optimum's savings don't cut it for you. You can see some of our favorites in the next section.
How does Optimum Mobile compare to other family plans?
To give you an idea of just how expensive Optimum is, we’ve compiled some of the very best family plans in the chart below. All of them—including plans from premium carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon—are cheaper than Optimum.
You can save a full $80 a month by choosing Visible Wireless over Optimum. Or you can save $75 and get onto T-Mobile’s network directly through the company. In short, there’s really no reason to choose an Optimum family plan when the alternatives are so much better.
Optimum Mobile coverage
Although you have to live in certain parts of New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut to sign up for Optimum Mobile, the carrier does have nationwide cell phone coverage. Optimum uses T-Mobile’s network, and you can see an accurate coverage map right here.
T-Mobile’s nationwide coverage is really great in most metropolitan areas, though there are some gaps in rural areas. It makes up for these gaps by having the best download speeds and most robust 5G network in the country.
Optimum’s customers should be relatively happy with their coverage, although their data speeds may be slowed down at certain times due to data deprioritization. This means that, when T-Mobile’s network is busy, Optimum users may find it hard to stream high-quality video, play games, or do other high-demand activities through the network.
Optimum Mobile cell phones and devices
The best time to score a great price on a new phone is when you’re signing up for a new plan. You can take advantage of all kinds of promo deals and limited time offers. So, what are Optimum’s cell phone deals like?
Here’s a look at the prices for three most popular devices that the carrier is selling right now.
Optimum’s prices are not particularly great, especially when you compare them to buy-one-get-one deals and free phone offers that major carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile sometimes offer. But, Optimum’s prices aren’t necessarily inflated, either.
Optimum Mobile customer service
It’s not really a secret that cell phone companies are actually kind of terrible at picking up their own phones. Optimum Mobile certainly doesn’t do much to buck that trend. In fact, Altice it is one of the lowest ranked companies in latest Telecommunications Study from the American Customer Satisfaction Index.1
You could spend hours reading complaints on online forums from frustrated Optimum Mobile customers. People often mention getting incomplete or false information about pricing and service. It really isn’t a great look.
Recap: Is Optimum Mobile a good mobile provider?
We try to stay positive in our reviews. But that doesn’t mean we won’t tell hard truths when it’s necessary.
One hard truth is that Optimum Mobile just isn’t that great. It may work well for a select group of people who want to combine their internet and cell phone services in a single bill, but even those people could probably find a better deal elsewhere.
For those who want a quick recap of this review, here’s the play-by-play.
- Cell phone plans: Optimum offers three different plans with 1-50 GB of data. The prices are cheaper for existing Optimum/Altice customers, but they're still too high to be appealing to most customers.
- Family cell phone plans: There’s not much to say about Optimum’s family plans. Multiple lines will save you a good chunk of change, but its savings don't compare to other MVNO discounts.
- Cell phones and devices: You can get a new phone when you sign up with Optimum, like an Apple iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy. The prices are nothing to write home about, but they aren’t outrageous either.
- Customer service: Feedback from Optimum customers is definitely more in the “needs improvement” category than the “satisfactory” category.
We used a number of resources to inform this Optimum Mobile review, including online customer reviews, price comparison tools, proprietary mobile speed data from over 100,000 customers, and third-party evaluators.
Ultimately, we ranked this cell phone carrier based on the following criteria:
- Data speeds (upload and download)
- Perks and promotional deals
- Network coverage
- Customer service
Thank you for trusting us. We hope that we’ve helped you find the perfect phone plan.
*w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill, plus Mobile taxes. Terms apply. Wired connection. WiFi speeds may
vary. Not available in all areas.
- American Customer Satisfaction Index, “Telecommunications Study 2020-2021”