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Spectrum Mobile Review 2023
Current Spectrum customers can save on their phone plan with Spectrum Mobile
You probably know Spectrum as a cable TV and internet behemoth. But this telecommunications giant is wading into new territory by offering mobile phone service (Comcast is doing a similar thing with its Xfinity Mobile program).
Spectrum Mobile will be available only to existing Spectrum customers, which makes it a niche brand. But for those who are eligible, the carrier offers some great deals.
For example, you can score an unlimited data plan and a brand new iPhone 14 Pro Max for $77 a month. Check it out.
The Big Three mobile carriers—AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon—are all offering great trade-in deals right now. That means you can get $700 or more off select smartphones like the iPhone 12 when you trade in your old device.
Meanwhile, smaller MVNO carriers like Mint Mobile and Visible Wireless are offering $50 virtual gift cards or discounts on select phones to entice new customers interested in more budget-friendly smartphones like the iPhone SE (2020) or Google Pixel series.
Find these and other offers in our monthly roundup of the best cell phone deals.
If you're not convinced by that deal, read on for our full Spectrum Mobile review. We’ll cover everything you need to know, from plans to coverage.
Spectrum Mobile plans
Spectrum is one of the largest cable TV and internet providers in the country. If you're considering Spectrum TV in your area, then Spectrum Internet is probably an option for you too. Check out Spectrum's Internet plans to see if it makes sense to bundle your services.
What we like
So why should you get mobile service from your internet provider? Here are a few good reasons.
Great unlimited data deal
Unlimited data plans are where it’s at, especially in this world of data-sucking social media apps, streaming services, and mobile games. Unfortunately, these plans can get very pricey. But if you qualify for Spectrum Mobile, you’re in luck.
The company’s $30 unlimited data plan is among the cheapest in the industry. It’s also quite robust.
The plan gives you unlimited talk and text, truly unlimited data (with no caps), access to tons of high speed Wi-Fi hotspots, free international calling and texting to certain locations, and mobile hotspot access. That’s like two scoops of ice cream with all the toppings.
Check out our roundup of the best unlimited data plans to figure out if the competition has something better to offer.
Flexible by-the-gig option
If you’re the kind of person who buys your toilet paper one roll at a time instead of in bulk, you might be interested in Spectrum’s by-the-gig plan. It allows you to pay for just the data you use in any given month.
Spectrum Mobile customers who opt for the by-the-gig plan will pay $14 per month for unlimited talk and text and the first gigabit of data. Each gigabit after that will cost another $14.
This can be perfect for folks who use 1–3 GB of data a month, but after that you’ll actually be paying more for 4+ GB of data than you would for an unlimited data plan!
Great network coverage
Spectrum Mobile doesn’t actually own its own cellular network. Instead, it uses Verizon Wireless’s cell phone towers to power its mobile service. That’s good news for Spectrum Mobile customers.
Verizon’s network has the strongest network in the country, offering 4G LTE coverage even in rural pockets of the country. We’ll talk more about coverage further down in this Spectrum Mobile review.
Many discount providers and mobile virtual network providers (MVNOs), like Spectrum Mobile, skimp on the perks. But Spectrum actually offers some decent additional benefits for its customers.
One of the most exciting perks that the company offers is mobile hotspot data. You can use up to 5 GB of full-speed mobile hotspot data with Spectrum. After that, your hotspot speeds will be reduced, making it hard to stream old episodes of Community or download big files.
You’ll also get access to 5G coverage (if you have the right phone), Spectrum’s network of Wi-Fi networks, 2,000 free minutes of calling to Mexico and Canada, and free international texting from the US. Nice.
What we don’t like
Spectrum’s decently priced, high-powered plans are great, but there are a few caveats. Let’s dig into the things we don’t love so much.
Must already be a Spectrum customer
As we’ve mentioned before in this Spectrum Mobile review, you have to be an existing customer of Spectrum home internet before you can sign up for the mobile service. Obviously, this is a huge hurdle for potential customers.
Even if you do qualify for the service, you should ask yourself if you want your mobile plan to be tied up with your home internet plan.
If you cancel your internet subscription and still want to maintain your mobile service, you’ll be charged an extra $20 a month, per line, and your Wi-Fi speeds will be reduced to 5 Mbps. Yikes.
There are plenty of other internet service providers out there. Learn more about which one is best for you.
Limited plan options
Companies like AT&T and T-Mobile have several unlimited data plans on offer. Many MVNO providers, like Mint Mobile, offer a variety of mid-tier data plans. Meanwhile, Spectrum has just two plans: unlimited and by the gig.
If one of these plans is just perfect for you, no problem. But if you’re looking for a company that offers you, and your family, more options, then you’ll have to look elsewhere.
How do Spectrum Mobile’s plans compare?
If you’re still not sure about Spectrum Mobile, don’t despair. There are plenty of other options. Here’s a look at some of the cheapest unlimited data plans on the market.
Spectrum Mobile family plans
What we like
The whole family uses your home internet service. So why shouldn’t everyone be on the same mobile service? You can add your spouse, kids, siblings, and other family members to your Spectrum Mobile plan.
You can even mix and match plans, so that some lines are on an unlimited data plan and others share by the gig data.
What we don’t like
The big problem with Spectrum Mobile’s family plans is that they’re not actually cheaper than buying separate lines. So, yes, you can add your two kids to your unlimited data plan, but it will cost you an extra $90, exactly what you’d pay if you just bought them their own plans.
How do Spectrum Mobile’s family plans compare?
If you want a plan that can cover your whole family and save you some money, check out these cheap unlimited data family plans. Also, read up on our favorite family cell phone plans.
Spectrum Mobile coverage
Spectrum Mobile uses Verizon's network to provide coverage. Lucky for Spectrum mobile users, Verizon is the best network in the country, covering 70% of the country. Check out Verizon Wireless’s coverage map to see where you’ll get great Spectrum Mobile service.
Fast data speeds, but with a catch
Verizon averages download speeds of 32.2 Mbps and upload speeds of 10.0 Mbps, which lands Verizon just behind T-Mobile in terms of data speeds. Long story short Verizon's data speeds are plenty fast, but since Spectrum Mobile is an MVNO, it's possible that your data speeds can be throttled. Expect your data speeds to only slow down during peak-usage periods (usually in the evenings), but depending upon where you live, you might not experience much throttling.
If you can avoid throttling, you can expect fast data speeds on Verizon's network.
Spectrum Mobile cell phones and devices
Are you still trying to navigate the world with that clunky, slow iPhone 5? Maybe it’s time to upgrade. And the best time to get a killer deal on a new cell phone is when you’re signing up for a new plan.
You can bring your own device to Spectrum, or buy one from the company. Here’s a look at the most popular phones that Spectrum Mobile sells.
Spectrum Mobile customer service
Smaller mobile carriers, like Spectrum Mobile, aren’t covered by major customer service reviewers, like the American Customer Satisfaction Index. But there are some other ways to evaluate a company’s customer service.
The Spectrum Mobile app, which allows you to check your data usage, pay your bills, and make basic changes to your account, scores well amongst users. It retains a 4.7-star rating in the Apple App Store1 and 4-star rating on the Google play store.2
But other customer ratings, like those on MoneySavingPro.com, skew highly negative.3 Most of the complaints seem to revolve around negative experiences with representatives over the phone and issues related to billing.
Recap: Is Spectrum Mobile right for you?
To Spectrum Mobile or not to Spectrum Mobile? That is the question. You’ll have to come up with the answer for yourself. Here’s a cheat sheet to help you decide.
- Plans: Spectrum offers two cell phone plans: an unlimited data option and a pay by-the-gig option. Both come with unlimited talk and text, a fair price tag, and tons of perks.
- Family Plans: You can add your family members to your Spectrum Mobile plan, but it won’t actually get you a discount.
- Coverage: Spectrum Mobile uses the nation’s best wireless network. You’ll get great coverage and fast data speeds in pretty much every part of civilization.
We hope this Spectrum Mobile review has made your decision a little bit easier. If you’re ready to take the plunge, you can sign up for Spectrum Mobile right now.
Each person uses different amounts of data each month, but you can decide exactly how much data you need by first checking your data usage in your phone settings.
For iPhone users, go to Settings, click Cellular, and look at Current Period to determine how much data you've used since your last data reset. You can also see how much data each app uses.
And for Android users, open Settings, go to Network & Internet, and you'll find your total data use under the Mobile tab. You can explore more detailed graphs of your data usage under Mobile data usage.
And if, for some reason, you don't have any data usage records to use as a starting point, the average data usage is around 15–20 GB. According to research from Ericsson.com, the global average data usage per month for smartphone users is anticipated to be 19 GB in 2023 and even reach 46 GB by 2028.
Spectrum Mobile uses Verizon Wireless's cell phone towers for its mobile service. This is good news for folks in rural areas, as you'll get 4G LTE access to the strongest network in the country.