In the mobile network industry in the US, the game is shifting to a battle between all-around providers. In fact, the internet and cable TV companies are now providing mobile network coverage. Spectrum is among the said versatile brands because of Spectrum Mobile. Learn if the service is worth it through this review.
What Is Spectrum Mobile?
Before digging deeper into the plans, pricing, and coverage, you should have an overview of Spectrum Mobile first.
Spectrum Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service offered by Charter Communications since 2018. That said, it has a parent network carrier for providing coverage. This is because MVNOs do not run and own cellular towers. In Spectrum’s case, it is Verizon.
Spectrum Mobile Plans & Pricing
Spectrum Mobile lets you choose between Unlimited and By the Gig data plans. Both plans are 5G- and LTE-ready, contract-free, and mergeable with no additional taxes and fees.
Unlimited Data Plans
|5G/LTE network for the first 20 GB
$45 per month
|5G/LTE network for first 30 GB
$55 per month
The regular single-line Unlimited data plan goes for $45 monthly. There is no data limit but the 5G or LTE connection speed is reduced after consuming 20 GB.
The single-line Unlimited Plus data plan is listed at $55 a month. It is priced a bit higher than the regular Unlimited data plan because you can surf up to 30 GB before connection speed is downgraded.
By the Gig Data Plans
|Number of Lines
|1 GB data
$14 per month
|3 GB data
$42 per month
The single-line By the Gig data plan costs $14 per month while the dual-line By the Gig data plan lists at $42 monthly. You and the other user have to share 3 GB in the latter option. Anyone can add 1 GB for $14 to these plans.
In case there is a need for more than two lines, you have to combine the plans. For example, the $42 two-line By the Gig data plan can be merged with the $45 single-line Unlimited data plan. The combination will cost you $87 monthly.
Existing Spectrum Internet and Mobile subscribers can have more than two lines anytime. New users are only allowed to do the same after 30 days of subscription.
Subscription & Requirements
Not everyone can subscribe to Spectrum Mobile because it is only open to Spectrum Internet clients. Given this, the most important requirement is for you to sign up for Spectrum Internet.
Sign Up for Spectrum Internet
Ordering Spectrum services, including internet connectivity, can be done in a few steps. First, visit Spectrum.com. And then, scroll down to the middle of the webpage to fill in the box that says “Enter Your Address for Best Offers.” Alternatively, you can click on the boxes featuring the internet and cable TV bundles and promos. Next, click the red Shop button. Lastly, follow the specific prompts or instructions for the plan of choice.
Enroll in AutoPay
Once you have signed up for an internet plan, the next requirement is to enroll in AutoPay. AutoPay is a service that pays for goods or other services by deducting the amount from your registered bank account. Payment is made automatically on your set billing date or schedule. Many MVNOs offer the AutoPay option because it is convenient for many customers. You can always pay on time via AutoPay. As a result, you can avoid penalties if there are any.
To register, sign in to your account as a primary user on Spectrum.com. Click on “Enroll in AutoPay.” Input credit or debit card, or checking or savings account payment details and follow the final prompts.
AutoPay can also be set up via the My Spectrum app that is free for Android and iOS devices. After installing My Spectrum, sign in to your account by entering the username and password. Tap the Billing tab followed by the “Enroll in AutoPay” box. You will get a confirmation message afterward if registration is successful.
Get a Supported Mobile Phone
Another requirement is a Verizon-compatible mobile phone. If you do not have one, an interested subscriber like you can purchase a supported device from the Spectrum Mobile website or check out these Verizon phones you can get online. As of this writing, the available handsets are iPhones, and Samsung, Google Pixel, and LG smartphones.
The 5G devices offered by Spectrum Mobile are the iPhone 12 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, the iPhone 12 Mini, and Google Pixel 4A 5G.
To determine if your handset model is Verizon-ready, Spectrum Mobile has a Bring Your Device eligibility checker on its homepage. Just look for the Bring Your Device tab then input the device manufacturer and International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number.
If your handset is compatible with Spectrum Mobile, there is no need to purchase a separate device. You can bring it to Spectrum Mobile to be able to use it and keep your existing mobile number. According to the official website, you have to back-up your device, make sure it is unlocked, and install the latest software before bringing it to Spectrum Mobile.
Once everything is ready, your eligibility can also be confirmed via Spectrum Mobile’s customer service hotline. Just dial (833) 224-6603.
You can now proceed to buy the plan of choice from the Spectrum Mobile website or a physical store. On the website, tap on “Get Started” on any of the plans on the homepage, and the website will guide you throughout the registration process.
What’s Good About Spectrum Mobile?
Spectrum Mobile has several advantages that make it one of the top contenders in the US MVNO market competition.
Partnership With Verizon
One is that it uses the Verizon network. Verizon is among the four biggest and most popular wireless carriers. In fact, it was the best overall network in the 1H 2020 US State of the Mobile Union Report by renowned mobile analytics firm RootMetrics. Moreover, it won awards in the reliability, performance, network accessibility, data, and call and text categories.
Spectrum Mobile’s partnership with Verizon levels up its offers with 5G, the latest and fastest network to date. There are no extra charges for using the network. To add, coverage is also wide because it includes some rural areas. Anyone can check if an area is covered by entering the ZIP code on the official website. Once the ZIP code is inputted, the page will show you a more detailed cellular map with highlighted areas. Light blue stands for 5G ready. Dark blue means 4G LTE covered. White indicates No Coverage.
Another advantage of subscribing to Spectrum Mobile is the mobile hotspot because not all MVNOs provide it. Also, a mobile hotspot is useful in places without Wi-Fi. For example, your supported mobile device can work as a shareable network connection source.
One more good point Spectrum Mobile has is that there are no contracts involved. As a result, switching plans and canceling the service could be easy for you.
To change from one plan to another, you have to log in to your Spectrum Mobile account through the website or the mobile app. If switching from an Unlimited data plan to By the Gig, the changes will take effect on the next billing cycle. If vice versa, By The Gig charges from the current billing cycle are taken out of the bill.
To unsubscribe from Spectrum Mobile, you are advised to call the hotline (833) 224-6603. More information about this is available on Spectrum Mobile Support.
What’s Bad About Spectrum Mobile?
Spectrum Mobile also has some downsides. These include those that are specific to the service and some that may be common with other MVNOs.
Needs Spectrum Internet Subscription
One is already given and that is the need to be a Spectrum Internet subscriber to be eligible for the service. This is because not everyone wants the same provider for internet, cable TV, and mobile network. To get Spectrum Internet, you have to unsubscribe from your current provider if you already have one. As a result, you go through more steps just to be qualified for the mobile service.
Few Compatible Devices
Another con is that the supported mobile handset brands that can be purchased from Spectrum Mobile are limited. People who are not willing to switch to mainstream brands Apple, Samsung, LG, and Google might pass on getting the service.
One more disadvantage is that the multi-line plan is not less expensive than the single-line counterparts combined. For instance, the $42 two-line By the Gig data plan with 3 GB costs just the same as buying two $14 1 GB By the Gig single-line plans and adding 1 GB extra for $14. Therefore, there is not much flexibility in plan pricing or no big incentive when you take the two-line offer.
Spectrum Mobile vs Alternative MVNOs
To better evaluate if Spectrum Mobile is worth subscribing to, let us compare it with some of the best brands or alternatives in terms of pricing, plan flexibility, and coverage.
When it comes to price, Mint Mobile which uses T-Mobile and AT&T networks is a good comparison or alternative. This is because it is one of the popular budget-friendly MVNOs in the market. Pitting the most basic plans against each other, Mint Mobile’s version brings more value for the price. It costs $15 a month. The subscriber gets 3 GB at 5G or LTE speed. On the other hand, Spectrum Mobile’s single-line By the Gig plan is $14 per month but that is just 1 GB.
Walmart Family Mobile
In terms of plan flexibility, a good competitor is Walmart Family Mobile. This MVNO offers more plans compared to Spectrum Mobile, especially of the unlimited data types. The addition of lines is not restricted to how long the customer has been with the service provider.
Walmart Family Mobile’s basic single-line plan goes for $24.88 with 2 GB, or 3 GB if registered to AutoPay. This is less expensive compared to a Spectrum Mobile single-line By the Gig plan with an extra 1 GB that totals $28. A Walmart Family Mobile single-line plan with AutoPay enabled can also give you up to a $2.50 discount depending on the plan you choose.
With regards to coverage, Google Fi is among the best competitors around. This is because it is an MVNO powered by the four biggest carriers. You can choose from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile to go with your Google Fi plans, unlike Spectrum Mobile that only has Verizon. The basic single-line plan, though, is pricier than Spectrum Mobile’s version for it costs $20 with an additional $10 per 1GB consumed.
Verdict: Is Spectrum Mobile Good?
With all the pros and cons, and comparisons on the table, you can now decide on a Spectrum Mobile subscription. The verdict will depend on your preferences and priorities.
Spectrum Mobile is worth it if you’re already a Spectrum Internet subscriber (or prospect) and do not want different providers for internet connectivity, cable TV, and mobile network. Having just one provider for such services is convenient because everything can be managed from the Spectrum Mobile website or mobile app.
Also, Spectrum Mobile is good if you have already set your eyes on Verizon as the parent mobile network carrier. Being with Spectrum Mobile means you can harness the fast internet connection speeds Verizon has, except when there are plenty of Verizon users in a small area.
Spectrum Mobile is bad if you do not want the Spectrum Internet offers and Verizon. It is also not suitable if you just want to try the service first. That is because you are subscribing to two services. Furthermore, canceling Spectrum Internet while keeping the mobile service will result in being charged $20 per month.
If your preferences align with the good points mentioned, go ahead with Spectrum Mobile. Regardless of the downsides, it is still a fairly fast and reliable option to have thanks to Verizon’s reputation in the market. If not, feel free to check out the competitors mentioned above. Explore other alternatives as well. This is the best way to know if a certain MVNO is the right fit for you.