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Spectrum Mobile vs AT&T: Plans Compared

Whether you’re considering an unlimited plan or a capped plan from Spectrum Mobile versus AT&T, the side-by-side plan comparisons below are sure to help. But first, let’s recap the main similarities and differences between AT&T and Spectrum.

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AT&T vs Spectrum: Similarities

  • AT&T and Spectrum Mobile offer customers nationwide both 4G LTE coverage and 5G coverage. 
  • AT&T and Spectrum Mobile both include the use of some hotspot data with their unlimited plans.
  • Neither AT&T nor Spectrum Mobile offers bundled perks, such as streaming services, with unlimited or capped plans.

AT&T vs Spectrum: Differences

  • Spectrum is a cable company that also offers cell phone plans under the name Spectrum Mobile, while AT&T is purely a wireless carrier. 
  • Spectrum is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), which means it rents a network’s infrastructure instead of building and maintaining its own. In Spectrum Mobile’s case, it leases from Verizon. Meanwhile, AT&T owns all its infrastructure.
  • Because Spectrum only leases infrastructure, Spectrum customers might get deprioritized (aka slowed-down) data when the network is busy as Verizon will naturally prioritize its customers first. AT&T customers get first dibs on data, since AT&T owns its infrastructure.
  • On AT&T mid-level and premium plans, you get truly premium data, which means it cannot be deprioritized. Spectrum reserves the right to slow its customers down when the network is busy, even on its unlimited plans that offer “priority” data.
  • Spectrum plans are only available to Spectrum cable and internet customers, while anyone can take advantage of an AT&T plan.
  • AT&T offers multi-line discounts, bringing the monthly per-line cost down for additional lines. Spectrum plans are a flat rate per line.
  • AT&T does NOT include taxes and fees in its plan pricing. Spectrum plans do include taxes and fees.
  • With Spectrum plans, hotspot data usage counts towards your core cellular data allotment. So if you use 5GB of hotspot data and your plan gives you 30GB of data at the start of the month, you'll only have 25GB left after that hotspot usage. For AT&T customers, hotspot data is separate.
  • Both Spectrum and AT&T offer more limited international capabilities than other postpaid carriers. Although AT&T's international connectivity is mostly limited to Latin America, it surpasses what is offered by Spectrum.

What Is an Unlimited Plan?

Before we dive into AT&T unlimited plan and Spectrum unlimited plan comparisons, let’s check what’s generally included in an unlimited plan. While it’s true that all unlimited plans include unlimited data, not all of that data is necessarily of the high-speed variety. 

Keep in mind that Spectrum in particular can still slow down your data when networks are busy, even on Premium unlimited plans.

Entry-level unlimited plans provide unlimited deprioritized data with either a small amount of high-speed data or, in some cases, none at all. 

Mid-level unlimited plans offer a mix of high-speed data and unlimited deprioritized data.

Premium unlimited plans include high-speed data 100% of the time.

What Is a Capped Plan?

Let’s take a minute to define what a capped plan is, also sometimes called a “By the Gig” plan. As the name implies, capped plans offer customers a set amount of data to use per month, instead of unlimited data. All the data on capped plans is deprioritized, which means you may experience data slowdowns when the network is busy, like when you’re in a crowded place like a sports stadium or a big public transit hub.

Capped data plans are sometimes a more cost-effective alternative to unlimited plans. If you don’t mind deprioritized data and you know how much data you use in a typical month, it makes sense to only pay for the data you’re going to use. But if you exceed your monthly allotment, you may be charged hefty overage fees.

AT&T vs Spectrum Capped Plans

If you really don’t need - or want to pay for - an unlimited data plan, you'll find capped data plan options at both AT&T and Spectrum. Spectrum offers a “By the Gig” model of capped data consumption, charging a flat rate per gigabyte of data you consume. You’re free to share each gigabyte with as many lines as you have on your account, making Spectrum’s By the Gig plans particularly attractive for wireless customers that use little to no cellular data but want to have some connectivity just in case, and are willing to share a finite amount of data across all of their lines. In contrast, AT&T provides a single 4GB capped plan that provides each line with a set amount of gigabytes of data.

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AT&T vs Spectrum Entry-Level Unlimited Plans

If you’re shopping for a cost-effective unlimited plan from AT&T or Spectrum, the entry-level plans below are the most comparable. These plans work best for light data users who don’t frequently use their phones as hotspots. They mostly use their phone’s Internet connection to check the morning news, read and answer emails, and watch an occasional YouTube video, but that’s about it.

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AT&T vs Spectrum Mid-Level Unlimited Plans

Middle-of-the-road unlimited plans are a good compromise between price and high-speed data. If that sounds like what you’re looking for, this AT&T and Spectrum plan comparison is worth a look. Who are these plans for? Average data users who use their phone as a mobile hotspot around 1 to 3 times per week, perhaps play a handful of games on their phones, stream a few shows, and browse social media for a maximum of an hour per day.

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AT&T VS Spectrum Premium Unlimited Plans

This is a simple comparison because Spectrum doesn’t offer Premium unlimited plans. If you’re a heavy data user who wants to use your phone to connect as a mobile hotspot over 3 times per week, upload plenty of content to social media apps, stream tons of videos and shows, and play graphic-intensive games, you’ll want a plan that can keep up with you. The AT&T unlimited plan below offers you the premium data you need, with no slowdowns, ever.

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The Bottom Line

To help you pick the right AT&T unlimited plan vs Spectrum unlimited plan and to compare plans from other carriers, be sure to try our Plan Finder where we sort through thousands of options in seconds to show you the best plans to meet your needs. It’s free and unbiased, and it lets you select things like the number of lines you need, whether you want hotspot data, and which streaming services you’d like to add, so you can understand the total cost of whichever plan you choose before you head to the carrier to sign up. Still not sure which plan is right for you? Check out our article about what to look for in a wireless plan.

Spectrum Mobile
By the Gig 1GB
$
20
/mo/1 line
Taxes and fees are not included
Taxes and fees are included
8
phone lines max
Data
By the Gig Data
hotspot
shared
None
perks
None
International
  • Send texts from the US to any country for free.
  • Calls to Canada and Mexico included.
None
Spectrum Mobile
By the Gig 2GB
$
25
/mo/1 line
Taxes and fees are not included
Taxes and fees are included
8
phone lines max
Data
By the Gig Data
hotspot
shared
None
perks
None
International
  • Send texts from the US to any country for free.
  • Calls to Canada and Mexico included.
None
Spectrum Mobile
By the Gig 3GB
$
30
/mo/1 line
Taxes and fees are not included
Taxes and fees are included
8
phone lines max
Data
By the Gig Data
hotspot
shared
None
perks
None
International
  • Send texts from the US to any country for free.
  • Calls to Canada and Mexico included.
None
AT&T
4GB
$
50
/mo/1 line
Taxes and fees are not included
Taxes and fees are included
8
phone lines max
Data
4.0GB Premium data
hotspot
shared
None
perks
None
International
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada (2G off net data speeds may apply).
  • Unlimited texting from US to 200+ countries.
None
Spectrum Mobile
Unlimited
$
30
/mo/1 line
Taxes and fees are not included
Taxes and fees are included
8
phone lines max
Data
Deprioritized Data: 30GB
hotspot
5GB LTE/5G
None
perks
None
International
  • Send texts from the US to any country for free.
  • Calls to Canada and Mexico included.
None
AT&T
Value Plus VL
$
51
/mo/1 line
Taxes and fees are not included
Taxes and fees are included
8
phone lines max
Data
Deprioritized Data: Unlimited
hotspot
Not Supported
None
perks
None
International
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada (2G off net data speeds may apply).
  • Unlimited texting from US to 200+ countries.
None
AT&T
Unlimited Starter SL
$
66
/mo/1 line
Taxes and fees are not included
Taxes and fees are included
8
phone lines max
Data
Deprioritized Data: Unlimited
hotspot
5GB LTE/5G
None
perks
None
International
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada (2G off net data speeds may apply).
  • Unlimited texting from US to 200+ countries.
None
Spectrum Mobile
Unlimited Plus
$
40
/mo/1 line
Taxes and fees are not included
Taxes and fees are included
8
phone lines max
Data
Deprioritized Data: 50GB
hotspot
10GB LTE/5G
None
perks
None
International
  • Send texts from the US to any country for free.
  • Calls to Canada and Mexico included.
None
AT&T
Unlimited Extra EL
$
76
/mo/1 line
Taxes and fees are not included
Taxes and fees are included
8
phone lines max
Data
75.0GB Premium data
hotspot
30GB LTE/5G
None
perks
None
International
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada (2G off net data speeds may apply).
  • Unlimited texting from US to 200+ countries.
None
AT&T
Unlimited Premium PL
$
86
/mo/1 line
Taxes and fees are not included
Taxes and fees are included
8
phone lines max
Data
Unlimited Premium data
hotspot
60GB LTE/5G
None
perks
None
International
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada (2G off net data speeds may apply).
  • Unlimited texting from US to 200+ countries.
  • Unlimited talk, text, and high-speed data in 19 Latin American countries.
None

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