We’re diving into the detailed Spectrum Mobile plans comparison and much more.
Spectrum Mobile service plans are reserved for subscribers to Spectrum home internet service. As a result, Spectrum Mobile service is not available in any areas that Spectrum does not provide its internet services. For customers who live in an area serviced by Spectrum and already subscribe to Spectrum internet services or are considering doing so, its wireless plans are an attractively-priced alternative to some of the more expensive and feature-packed plans in the market.
Characterized by low prices, moderate amounts of deprioritized data, and few added services like streaming subscriptions or other perks, Spectrum’s plans are a perfect fit for postpaid consumers who are not heavy data users (this describes most American postpaid wireless customers) and are looking for plans that don’t include – or charge for – a lot of extra add-ons that will ultimately go unused.
Before we take a deeper look at the different Spectrum plans and the options available to you, it’s important to note a couple of the key ingredients that differentiate one plan from another. At a high level, there are five things to think about when you’re evaluating plans (before you get to the sticker price of the plan you want):
Unfortunately, just because a plan says “unlimited” doesn’t always mean the data you use is truly unlimited. You should be aware of three different types of data: premium data, deprioritized data, and 3G data. Here’s how they’re different:
Premium data: also called priority data or high-speed data, gives you the best 5G or 4G network speed a carrier can deliver wherever you are. With premium data, you’ll get the very best network coverage Spectrum Mobile can deliver without worrying about your speeds and coverage dropping for any reason other than poor signal.
Deprioritized data: also called basic data, means you’ll have access to 5G and 4G network speed like premium data, but if the network gets too congested (too many users on the same network at the same time), you’ll experience temporarily slower data speeds. This can slow your data speeds by up to 30% until the network you’re on frees up, but for most people, this drop in speed is actually unnoticeable.
3G data: also called 600kbps data, means that your data has access only to 3G network speed (or the equivalent). 3G network speed is very slow and most people would recognize it immediately.
Carriers don’t make it easy to know which type of data is available for each plan. The general rule of thumb is that the more premium data a plan offers, the more expensive it will be. The top-of-the-line plans that give you truly unlimited premium data offered by the big three (Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile) are:
Other unlimited data plans offer a mixture of premium data and deprioritized data. Typically that means you’ll have an allotment of premium data (say 25GB each month) and, after your premium data is spent, you’ll get unlimited deprioritized data for the rest of the month. For example, Verizon’s 5G Do More plan provides 50GB of premium data followed by an unlimited quantity of deprioritized data.
Keep in mind that most wireless customers use less than 10GB of data per month and that the vast majority of people won’t know the difference between premium and deprioritized data.
The cheaper unlimited data plans offer only deprioritized data. For example, Verizon’s 5G Start plan offers users unlimited deprioritized data 100% of the time. But there are a few unlimited data plans providing an allotment of deprioritized data each month and, if you use up that allotment, the rest of the month you’ll be on unlimited 3G data. For example, Xfinity’s Unlimited plan offers 20GB of deprioritized data, followed by unlimited data at the equivalent of 3G speeds.
Each unlimited data plan is a mixture of either premium data, deprioritized data or 3G data.
Most users could not tell the difference between premium data and deprioritized data. But most users could tell the difference between premium data or deprioritized data and 3G data.
Most users (95%) consume less than 10GB of data per month.
Carriers’ unlimited data plans support different levels of video resolution, from as high as 2160p down to 480p. The top-of-the-line plans (T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX, Verizon’s 5G Get More and AT&T’s Unlimited Premium) offer users video resolution at the 2160p level. Most lower end unlimited data plans offer users video resolution at the 480p level.
If you use your phone to watch movies (or you are a gamer), you might want to consider a plan that supports video resolution at the 720p level or higher.
For most other users a lower video resolution will be sufficient.
Hotspot data allows consumers to connect a computer or other WiFi capable device to the Internet through their smartphone and their wireless carrier. Most users do not need any hotspot data, but that is changing as more and more people recognize its benefits.
Carriers offer hotspot data at 5G, 4G or 3G speeds. Keep in mind that 3G hotspot data speed is equivalent to “dial up” from the 1990s (and is really not a practical option).
Carriers that offer 5G and 4G hotspot data cap the amount that a user can consume each month. Of course, the more expensive unlimited data plans offer the largest hotspot data allotment.
Since most people don’t use hotspot data very often, it is difficult for them to know what, say, 50GB of hotspot data really means. Typically, 50GB of hotspot data would allow a user to surf the web from their desktop computer (through their phone) for about 100 hours.
All 5G and 4G hotspot data is capped – so you should know how much you’re likely to use a hotspot.
Hotspot at 3G speed is vastly inferior.
While most wireless users do not have a need for a hotspot, it is becoming more popular as people see the benefit of having it as a part of their unlimited data plan.
Depending on the type of unlimited plan you choose, you’ll likely get access to added features and perks that are bundled into your unlimited data plan. These might include subscriptions to streaming services like Netflix, international connectivity like being able to make calls and text and have access to the internet while you’re traveling abroad, and, in some cases, odd additions like meal delivery services and data protection services. The most common add-on services are streaming services.
Verizon’s entry-level unlimited plan, 5G Start, offers 6 months of Disney+, discovery+, Apple Music, and either Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass.
Higher-priced plans from Verizon and T-Mobile include at least one free streaming service. Given the popularity of streaming services, this perk offers a good way for consumers to offset the cost of subscribing to these services a la carte.
For some wireless users, international calling features can also be a very important determinant of finding the right unlimited data plan as a la carte international calling charges can be very expensive.
For some consumers, Add-On Features (especially streaming services) could offer a way to save $10 per month or more.
For business travelers, international calling features could also save significant amounts of money.
Some carriers include taxes and fees in their advertised “top line” price and others do not. Taxes and fees will generally add 10% to the overall cost of your plan if it’s not integrated into the plan’s “top line” price. For example, T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX has a “top line” price of $85/month for a single line, and that price is inclusive of the taxes and fees. Conversely, AT&T’s Unlimited Premium has a top line price of $85/month for a single line plus taxes and fees making the real price more like $94 per line, depending on where you live.
“Top line” advertised price can include or not include taxes and fees. Be aware of this if you are trying to compare plans on an equal basis.
The most important consideration of an unlimited data plan is having the right amount and the right type of data. Everyone wants to feel confident that they will not run out of 5G or 4G data or face unexpected charges from their carrier.
For the vast majority of users, deprioritized data is more than sufficient to provide a high-quality wireless experience. If you’re a gamer or you stream movies on cell phone all the time, then you might opt for an unlimited data plan with an allotment of premium data and one with 720p or higher video resolution.
All the other elements of an unlimited data plan, such as streaming services or hotspot data, are very specific to an individual’s unique needs. So, while they’re important in their own right, they are best thought of as tie breakers.
Like most of its direct competitors (i.e., cable companies that double as mobile providers), Spectrum Mobile requires its customers to already subscribe to Spectrum home internet service. Customers who fit that description are eligible for some of the most competitively priced service plans in the postpaid market. Priced at $29.99 and $39.99 for single lines, respectively, Spectrum’s two unlimited offerings are among the lowest-priced options available in early 2023.
That said, Spectrum’s plans do tend to be less feature-packed than pricier offerings from other major postpaid carriers: Spectrum includes no add-ons like streaming services or extra subscription services that come with the cost of the plan. Its service plans also contain no premium data, meaning that customers are always subject to slowdowns when the network is busy. Spectrum’s plans are listed below:
All these plans are competitively priced, so Spectrum customers can be confident that they aren’t overpaying for their mobile service. If you’re a Spectrum internet subscriber that doesn’t use a ton of mobile data (most customers don’t) and are looking for a straightforward, lean offering that doesn’t pack a bunch of extra services that you won’t use onto your monthly bill, then Spectrum plans may be the right fit for you.
Unlimited Plus is Spectrum’s highest-priced offering. It also offers the most voluminous data package, delivering its subscribers 30GB of deprioritized data (which is subject to slowdowns when the network is busy). The plan offers up to 5GB of 4G/5G hotspot connectivity, but that hotspot consumption counts towards the 30GB of deprioritized data included in the plan.
So, a user that consumed 5GB of hotspot data in a month would only have an additional 25GB of cellular data to consume elsewhere for the remainder of the billing cycle. That said, 30GB of deprioritized data is above the threshold that most users consume in a given month, so Unlimited Plus and its competitive pricing should serve the needs of many customers looking for a cheaper unlimited offering than they can find at other major postpaid carriers.
Spectrum’s Unlimited plan is one of the most aggressively priced postpaid unlimited offerings in the market today. At a flat rate of $29.99 per month per line regardless of the number of lines on the account, Unlimited is available at an attractive price for single-line users, large families, and anything in between.
Spectrum Mobile’s By the Gig options are one of its primary differentiators from other postpaid carriers (many of whom do not offer any capped data plans anymore, requiring that their customers instead choose a more expensive unlimited data option). As its name suggests, Spectrum’s By the Gig model charges customers for the number of gigabytes of data that they consume.
The 3GB version of this plan is for customers who want a capped data plan and are sure that they’ll consume at least 3GB of data, with the option to continue consuming additional data beyond that at a charge of $14 per gigabyte. The most attractive feature of this plan is that the per-gigabyte price is split among all the lines on the account, so customers with many lines on their account that use very little cellular data stand to earn significant savings by going with a By the Gig option.
Spectrum Mobile’s By the Gig options are one of its primary differentiators from other postpaid carriers (many of whom do not offer any capped data plans anymore, requiring that their customers instead choose a more expensive unlimited data option). As its name suggests, Spectrum’s By the Gig model charges customers for the number of gigabytes of data that they consume. The 2GB version of this plan is for customers who want a capped data plan and are sure that they’ll consume at least 2GB of data, with the option to continue consuming additional data beyond that at a charge of $14 per gigabyte. The most attractive feature of this plan is that the per-gigabyte price is split among all the lines on the account, so customers with many lines on their account that use very little cellular data stand to earn significant savings by going with a By the Gig option.
Spectrum Mobile’s By the Gig options are one of its primary differentiators from other postpaid carriers (many of whom do not offer any capped data plans anymore, requiring that their customers instead choose a more expensive unlimited data option). As its name suggests, Spectrum’s By the Gig model charges customers for the number of gigabytes of data that they consume. The 1GB version of this plan is for customers who want a capped data plan and are sure that they’ll consume at least 1GB of data, with the option to continue consuming additional data beyond that at a charge of $14 per gigabyte. The most attractive feature of this plan is that the per-gigabyte price is split among all the lines on the account, so customers with many lines on their account that use very little cellular data stand to earn significant savings by going with a By the Gig option.
Spectrum Mobile is a great option for Spectrum internet customers who are looking for lean, aggressively-priced offerings that don’t pack in a bunch of unwanted or unneeded extra features like perks or streaming services. Its unlimited data offerings are priced far lower than plans at other postpaid carriers, and although they contain smaller core data packages than pricier options elsewhere, the amount of data provided by Spectrum plans matches or exceeds the consumption of the vast majority of postpaid wireless customers.