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Spectrum Mobile Review

Great cellular service backed by Verizon Wireless and Spectrum Internet.

Spectrum
Price
$14.00–$39.99/mo.

Data
1GB—Unlimited

  • Simple, flexible, and inexpensive.

Data effective 01/29/24. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Best Spectrum Mobile plans

Spectrum Mobile keeps your choices simple: Pay by the gigabyte or sign up for unlimited data. The former is easy on your budget and ideal if you use very little mobile data. Go with unlimited data if you stream lots of music and video when you’re not on Wi-Fi.

The best thing about these plans is you can switch back and forth at any time without penalty. So, if you start with the By the Gig plan but use more data than expected, you can manually upgrade to an unlimited plan using the My Spectrum app.

Check out our top picks.

Best for budgets

Spectrum Mobile By the Gig

From
$1400/mo

Pay only for the data you use, and you can upgrade to an unlimited plan at any time.

Best for data

Spectrum Mobile Unlimited Plus

From
$3999/mo

Use unlimited data longer and get perks like 720p streaming.

Spectrum Mobile deals

Get Spectrum Mobile Unlimited for $15 per line for 12 months when you get two lines. Want better video and longer-lasting full speeds? Choose Unlimited Plus for $25 per line for 12 months when you get two lines.

How good is Spectrum Mobile service?

Spectrum Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). It doesn’t have a standalone mobile network like Verizon but instead leases and resells Verizon’s 4G LTE and 5G connections through the Spectrum Mobile brand.

That’s a good thing. Verizon Wireless has the best reliability and call quality, according to the latest U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study from J.D. Power. Verizon takes the top spot across all six regions in the US, with the fewest network quality problems out of all the mobile providers in the nation. You simply can’t go wrong with Verizon Wireless.

But Spectrum Mobile doesn’t solely rely on Verizon. At home, customers use Spectrum Internet to get online. When customers are off the home network, their devices automatically connect to one of Spectrum’s public access points. Spectrum’s modem/router combos (gateways) in your neighborhood also serve as Spectrum Mobile access points.

According to our latest internet provider customer satisfaction survey, Spectrum ranks seventh out of 15 internet providers for overall satisfaction, placing it behind Verizon, Xfinity, AT&T, and Cox. It ranks sixth in speed satisfaction and seventh for reliability.

Spectrum Mobile pros and cons

Here are a handful of callouts you need to know before signing up with Spectrum Mobile:

Pros

  • 4G LTE and 5G connectivity
  • No contracts
  • Taxes and regulatory fees included (excludes device sales tax)
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Mobile hotspot support
  • Wi-Fi Calling
  • Out-of-home access point use

Cons

  • $20 one-time activation per line
  • Auto Pay requirement
  • Spectrum Internet requirement upon activation
  • $10 charge when Spectrum Internet isn’t maintained
  • New line requirement for tablets (voice and text not included)
  • $10 Smartwatch Access fee on any plan
  • Video resolution restrictions
  • Speed throttling

Spectrum Mobile plans

PlanDataPriceShop online
By the Gig1GB$14.00/GB per mo.*View Plan
UnlimitedUnlimited$29.99/mo.View Plan
Unlimited PlusUnlimited$39.99/mo.View Plan

You can switch between any plan at any time. Downgrading to the By the Gig plan takes effect on your next bill, while upgrading from By the Gig to Unlimited or Unlimited Plus takes effect immediately and applies to your current bill. So if you realize you don’t need as much data, you can’t switch back to By the Gig until your next billing cycle.

By the Gig

  • Video resolution limit: 480p
  • Speed throttling (per line): 256Kbps down/up after 5GB
  • Hotspot speed throttling (all lines): 256Kbps down/up after 5GB

The By the Gig plan starts at $14 per month, which gives you 1GB of data at the beginning of your billing cycle. If you use more than that—even by a few megabytes—you’ll be charged for another 1GB on your next bill. Still, that’s a steal if you’re looking for inexpensive cell service.

All lines on your By the Gig plan share a pool of data. So if there are four people on your plan who all go 0.1GB over your initial 1GB limit, your account will be charged another 1GB of shared data instead of 1GB for each line. This pool makes it easy to keep track of how much data you’ve all used.

Unlimited

  • Video resolution limit: 480p
  • Speed throttling (per line): 1Mbps/512Kbps down/up after 30GB
  • Hotspot speed throttling (all lines): 600Kbps down/up after 5GB

Like most other “unlimited” data plans, Spectrum Mobile’s Unlimited plan does actually have a limit. It throttles your data speeds after you use 30GB in a billing cycle. So, while you can technically use data after that, your speeds are super slow.

As shown on the list, this plan has a lower hotspot data threshold than Unlimited Plus. It also doesn’t include free roaming in Mexico and Canada. Video streams at a lower resolution than the Unlimited Plus plan too.

Unlimited Plus

  • Video resolution limit: 720p
  • Speed throttling (per line): 1Mbps/512Kbps down/up after 50GB
  • Hotspot speed throttling (all lines): 600Kbps down/up after 10GB

As the list shows, Unlimited Plus doesn’t throttle your speeds until you use 50GB in a month. Hotspot speed throttling also increases to 10GB versus 5GB with the Unlimited Plan. This version includes free roaming in Mexico and Canada and 720p video streaming.

Spectrum Mobile tech

From Spectrum WiFi access points to the latest flagship smartphones, Spectrum Mobile has all the tech you’d expect from a wireless provider.

Devices

Spectrum Mobile offers the latest smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches that are compatible with Verizon’s network. You can pay the full price for each device at checkout, or pay over time for 36 months.

Be sure to check Spectrum Mobile’s deals page for the latest discounts, such as the Google Pixel 7 starting at $8.33 per month (for 36 months) and the iPhone 14 Pro starting at $24.99 per month (for 36 months)

Networks

Spectrum Mobile relies on Verizon Wireless to offer 4G LTE and 5G connectivity. Verizon provides a map detailing where it broadcasts 5G Ultra Wideband, 5G, and 4G LTE connectivity across the nation.

Spectrum Mobile also relies on its local access points to provide internet access when customers are off their home network. These access points reside in public spaces and in neighborhoods where Spectrum Internet gateways have the Spectrum Mobile access point feature enabled.

Mobile apps

With the My Spectrum app, you can monitor your data usage, manage the video quality settings, limit background data usage, change plans, connect to Spectrum WiFi, and more.

Access points and hotspots

Smartphones and cellular-capable tablets download a profile to automatically connect them to the nearest Spectrum WiFi access point (a.k.a. hotspot) when they’re off the home network. This feature actually applies to any Spectrum customer, although it’s optional for Spectrum Internet customers. Using Spectrum’s out-of-home WiFi not only minimizes your cellular data usage but also reduces congestion on Verizon’s network. Consult Spectrum’s map to see where it offers out-of-home WiFi.

Meanwhile, customers with smartphones capable of sharing their connection can do so at no extra charge. All data used through the device’s hotspot feature counts towards the customer’s monthly allotment. Speeds are throttled after a specific amount of data is used each month.

Our verdict

Overall, Spectrum Mobile combines the best of both worlds: the wired speeds and reliability of Spectrum Internet and the 5G connectivity of Verizon Wireless. And while we’ll always suggest bundling Verizon’s fiber internet and mobile, Spectrum Mobile is a decent alternative if you can’t get Verizon’s fiber.

View Plans

FAQ about Spectrum Mobile

What is Spectrum Mobile?

Spectrum Mobile is a low-cost cellular service available to Spectrum Internet customers.

What network does Spectrum Mobile use?

Spectrum Mobile uses Verizon’s nationwide 4G LTE and 5G networks and Spectrum’s own Wi-Fi access points to offer great coverage and a reliable signal.

What device can you use on Spectrum Mobile?

You can use any Verizon-compatible smartphone, cellular tablet, and smartwatch sold through Spectrum Mobile. Use Spectrum’s compatibility tool to see if the device you own works with Spectrum Mobile.

Do I need to keep Spectrum Internet to use Spectrum Mobile?

You must have Spectrum Internet service to activate any Spectrum Mobile line. However, if you cancel your Spectrum Internet service, you can keep using your Spectrum Mobile lines for an additional $10 per month per line (Unlimited and Unlimited Plus only).

How fast are the upload and download speeds using 4G LTE and 5G?

According to Spectrum, you can expect the following when using Verizon’s networks:

DownloadUpload
4G LTE5–12Mbps2–5Mbps
5G5–450Mbps typical;
1,000Mbps peak
2–50Mbps
How many Spectrum Mobile lines can I have?

You can have up to 10 lines per account.

Spectrum Mobile vs. Verizon pricing: What's the difference?

So, let’s do a little math here. Say you just want a single mobile line. Verizon charges $80 per month (plus taxes and fees) for its Unlimited Plus plan. Spectrum Mobile charges $50 per month for a similar plan—and that’s with the $10 fee for discontinuing Spectrum Internet service. Both have discounts when you bundle multiple lines, but we see why Spectrum claims it’s cheaper than Verizon.

The only caveat we see is the requirement to have Spectrum Internet before you sign up for Spectrum Mobile. Verizon doesn’t do that. Plus, Spectrum bundles internet, mobile, and its gateway into an affordable Spectrum One deal, which saves you money in the first year of service—and that’s only if you have Auto Pay enabled.

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