7 Things To Know Before You Sign Up for Spectrum Mobile

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If you’re looking for ways to save on your cell phone bill, you may want to consider Spectrum Mobile.

In this article, I’ll take a close look at Spectrum Mobile’s plans and pricing and fill you in on how to get started and what to expect from Spectrum Mobile’s service.

I tested Spectrum Mobile for 30 days to try out the service myself. I’ve also compared different available phone plans to see how Spectrum holds up.

What To Know Before Signing Up for Spectrum Mobile

Spectrum Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that provides access to Verizon Wireless’ cellular network. It’s a service that’s available exclusively to Spectrum Internet customers. 

At Clark.com, we recommend Spectrum Mobile as one of the best Verizon Wireless MVNOs as well as one of the cheapest plans for two lines. Plans begin as low as $14 per month for 1GB of data. However, you can get unlimited data for $29.99 per line.

You can activate your service online or in-store with Spectrum Mobile; either way, there’s a one-time $10 activation fee. For the best overall experience, I recommend visiting a Spectrum Mobile store to activate your service.

I learned this when I recently tested out Spectrum Mobile’s By the Gig plan myself for 30 days. During the month, I explored its coverage, call and text performance, data speeds, customer service and more. 

Table of Contents:

  1. Plans and Pricing
  2. Activation Process
  3. Call and Text Performance
  4. Data Speeds
  5. Customer Service
  6. Phone Selection
  7. Methodology

Below, you’ll find more information about Spectrum Mobile including what plans are available, how reliable the service is and whether or not you should consider it as your mobile carrier.

1. Plans and Pricing

Spectrum Mobile offers two types of plans to choose from: By the Gig and Unlimited. 

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Both plans are prepaid monthly, and both plans are available only to existing Spectrum Internet customers. Spectrum Mobile’s Unlimited plan is best if you use at least 3GB of data per month, and there’s also an option to upgrade to “Unlimited Plus” for $10 more per month. 

In this section, I’ll take a closer look at each of Spectrum Mobile’s plans.

By the Gig

Spectrum Mobile’s By the Gig plan includes unlimited talk and text as well as access to Verizon’s nationwide 5G network on capable devices. It costs $14 per month per GB with taxes and fees included.

With this plan, you can share data with up to 10 lines. Plus, you pay for only the data that you use. If you don’t need a ton of mobile data, this is a great choice. When I tested Spectrum Mobile, this is the plan I tried out.

This phone plan lets you share your mobile data via hotspot. After 5GB per line of mobile data use (including mobile hotspot), speeds reduce to 256 kbps. 

This plan includes Wi-Fi calling, free calls to Mexico and Canada, free international texting from the United States, and there’s no contact required.

To learn more about Spectrum Mobile’s By the Gig plan, visit Spectrum’s website.

Unlimited

Spectrum Mobile’s Unlimited plan is available at $29.99 per line per month. It includes 20GB of high-speed data usage before speeds reduce to 1 Mbps. 

For those who need more data, Spectrum Mobile Unlimited Plus is available for $39.99 per line and includes 30GB of high-speed data before reduced speeds. Unlimited Plus includes HD-quality video resolution, while Unlimited and By the Gig offer DVD-quality resolution. 

Both unlimited plans include unlimited talk and text, 4G LTE and 5G access, mobile hotspot (after 5GB, speeds reduced to 600 kbps) and Wi-Fi calling. Both unlimited plans offer free calls to Mexico and Canada and free international texting from the U.S.

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The price of Spectrum Mobile’s unlimited plans includes taxes and fees, and no contract is required.

At Clark.com, we consider Spectrum Mobile’s Unlimited plan to be one of the best unlimited data plans for two and one of the best cheap phone plans for two.

To learn more about Spectrum Mobile’s Unlimited plans, visit Spectrum’s website.

2. Activation Process

If you decide to switch to Spectrum Mobile, I recommend activating your service in person at a Spectrum store. When I tested out Spectrum Mobile, I started trying to activate my service online, and it proved not to be the best choice.

There are three ways to get Spectrum Mobile service: Calling Spectrum directly at 833-224-6603, ordering a phone and/or SIM card online or visiting a Spectrum store

Regardless of how you initiate service, if you bring your own device, there will be a one-time $10 activation fee applied to your purchase.

I decided to order a SIM card online. First, I visited Spectrum’s website, and I clicked on “Mobile Data Plans.” After I looked at all of the plan options, I decided to go with Spectrum Mobile’s By the Gig plan. 

You can buy a new phone through Spectrum or bring your own phone when you switch. I wanted to bring my own phone, so I clicked on “Bring Your Device.” Then I was able to check my device’s compatibility. 

A screenshot from Spectrum Mobile showing that my iPhone 12 is eligible for service

Screenshot from Spectrum Mobile

The Moto power e I had been using on these tests was not compatible with Spectrum Mobile. However, my iPhone 12 was eligible, so I proceeded with that phone (after verifying that it was unlocked).

I clicked “Add SIM to card” to proceed. Then I was asked if I currently have Spectrum Internet. I signed in to verify my account, and I was asked to enter my Social Security number and date of birth to verify my identity. 

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From there, I was able to select my plan and choose whether I wanted to keep my current phone number or get a new number.

The checkout screen at Spectrum Mobile showing a $24 total charge for one month of service including a $10 activation fee and a $14 service plan.
Screenshot from Spectrum Mobile

In the cart, my final total included $14 for the by-the-gig phone plan plus a $10 one-time activation fee. I saw that my cart included an eSIM instead of a physical SIM card. If you do activate service online, make sure you’re getting the correct type of SIM card.

I proceeded to the checkout page since my iPhone seemed eligible for an eSIM, and I thought it might be an interesting experience to try it out myself.

Next, I entered my contact and payment information. Know that Auto Pay is required for Spectrum Mobile service. Once I’d completed my purchase, I got an alert that the eSIM was available for instant activation.

I clicked “Activate,” and I was redirected to my existing online Spectrum account. There, I clicked on “Your Services,” and “Mobile.” I could see my phone had been added, and I clicked “view activation status.”

A screenshot displaying "Welcome to Spectrum Mobile"
Screenshot from Spectrum Mobile

Then, Spectrum walked me through a series of activation steps for the eSIM card. Unfortunately, by the end of that process, I was still not able to activate my service.

I called Spectrum Customer Service to address the problem, and after 25 minutes of trying various things and escalating the problem to another person, I was advised to visit the nearest Spectrum Mobile store and pick up a physical SIM card. 

My local Spectrum Mobile storefront

When I arrived at the store, everything was fast, efficient and professional. However, the employee who helped me mentioned that they’re not able to assist with online activations (so going to the store didn’t complete the process). So I recommend that you just go to the store in the first place.

Additionally, I found out that the same $10 activation fee applies in-store or online, so there’s no downside to activating the service in person. In fact, the Spectrum Mobile employee who assisted me recommended visiting the store in person to add any future lines.

Once I received a Spectrum Mobile SIM card, I returned home and called Customer Service back and finally got my phone activated. Learn from my experience and go to the store to activate your service.

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3. Call and Text Performance

Over the course of 30 days, I tried out Spectrum Mobile’s service by making and receiving phone calls as well as sending and receiving text messages. 

Throughout the month that I tested out Spectrum Mobile’s service, I had consistently reliable, clear service with no dropped calls or undelivered text messages. Of course, service varies greatly from one area to another, which means you may or may not have the same experience. 

Spectrum Mobile provides access to Verizon Wireless’ network and nationwide coverage. To see if Spectrum Mobile offers coverage in your area, check out its coverage map online

Spectrum Mobile’s coverage map
Screenshot from Spectrum Mobile

If you visit Spectrum Mobile’s website, you can enter your address or ZIP code to see if you’ll have service in your area. You can also see what specific types of coverage are available including 4G/LTE and 5G data.

To learn more about coverage and call/text performance, check out our article on the best cell phone service.

4. Data Speeds

Throughout the month that I tested Spectrum Mobile, I had access to Verizon Wireless’ 4G/LTE and 5G networks. Based on my experience as well as Verizon’s coverage map, you’ll most likely have access to high-speed data at home with Spectrum Mobile. 

However, to make sure you’ll be covered before switching to Spectrum Mobile, be sure to visit its coverage map online and enter your ZIP code or address. I also recommend checking out Verizon Wireless’ coverage map as well to get a more complete picture of service in your area. Since they run on the same work networks, you can expect similar coverage. 

When I was testing out Spectrum Mobile myself, I experienced fast download speeds especially compared to other MVNOs. Throughout the month, I tested the data speeds using speedtest.net by Ookla.

Speediest displaying a download speed of 52.60 Mbps
Screenshot from Speedtest by Ookla

The download speed for mobile data was usually around 30 Mbps. The fastest download speed I saw was 63.60 Mbps while the slowest download speed I saw was 17.21 Mbps. 

According to Consumer Reports, 18 Mbps is the minimum speed necessary for streaming 4K movies and TV shows. Netflix recommends a download speed of 25 Mbps for streaming 4K. Amazon says you’ll need a download speed of at least 8 Mbps for SD video and 40 Mbps for HD video on Prime. 

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Based on these numbers, Spectrum Mobile’s high-speed data is fast enough to do most things online, including streaming SD video.

Additionally, all Spectrum Mobile plans allow you to share your data via mobile hotspot. Over the 30 days that I tested out Spectrum Mobile, I periodically connected my laptop to my phone’s mobile hotspot to check the download speeds using speedtest.net by Ookla.

Screenshot from Speedtest by Ookla

With mobile hotspot, I typically logged download speeds around 25 Mbps. The fastest download speed I saw was 45.41 Mbps while the slowest I saw was 14.27 Mbps. 

Of course, I was trying out a phone plan that charged per gigabyte used. To make sure I didn’t go over the amount I wanted to pay, I was able to monitor my data usage throughout the month using the Spectrum Mobile app (App Store; Google Play)

Spectrum Mobile app displaying current data usage
Screenshot from Spectrum Mobile app

5. Customer Service

Good customer service is important in a phone carrier. Unfortunately, nearly all major companies tend to struggle with customer service, especially right now. Whether you’re having to deal with extended wait times or unhelpful representatives, contacting customer service for a cell phone service provider can be a pain. 

Of course, I had to contact customer service several times while I was activating my service with Spectrum Mobile due to eSIM compatibility issues. 

Here are the three ways to contact Spectrum Mobile for customer service: 

  • Visit the website or mobile app to chat with an agent. This option is available 24/7, but the chat representatives are better prepared to assist with Spectrum Internet than Spectrum Mobile. 
  • Call Spectrum Mobile. The number listed online is (833) 224-6603. However, I had better luck getting connected with helpful representatives by calling (877) 504-7916.
  • Visit a Spectrum Mobile Store. You can visit a nearby Spectrum Mobile location for in-person help with your Spectrum Mobile account.

When I contacted Spectrum Mobile via online chat, I was immediately connected with a representative. The representative I spoke with was quick to try to help but ultimately just directed me to call Spectrum Mobile’s number directly for assistance with Spectrum Mobile.

When I called Spectrum Mobile, I was on hold for around three minutes on average, but the representatives on the phone were the most helpful in my situation. They were able to troubleshoot my issues, escalate the problem to the correct person and ultimately activate my SIM card. If you set up your Spectrum Mobile service online, I recommend calling Spectrum Mobile at (877) 504-7916 for any support you need.

Finally, I did have to visit a Spectrum Mobile store in order to get a physical SIM card after the ordered eSIM didn’t work. When I did this, I did have to wait a bit longer before being helped as there were other customers in the store. However, I had the best overall experience in the store compared to other Spectrum Mobile customer service options. The employee I worked with was helpful and polite.

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It is important to know that if you activate your service online, in-store representatives aren’t able to access your account information.

6. Phone Selection

If you’re looking to purchase a new phone when you switch service providers, you may be wondering which phones Spectrum Mobile offers. 

The available selection of Spectrum Mobile phones changes regularly, and you can see a full list of phones that are currently available online.

As of September 2022, Spectrum Mobile offered 30 different phones including a few of the following popular picks:

  • Apple iPhone 14 series (14, Plus, Pro and Pro Max)
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4
  • Apple iPhone 13 series
  • Apple iPhone 11
  • Samsung Galaxy S22, S22+ and S22 Ultra
  • Google Pixel 6 and 6a

Again, you can check out the full selection online.

Spectrum Mobile allows you to buy a phone for full price outright or pay for it monthly over the course of two years.

Of course, for the most savings, I recommend bringing your own phone to Spectrum Mobile. You can check your phone’s compatibility online. If it’s compatible, fully paid off and unlocked, you’ll be eligible to use your phone with Spectrum Mobile’s SIM card.

7. Methodology

Before I began testing phone plans, I highlighted the key factors that I would be exploring. This way, I would be able to accurately compare phone plans and get a full overview of what to expect from the service.

Here are the key factors I focused on while trying out each phone plan: 

  • Length of Time. I tested each phone plan for 30 days to observe the network’s reliability and gather feedback from friends and family regarding service. 
  • Signing Up. I signed up for each phone plan myself to document the process of getting started, testing phone compatibility or bringing your own device, how long it takes to receive the SIM card and the activation process.
  • Reliability. I used my personal AT&T line as a base to see how often the tested phone plan had service and noted any dropped calls/undelivered text messages.
  • Service. During the month, I made/received at least 15 calls and sent/received at least 15 text messages. I also tested the phone’s data speed and hotspot speed using speedtest.net. 
  • Customer Support. During my time testing out each phone service, I contacted customer support in all available ways to determine which method is best, how long it took to reach a person and how helpful the experience was.

Final Thoughts

During the month that I tested Spectrum Mobile’s service for this review, I had a good experience overall. Initial eSIM compatibility issues lead to a rocky start. However, the plan price, performance and data speeds made up for it throughout the month. 

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I didn’t experience any dropped calls or undelivered text messages with Spectrum Mobile, and I didn’t have a bad experience with customer service either. However, I quickly learned that the online chat feature is designed more for Internet assistance and in-store representatives can best help with in-store purchases.

For this reason, I do recommend activating your Spectrum Mobile service at a Spectrum store nearby for the best overall experience.

If you’re thinking about switching to Spectrum Mobile, ask yourself these questions first:

  • Are you a Spectrum Internet customer? You’ll have to be a Spectrum Internet customer in order to sign up for Spectrum Mobile service. If you don’t have access to Spectrum Internet (or if it isn’t the best internet deal in your area), Spectrum Mobile may not be for you.
  • Is your current phone compatible with Spectrum Mobile? You can check your phone’s compatibility online. Spectrum Mobile does offer phones that you can buy directly, but you can save even more by bringing your own phone.
  • Is Verizon’s network strong in your area? You can check Spectrum Mobile’s coverage map as well as Verizon Wireless’ coverage map online to see if you’ll have service in your area before switching.
  • Is there a Spectrum Mobile store nearby? If you aren’t sure, use the online store locator to find the closest location. I recommend activating your service in person for the smoothest transition to your new line.

If you can answer “yes” to each of the questions above, Spectrum Mobile is likely worth trying out. I was surprised to see how fast the download speeds were as well as how helpful the in-store representatives were regarding activation.

For more options, be sure to read our guide on the best cell phone plans and deals available now. Once you’ve decided on a new phone plan and you’re ready to make the switch, check out this guide that we put together to take you step-by-step through the process.

Have you tried Spectrum Mobile? Let us know in our Clark.com Community or check out the latest conversations around cell phones.

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