Google Fi and Spectrum Mobile offer similar plans for their users to take advantage of. Each carrier has its positives and negatives, but which offers better phone plans? Let’s put them head to head and see which brand comes out on top.
In this article, we plan to discuss the ins and outs of both carriers and what they offer. We’ll also cover:
Unsure of what you need out of a plan? Check out our guide on how to choose the best phone plan.
Google Fi and Spectrum Mobile are mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs. This means that they purchase service access wholesale from one of the three major networks that own infrastructure across the country – AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile – giving customers service at a much cheaper price. Google Fi is an MVNO of T-Mobile, and Spectrum Mobile is an MVNO of Verizon.
Often, the quality of coverage comes down to your area. One carrier’s coverage may be better in New York, while another’s coverage may be better in California. It’s important to compare between providers on a coverage map of your specific city. Ookla’s coverage map allows you to see where cellular towers are located and which company owns them. This coverage map provides information about coverage from 2G to 5G for several providers.
However, T-Mobile’s 5G coverage and access is hailed as the best coverage overall.
Like most plans you’ll see on the market, both carriers offer unlimited talk and texting options with any plan you choose. Google Fi offers premium data, which does not slow down no matter the amount of network traffic. Both companies deprioritize data, meaning you’ll have slower connection speeds in high traffic areas like concerts venues and sports arenas.
Google Fi offers 2 unlimited plans and one plan with pay-per-use data. Each of its unlimited plans offer a limited amount of premium data. Each plan allows up to 6 lines and renews monthly. Google Fi is on QCI tier 6 of 9.
Image courtesy of Google Fi’s website.
Google Fi’s Flexible plan is unlike a lot of other plans on the market, as it allows you to pay a set amount per month for talk and text features. Users then pay for only the amount of data they use. After 15GB of data, your speed is slowed to 256 kbps, or 3G speeds. You can still send texts, emails, and use social media with little issues. Streaming video will be much more difficult.
The plan also includes the ability to buy mobile hotspot data, and all plan data can be used as hotspot data.
The plan costs $20 per month, plus $10 for each GB you use. For example, you’d pay about $70 per month if you used 5GB.
The Simply Unlimited plan gives you 35GB of premium data. Premium data means your data will not be deprioritized in times of high traffic and congestion. After 35GB, data slows down to 3G speeds. 5GB of hotspot data is also included in the plan, then stops after that allotment.
The plan costs $50 per month. At this rate, you get 35GB at $1.42 per GB.
Google Fi’s Unlimited Plus plan has 50GB of premium data. Connection is then slowed down to 3G speeds. You can use all 50GB of plan data as mobile hotspot data, but hotspot data stops after the 50GB.
The plan costs $65 per month. At this rate, you get 50GB at $1.30 per GB.
Spectrum Mobile offers 3 plans, and one offers flexible amounts of data. It’s important to note that Spectrum Mobile requires you to purchase Spectrum Internet to use their mobile services. You can have up to 10 lines on one account, and you can mix and match between what plans each line has. Spectrum Mobile, as a Verizon MVNO, is a QCI tier 8.
If you purchase your phone from Spectrum Mobile, your device will be locked until it's paid in full. The plans they offer renew monthly, and taxes and fees are included with the advertised price.
This plan allows users to buy data for $14 per GB. Once you stop buying data, access slows to 3G speeds. With 3G speeds, users can expect to continue scrolling social media and send texts or emails without issue, but may find difficulty with streaming video or playing games. You can use up to 5GB as hotspot data as well, then access slows to 3G speeds.
The plan costs $14 per GB per month.
This plan gives users 20GB of full speed data, which slows to 3G speeds after the cap. Users also have access to 5GB of mobile hotspot data, which also slows to 3G speeds after the cap.
The plan costs $30 per month. At this rate, you get 25GB at $1.20 per GB.
This plan gives users access to 30GB of full speed data, which slows to 3G after the cap. Users also get access to 5GB hotspot data.
The plan costs $40 per month. At this rate, you get 35GB at $1.14 per GB.
If you’re looking for a plan with more included features, such as international connection or domestic roaming data, it’s best to compare carriers with what they offer.
Google Fi offers domestic roaming data on their plans. Spectrum Mobile does not offer this feature.
Google Fi offers talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada included with both its unlimited plans. However, only text is included in their Flexible plan. Talk and data are pay-per-use. Spectrum Mobile also offers talk and text in Mexico and Canada as well as roaming data at pay-per-use rates.
Google Fi’s Unlimited Plus plan includes international text and data. Calling internationally is pay-per-use outside the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The Simply Unlimited plan does not include international connection, and the Flexible plan includes international texting, but talk and data are pay-per-use. Calling costs $0.20 per minute. Spectrum Mobile includes international texting, and international talk and data are at pay-per-use rates.
Google Fi offers 4k Ultra High Definition streaming for their Flexible plan and 480p Standard Definition streaming for their unlimited data plans. Spectrum Mobile’s By the Gig and Unlimited plans stream at 480p Standard Definition resolution. Their Unlimited Plus plan streams at 1080p High Definition.
Google Fi’s Unlimited Plus plan offers a free subscription to Youtube Premium. Spectrum Mobile does not offer this feature.
Google Fi’s Unlimited Plus plan offers 100GB of Google One. Spectrum Mobile does not offer this feature.
If you buy a phone from either carrier, they allow you to pay for your device in installments over time.
Both carriers offer WiFi calling, which allows you to send and receive phone calls over a WiFi connection rather than cellular reception.
All Google Fi plans offer spam protection included. Spectrum Mobile offers spam protection, but it must be turned on by the user.
Google Fi offers a 7 day free trial. Spectrum Mobile does not offer this feature.
Google Fi is a digital-only carrier, meaning they only offer customer support online. Google Fi offers 24/7 customer support over chat and over the phone at 1-844-TALK-2-FI. Spectrum Mobile has multiple stores across the country, and users can find the store closest to them with their store locator. You can also call Spectrum at (866) 782-2681 for support over the phone from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET Mon. through Fri. They also offer chat support 24/7.
Since Google Fi offers Youtube Premium and Cloud Storage features with Unlimited Plus, the more expensive price is justified. However, if you’d prefer additional hotspot access over Youtube Premium and Google One, Spectrum Mobile may be the better option for you. If you’re looking for a limited data plan, you may want to look at a different brand, as Google Fi and Spectrum Mobile’s flexible plans are more expensive.
We’d recommend checking your data usage before committing to a plan.
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