Charter communications made many take notice with its recent claims that it—rather than AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon—delivers the fastest wireless speeds. The major wireless carriers jockeying for position in this manner does not come as surprise, but Spectrum doing it certainly does.
Charter Spectrum Communications is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world, and it serves more than 31 million customers in 41 states in the United States. Charter Spectrum—often referred to as just Spectrum—is one of its brands. It was first introduced in 2014 and is used as an umbrella for the various television, internet and telephone services that it offers its customers.
Spectrum Mobile, which was launched in 2018, is a mobile virtual network operator—or MVNO—service. An MVNO does not have its own infrastructure and uses another provider as its foundation, which in this case is Verizon wireless. As is the case with many MVNOs, Spectrum Mobile differentiates itself from Verizon Wireless through extended network coverage via an expansive Wi-Fi network.
Spectrum Mobile Faster Than Verizon Wireless
If Spectrum Mobile is based on Verizon Wireless, how can it possibly be the fastest wireless available? This is the question many asked in response to the recent claims by Charter. The answer to this question is a matter of perspective. Charter asserts that it has a larger footprint via its established Wi-Fi network. Through access to that network, its customers experienced data speeds that were 43 percent faster than Verizon, 41 percent faster than T-Mobile and 29 percent faster than AT&T. It is worth noting that those numbers are not from Charter but rather Global Wireless Solutions in conjunction with The Nielsen Company via a recent report published concerning the first quarter of 2021.
A Matter of Perspective
Nevertheless, the Spectrum Mobile speeds are calculated by comparing the average cellular and Wi-Fi speeds combined. This is where the matter of perspective comes in. If you are discussing just wireless speeds, then no, Spectrum Mobile is not faster than Verizon Wireless. That is impossible as a matter of fact. However, mobile communications no longer occur exclusively on cellular networks.
Spectrum Ahead for Seventh Straight Quarter
The vast majority of current mobile communications occurs via Wi-Fi and not cellular. Verizon would like you to focus on what it does well, but Charter does have a point here. Spectrum may not be faster than Verizon from a technical perspective, but it can be argued that it is from a practical one. This is essentially the claim Charter is making and an argument to which consumers have responded. Charter added more than 300,000 wireless subscribers in the first quarter of 2021 alone, and the practical speed advantage over the major wireless carriers has been present for seven quarters—or about two years.
The Road Ahead
The way that consumers view mobile service is probably going to change over the next decade. Consider that 80 percent of all mobile communication that Spectrum Mobile handles occurs via the Charter Wi-Fi network rather than the Verizon Wireless cellular network. This is the new normal, and while the average consumer may not yet think about it in these terms, they will soon, and it will become commonplace to see to Wi-Fi, LTE, and 5G cellular as a singular product.