Verizon Wireless Prepaid Review
Verizon consistently gets top scores for its impressive national network, ranking higher than its “Big Four” competitors: AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. That national network gives its customers farther and better reach than the others — but those days may soon be gone as Verizon’s competitors build up their own networks and design attractive plan packages to lure customers away. As it stands, though, Verizon is still at the top of the pile, with a good range of competitively priced plans. The competitors may offer nice bells and whistles, but for solid, reliable service, Verizon is worth considering.
“One size does not fit all,” claims Verizon on its website. As one of the most well-established cellular companies in the world, it prides itself on the latest high tech — it’s heavily involved in developing the 5G network right now — and providing users with access to everything the digital world offers.
Is it true?
For the most part. To counter the one-size-fits-all mentality, the company offers a range of single line plans that can be customized to work as multi-line family plans. You can bring your own phone to your prepaid plan or choose from a good range of new and refurbished phones, including low-cost options from Samsung and Motorola as well as pricier iPhones and Google’s Pixel 3.
Despite boasting of its range of plans, though, it only has four admittedly customizable plans, less than AT&T’s six. Those plans are well priced but don’t include the extras that, say, T-Mobile includes, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions.
There are several ways you can add on to your monthly plan. If you frequently make or receive international calls, you have two options: the Unlimited Together North America plan, which includes Mexico, Canada, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands for $5 per month, or the more expansive Unlimited Together World for $15 per month, which gives you unlimited talk to the countries listed above and discounted rates for calls to more than 190 other countries.
Mix and Match plans, meanwhile, help you to save when you add up to 10 additional lines to your plan — you’ll receive $10 off on the first 3 GB of data on subsequent lines, for example. But it’s worth noting that the company’s innovative JustKids plan, which lets you manage screen time, filter content, and track location, is not available as a prepaid option.
Those looking for top-of-the-market network coverage
Anyone looking for a budget plan or great discounts
|Price per individual line||$30-$70|
|Available plans||First 500 MG First 3 GB First 8 GB Unlimited|
|Unlimited plan data cap||N/A|
|Standout features||4G LTE high-speed data Autopay discounts Includes Mexico and Canada Mobile hotspot Unlimited Together World and Unlimited Together North America available on some plans (for a fee) Instant Pay allows you to refill your account without signing|
|RootMetrics overall performance score||94.4|
Large, reliable network
Verizon is well-known for having one of the largest nationwide networks around. It also has close to nationwide 4G LTE coverage, which is great news if you spend a fair amount of time accessing the internet from your phone. Choosing a company with a large network and reliable coverage is important, particularly if you travel a lot, because your prepaid phone isn’t any good to you if you don’t get service in the area where you need it. This shouldn’t be a problem for Verizon customers.
Easily manage your account online
Once you set up your Verizon account, you can check your available data, change your plan, and pay your bill quickly and easily. From here, you can also enroll in Verizon’s auto-refill program by signing up and registering a credit card — you’ll get a small discount for doing so. Then, every month, your card is charged automatically for your plan, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to pay. If you’re not near a computer, you can download the My Verizon mobile app and manage your account from your smartphone as well.
Refill your account from anywhere
In addition to the auto-refill program, Verizon makes it easy to make a single payment. You can use a credit or debit card to make the payment online or from your cell phone, or you can visit a Verizon store. Certain retailers also sell prepaid airtime cards, which you can add to your account online or from your phone.
Unclear international roaming charges
Verizon’s website features lots of fine print — meaning we had to talk to a rep in order to understand how the company charges for international calls. To summarize, if you are traveling internationally or making international calls to Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands, you’re going to want to add the company’s Unlimited Together North America plan onto your existing plan. This will give you unlimited calls and texts to these areas. If you neglect to do so, you can rack up significant roaming charges to your tab, as well as a $5 fee every day you use your phone. This isn’t noted very conspicuously on the website but could be a costly mistake if you have family or friends in these areas.
Deprioritization happens when there is network congestion in your area and your data speed suddenly slows down considerably. Think of it as a bad traffic jam on the data lines. It’s not unique to Verizon; all of the Big Four companies are obliged to slow down speeds at times and in places of heavy use. But there is anecdotal evidence that shows that it happens more often to prepaid than to contract customers. Depending on where you live and how many people in your area are on the same network, you may never see slowdowns. But if you do, you’ll want to consider two options: switching to a different carrier that is less commonly used in your area or staying with your carrier and switching to a postpaid plan.
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Verizon Wireless Prepaid vs. AT&T
Verizon and AT&T hold the top two spots, respectively, in RootMetrics’ respected ranking of top cell phone carriers. Verizon has the slight edge in network reliability, speed, data performance, and call performance. AT&T, meanwhile, has a broader range of plans — including pay-per-day and pay-per-minute plans that Verizon lacks. AT&T’s data cap on its unlimited plan, at which point your data rates may slow down, is a fairly low 22 GB, whereas Verizon claims not to have a cap on its unlimited plan. If you’re looking for the most extensive network available, you’re probably good with Verizon. If you’d like a good choice of plans, however, you’ll want to check out AT&T.
Verizon Wireless Prepaid vs. T-Mobile
T-Mobile offers a sweet deal if you’re on a budget. For $3, its Pay As You Go plan includes 30 minutes of talk and 30 text messages per month, with additional talk or text for 10 cents each. It’s not the best option if you stream movies on your phone or are a hardcore gamer, but for light users, that’s a great price, and one that Verizon can’t match. Verizon’s most inexpensive prepaid plan is $30 per month, which includes 500 MG of data. The company has no plans that allow you to pay by the day or by the minute, so if you’re looking for a plan that includes this option, you’ll need to check elsewhere.
Verizon Wireless Prepaid vs. PureTalk
PureTalk uses AT&T’s network, so its coverage is top-notch. It is also carving out a niche for itself in the industry with its basic plan, which includes unlimited talk and text and 500 MB of high-speed data for only $20 — $10 less than Verizon. If you’re looking for flexibility, though, like the ability to add or subtract lines as needed for your family, Verizon is the better option.
Verizon Wireless Prepaid FAQ
Can I use a mobile hotspot with my prepaid Verizon plan?
That depends on which plan you have. The company’s three lower-tier plans all include hotspots. The Unlimited Data plan, however, does not. At $70 per month, this plan features 4G LTE high-speed data, along with several available discounts for things such as autopay and multi-line use. But if you frequently need to link your other devices to the internet through your phone, a better bet is the $50 per month 8 GB plan, which features the ability to add on data bundles for a small fee.
What kind of discounts does Verizon offer?
Verizon offers the standard discounts that many cell phone providers include: You’ll save $10 to $20 per line (depending on your plan) for adding multiple lines to your account, and you’ll get an automatic $5 per line discount if you choose the autopay option. Keep in mind that neither discount is available for the lowest-level plan, at $30 per month. There are also discounts for veterans and active military, first responders, and Verizon employees — but none of these apply to prepaid accounts, unfortunately.
Can I purchase additional high-speed data to boost my account?
Yes. If you’d like an occasional boost to your data instead of having to make due with reduced speeds after you’ve reached your data cap, go to the Verizon app, click on “Add Data,” and select the amount you want to add. This will give you additional gigabytes of data that you can use to stream movies, set up a hotspot, or sign in to your favorite game. If you consistently find that you need data boosts to get you through the month, you may want to consider a higher-level plan that features more data.
The Bottom Line
Verizon’s national 4G network is a valuable asset if you’re looking for the most comprehensive coverage you can get. The company’s four prepaid plans are simple and straightforward, with few extras and not a lot of discounts, but if you don’t need the extras and just want good, reliable service for your cell phone, it’s a great choice. If you’re more interested in keeping the costs down, consider T-Mobile or a smaller company like PureTalk.