T-Mobile vs. Verizon Review 2020
T-Mobile vs. Verizon is the Muhammad Ali vs. Walt Frazier of wireless providers. Both providers offer excellent service and download speeds, but there can only be one winner. And for our money, it’s just barely the Verizon network.
A bird’s-eye view of T-Mobile and Verizon wireless plans
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, take a look at all the Verizon and T-Mobile plans available to you. No doubt, you’ll notice that Verizon offers way more plans than T-Mobile overall. That’s because T-Mobile doesn’t even offer non-unlimited data plans.
Unlimited data is overkill for a lot of users, and it’s unfortunate T-Mobile doesn’t offer limited data plans. If you know you aren’t an unlimited data kind of user, you’ll likely find a better deal with a different provider.
Let’s look at the Verizon and T-Mobile plans.
Verizon vs. T-Mobile pricing and plans
Verizon has the biggest bang for your buck, but T-Mobile is the cheaper of the two.
Verizon vs. T-Mobile individual plans
At first glance, it might seem like Verizon holds all the cards with individual data plans—that’s certainly true if you want a limited data plan. Verizon offers data plans that range from 500 MB of data for $30 a month to 4 GB of data for $70 a month.
T-Mobile only offers unlimited data plans starting at $60 a month. Verizon undercuts even T-Mobile’s cheapest plan, Essentials, by offering limited data plans that will save you money.
The advantage goes to Verizon for individual data plans because it offers both unlimited data and limited data plans. More variety means you can find a plan that works better for your data needs.
If you’re shopping based on price, either choose Verizon’s Basic Phone Plan (which offers excellent coverage for $30 a month) or shoot for one of T-Mobile’s unlimited plans. Verizon’s Small Plan ($55 a month) and Medium Plan ($70 a month) are too close in price to T-Mobile’s Essentials unlimited plan ($60 a month).
At that price point, you might as well opt for unlimited data with T-Mobile.
Verizon vs. T-Mobile unlimited pricing
T-Mobile offers a cheaper unlimited plan, but is it better?
Your eyes just glanced at the top and bottom of that list, right?
No doubt you noticed that T-Mobile’s unlimited plans start at $60 and Verizon’s unlimited plans can cost you as much as $90 a month.
Sounds like you get more of a bargain with T-Mobile, huh? Well, you might be surprised to find out . . . you’re absolutely right.
T-Mobile’s Essentials plan offers some of the best value you can find with an unlimited plan. You pay $10 less a month than you would for Verizon’s unlimited data plan, and you still get high-end data speeds and coverage (though not quite as much coverage as Verizon offers).1
With T-Mobile Essentials, you get the following:
- 50 GB data cap (which is a lot)
- Unlimited international texting
- Unlimited 3G hotspot data
Verizon can top those perks with an even higher data cap, more coverage, and unlimited 4G hotspot data if you max out with the Get More Unlimited Plan, but you’re kinda paying an arm and a leg.
The advantage for unlimited pricing goes to T-Mobile and its $60 unlimited plan. Even though Verizon can offer more features (with a much steeper price tag), it’s tough to beat T-Mobile’s value.
Verizon vs. T-Mobile data speeds
T-Mobile crosses the finish line first in a photo finish.
You know that moment in the Olympics a few years ago when Usain Bolt was just faster than everybody?
He just was.
T-Mobile gets our Usain Bolt award for wireless speeds.
T-Mobile averages the fastest download speeds at 21.1 Mbps, and Verizon averages the second-fastest download speeds at 20.9 Mbps.1 It’s a difference of 1.2 Mbps, which isn’t a huge number, but it’s enough to notice a difference.
Upload speeds matter when you’re uploading your content to the internet. Since we’re all walking content creation machines in this day and age, upload speeds can make a big difference to your wireless experience.
Verizon actually beats out T-Mobile in this category by a measly 0.3 Mbps. On average, Verizon averages 7.0 Mbps upload speeds, and T-Mobile averages 6.7 Mbps.1
On average, your Instagram stories, Facebook stories, and Snapchats should upload a little faster with Verizon. Yes, that also comes in handy when waiting at the DMV. (Why didn’t I make an appointment?)
The advantage for data speeds goes to T-Mobile, but it’s extremely close. With either carrier, you can expect above-average speeds, but T-Mobile’s network should feel a little faster.
Data caps refer to how much data you can use in a given month before your speeds start to slow down. (Maybe there’s no such thing as truly unlimited after all.) Here’s how the data caps break down between the two providers:
- T-Mobile plans have a 50 GB data cap.
- Verizon plans range from 25 GB (Play More Unlimited Plan) to 75 GB (Get More Unlimited plan).
If you frequently stream on the go or obsessively play Hearthstone (like me), you’ll run through data pretty quickly. Having a higher data cap means you can expect the same speeds for a longer amount of time.
Verizon vs. T-Mobile coverage
Verizon rules supreme when it comes to coverage.
Coverage matters a ton, and Verizon leads the wireless pack. Verizon covers 94.2% of the population with 4G availability, while T-Mobile lags slightly behind at 94.0% of the country.1 It’s a difference of 0.2%, which doesn’t sound like much, but could make a big difference for folks living in more rural areas.
Let’s compare the coverage maps for Verizon and T-Mobile’s coverage.
Verizon coverage map
T-Mobile coverage map
Suddenly 0.2% makes a big difference, right? Especially for those of you living in Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, or Arizona.
If you happen to live in one of those states, you’ll enjoy much more reliable coverage with Verizon’s network than you would with T-Mobile’s network.
Verizon wins the coverage battle over T-Mobile’s network, but then again, Verizon wins the coverage battle against every provider. Expect reliable coverage with either carrier, but Verizon goes above and beyond, especially in rural areas.
Verizon vs. T-Mobile devices
Verizon offers more Google Pixel phones.
|iPhone||iPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 8 Plus||iPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 8 Plus|
|Samsung||Android Galaxy S10+, Android Galaxy Note10, Android Galaxy S10 5G||Android Galaxy S10+, Android Galaxy Note10, Android Galaxy S10 5G|
|Google Pixel 4, Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, Google Pixel 4 XL, Google Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a XL||Google Pixel 4, Pixel 3a, Google Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 3a XL|
|Learn More||View Phones||View Phones|
You’ll find the latest devices from Apple and Android with either provider, but Verizon has the edge on Google devices. If you want the Google Pixel 3 or Google Pixel 3 XL, you’ll want to go through Verizon. For any other iPhone or Android device, you can go through either carrier.
Verizon offers more Google Pixel phones like this one.
The advantage goes to Verizon in the device category. Having more options for your devices always makes life better.
Verizon vs. T-Mobile perks
What do you care about more? Music or streaming?
Verizon and T-Mobile sure know how to sweeten the deal. Both offer some interesting perks that might just excite you.
Both Verizon and T-Mobile offer some perks that may sway you in one direction or the other. Here are some of our favorite perks:
- Netflix subscription included with a T-Mobile Magenta family plan
- Promotions like coupons and vouchers through the T-Mobile
- Tuesdays app
- An hour of in-flight Gogo® Wi-Fi on eligible flights (or unlimited with T-Mobile Magenta Plus)
- Free in-flight texting
- Unlimited texting and data in most countries
Some T-Mobile plans give you free in-flight Wi-Fi.
- Six months of free Apple Music ($9.99 a month after that)
- $10 autopay discount
- Mix and match data family plan
The advantage goes to T-Mobile for perks, but it really comes down to what you prefer: free video streaming or free music streaming. What pushes T-Mobile over the top, however, is all the free in-flight perks. Texting and flying is so much better than driving and texting.
Recap: Should you choose Verizon or T-Mobile?
If you’ve been keeping track so far, you’ll know, it’s a dead tie between T-Mobile and Verizon. The main thing you should take away from this is that both providers are excellent. If we had to choose between the two, we would still recommend Verizon over T-Mobile.
Verizon is the most reliable wireless provider in the country, for now. Coverage matters more than speeds and perks, so we would give the edge to Verizon overall.
When should you pick Verizon or T-Mobile?
- Budgeters: Pick Verizon. T-Mobile only offers unlimited data plans. You can get cheaper Verizon plans with limited data.
- Travelers: Pick T-Mobile. T-Mobile gives you unlimited text and data in most countries. You also get free in-flight texting and Wi-Fi.
- Data hogs: Pick Verizon. Verizon has a whopping 75 GB data cap, which beats out T-Mobile’s 50 GB data cap. You can go nuts with data on Verizon.
- Country dwellers: Pick Verizon. Verizon does a much better job covering rural areas across the country.
- Speed lovers: Pick T-Mobile. T-Mobile currently offers the fastest download speeds in the country.
- OpenSignal, “State of Mobile Networks: USA (January 2019)”