The two wireless heavyweights step into the ring.
T-Mobile vs. Verizon Review 2023
Verizon and T-Mobile both pack a punch when it comes to coverage, data speeds, and awesome perks. But neither company is going to deliver a knockout in this fight. Verizon has the best coverage in the country, but T-Mobile has faster data speeds.
So instead of declaring a winner between the two, we’ll go through T-Mobile's and Verizon’s plans, performance, and perks to highlight what they do well (and not so well). That way you can choose the plan that’s best for you.
The best cell phone deals right now
The Big Three mobile carriers—AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon—are all offering great trade-in deals right now. That means you can get $700 or more off select smartphones like the iPhone 14 when you trade in your old device.
Meanwhile, smaller T-Mobile and Verizon MVNO carriers like Mint Mobile and Visible Wireless are offering six months of free wireless service for new customers who sign up for a six-month plan or $200 virtual gift cards.
Find these and other offers in our monthly roundup of the best cell phone deals.
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. There’s a lot of them, but don’t get overwhelmed: we’ll go over it all in this review.
You’ll notice that Verizon offers way more plans than T-Mobile overall. That’s because T-Mobile offers only one plan that’s not unlimited data.
Although unlimited data plans seem to be the future of wireless service, it may still be overkill for some users (like your kids or your parents). If you know you aren’t an unlimited-data kind of user, then you might want to go with Verizon or check out these cheaper plans.
Let’s dive deeper into these plans.
Verizon vs. T-Mobile pricing and plans
Let’s start this comparison with the cheap stuff and work our way up.
If you’re looking for a no-data, no-frills talk and text plan, then T-Mobile has you covered for just $20 a month. But if you want a limited data plan, with anywhere from 500 MB to 5 GB of data, then Verizon has a few prepaid options starting at $35 a month.
But let’s move on to the main event, the star of the show, the feature picture: unlimited plans. Here’s a look at what Verizon and T-Mobile are serving up for all you data hogs.
How much data do I need?
Unlimited talk and text come included with most cell phone plans—what you pay for your cell phone plan will largely depend on data. Check out our data guide and make sure you don’t pay for too much data (or too little).
Verizon vs. T-Mobile unlimited pricing
T-Mobile offers a cheaper unlimited plan, but is it better?
T-Mobile takes the prize for most affordable unlimited plan with its $60 Essentials plan. This plan offers a cheap(ish) way to get unlimited talk, text, and data from one of the country’s most robust wireless networks. (We recommend checking out Visible or Xfinity Mobile for cheaper unlimited plans).
The biggest downside to this plan is that your data can be deprioritized during times of congestion. Basically, that means the company will slow down your speeds to give service to more important customers (i.e., people who give them more money).
If you want to be one of those people who give T-Mobile more money ($10 more) to get full speeds all the time, then you can get the Magenta plan.
The $70 Magenta plan comes with some extra perks, like international texting, in-flight Wi-Fi, and 5G coverage (if you’ve got the right device). But before you jump on the T-Mobile bandwagon, check out Verizon’s unlimited plan that runs at the same price.
Looking for faster home internet?
If your home internet provider's speed and reliability aren't cutting it, switching to 5G coverage at home could definitely help. Check out T-Mobile's 5G Home Internet to see if it's available in your area.
As with T-Mobile’s cheapest unlimited plan, Unlimited Welcome customers can experience data deprioritization when the network is busy. And for the record, we think that’s pretty bogus for a $65 plan.
But Verizon tries to make up for deprioritization with some perks to choose from, like extra storage or more hotspot data. You'll also find add-on options for streaming and music like Verizon's Disney Bundle, an Apple One subscription, or a subscription to Walmart+. Not to mention that Verizon operates the best mobile network in the country (we’ll talk about that more in a minute).
When you start looking at the higher-tiered plans from Verizon and T-Mobile, the main benefits you find are increased high-speed data caps and better streaming quality.
Both Verizon’s Unlimited Plus and T-Mobile’s Magenta plans will give you HD video streaming.
But T-Mobile is the clear winner when it comes to the high-speed data cap, giving truly unlimited high-speed data for its Go5G Plus plan, no matter how much data you use. Compare that to Verizon's 50 GB, and you’ll see why some people pay a few extra bucks for the Go5G Plus Plan. And if $90 feels like way too much, even T-Mobile's Go5G plan has double Verizon's high-speed data cap, giving you 100 GB of premium data.
Data caps refer to how much data you can use in a given month before your speeds start to slow down. Here’s how the data caps break down between the two providers:
- All T-Mobile plans (except for its Go5G Plus plan) have a 100 GB data cap.
- Verizon plans range from 15 GB to 50 GB (Unlimited Plus)
If you frequently stream on the go or obsessively play Hearthstone (like my fellow writer here at Reviews.org does), 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
Coverage matters a ton, and Verizon leads the wireless pack. WhistleOut reports that Verizon’s 4G coverage has reached 70% of the nation, while T-Mobile comes second with 59% 4G coverage.1
Let’s compare the coverage maps for Verizon and T-Mobile to see just where the two differ.
Suddenly that 11% difference between Verizon's and T-Mobile's coverage areas 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 phone carrier, but Verizon goes above and beyond, especially in rural areas.
Verizon vs. T-Mobile devices
You’ll find the latest devices from Apple, Samsung, Google, and other brands with both Verizon and T-Mobile. The main differences you’ll see between these two are in the temporary deals they are running on new devices.
Here’s a list of some of the most popular phones that T-Mobile is currently selling.
And here’s a look at some phones that Verizon’s selling.
Seriously though, check out the deals that Verizon is running. Sometimes they offer wild, off-the-wall stuff like buy-one-get-one iPhones.
Looking to make the switch?
Verizon vs. T-Mobile perks
Both Verizon and T-Mobile offer some extra features, like wireless mobile hotspots. But they each have unique perks to sway you in one direction or the other. Here are some of our favorite perks:
- Netflix subscription included with a T-Mobile Go5G Plus plan
- Apple TV+ included with T-Mobile's Go5G (for six months) and Go 5G Plus plans
- Promotions like coupons and vouchers through the T-Mobile Tuesdays app
- Full-flight texting and Wi-Fi with streaming with T-Mobile's Go5G Plus plan and four full-flight streaming sessions a year plus one hour of streaming with Go5G.
- AAA membership included for one year with the Go5G plan
- Free in-flight texting
- Unlimited texting and data in most countries
Some T-Mobile plans give you free in-flight Wi-Fi.
Verizon's perks are bundled into $10 add-on packages. You can add as many or as few as you like, and Verizon even lets you change them up whenever you want.
- Disney Bundle: Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+
- 100 GB mobile hotspot
- 3 TravelPass Days
- 2 TB cloud storage
- Smartwatch data & safety
- Walmart+ membership
- Apple Music Family
- Apple One
We think the advantage goes to Verizon for perks, but it really comes down to what you prefer: The Mandalorian or Black Mirror, Apple Music or in-flight service.
Recap: Should you choose Verizon or T-Mobile?
It's basically a dead tie between T-Mobile and Verizon. The main thing you should take away from this is that both providers are excellent and you can’t go wrong with either.
But there are a few reasons it might make sense to choose one over the other.
When should you pick Verizon or T-Mobile?
- Budgeters: Pick T-Mobile. T-Mobile offers cheaper unlimited plans than Verizon at every tier of service. If you’re looking for a non-unlimited data plan, then Verizon is actually better (we would also recommend these plans).
- Data hogs: Pick T-Mobile. T-Mobiles Go5G Plus plan has no data cap, which obviously beats out Verizon's 50 GB data cap. You can go nuts with data on T-Mobile.
- Travelers: Pick T-Mobile. Both carriers give you unlimited text and data in most countries, but with T-Mobile, you'll also get free in-flight texting and Wi-Fi.
- 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 faster download and upload speeds than Verizon.
Mindy Woodall and Tyler Abbott