T-Mobile vs. Verizon Review 2020

The two wireless heavyweights step into the ring.
Best Performance
Great coverage and speed
Pricier of the two
Best for Travel
High data cap (50 GB)
Iffy coverage in rural areas

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.

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Limited data plans are the chicken tenders of the wireless world.
T-Mobile is like a waiter at a restaurant downtown that gets mad when you order chicken tenders. Some people are happy with chicken tenders just like they’re happy with their limited data plans.

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.

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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?

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.

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How does hotspot data work?
Hotspot data allows you to essentially make a Wi-Fi signal that your laptop or other devices can use. You can work, stream, or game online with your laptop wherever you can get a signal. In fact, I’m writing this on a train thanks to hotspot data. Thanks, hotspot data!

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.

Download 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.

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What difference does 1.2 Mbps make?
An average Instagram story might require around 7–8 Mbps to stream. With T-Mobile, Instagram stories will, on average, load about 15–17% faster than Verizon. It comes in handy when you’re waiting at the DMV, desperate for some distraction.

Upload speeds

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

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What difference does 0.3 Mbps make?
Honestly, not much.

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

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.

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Why does coverage matter?
Your cell phone speeds don’t really matter much if you can’t get a signal. That’s like having a really nice car with no gasoline. Coverage matters even more than speed, so make sure your area is covered well by whatever provider you choose.

Let’s compare the coverage maps for Verizon and T-Mobile’s coverage.

Verizon coverage map

Verizon Coverage Map

Source: WhistleOut

T-Mobile coverage map

T-Mobile Coverage Map

Source: WhistleOut

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.

Which top cell phones do Verizon and T-Mobile have?
MakeVerizonT-Mobile
iPhoneiPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 8 Plus
SamsungAndroid Galaxy S10+, Android Galaxy Note10, Android Galaxy S10 5GAndroid Galaxy S10+, Android Galaxy Note10, Android Galaxy S10 5G
GoogleGoogle Pixel 4, Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, Google Pixel 4 XL, Google Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a XLGoogle Pixel 4, Pixel 3a, Google Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 3a XL
Learn MoreView PhonesView 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.

Google Pixel

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:

T-Mobile 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
Woman using WiFi on flight

Some T-Mobile plans give you free in-flight Wi-Fi.

Verizon perks

  • 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.

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Why choose Verizon’s network over T-Mobile?
Just the other day, the whole Reviews.org team got dinner together. I didn’t have any bars with AT&T in the restaurant, so I asked my coworkers what their service was like. The person opposite me had T-Mobile, and they managed a single bar, and the person next to me, who was on Verizon, had two bars. The Verizon person was the only one who managed to get a text out.

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.

Additional contributors

Mindy Woodall

  • Mary Dougherty

    I’m a Verizon customer considering switching to T-Mobile. One comment on the rates – T-Mobile says there are no additional fees/taxes (i.e. the rate they quote is the rate you pay). Verizon adds another $30 to my bill each month to cover taxes/fees ON TOP OF their rates. That adds up!

  • Jeff Stengel

    Yo it says they do in the article. Just not all of them.

  • https://plus.google.com/116828768777885302968 Tony Petreski

    This review has BRIBE from Verizon written all over it, common this is the USA not some third world country you have to write honestly and honestly I have to give the coverage to Verizon but only in the US they’re horrible outside of the US and cost way too much. This guy mentions the starting plan of Verizon but he doesn’t say that Verizon’s cheapest plan $30/month w/500MB of data is the same amount after taxes as the unlimited plan $60/month w/50GB and the rest of Verizon’s plans are way over $60/month. T-Mobile beats out Verizon in everything except coverage in the cornfields but let’s be honest how many people live and drive through cornfields, I have driven through a lot of cornfields and as long as you’re on a major highway T-Mobile has you covered now if you want to take your kids in some remote area I still recommend T-Mobile because they won’t be able to use their phones and enjoy nature :).

  • Brian Spero, Jr

    Many of the benefits at T-Mobile like free Netflix DO NOT APPLY TO SINGLE LINES. Meanwhile not mentioned here is the larger data plan (75GB) is not Apple Music free for 6 months…IT’S FOR GOOD (for the other plans that’s right though)

    And are they not gonna mention the year of Free Disney+ all Verizon users are getting? BUT ANYWAY HERE’S WHAT REALKY MATTERS:

    I’M A DATA HOG. The fact I’m a single user who can’t get the perks with T-Mobile but can with Verizon aside, there are two killers:

    I regularly use 45-65 gigs a month. So…better safe with Verizon than sorry with T-Mobile. Ironically, T-Mobile has a VERY SLIGHT coverage advantage at my home BUT Verizon is still useable…BUT LET’S GO SKIING UP NORTH!!!

    In the mountains of New Hampshire where I’ve shockingly only ever found 2 dead zones with Verizon, one of which is extremely small. And where it matters at the Ski Resorts and my Condo I HAVE NO ISSUES.

    BUT T-MOBILE ISN’T THERE. Not at my condo. And not at the Ski resort near my condo either. So…Having T-Mobile would mean no phine at my condo or while skiing. God forbid I should get hurt…I NEED MY PHONE TO WORK! Or if I want to relax with my phone after a hard day of skin g…SORRY T-MOBILE BUT UNTIL YOU CAN COVER MY CONDO AND THE SKI RESORTS IN NH I literally CANNOT switch to you!!!

    I’ll happily pay the extra 30 (40 after taxes) to have service at my condo…Where T-Mobileile won’t go.