T-Mobile vs. Verizon Review

Big Red vs. Big T—who will win? We think Verizon is best overall, but if you’re a data hog or traveling abroad, T-Mobile takes the lead.
Best performance
Great coverage and speed
Pricier of the two
Best for travel
High data cap (50 GB)
Iffy coverage in rural areas

It’s the proverbial wireless carrier cage match: T-Mobile vs. Verizon. Right now, we think Verizon provides the best coverage, data speeds, and phones—but if you’re price conscious, need a lot of data, or travel abroad often, T-Mobile’s cheaper unlimited plans may be a better pick.

Curious to see which is better for you, T-Mobile or Verizon? Check out our comparison of prices, coverage, speeds, and devices below.

T-Mobile vs. Verizon prices

Verizon has the biggest bang for your buck, but T-Mobile is the cheaper of the two.

In general, the T-Mobile Essentials, Magenta, and Magenta Plus unlimited plans are cheaper than similar plans from Verizon. But if you need four lines, you’ll pay the same price for either T-Mobile or Verizon. So we recommend choosing the carrier with the best coverage and speed in your area (or focusing on another factor that’s important to you).

To break it down, here’s how pricing plays out between the two.

Verizon Get More Unlimited vs. T-Mobile Magenta Plus

And here’s a quick peek at how prices compare for Verizon’s Get More Unlimited and T-Mobile’s Magenta Plus.

Heads up, while Verizon is more stingy about data throttling on its cheaper plans, it lets you cruise through 75 GB of full-speed data per month on its Get More Unlimited plan, while Magenta Plus tops you off with 50 GB of data per month with no throttling.

That’s makes Verizon ideal for anyone who likes to stream movies on the bus ride home from work or whose kiddo plays mobile games every day.

You can find more features for all of these plans in our full T-Mobile and Verizon reviews.

Activation Fees

T-Mobile won’t catch you with an activation fee either. Verizon, on the other hand, requires you to pay a one-time activation fee of $30.

But here’s the catch: Verizon has top ratings for coverage and data speed from a number of studies, while T-Mobile is often left playing catch-up.

To sum it up, for just a few bucks more each month, you’ll get more reliable coverage and faster speeds from Verizon.

Price Tag icon
Prefer prepaid?
Check out our thoughts on T-Mobile and Verizon prepaid plans in our Best of Prepaid Plans review.

Verizon vs. T-Mobile performance

Verizon has the coverage and speed to rule them all—but T-Mobile is improving.

Is T-Mobile coverage as good as Verizon? Not quite.

Verizon earned high scores from two coverage studies, and we agree.1,2 We tested its signal strength all the way out in the Utah desert, and while other carriers were dead in the water, the one Verizon phone in our group still had a signal.

Source: T-Mobile

We should note that T-Mobile is working hard to fill those coverage gaps—to the tune of $8 million, no less. In August 2017, the company’s new 600 MHz spectrum went online, and as a result, its coverage is now more widespread compared to early 2017.3

OK, you’ve got the coverage deets, but is T-Mobile speed as good as Verizon? Well, if cellphone providers were Looney Tunes characters, Verizon would be the roadrunner and T-Mobile would be the coyote.

Studies agree, ranking Verizon at the tippity-top on average, while T-Mobile ranks well in one study but not so well in another.4,5

Bullhorn icon
The race to 5G
Verizon currently has big 5G plans for Los Angeles and Sacramento, but that’s not to say T-Mobile doesn’t have 5G dreams in the making too.6 It’s working on merging with Sprint, a move that’s been shot down before but might just become reality yet.

As 5G rolls out across the country, we’re curious to see who takes (or keeps) the lead.

Verizon vs. T-Mobile phones

Which one has the hookup? Both do. 

For the most part, Verizon and T-Mobile offer the same phones, including the newest models of iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and Google Pixel.

Verizon vs. T-Mobile perks

Get concert tickets and even data with Verizon Up rewards, or score a Netflix subscription with T-Mobile.

Verizon and T-Mobile sure know how to sweeten the deal. Both offer some interesting perks that might just excite you.

Verizon Up rewards program

  • Get a free Disney+ subscription (!) for one full year when you sign up for Verizon.
  • Earn a credit for every $300 you spend on your monthly bill—that includes device costs and your phone plan. And you’ll get a bonus credit after your first month.
  • 1 credit = 1 reward
  • Use your credit within 60 days to score a reward, like streaming subscriptions, movie tickets, discounts on phone upgrades, and more.
    If you’re quick, you can also nab Super Tickets to concerts and sporting events.
  • Sign up for Verizon Up in the My Verizon app.

T-Mobile perks

  • If you add two or more qualifying lines to your T-Mobile Magenta plan, it’ll throw in a Netflix subscription.
  • T-Mobile Tuesdays is its version of a rewards program, though you don’t need to earn credits. Just being a T-Mobile customer is enough. Prizes range from a trip to the World Series to Vudu movie vouchers.
  • If you’re on the T-Mobile Magenta plan, that long flight to visit your in-laws just got better. (We can’t say the same for your actual visit, though. Hang in there, buddy.) In-flight texting and one hour of data on Gogo®-enabled flights are included.
  • If you upgrade to T-Mobile Magenta Plus, that silver lining gets even brighter. Along with your T-Mobile Magenta in-flight perks, you also get unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi on that Gogo®-enabled flight. Stream away, my friend.

Recap: Is T-Mobile as good as Verizon?

Verizon has our vote when it comes to performance. You just can’t beat that highly rated coverage and speed.

But T-Mobile is hot on Verizon’s heels, and if price is a selling point for you, you should know it’s the cheaper of the two. Here are our recommendations for who should pick which carrier.

Which should you pick, Verizon or T-Mobile?

  • Data devourers: Even the cheapest T-Mobile unlimited plan gives you 50 GB of unthrottled data each month, but if you’re willing to spend more money then Verizon’s Get More Unlimited plan will give you 75 GB of full-speed data.
  • International travelers: T-Mobile’s perks, like in-flight texting and Wi-Fi (depending on if you’re on the Magenta or Magenta Plus plan), make that eight-hour flight bearable. Oh, and it has comprehensive international plans too.
  • Anyone living in a rural area: Go with Verizon—there’s a reason it’s known for consistent nationwide coverage.
  • Anyone who’s impatient: Verizon’s unlimited plan speeds keep you from waiting forever for your email or flight updates to load.
  • Super-savers: T-Mobile, unless you need four lines. At four lines on any of the unlimited plans, your price is the same—and in that case, we’d recommend Verizon since you get more bang for your buck on performance basics like coverage and speed.
  • 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!