Verizon Cell Phone Plans Review 2019

What has high speeds and coverage all over? Verizon does—but it comes at a price.
Verizon logo
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Most reliable coverage
Highly rated network speed and performance
Usually pricier

We’re going to give you the “Too Long, Didn’t Read” (TL;DR for the kids out there) summary of Verizon: it’s the best wireless provider out there. It has the best coverage in the country, super-fast speeds, and plenty of hotspot data. The only problem? It’s a bit more expensive than every other provider.

That’s the long and short of Verizon wireless, but just in case, we dug up all the nitty-gritty details too.

Verizon unlimited plans

It’s not the cheapest unlimited plan in the world, but it’s probably the best.

If you check out the prices of its unlimited plans versus those of its main competitors (AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile), Verizon’s tends to be a bit pricier, though not always. But we think Verizon’s coverage, speed, and performance—three things the company rates highly for—make the price worthwhile.

Verizon unlimited plans

Now let’s put those Verizon prices in context with the other major wireless competitors. Be forewarned: price isn’t everything. Of course, we all want to pay less for our wireless plans, but remember that coverage matters too.

Imagine your car breaks down during a road trip in the middle of nowhere, and you can’t get service to call AAA. Well, then you have no choice but to live in the forest. Seriously though, you want the kind of coverage Verizon provides.

Verizon unlimited plans comparison

Verizon unlimited plan features

So what do you get with a Verizon unlimited plan?

Long story short, really good service.

After all, if you have unlimited data, you’ll want the freedom to use it wherever you are. Just because you’re out camping, it doesn’t mean you can’t watch your goodnight episode of The Great British Bake Off in your tent.

Verizon unlimited plan perks
Plan detailsStart UnlimitedDo More UnlimitedGet More Unlimited
Data limitsNoneNoneNone
Video streaming quality480p720p720p
Mobile hotspotUnlimited data at 600 Kbps. speedsUnlimited data with 15 GB of unthrottled hotspot data each monthUnlimited data with 20 GB of unthrottled hotspot data each month
Texting and data (in 140+ countries)YesYesYes
Unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and MexicoYesYesYes
TravelPasses IncludedNoNo5 per month
Verizon CloudNoNo500 GB
Learn moreView PlansView PlansView Plans

Comparing Verizon’s Start Unlimited and Do More Unlimited plans

  • Verizon can throttle data speeds any time there’s lots of traffic with the Start Unlimited plan, but Do More Unlimited users get 22 GB of unthrottled data each month. Need more? Get More Unlimited has you covered with a jaw-dropping 75 GB of unthrottled data each month. Good luck using all that.
  • Streaming quality is about 480p with Start Unlimited, while Do More Unlimited and Get More Unlimited beam down movies and shows in HD quality.
  • Mobile hotspot speeds on the Start Unlimited plan cap out at 600 Kbps, which means you can kiss your video streaming goodbye. Netflix recommends a minimum of 1.5 Mbps for streaming, or if you want SD, 3 Mbps. On the other hand, Do More Unlimited mobile hotspot users get 15 GB of unthrottled speed each month—and Get More Unlimited gets you 20 GB of unthrottled speed. Satellite internet users, rejoice!

If you go bonkers without speedy downloads and HD-quality streaming, we think the Get More Unlimited plan is the real winner out of the two. But if you’re a real data hog that’s also concerned about price, you might prefer T-Mobile’s Magenta plan. That plan won’t start throttling your data speed during times of congestion until you’ve used more than an incredible50 GB during the month.

Pin icon
Looking for international coverage?
If you love to visit family abroad, Verizon may have an international plan for you. Get the scoop on all the perks in our review of the best international plans.

Verizon family plans

It’s still expensive, but you get the same amazing coverage

Verizon family plans

Yes, Verizon is generally more expensive than other wireless providers, but you can get some good deals with family plans. As a general rule of thumb, the cost per line is almost always cheaper when you operate within a family plan.

Heads Up icon
How do you feel about data caps?
If you don’t need unlimited data, the Medium or Large Verizon Plans might fit the bill for your family with two data options—4 GB or 8 GB—that can be shared by up to 10 devices.

We also want to point out that our own Verizon family plan comes with a mobile hotspot, but you may want to check with your Verizon rep to be sure yours will too, since this isn’t advertised on the site.

Bullhorn icon
Beware data overages
Verizon plans don’t throttle your speeds—instead, you’ll end up paying $15 per GB you use over your limit. Keep track of your data usage by texting #DATA or by checking the MyVerizon app.

Verizon family plans comparison

The Verizon price tag hurts a little more when compared to other providers. The truth of the matter is that you can get unlimited data family plans for cheaper with other providers than you would pay for 8 GB of data on a Verizon family plan.

It’s going to come down to how much coverage means to you. If you want the best coverage money can buy, Verizon is for you. If you live in the city and aren’t worried about low coverage, you can get cheaper family plans with other carriers.

Verizon prepaid plans

The classic cellular loophole of getting a cheaper deal with a prepaid plan sadly doesn’t work too well with Verizon. The prepaid plans end up being more expensive than cheaper services like Sprint. But Verizon prepaid plans still offer excellent coverage, so you do have that going for you.

Also, Verizon prepaid plans don’t come with features like hotspot tethering. If you’ve ever needed to access your computer on the go, you know how important a hotspot can be.

Oh, and one more thing—you could experience slower speeds due to data deprioritization (which is a fancy way of saying you’re at the back of the line when the network is congested).

If you’re set on getting a prepaid plan, you might want to check out Metro by T-Mobile.

Money icon
Looking for a super cheap wireless plan?
This is where the nerdy guy with the yellow t-shirt, leather jacket, and glasses comes out of nowhere and tells you about Sprint. Truth be told, Sprint is cheaper than other wireless carriers, but the tradeoff is poor coverage.

Verizon cell phones and devices

You’ve got 31 choices, and the Samsung Galaxy is one.

Just like Baskin Robbins has 31 original flavors, Verizon has 31 choices when it comes to smartphones. (At least at the time we’re reviewing them.) And yes, the latest from Apple, Samsung, or Google is most likely one, along with more old-school flip-phones if you’re just looking for an emergency phone that keeps your kid off Snapchat during school.

verizon cell phone review: samsung galaxy s10+ - reviews.org

Which top phones does Verizon have?*

Apple

  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8/8 Plus
  • iPhone 7/7 Plus

Samsung

  • Galaxy S10/S10+
  • Galaxy S9/S9+
  • Galaxy S8/S8+

Google

  • Pixel 4
  • Pixel 4XL
  • Pixel 3
  • Pixel 3XL

*not a complete list

Verizon’s performance

How does Verizon stack up against the competition when it comes to coverage and speed? Two words: very well.

verizon coverage map

Source: Verizon

Pretty much anywhere you look, Verizon reigns supreme when it comes to coverage. This is something it’s proud of, and rightly so. Verizon loves to show off RootMetrics rankings in particular—and other studies have ranked it well too.1, 2

Verizon feels the need—the need for speed. It’s a safe bet for speedy downloads, with high ratings from three different studies.1, 2, 3

This is why Verizon costs more than the wireless competition—good coverage costs money. So if you’re the type that ventures to parts unknown (like North Dakota or something), or even if your area is just more rural, you’ll probably want the reliability Verizon provides.

Verizon customer service

Verizon could improve its customer service, but so could every other cell phone carrier.

The cell phone industry as a whole struggles with its customer service, and sadly, Verizon is no exception.

Keep in mind you can still get help with your Verizon account or phone through online chat (if you’re signed into your Verizon account) or throw some hashtags Verizon’s way on Twitter and Facebook.

We’d like to see Verizon innovate and improve when it comes to customer service. And a more transparent way of allowing customers to price and compare plans wouldn’t hurt, either.

Recap: Is Verizon good?

If you’re looking for the TL;DR on how Verizon’s cell phone service compares, look no further.

  • Unlimited plans: We recommend the Get More Unlimited plan to avoid any annoying data throttling.
  • Prepaid plans: As far as plans with data caps go, we think prepaid is the way to go, since line-access fees on the Verizon family plan quickly add up to more than you’d pay for unlimited.
  • Performance: Verizon’s coverage and speed earned top ratings. We agree.
  • Customer service: It’s fairly easy to reach Verizon online, but the wireless service provider industry as a whole leaves something to be desired when it comes to customer service.

If you’re all about fast speeds and the best coverage, Verizon is a great pick. If you want to get the best possible price, do what you can to work within a family plan. If you’re a single user, reach out to family and friends and see if you can hop on a plan.

What are your thoughts about Verizon? Are you satisfied with the coverage you get? Let us know in the comments below!

FAQ

Q: Does Verizon have overage charges or hidden fees?

Overage charges have mostly gone the way of the dinosaurs, and that deserves a cheer.

After your first 22 GB on the Get More Unlimited plan and during times of high traffic on the Start Unlimited plan, Verizon could slow your speed down to 600 Kbps or less.

If you’re on a prepaid plan (both with a data cap and the unlimited plan), you might feel like your internet browsing is in slow motion if you exceed your data limit and Verizon throttles you back to 128 Kbps.

For those on the “new Verizon Plan,” where you can choose from small (S), medium (M), and large (L) data packages, you’re still stuck paying overage charges of $15 per GB.

Q: Does Verizon charge an activation fee?

Yes, you will need to pay a one-time activation fee if you’re a new Verizon customer, and this rings in at $30 per device.

Even though it’s only a one-time charge, we like that it’s less than AT&T’s $45 activation fee. We also noticed that Verizon waives the activation fee when you purchase a prepaid phone and plan online. Huzzah!

Q: Should I get a warranty or insurance for my Verizon phone?

Tired of burying your phone in rice after dropping it in the sink or squinting to see the text on your cracked screen? Then an extended warranty or equipment insurance might be worth it in the long run.

If you’re looking for a standard level of protection (loss, theft, or damage) for only one device, we think the Total Equipment Coverage hits the spot. The price is much less per month than the Total Mobile Protection plan, and the deductible is the same.

Q: Does Verizon let you bring your own phone?

Verizon allows you to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and offers a free SIM card if you check your phone’s compatibility on its site (otherwise, the card costs $24.99).

Q: Can I keep my phone number?

No need to tell all your friends and family to update their contacts—Verizon offers free phone number transfers. It usually takes up to a day to transfer a number from your wireless device, and Verizon says your old phone will continue to work as the transfer proceeds.

You can check if your current number can be transferred on Verizon’s site.

Info Box icon
Wait, don't cancel just yet!
Don’t cancel your current service before you transfer your number to Verizon. While you may be ready to cut ties with your old wireless provider, keeping your service until the transfer is complete helps make your transition smoother.

Q: What are Verizon’s return policy and early termination fee?

In general, Verizon accepts returns and exchanges of devices within 14 days, but it still charges you a $35 restocking fee. Heads up: you can exchange your device only once, so make sure your second choice is a match made in heaven.

As with any big company, Verizon’s return and early termination policies are pretty lengthy. We recommend reading through them if you’re considering canceling your service or returning your device.

Q: Does Verizon have a senior discount?

Verizon offers one discount plan for folks who are 55 and up. Here are the details:

Q: Does Verizon have a military discount?

Verizon’s military discount can knock $15 off your Start Unlimited or Do More Unlimited monthly bill, or 15% off other eligible plans. You’ll also get 25% off select accessories.

To qualify for the military discount, you’ll need to be either active duty or a veteran and provide proof of service.

Active duty members need a military-issued email, paystub, or SCRA Status Report.

Veterans need their DD 214, veterans ID card, military retiree account statement, or a VetRewards card from Veterans Advantage.

Check out the latest Verizon military discount deals:

Sources

Additional contributors

Catherine McNally