Verizon Cell Phone Plans Review 2020
We’re going to give you the “Too Long, Didn’t Read” (TL;DR, as the kids say) 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—like $5-$15 more every month than comparable cell phone plans. But if you want the best, Verizon is the best cell phone provider for our money.
That’s the long and short of Verizon wireless, but just in case, we dug up all the nitty-gritty details too.
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Verizon unlimited plans
It’s not the cheapest unlimited plan in the world, but it’s probably the best.
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 Baking Show in your tent.
|Plan details||Start Unlimited||Play More Unlimited||Do More Unlimited||Get More Unlimited|
|5G access where available||$10/mo. with 5G capable device||Free with 5G capable device||Free with 5G capable device||Free with 5G capable device|
|Video streaming quality||480p||720||720p||720p|
|Mobile hotspot||Unlimited data at 600 Kbps speeds||Unlimited data with 15 GB of unthrottled hotspot data each month||Unlimited data with 15 GB of unthrottled hotspot data each month||Unlimited data with 30 GB of unthrottled hotspot data each month|
|Free Disney+ subscription||Yes (for one year)||Yes (for one year)||Yes (for one year)||Yes (for one year)|
|Free Apple Music subscription||Yes (for six months)||Yes||Yes (for six months)||Yes|
|Texting and data (in 140+ countries)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Verizon Cloud||No||No||500 Gb||500 GB|
|Learn more||View Plans||View Plans||View Plans||View Plans|
Comparing Verizon’s Start, Play More, Do More, and Get More Unlimited plans
- Verizon can throttle data speeds any time there’s lots of traffic with the Start Unlimited plan, but Play More Unlimited users get 25 GB of unthrottled data each month and Do More Unlimited users get 50 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 Play More Unlimited, 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, Play More Unlimited and Do More Unlimited mobile hotspot users get 15 GB of unthrottled speed each month—and Get More Unlimited gets you 30 GB of unthrottled speed. Satellite internet users, rejoice!
If you go bonkers without speedy downloads and HD-quality streaming, we think the Play More Unlimited or Get More Unlimited plans are the real winners here. 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 incredible 50 GB during the month.
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.
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.
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 with other providers for about what 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. 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.
Verizon cell phones and devices
Smartphones, flip phones, 5G phones, pre-owned phones. So many phones.
Verizon has phones. Dozens of ’em. You can get all the latest devices from Apple, Google, and Samsung. Check out the top five most popular devices on the Verizon network right now:
How does Verizon stack up against the competition when it comes to coverage and speed? Two words: very well.
Verizon has owned the championship belt for best coverage for a while now, and its no different in 2020. Verizon offers 4G coverage to 70% of the country, which leads all major networks.1
Best networks based on 4G coverage
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.
Check out the Verizon coverage map below to see what we’re talking about.
Verizon coverage map
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.
Verizon’s COVID-19 response
Verizon started to introduce some benefits and relief customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are the things Verizon has committed to doing:
- Unlimited domestic calling for all by-the-minute plans
- Free calling to CDC-designated Level 3 countries
- A tripling (3x) of wireless bandwidth to aid schools that are doing remote teaching.
- Wireless customers get a free, automatic 15 GB of data added to their plans.
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!
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 25 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.
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:
- WhistleOut, “Guide to Finding the Best Cell Phone Coverage.”
Catherine McNally and Easton Smith