Verizon Cell Phone Plans Review

Verizon’s high scores for coverage and speed are exciting—who could say no to reliable service? But if you’re looking for a cheap option, it may not fit the bill.
Verizon’s high scores for coverage and speed are exciting—who could say no to reliable service? But if you’re looking for a cheap option, it may not fit the bill.
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Large—if not largest—coverage area
Highly rated network speed and performance
Usually one of the priciest options—with some exceptions

If you’re looking for a new cell phone plan, chances are you’re considering Verizon. We say good choice. With its great coverage and fast speeds, Big Red (as Verizon is nicknamed) is one of our top picks for wireless providers.

How Verizon's unlimited plans compare*

1 line2 lines3 lines4 linesLearn more
Verizon$75–$95/mo.$130–$180/mo.$150–$210/mo.$160–$240/mo.View plans
T-Mobile$70–$80/mo.$120–$140/mo.$140–$170/mo.$160–$200/mo.View plans
Sprint$60/mo.$100/mo.$130/mo.**$160/mo.**View plans
AT&T$70–$80/mo.$125–$150/mo.$145–$170/mo.$160–$190/mo.View plans

* Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees not included except for T-Mobile prices.
** Sprint offers savings for 3–5 lines through 6/30/19.

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

But is Verizon right for you? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Verizon’s plans, pricing, performance, and more to find out.

How much does Verizon cost?

We think the middle pick, Beyond Unlimited, offers the best features for the best price.

With three unlimited choices, family plans, and a prepaid option, there’s pretty much a Verizon plan for everyone. The hardest part is deciding which one you want. Decisions, decisions.

Verizon unlimited plans

Verizon unlimited plan prices*

Number of lines**Go UnlimitedBeyond UnlimitedAbove UnlimitedLearn more
1 line$75/mo.$85/mo.$95/mo.View plans
2 lines$130/mo.$160/mo.$180/mo.View plans
3 lines$150/mo.$180/mo.$210/mo.View plans
4 lines$160/mo.$200/mo.$240/mo.View plans
5 lines$200/mo.$250/mo.$300/mo. View plans

* Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees not included.
** Up to 10 lines available.

Sure, you may find cheaper prices from the other top four providers, but if you’re after top-rated, reliable coverage and speeds, we think Verizon’s prices are well worth it. And there are some situations where Verizon costs less than the competition.

Verizon’s Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, and Above Unlimited plans provide a solid set of features, including unlimited 4G LTE data, unlimited talk and text, and a mobile hotspot. But there are a few differences between them that are worth noting.

Verizon unlimited plan features

Verizon unlimited plan perks

Go UnlimitedBeyond UnlimitedAbove Unlimited
Data limitsYour speed may be throttled (slowed) during times of high traffic22 GB of unthrottled data each month75 GB of unthrottled data each month
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
View PlansView PlanView Plan

Comparing Verizon’s Go Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited plans

  • Data speeds may be throttled any time there’s lots of traffic with the Go Unlimited plan, but Beyond Unlimited users get 22 GB of unthrottled data each month. Need more? Above Unlimited has you covered with a jaw-dropping 75 GB of unthrottled data each month. Wowza.
  • Streaming quality is about 480p with Go Unlimited, while Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited beams down movies and shows in HD quality.
  • Mobile hotspot speeds on the Go Unlimited plan cap out at 600 Kbps, which means you can kiss your video streaming goodbye—Netflix recommends a minimum of 1.5 Mbps, or 3 Mbps for SD quality. On the other hand, Beyond Unlimited mobile hotspot users get 15 GB of unthrottled speed each month—and Above 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 Above 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 ONE, which won’t start throttling your data speed during times of congestion until you’ve used more than a jaw-dropping 50 GB during the month.

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Go international with Verizon

If you love to visit family abroad, Verizon may have an international plan for you. Get the scoop on all the perks in our Best of International Plans review.

Verizon family plans

SizePrice*Line access feeLearn more
S (2 GB)$35/mo.$10–$40/mo.View plans
M (4 GB)$50/mo.$10–$40/mo.View plans
L (8 GB)$70/mo.$10–$40/mo.View plans
5 GB$45/mo.$10–$40/mo.View plans
1 GB data boost$15N/AView plans

* Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees not included.
** Verizon requires you to pay an additional monthly line access fee of $20 or $40 for smartphones or $10 for tablets and mobile hotspots.
*** 5 GB for $40/mo. plan limited to a single line only. All others allow up to 10 lines.

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Unlimited may be a better deal

That line access fee pushes the total cost of the 8 GB plan past the unlimited plan prices for one line ($80–$110 for 8 GB versus $75–$95 for unlimited). So if you’re waffling between the two, we recommend going all in with unlimited.

If data caps are OK in your book, the “new Verizon Plan” might fit the bill with three tiers of data—2 GB, 4 GB, and 8 GB—that can be shared by up to 10 devices. If you’re rolling with a “me, myself, and I” vibe, Verizon also offers a single-line, 5 GB plan for $45 a month.

At first glance, this price doesn’t seem bad, but when you factor the monthly line access fee into the 5 GB plan, you’ll get more for your money with the 7 GB, $50-per-month prepaid plan.

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

Beware any data overages, too, because these plans don’t throttle your speeds—instead you’ll end up paying $15 per GB. We recommend monitoring your data usage often—something you can do for free by texting #DATA.

You can also activate a free safety mode for your account, which helps you avoid overage charges by reducing your speeds after you’ve used up your data for that month.

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Looking for prepaid plans?

See how Verizon stacks up in our Best of Prepaid Plans review.

Verizon bundles

We stumbled across this gem: If you sign up for or already have a Verizon unlimited plan, you can get $10 off your cellphone bill and your Fios Double or Triple Play with Gigabit Connection. That’s a total savings of $20 a month.†

This offer is available for a limited time only, but Verizon doesn’t give an expiration date. Instead, it says the credits will be applied to your bill as long as you keep the qualifying services and Verizon still offers the deal.

P.S. if you’ve got Fios internet and Fios TV at home, you can stream without it counting toward your data cap with the Fios TV app. Bring on those The Walking Dead episodes!

Verizon cellphones and devices

You’ve got 31 choices, and 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 preteen off Snapchat during school.

MakeModels availableLearn more
iPhoneiPhone SE, iPhone 7 / 7 Plus, iPhone 8 / 8 Plus, iPhone XLearn more
SamsungGalaxy 7, Galaxy S8 / S8+, Galaxy Note8, Galaxy S9 / S9+Learn more
GooglePixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2XLLearn more

How good is Verizon performance?

How does Verizon stack up against the competition when it comes to coverage and speed? Very well.

Source: Verizon

Verizon reigns supreme when it comes to coverage

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.3, 4, 5, 6

What about Verizon’s customer service?

Verizon could improve its customer service, but so could every other cellphone service provider.

Customer service is rated poorly for the cellphone service industry as a whole, and sadly, Verizon is no exception, but it seems to be getting its act together.

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 continue to 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.

  • Plans: Verizon’s lower-tier Go Unlimited plan doesn’t feel like a good pick thanks to throttled speeds. If you need an unlimited plan, it’d be better to foot a slightly higher bill and go with the Beyond Unlimited plan instead. 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.
  • Overall: If you’re all about fast speeds and the best coverage, Verizon is a great pick. And if you’re looking for more than a few lines and unlimited data for every family member, the price might just be lower than the competition.

FAQs

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 Beyond Unlimited plan and during times of high traffic on the Go 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 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, it 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.

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Pro tip

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 military discount?

Verizon’s military discount can knock $15 off your Go Unlimited or Beyond 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.

Sources

†Limited-time offer for new residential customers who subscribe to a qualifying Fios Double or Triple Play bundle with Fios Gigabit Connection and new wireless customers who subscribe to a qualifying Go Unlimited or Beyond Unlimited plan. Monthly discounts applied via $10 bill credit for Fios and $10 for Verizon Wireless, so long as Verizon offers and customer maintains all qualifying services.