Verizon buyer's guide: Everything you need to know

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. with over 145 million subscribers. It offers nationwide Voice and LTE data coverage on its network, using GSM, LTE, and CDMA technology.

Verizon offers unlimited talk and text wireless plans for individuals and families and it has deals on the latest smartphone, including the Samsung Galaxy S8. If you're thinking of switching to Verizon or you're about to renew your plan, you might be wondering which plan best suits your usage habits and needs on a monthly basis. Do you really need unlimited data? Are you signing up for multiple lines?

If you have questions about which Verizon plan is best for you, we have answers. Check these out and see if they work for you.

Best VPN providers 2020: Learn about ExpressVPN, NordVPN & more

Individual plans

Verizon offers two types of plans: talk, text, and data and prepaid.

Talk, text, and data plans

For individual lines, Verizon essentially offers two types of plans: Small, Medium, Large, or Unlimited. Each plan features unlimited nationwide talk and text, unlimited 2G data, and rollover data (data you don't use in a month is available until the end of the next month). The amount of 4G LTE data is all that really changes between each plan.

Small gets 2GB of 4G LTE for $35/month, Medium gets 4GB for $50/month, Large gets 8GB for $70/month. There are two types of Unlimited plans, and while they have no data caps, there are rules about throttling speeds when the network is congested. Some Unlimited plans also feature tethering and service in Mexico and Canada. See below for more information about unlimited plans.

Keep in mind that the above-mentioned prices don't include any monthly payments you have to make if you decide to purchase a phone through Verizon.

Learn more

Unlimited plans

Verizon has two unlimited plans: Go Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited. The differences between them are video streaming quality and hotspot data speeds. Here is an overview of each plan, with pricing for individual lines and family plans.

Go Unlimited

  • One line: $75/month
  • Two lines: $65 per line/month
  • Three lines: $50 per line/month
  • Four or more lines lines: $40 per line/month

Paper-free billing and AutoPay discounts apply.

The Go Unlimited plan offers unlimited LTE data, but you're subject to reduced speeds (throttling) when the network is congested. How much (or how little) data you have used in the current billing period doesn't matter here.

Additionally, video streaming is capped at 480p on phones and 720p on tablets. And while the Go Unlimited plans offer unlimited data through mobile hotspot (tethering), the speed is hard capped at 600kbps.

Beyond Unlimited

  • One line: $85/month
  • Two lines: $80 per line/month
  • Three lines: $60 per line/month
  • Four or more lines: $50 per line/month

Paper-free billing and AutoPay discounts apply.

The Beyond Unlimited plan offers unlimited LTE data, but you're subject to reduced speeds (throttling) at times of network congestion if you exceed 22GB in a billing cycle.

Additionally, video streaming is capped by default at 720p on phones and 1080p on tablets. Mobile hotspot use is unlimited, with 15GB of LTE data in each billing cycle. Laptops or other devices used through the hotspot have a 1080p hard cap for streaming video.

For a fee of $10 per month, per line, video throttling can be lifted and you can stream video at any resolution, including 4K. Lines must be suscribed to the Beyond Unlimited plan to disable the throttling.

Learn more

Verizon prepaid

If you don't want to sign up for a contract of any kind, then you can go month-to-month with Verizon on its prepaid plans. The best prepaid plan is the $50/month plan, which features 5GB of 4G LTE data (1GB more than Verizon's Medium plan), unlimited domestic talk and text, and unlimited texting to over 200 countries.

The other positive aspect of this plan is that any data you don't use rolls over to your next month. You also still get unlimited 2G data speeds after you use up your 4G LTE allotment.

There's also an Unlimited Prepaid plan for $80 per month, which offers the same limitations as Go Unlimited but adds roaming in Canada and Mexico.

Learn more

Best Verizon phones

Verizon doesn't really play nice with the whole "bring your own device" (BYOD) thing. In fact, it doesn't really play at all. Unless you have an inactive Verizon phone lying around, you can't bring your own phone. If you're not bringing your own phone to Verizon, these are the best ones you can purchase from the carrier.

Google Pixel 2

The Google Pixel 2 is the best Android phone around and the best money can buy. Featuring Google's "pure" Android software and timely updates to keep your personal data secure, the Pixel line of phones reshaped the Android landscape.

The Pixel 2 has a metal body that feels well-made in the hand, and the software experience is clean and straightforward. The Pixel 2 also has the best Android phone camera available and you'll love the photos you can take.

You can get a Pixel 2 starting at $27.08/month from Verizon.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Galaxy S8+

Samsung's newest flagships are some the best Android phones on the market, with their slick design, featuring minimal bezel, curved screens, a new aspect ratio, and industry-leading displays. These phones have huge displays, but they don't feel huge, thanks to the fact that they're thinner than other big phones. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ also have phenomenal cameras, both rear and front, offering excellent image quality, thanks to updated processors.

You can get the Galaxy S8 starting at $31.50/month and the Galaxy S8+ starting at $35.

LG V20

LG V20

If you'd like a large phone, then check out LG's V20. It has a gorgeous 5.7-inch QHD display, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of expandable storage, making it an excellent phone for power users. It features a removable battery, two rear cameras, and Second Screen notifications, as well as easy-to-reach shortcuts (which are super important if you're using a big phone and have smaller hands).

Each of the V20's two rear cameras has its own focal length, which can help you create some stunning effects, making this the perfect phone for avid photographers who don't feel like lugging around their DSLR.

You can get the LG V20 starting at $24/month from Verizon.

Learn more

Best deals on Verizon

Verizon's best deal right now is the Samsung Galaxy S8 for as little as $15/month or the Galaxy S8+ for as little as $20/month. To be eligible, you need to port in your number from another carrier, sign up for Verizon's Unlimited plan, and trade in an eligible phone.

Learn more

If you're not in for a premium device and just want a phone that you can surf the web with, and you aren't concerned with performance or cameras or anything like that, then Verizon has a range of budget smartphones that you can get for free or $5/month.

Learn more

How to cancel Verizon

The absolute easiest way to cancel Verizon is to switch providers and have your new carrier port your number over. That's really it. Depending on your plan, Verizon may charge you an early termination fee. You may also have to buy out any devices for which you still owe.

Verizon like to make things a bit difficult on you if you're trying to cancel, but if you'd rather speak with a service rep you can do one of the following:

  • Call Verizon's customer service line at 1-800-837-4966
  • Talk to someone in person at a Verizon store near you.

How to unlock a Verizon Wireless phone

Looking to leave Verizon but want to take your phone with you? Well, Verizon may not let you bring your own phone (or makes it very hard to, anyway), but you can definitely take your phone with you.

From Verizon's site:

We do not lock most phones or tablets that are activated with our postpay service, either during or after the term of your service contract or Edge installment sales agreement. We do not lock our 4G LTE devices, and no code is needed to program them for use with another carrier.

So you should be able to take just about any phone you have from Verizon and use it with another carrier, though you'll want to check eligibility with the other carrier before signing up.

Finding an alternative carrier that uses Verizon's service

Alternative carriers or mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are carriers that lease coverage from the Big Four carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile). Verizon doesn't have too many MVNOs under its belt, but if you enjoy Verizon's coverage and are perhaps seeking cheaper plans, then you should consider switching to an MVNO.

Big players in the alternative carrier market that use Verizon's network are Credo Mobile, Straight Talk, and Tracfone, but there are a few others to consider.

Just keep in mind that many alternative carriers lease coverage from multiple networks, so depending on your plan you may not actually be connected to Verizon's network.

Update October 2017: Added information on video throttling buyout plans and added Pixel 2 pricing and information.

Complete list of Verizon MVNOs

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.