Visible vs. US Mobile: Which carrier should you get?
Visible is one of the newest carriers to hit the market, and it gets a lot of points thanks to how easy it is to use. For just $40/month with taxes and fees included, Visible gives you unlimited talk, text, and data on Verizon's LTE network. We love the free hotspot access, but limited Android support is still a deal-breaker for some potential customers.
The simple choice
US Mobile ditches Visible's simplicity and instead chooses to offer some of the most customizable wireless plans around. You can create a custom plan with a set amount of talk, text, and data, or sign up for an unlimited one and choose the speed of your data. US Mobile is also more accessible, as it works with T-Mobile and Verizon's networks.
Visible and US Mobile take two very different approaches with their wireless offerings. On the one hand, Visible has a simple and straightforward $40/month plan that gives customers unlimited talk, text, and LTE data on Verizon's network. Hotspot access is also included for free, but you're limited to just that one plan, and Android support is weaker than we'd like. On the other hand, US Mobile has highly customizable wireless plans and allows you to fine-tune everything just how you'd like. It's not quite as simple, and you'll need to pay extra for hotspot usage. But the fact that you can take advantage of either Verizon or T-Mobile's network on just about any Android phone is a big plus.
For a lot of people, the most essential part of a wireless carrier is how its plan is structured. In this regard, Visible and US Mobile couldn't be any more different if they tried.
With Visible, there's just one plan to choose. It costs $40/month with taxes and fees included in that price, and customers get unlimited talk, text, and LTE data. Visible used to cap data speeds at just 5Mbps, but for a limited time, new and existing customers get fully uncapped data.
Along with your talk, text, and data, that $40/month price also includes free hotspot access. Hotspot speeds are limited to 5Mbps, and you can only have one device connected at a time. But the fact that you don't have to pay anything extra for it is fantastic.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we have US Mobile.
US Mobile has two main plans — Custom Plan and Unlimited Plan — which can both be fine-tuned to your exact liking.
The Custom Plan allows you to choose your exact allotment of talk, text, and data each month. And should you find yourself running low at any point during your billing period, you can add a top-up to keep your service going. With the Unlimited Plan, unlimited texting is included by default, and you then choose how much talk and data you want. The Unlimited plan also enables you to select the speed of your data, including 1Mbps, 5Mbps, or unthrottled access.
That level of customization could be a bit confusing for some customers, but for folks that know exactly what they want, having so much freedom over the two plans is a big plus. A more significant downside, however, is that US Mobile charges an extra $10/month if you want to use its hotspot feature.
No matter if you get Visible or US Mobile, you won't be able to roam internationally on either carrier. US Mobile notes that it's working on adding this at some point in the future, but right now, both companies are equal in these regards.
Verizon's nationwide LTE network powers Visible, and as you'd imagine, coverage is fantastic. Verizon blankets more of the U.S. than anyone else, especially in mainly rural areas. As someone that grew up in a small farm town with less than 1,000 people, I can vouch for Verizon's reliability in these trickier parts of the country.
Visible's use of Verizon's network is great to see, but US Mobile has a better offering here.
When you sign up for US Mobile, you get sent two SIM cards — one for its Super LTE Network and another for the carrier's GSM LTE Network. The former is essentially a Verizon SIM while the latter accesses T-Mobile's towers.
You don't get to switch back and forth between Verizon and T-Mobile as you do on Google Fi. But having the choice of the network you prefer ties into US Mobile's idea of giving you as much control as possible over your wireless service.
Call and texting performance works great on both carriers. But even with its uncapped LTE speeds, Visible's dWellata performance still lags behind what's offered on US Mobile.
In our testing, uncapped LTE performance on Visible averaged out around 14Mbps with a peak download speed of 21.3Mbps. When we reviewed US Mobile, the average speed for its uncapped data reached a much higher average of 68Mbps with a peak speed of nearly 99Mbps.
Visible's LTE is more than adequate for browsing the web, streaming HD video, and listening to music. But if you want the fastest possible data while on the go, US Mobile has a clear advantage.
When it comes to a carrier and the phones it offers, there are two things you need to look at — phones that the carrier sells and which phones in general work with its service. For that first point, Visible is the clear winner.
Visible sells a decent selection of modern phones, including the likes of the Pixel 3 and 3a series, Moto G7 Power, and the iPhone XS and XR. You can buy the phones outright, or get 0% interest financing through Affirm.
As for US Mobile, the offering of phones it sells is pretty abysmal. You'll find the XS and XR just like Visible, but when it comes to Android phones, some of the newest handsets include the HTC One M10 and LG G4. The Prices are also ridiculous, with US Mobile charging $609 for the Galaxy S6 Edge+ — a smartphone that was released in 2015.
In regards to general phone compatibility, however, US Mobile takes the cake. You can use the Verizon SIM with any Verizon-supported phone, or use the T-Mobile SIM for just about any Android phone that exists.
Despite Visible using Verizon's network, only a minimal number of devices are currently compatible. Pretty much every iPhone from the 6 and SE up to the XS and XR work without a hitch, but for Android, you need to have one of the following phones:
- Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+
- Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+
- Google Pixel 3/3 XL
- Google Pixel 3a/3a XL
- Moto G7 Power
- Moto Z4
We're expecting Visible to add support for more phones down the road, but being limited to such a small list could make the carrier a non-starter for a lot of people.
Simplicity vs. customization
At the end of the day, this is a comparison that boils down to one main thing — do you value simplicity or customization with your carrier?
Visible's data speeds aren't nearly as fast as what US Mobile offers. And you can't really change anything about the plan it has, but its $40/month offering is tough to beat. That's a low price for unlimited everything on Verizon's network, especially when you factor in free hotspot access and the fact that taxes and fees are included in that price. In other words, you pay exactly $40 each month and not a penny more. You know, how all carriers should be.
With US Mobile, you aren't getting free hotspot and taxes and fees are extra on top of your listed monthly cost. But you have much greater control over the type of plan you choose to get. Furthermore, if you need ludicrously fast data speeds, Visible can't hold a candle to the speeds found on US Mobile.
I strongly recommend giving Visible a look as its overall simplicity is a breath of fresh air in the wireless space. But the carrier's limited Android support is another important thing worth keeping in mind. If you have a phone that's compatible with Visible, go for it. If you don't have a supported handset or prefer what US Mobile brings to the table, sign up for it instead.
Both of these carriers are marketed at different groups of people, and both do a great job at achieving what they set out to do. Now, you just need to determine which one is the best fit for you and your lifestyle.
The simple choice
Unlimited everything on Verizon for one low price.
Visible's goal is to be as simple of a carrier as can be. It has just one plan, and it costs $40/month. You get unlimited talk, text, and LTE data, and you pay exactly $40 every month as taxes and fees are included. There's also free hotspot access and reliable coverage since Visible is powered by Verizon.
Build a wireless plan that's just for you.
For people that want a phone plan designed around their specific usage, US Mobile is the way to go. The plans offered by US Mobile can be changed and tweaked in just about every way. You have your choice of using Verizon or T-Mobile's network, and it works with just about every Android phone out there.
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Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.