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Visible vs. Verizon: Which carrier should you get?

Visible stays focused on nailing the basics that smartphone users care about most with one simple plan. Verizon Wireless offers an extensive array of plans making it possible to find something that precisely meets your needs though it does make it easier to spend more than you need to. Visible's approach of giving you everything means that you will never have to wonder if you have enough data or minutes. Instead, you'll have to think a bit more about whether you will have coverage.

Visible vs. Verizon Wireless: Mostly the same network

Visible speed test on LTE

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Let's be clear: Verizon Wireless postpaid customers will often have a larger and more consistent network thanks to prioritization. This means your speeds can be slower on Visible, but at an estimated 5-12Mbps download speed on LTE, most people should be quite happy with the service. Actual speeds will depend on your area, and the number of connections on your tower but for the most part, our review confirms these speed expectations.

Verizon's network will be noticeably larger if you stray away from more populated areas. This is thanks to Verizon customers getting access to Verizon's older 3G towers and LTE roaming towers. Verizon phones will connect to 5G or LTE if possible, but if there is no native Verizon signal available, they can fall back to the other networks.

Visible uses LTE and 5G exclusively, and while the coverage is getting closer to what Verizon customers can access, this network is still a bit smaller. Most people will find this to be an easy tradeoff considering that most people are still covered on Visible, and Visible will let them use so much more of the network for less.

VisibleVerizon Wireless
Network4G LTE, 5G3G, 4G LTE, 5G
Credit checkNoYes
International roamingNoAvailable
International callingCanada
The US Virgin Islands
Puerto Rico
Data plansUnlimited only5GB and up
Unlimited plan$40/mo.From $70/mo.

Visible vs. Verizon Wireless: Do you need 3G and roaming?

Visible SIM card sitting on top of US passport

(Image credit: Android Central)

Visible only uses Verizon's digital network, including LTE and 5G coverage. 5G on Visible is limited to 200Mbps, which is still very fast. This isn't much of an issue for most people in the U.S. but can become apparent when you travel. Verizon's LTE network is focused on providing coverage where most people live and work, and for the most part, it succeeds.

There are a few gaps, and Verizon fills those by either relying on its older 3G network or buying data from other providers for roaming. Visible doesn't get access to 3G or the roaming networks.

The Verizon 5G network is growing rapidly, but most people will still use the LTE network most of the time. In late 2021 and 2022, Verizon will speed up 5G expansion thanks to the C-band spectrum. Still, it remains to be seen just how quickly C-band coverage will reach customers.

It's also worth noting that Visible doesn't support any international calling or roaming, except Canada, Mexico, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Suppose you need to call another country or need service while traveling, you'll need something else. Verizon does offer what it calls international TravelPasses for its plans. In Mexico and Canada, this comes to $5 per day, and in more than 185 other countries, the cost is $10 per day. If you're on one of the unlimited plans, however, you'll get talk, text, and use unlimited data when traveling in Mexico and Canada as well as international texting to over 200 countries.

Visible vs. Verizon Wireless: Do you need an unlimited plan?

You probably don't need an unlimited plan. Unlimited service mainly exists to offer peace of mind, so people don't need to think about how many bytes or messages they send. With Visible, unlimited is the only option. Visible's $40 unlimited plan can become an afterthought, and you can use your phone to stream or browse without worrying about data caps.

You can also save some money on Visible with Party Pay, which allows you to link your account with up to three other people. That'll bring your monthly cost down to $25 per month with four lines in the party. This is not a family plan since each line will still have its own account and bill, but it can be a great way to save.

Verizon offers unlimited plans as well, starting at $70 per month for one line. It's worth noting that the price per line will come down if you plan to have multiple lines. For entry-level unlimited service, the cost per line is $70, $60, $45, and $35 for one, two, three, and four lines, respectively. This plan will be most comparable to Visible, though it lacks hotspot support.

Going up from there, Verizon has the Play More, Do More, and Get More unlimited plans, which all come with 5G access and Premium Network Access, which prioritizes data for up to 50GB. It also opens up the option to enable 720p video streaming on LTE. Play More and Do More get 15GB of high-speed hotspot data, while Get More features up to 30GB. Besides that, Play More and Get More get Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ streaming services included at no extra cost. Get More adds Apple Music onto that.

With these unlimited plans, the biggest differences are in the streaming extras. The Play More and Do More plans start at $80 per month for a single line with additional savings for multiple lines up to five. The Get More unlimited plan starts at $90 per month for a single line. The Just Kids unlimited plan is available to add as a second line for $50 per month.

A couple of limited shared data plans start at $55 and $65 per month for 5GB and 10GB, respectively. Both of these plans come with unlimited talk and text. Then, of course, the Basic plan also comes with just 500MB of data and unlimited talk and text.

Visible vs. Verizon Wireless: What if you have other devices?

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Verizon offers hotspot service with its more expensive unlimited plans, starting at 15GB of premium LTE data on the Play More and Do More unlimited plans and moving up to 30GB on the Get More Unlimited plan. This will be more than enough for most uses but could be an issue with many streaming videos.

It's worth noting that mmWave Ultra Wideband 5G connections will get a fully unlimited hotspot, but that requires both a 5G device and Ultra-Wideband 5G coverage, which is in its infancy. Nationwide 5G data is treated the same as LTE.

On the other hand, Visible continues the trend of simplicity and offers unlimited hotspot data at 5Mbps. That should be enough speed for 480p and some 720p video streaming depending on the site. So this is a good enough solution for most people that need to share their internet on the go.

Visible vs. Verizon Wireless: What phones work?

Samsung Galaxy S21 violet back

(Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Both Visible and Verizon are more than happy to sell or finance a phone for you. Verizon does have a more substantial offering of phones, but Visible's growing collection has something that will work for most people.

If you already have a device and you want to know if it will be supported, you'll need to use the BYOD compatibility tools for both Visible and Verizon. Support on one doesn't necessarily mean it will work on the other, even though the Verizon network is used for both carriers.

Visible's network is all digital, which means that all of your calls on Visible will use VoLTE. VoLTE is still a little new for carriers in general, so for now, extra care is being taken to make sure devices work flawlessly. However, the list of supported phones is expanding all the time, so you will need to keep checking.

Most newer iPhones are supported and some of the most popular Samsung Galaxy devices. The Galaxy S21 and S20 series are fully supported with 5G on Visible. The Pixel series also gets support, including the Pixel 4a series.

Visible vs. Verizon Wireless: So, which should you get?

Visible SIM card

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

If you've confirmed you have coverage on Visible's network, Visible is your best bargain. While it is possible to build a cheaper plan on Verizon Wireless, you won't get the same amount of data, and you certainly won't get Visible's unlimited hotspot. Keep in mind, Verizon Prepaid might have a plan that's a solid fit as well.

As long as you know you're covered, Visible is a simple and complete network that works for nearly every smartphone user. Performance won't quite match Verizon but should be more than adequate for most people. The cheap $40 unlimited plan easily makes it a contender for the best cell phone plan you can buy. If you've got a compatible smartphone, Visible is definitely worth a shot.

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.

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