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What Are the Best Carriers on Verizon’s Network?
When it comes to mobile performance, Verizon Wireless is the heavyweight champion, the king of the schoolyard, the big cheese. However you want to say it, Verizon offers the best coverage in the country, fast data speeds, and outstanding perks. If you can afford it.
Verizon knows it’s great, so it charges more than most other carriers for its service. Lucky for you, we're here to show you all the cheaper ways to get on the Verizon network.
Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are smaller prepaid carriers that piggyback off the networks of the Big Three—AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. They offer cheaper plans but often cut down on perks like free subscriptions and HD video streaming.
In this review, we’ll guide you through each MVNO on Verizon’s network and which ones have cell phone plans we like so you can enjoy prime coverage without paying premier prices.
What carriers use Verizon’s network?
Here’s a list of all the no-contract, prepaid carriers that run on Verizon’s network.
Visible Wireless: Best value
Signing up for a prepaid plan used to feel like a compromise. Yes, you paid less. But you also got less. Visible Wireless is a prepaid provider that feels different.
Sure, Visible doesn’t give you a free subscription to Max (like some AT&T plans do), but its Basic Unlimited plan offering is robust: you get truly unlimited data on the nation’s most powerful network for just $30 a month. That’s a steal compared to almost any other plan on the market.
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that we’ve rated Visible’s Basic Unlimited plan as the best prepaid unlimited plan on any network. It's hard to beat an MVNO that operates on Verizon's network for such an affordable price.
So, what’s the catch? The unlimited plan from Visible is subject to deprioritization, which means your data speeds can slow down when the network gets congested. Technically, there's no hard data cap with Visible's unlimited plans, but you might notice your data speeds slowing down on your commute home from work.
If you want to avoid data throttling, you can go with the Visible+ unlimited plan that gives users 50 GB of guaranteed high-speed data every month. It'll cost you an extra $15/month for the premium data, but at least you won't have to worry about your phone becoming useless in a crowded grocery store.
Xfinity Mobile: Best bundle
Maybe you’ve heard of the Comcast-owned cable internet service called Xfinity. Well now the same company has launched a wireless service called Xfinity Mobile. This is a unique MVNO because it is only available to existing Xfinity and Comcast customers.
If you are eligible for Xfinity Mobile, it’s a pretty great deal. Just check out the company’s plan offerings.
Those who don’t use a ton of data can save some cash by getting a By the Gig plan. And all you data hogs can get everything you need with the $45 unlimited data plan.
With Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited plan you’ll get 20 GB of unthrottled data before you start experiencing slowdowns. You can use your data on Xfinity Mobile to create your own hotspot.
Do you actually need an unlimited data plan?
Everyone seems to have an unlimited data plan these days. But not everyone needs one. You might actually be surprised to learn how little data you use in your day-to-day activities. Use our handy data guide to help you find the perfect wireless data plan.
Red Pocket Mobile: Best for your budget
Red Pocket Mobile is a special kind of MVNO because it doesn’t use a single network. Instead, it uses all the major networks: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. This is awesome for those who know what network works best where they live and travel.
Because Verizon has great coverage, we’re recommending Red Pocket as a great way to get on the Verizon 4G LTE network for cheap. Here are some Red Pocket plans specifically for the Verizon network.
Just remember that Red Pocket is best for your budget, so you should expect some limitations on your service. For example, Red Pocket uses Verizon’s 4G LTE network, not its 5G network.
Reach Mobile: Best for charitable giving
Reach Mobile is like the TOMS Shoes of the wireless industry. Whenever you sign up for a Reach Mobile plan, you help someone else get connected. Reach calls its charitable program Gigs that Give.
But it’s not just the warm fuzzy feeling in your heart that makes Reach a good carrier. This Verizon MVNO also boasts a pretty decent plan selection.
The Best Fit Plans offer 2-15 GB of data, which is plenty for many casual users who don’t stream New Girl on their iPhone while they’re falling asleep.
Reach’s Unlimited Data Plans are a bit less of a steal, but, then again, most MVNOs aren’t donating a portion of their profits to help needy folks get cell phones.
Twigby: Best for low-data users
Twigby is one of the cheapest carriers on the market, offering a bunch of plans under $20 a month. And it's a great choice for those who don't use a lot of data, or those who are trying to use less data. It’s very easy to customize your plan with Twigby. The company’s website has a handy tool to select the amount of minutes and data you’d like, but here’s what Twigby’s cell plan prices look like.
Total by Verizon
Total by Verizon offers cheap, stripped-down plans that can get you tons of data on Verizon’s powerful network. We think its $50 Plan is one of the best deals out there for couples who want to share unlimited data (and their phone bill).
Here’s a look at Total by Verizon's plan options.
Let’s talk about that $50 Plan a little bit more: $85 for unlimited talk and text on two lines, unlimited data (60 GB at full speeds), and 10 GB of hotspot data. That’s a lot of wireless bandwidth for not a lot of money. And to top it off, you'll also get six months free of Disney+.
Just be sure that your boo doesn’t waste all that high speed data playing PUBG Mobile or streaming Succession on Max.
Page Plus is one of those MVNOs with a seemingly random name and an odd smattering of plans (a strangely common combination in the industry). But there are some good deals to be had by the right customer.
If you’re just looking for a simple plan that offers the basics, you can get the “The $12” plan from Page Plus. You’ll get 500 minutes, 500 texts, and just a smidge of data for emergency Google Maps needs. If you need more than that, you’ll have plenty of options. Because of its smorgasbord of cheap plans and the option to pay as you go, Page Plus is a great option for intentional mobile users who don't want or need to pay for unlimited talk, text, or data.
When it comes to low-data plans, Page Plus is one of the cheapest no contract carriers on Verizon’s network. But if you’re looking for higher-data and unlimited data plans, you’ll find a better deal with Visible or another Verizon MVNO.
Other carriers that use the Verizon network
Yep, there are a lot of no contract carriers on Verizon’s network. But there are even more that operate on multiple networks. Here’s a quick rundown of the MVNOs that use the Verizon network along with other networks.
Carriers that use Verizon’s network along with other networks:
- Red Pocket
- Spectrum Wireless
- Pix Wireless
- Straight Talk
- US Mobile
We’ll spare you an in-depth analysis of all nine carriers. We’ve got a TL;DR recap here instead.
Red Pocket is a great budget carrier for those who just want a bare bones talk and text plan. Pix Wireless has pay as you go plans that will work well for folks who don’t know exactly how much data they’ll want each month. Straight Talk has good unlimited data plans, while Tracfone excels with unconventional, low-data plans (like a yearly prepaid plan with 1,500 minutes).
Here’s a look at how the most popular plan on each of these carriers compares.
Recap: Which Verizon MVNO is best for you?
We’re not going to lie, that was a lot of prepaid providers to review. All of that info can get a bit jumbled up in our brains. So let’s quickly highlight some of the carriers that we liked the most.
- Best value: Visible Wireless is changing the prepaid wireless industry for the better. If you’re looking for a stripped down plan with tons of data on the nation’s best network, Visible’s $45 unlimited plan is unbeatable.
- Best bundle: Xfinity Mobile offers great savings for existing Xfinity internet customers.
- Best for your budget: Red Pocket Mobile is the carrier for those who don’t actually intend to use their phone much and just want to keep their bill low.
- Best for charitable giving: Reach Mobile helps you help others by investing a portion of your bill in its Gigs that Give program, which gives phones and cell service to folks across the world.
- Best for low-data users: If you don’t blow through more than 10 GBs a month in mobile data, then Twigby may be a great, cheap alternative to Verizon itself.
Best Carriers on Verizon's Network: Methodology
To find the best carrier's on Verizon's network, we focus on five main factors:
- Analyze each carrier's pricing structure, including monthly plans, data allowances, and any additional fees.
- Compare the price points of similar plans offered by each carrier, taking into account factors like data limits, talk/text options, and contract terms.
- Consider any special discounts, promotions, or bundled services that might impact the overall value.
- Evaluate the value provided by each carrier in relation to the price.
- Consider factors such as the quality of customer service, ease of plan customization, flexibility in adding or removing features, and overall customer experience.
- Assess any additional benefits or features, such as international calling, roaming options, or family plan discounts.
- Examine coverage maps and evaluate the extent and reliability of each carrier's network, considering both urban and rural areas.
- Assess the quality of coverage based on proprietary data and independent testing reports.
- Consider any potential limitations or restrictions, such as data deprioritization during peak times or in congested areas.
- Review available data on network speeds and performance from reliable sources.
- Consider factors such as average download and upload speeds, latency, and consistency of service.
- Evaluate data speeds in different regions to ensure consistency across the coverage area.
- Consider any unique or valuable perks offered by each carrier, such as free or discounted access to streaming services, hotspot data allowances, or international roaming benefits.
- Assess the significance of these perks in relation to the overall package and their relevance to the user's needs.
Verizon MVNO FAQs
If you still have questions about mobile virtual network operators and Verizon, we hope we have you covered with these frequently asked questions. If not, shoot us a question in the comments, and we’ll try to get you a better answer.
Verizon’s network is one of the best in the country. Based on our information, it covers roughly 70% of the country with its 4G LTE network, and it delivers the second-fastest 4G LTE speeds. Verizon's 5G network can be found in a bunch of major cities like Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Miami, and New York. We expect those numbers to change as Verizon rolls out more of its 5G infrastructure.
Most prepaid, MVNO plans are at risk of being deprioritized. This happens when the network owner (in this case, Verizon) decides to give more bandwidth to its own customers, at the expense of those on MVNO plans. Deprioritized customers will see a reduction in data speeds.
No, AT&T definitely does not own Verizon Wireless. Some confusion arose years ago when AT&T acquired a few properties (like Alltel and Unicel) from Verizon in select states. But AT&T and Verizon are competitors, not sister companies.
While Verizon has made agreements with other carriers in the past (like AT&T) to share select towers, it isn’t very common. What Verizon usually does is rent or lease its network towers to mobile virtual network operators, which are smaller carriers.
There are certain benefits (like cheap prices) and drawbacks (slower data speeds) to signing up with an MVNO. You can read our review of the best Verizon MVNOs in the article above.
Yes, Verizon owns an MVNO carrier called Visible Wireless. Visible is actually one of our favorite MVNO carriers because it has a simple, affordable, and powerful plan structure that is amazing for single lines and family plans. Plus, you get all of the coverage benefits of regular Verizon plans.
While it might seem strange that Verizon would own a competing carrier, it actually makes a lot of sense. The MVNO market is growing fast, and customers are looking for cheaper plans (much cheaper than Verizon’s prepaid plans). If Verizon didn’t get in the game itself, it would be missing out on a huge customer base.
Yes (kind of). Verizon phones on postpaid plans are “locked” for the first 60 days, meaning they only work on the Verizon network. After the 60 days are up, the phones are automatically unlocked so that they can work with other carriers.
Verizon’s prepaid phones are usually locked for a longer period of time (often 12 months). You can learn more about unlocking these devices.
If you’re wondering what carriers your Verizon phone is compatible with, the answer is: it depends. Many of the phones Verizon has sold in the past are called “CDMA” phones, which means that they will only work on CDMA networks (Sprint and Verizon) and not GSM networks (T-Mobile and AT&T).
In recent years phone technology has changed significantly. Thankfully, the whole CDMA vs. GSM thing has mostly gone the way of the dinosaurs. So, if you bought your Verizon phone recently, then it’s probably compatible with every network as long as the device is unlocked.
Unlike MVNO carriers, Verizon actually uses its own network. So, the short answer is: Verizon uses the Verizon network.
Now, things can get a bit sticky here. Sometimes, if you cross the border into Canada or Mexico, your Verizon phone may switch to another carrier’s network. This can cause roaming charges (or, if your Verizon plan has international perks, you may be fine).
Verizon also has several different networks: 3G, 4G, 4G LTE, 5G nationwide, and millimeter wave 5G. These are different generations of mobile technology, 3G being the slowest currently in use and millimeter wave 5G being the fastest. Your phone may switch between these networks, depending on where you are, what kind of phone you use, and what plan you have.
If you see a little “LTE” icon at the top of your phone screen, it means you’re connected to a 4G LTE network. It’s not just Verizon that has this kind of network. AT&T and T-Mobile also have 4G LTE networks.
LTE stands for “long-term evolution,” which is just a fancy way of saying that it’s a faster and stronger form of 4G network. So, LTE is a good thing. It’s the best kind of mobile network you can be connected to besides 5G, which is still quite rare across the united states.
There are several ways to figure out if your cell phone is compatible with Verizon Wireless’s network.
First of all: is your phone unlocked? Or is it still tied to another network? If you bought your phone with another carrier—like AT&T or T-Mobile—then you might have to unlock it (or get a new phone altogether) before it will work on Verizon’s network.
But even some unlocked phones will have issues if they don’t use the right phone technology. Many older phones only operate on GSM or CDMA networks. If you use an older phone (anything that wasn’t made in the last five or so years), then you’ll need to figure out which kind of technology it uses.
If your phone is not equipped with CDMA technology, then it will never work on Verizon’s network.
Verizon is known for offering some of the most robust phone deals in the industry. The carrier often has buy-one-get-one deals on new Verizon mobile phones like iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxies. They will sometimes even throw in a $500+ virtual MasterCard with your purchase. And you can usually find Verizon switch deals that offer extra cash for new customers.
But what about deals for existing customers? Unfortunately, Verizon promotions tend to offer existing customers a lot less. You can still get some cash towards a new phone when you trade in your old one, but it won’t be nearly as much as you’d get if you add a new line or are a new customer.
You can learn more about the best Verizon phone deals for existing customers by visiting the company’s deals page.
You can read our full review of the best T-Mobile MVNO plans to learn more.
There is no consensus on which MVNO carrier is the absolute best, but we do have some favorites. You’ll have to decide which one works best for you.
- Mint Mobile: Mint’s talk, text, and data plans are simple, affordable, and easy to sign up for. Mint uses T-Mobile’s network, which currently ranks number one for data speeds and 5G coverage!
- Visible Wireless: Visible offers a powerful $30 unlimited data plan that’s a great way to get onto Verizon’s network. But it’s even better when you add additional lines with Visible's Bring a Friend code. Your bill can go down as low as $25/line for unlimited talk, text, and data!
- US Mobile: If you just want a super-cheap talk and text plan without any bells and whistles, then US Mobile is the way to go. You can get service for as low as $3 a month!
If you don’t want to pay full price for Verizon cell phone service, but you still want all of the benefits of the Verizon network, then we think that Visible Wireless is the way to go. It offers a cheap and powerful unlimited data plan for $30 a month. That price goes even lower when you bundle up in a family plan.
Looking at all of these cheap alternative phone carriers may have you scratching your head. Why are they so cheap? What’s the catch?
Basically, MVNOs are cheaper than the Big Three carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon) because they don’t have to carry the burden of building and maintaining a whole mobile network. Instead, they just lease the bandwidth from the major carriers and use it to provide cheap service to their customers.
The drawback to this model is that MVNOs are kicked to the back of the line when it comes to network performance. The main carriers are always going to give their own customers the best data speeds and overall performance on their network. In practice, this means that MVNO customers will often see slower data speeds even when they are in an area with strong coverage.
Another way that MVNOs cut corners is with extra features and phone deals. Bigger carriers often give you hotspot data, free streaming subscriptions, and other cool perks with your plan. These pricier carriers also tend to offer the best deals on new phones and phone upgrades.
But, if you’re willing to bring your own phone, miss out on special perks, and deal with sometimes sluggish data speeds, then MVNOs can be an amazing way to save money.
Verizon’s network covers more of the US than any other carrier’s. So you can count on getting a signal in most of the country, from the redwood forests of California to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.
Of course, there are some holes in this map. But no carrier is going to get you full bars in northern Idaho or western Alaska. If your travels take you that far, you might want to look into buying a satellite phone.
Verizon data speeds
After sampling thousands of Verizon users, we found that Verizon averages download speeds of 32.2 Mbps, which puts it right behind T-Mobile for fastest wireless speeds.
An average data speed of 32.2 Mbps is still quite fast. It’s plenty for streaming videos and music. It’s more than enough for browsing and posting to social media. And games shouldn’t have any issues keeping up their PUBG Mobile streak.
Customers aren’t likely to see data speeds get much faster than this with any carrier until the rollout of 5G arrives.