T-Mobile vs. Verizon: Which wireless carrier is better?

Allconnect
A
Allconnect

Aug 7, 2020 — 6 min read

At Allconnect, we work to present quality information with editorial integrity. While this post may contain offers from our partners, our opinions are our own. Here’s how we make money.

  • Verizon’s unlimited plans cost $80 for one line on average, compared to $72 for T-Mobile
  • Phone prices are cheaper on average through Verizon than T-Mobile
  • Verizon scores better in most speed tests
  • Apple Music and Disney Plus are included with all Verizon unlimited plans
  • Netflix and Quibi come with T-Mobile, but only if you get multiple lines

Verizon and T-Mobile are very reliable and popular mobile carriers. Both offer devices and plans at a comparable value, and when you dig into the differences between them, they’re fairly small. While T-Mobile outranks Verizon in customer service, Verizon tends to have the edge on speed and reliability. 

Both carriers offer unlimited plans at comparable prices, but while Verizon’s will cost you a little more each month, it also offers perks that T-Mobile won’t, including Apple Music and Disney Plus. To get a similar perk on T-Mobile, you have to have at least two lines, and then you get free Netflix and Quibi

If perks aren’t important and you just want solid service at a decent price, you should be content with T-Mobile. However, if you want slightly more reliable service and are fine paying a little more each month, Verizon is your answer.

Plans, pricing and perks

Verizon’s unlimited plans start at $70/mo. for one line and become a better deal the more lines you add. If you have five lines or more, you’re looking at just $30/mo., per line for the Start Unlimited plan. It’s $90/mo. for the top-line plan, Get More Unlimited, and five lines or more will run you just $50/mo., per line. 

T-Mobile’s prices start a little bit lower at $60/mo. for one line. For five lines or more, you’re looking at $24/mo., per line for the Essentials plan. T-Mobile only has three unlimited plans, compared to Verizon’s four, but the plans themselves are very similar. Both offer unlimited talk, text and data, but Verizon’s hotspot plan is a little better (unless you select Verizon Start Unlimited, which doesn’t offer a hotspot).

Verizon’s unlimited plans grant you a year subscription to Disney Plus and some plans include Apple Music. Play More Unlimited and Get More Unlimited include Apple Music and Start Unlimited and Do More Unlimited give you six months of Apple Music. These perks are included no matter how many lines you get. T-Mobile doesn’t offer perks as such when you have a single line. However, with two lines or more, you can get Netflix and Quibi free on the Magenta and Magenta Plus plans.

Winner: Verizon

Cheapest unlimited plans

Up front, it’s easy to see that T-Mobile’s lowest unlimited plan is a better deal than Verizon’s. However, when you add in the value of the perks, Verizon provides the greater savings. What you have to consider is if Verizon’s perks make the elevated price worth it. Do you think you’ll use Disney Plus and Apple Music? If not, then T-Mobile, at its lower monthly rate, might be a better idea for you.

Top tier unlimited plans

Again, T-Mobile comes in a little cheaper, but the top tier unlimited plans have a few more factors to consider. Verizon is $5 more per month but it includes 5G access, premium data, more GB on the hotspot and Apple Music and Disney Plus. Those are a lot of bonuses for just $5 more per month. Even removing the perks, just the 5G access, premium data and hotspot access make it well worth the extra spend.

Family plans

When considering the average prices for each (the average of Verizon’s four plans and T-Mobile’s three plans), T-Mobile comes out to be a bit of a better deal per month. Both carriers offer deals for multiple lines, but T-Mobile keeps bumping the price down for up to eight lines, whereas Verizon’s discount stops after five. 

Phone deals

Overall, Verizon squeaks by as a bit of a better option in terms of both selection and price of phones. When we compared 15 of the top models, Verizon’s phones were about $40 cheaper on average. T-Mobile doesn’t offer some of the popular models, like the Google Pixel 4 or the Samsung Galaxy S10, either. Verizon’s iPhones also come in a little bit cheaper, though some may require a new contract to get the deal. If you want to bring your current phone, unlocking Verizon and T-Mobile phones is a fairly simple process.

This also does not factor in any trade-ins you might have or any seasonal or random deals you may come across online or at the store. These prices are pretty standard as to what you’ll find currently, though.

Winner: Verizon

Coverage and speed

Verizon, for the most part, outpaces T-Mobile in all areas of coverage and reception. J.D. Power’s wireless network study found that Verizon was the most reliable of all the networks across the country. In addition to that, RootMetrics’ overall performance score named Verizon the most reliable network, with T-Mobile coming in third place. 

Consumer Reports’ scores for data and reception are pretty equal between the two, though T-Mobile ranks slightly above Verizon for data. T-Mobile edges out Verizon in its Ookla Speed Score as well, and Verizon actually ranks the lowest of the four major carriers.

Winner: Tie

5G

Taking a look at both carriers’ Ookla scores where 5G is concerned, Verizon outpaces T-Mobile by a margin so large that it’s almost comical. Verizon’s speed test on a 5G network is 870.50 out of 1000, whereas T-Mobile’s is 64.26. Verizon is known for its 5G service, so they are the best bet here. Though Verizon’s deployments are in fewer cities than T-Mobile, it’s still top of the line as far as speed. 

Verizon also relies on millimeter wave spectrum for its 5G service, something no other carriers do, and a large part of why 5G service is so fast and reliable. OpenSignal puts Verizon’s download speed at 506.1 Mbps vs. T-Mobile’s at 47 Mbps.

Winner: Verizon

Customer service

T-Mobile far outranks Verizon when it comes to customer service. They fare better in every customer service measurement. T-Mobile’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is just slightly over Verizon, so it’s pretty even-keeled there. T-Mobile really outranks Verizon when it comes to Consumer Reports. In fact, T-Mobile outranks Sprint and AT&T on Consumer Reports as well. On J.D. Power’s customer care score, T-Mobile came out on top again, in a survey of 12,974 people polled. T-Mobile’s score not only outranked Verizon, but all other carriers too.

Winner: T-Mobile

T-Mobile vs. Verizon: Which one should you get? 

Consider all the factors when choosing between Verizon and T-Mobile. Verizon comes at a slightly higher price per month, but it includes Apple Music and Disney Plus. T-Mobile is a great option if you’re on a budget because you’ll still get good service but at a lower cost.

If you live in an area known for not having great service — like a rural location — you might have better luck with coverage on Verizon. The carrier covers more area than T-Mobile and should be more reliable for you. If you know you’ll use a lot of data and want higher speeds, switching to Verizon is probably a better bet. 

In most cases, Verizon is a better bet than T-Mobile. It has more reliable coverage and faster speeds, but if you’re on a budget, you can very possibly find a better deal with T-Mobile.

By Hedy Phillips