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Everything you need to know about Verizon Wireless

Joe Supan

Jul 21, 2020 — 9 min read

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Verizon Wireless pricing

Verizon gives you more plans to choose from than the other carriers, but almost all of them are pricey in comparison. 

With more than 150 million customers in the U.S., Verizon is the nation’s largest wireless carrier. It offers more than 25 different wireless plans to choose from — nearly double most providers. Its four unlimited data plans are its most popular, and they start at $70/mo. for one line.

Like all wireless plans, the price per line goes down the more lines you add to the mix. In Verizon’s case, you’ll save $5 to $15 on each line when you add a new one. There are also special discount plans for nurses, teachers, first responders, military personnel and people 55 years or older. The downside is you’ll almost always end up paying more for Verizon.

The average price for Verizon’s four unlimited plans is $63/mo., compared to $59 for AT&T, $51 for T-Mobile and $48 for Sprint.

It’s certainly possible you’ll pay less with Verizon (especially through one of its discounts), but its prices are generally a bit higher.

Verizon promotions and new customer deals

Verizon offers a year of Disney Plus and six months of Apple Music, but free phones are limited to older models.

Like all wireless companies, Verizon has a number of promotions and deals for new customers to entice you to switch. Spend a few minutes browsing its Deals page and you’ll come away with the impression you can get any phone you want for free. But when Verizon says “up to $700 off” the latest iPhone, what it really means is that you can get up to $550 trade-in value for your current phone plus a $150 Verizon gift card.

While no deals are as sweet as they seemed once you start combing the fine print, Verizon does actually offer a number of perks for new customers — all of them tied to the unlimited data plans.

Some phones are free when you switch

You really can get some phones for free through Verizon when you switch from another provider or add a new line to an existing account — they just won’t be the very latest models. Here’s what Verizon is currently offering at no extra cost if you commit to a two-year contract: 

  • Alcatel AVALON™ V ($99.99)
  • Apple iPhone 7 ($349.99)
  • LG K51™ ($168)
  • LG Stylo 5 ($240)
  • Motorola moto g7 play ($168)
  • Motorola moto g power ($249.99)
  • Nokia 3 V ($168)
  • Samsung Galaxy A01 ($149.99)

Keep in mind, these promotions are usually contingent on your credit history. Verizon told us they don’t require a minimum credit score to qualify, but instead look at a customer’s overall history through “one or all” of the three credit bureaus. If you do buy a phone through Verizon and want to switch carriers later on, it’s pretty easy to unlock a Verizon phone.

One year of Disney Plus

New customers who sign up for one of Verizon’s unlimited wireless plans will get an entire year of Disney Plus on the house. After that, you’re automatically subscribed through your Verizon bill for $6.99/mo., so be sure to cancel before then if you don’t want to continue your subscription.

Six months of Apple Music

Verizon’s Play More and Get More unlimited plans both include Apple Music at no extra cost, while the Start and Do More unlimited plans get you free access for six months — a $9.99/mo. value on its own. If you want to cancel after your six months are up, you’ll have to do it through your Verizon Wireless account.

Free Verizon streaming device

Verizon Stream TV is a 4K streaming device made by the wireless carrier. You can get one added to your order at no extra cost when you purchase a phone for $550 or higher and activate a new unlimited wireless line. Verizon Stream TV plugs into your TV’s HDMI port, and lets you watch streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video and Disney Plus. It also comes with Google Chromecast built-in, so you can stream videos and pictures straight from your phone to your TV. For comparison, similar 4K streaming devices like Amazon’s Fire TV Stick and Roku usually cost around $50.

How do Verizon’s cellphone prices compare?

Most carriers offer a discount when you choose monthly payments on a new phone instead of paying upfront, and Verizon is no different. For example, new customers can get an iPhone SE through Verizon right now for just $120 by committing to pay $5/mo. for 24 months — $280 less than the retail price.

While good deals can be found, you’ll generally pay a little more for phones through Verizon than other carriers. To compare prices, we looked at 14 of the most popular phones that are available through each one, and calculated how much they cost through their payment plans.

Verizon’s average phone price came out to $760, compared to $820 for Sprint, $800 for T-Mobile and a shockingly low $501 for AT&T.

If you’re looking to switch providers and pick up a cheap new phone in the process, start your search with AT&T. Your phone contract will run 30 months compared to only 24 months through the others, but the savings are worth the extra commitment.

Verizon network coverage and speed

With a larger coverage area and more reliable speeds, Verizon’s network is the clear number one when it comes to performance.

By every metric available, Verizon covers more of the U.S. than any other wireless carrier, and it does it the best. Verizon’s 4G LTE network reaches around 70% of the country, compared to 68% for AT&T, 62% for T-Mobile and just 30% for Sprint. According to OpenSignal, Verizon customers have access to 4G speeds 95.9% of the time — the highest of any wireless carrier — and they also have the best experience when they’re connected.

Verizon has also swept RootMetrics’ awards for reliability, speed, data performance and call performance every year since 2013. The one category in which Verizon’s not the clear winner? It’s shared first place with AT&T for text performance over the past few years. Verizon also got ranked highest in every region of J.D. Power’s wireless network study, reporting the fewest problems of any provider. 

There was one group who didn’t think quite so highly of Verizon: Consumer Reports members. The nonprofit rated Verizon’s data service and reception as merely “good.” It was still the second-best of the “big four” networks — T-Mobile received a “very good” score for its data service — but that was actually a pretty big drop from the other evaluations. 

Why is there such a difference between Consumer Reports’ evaluation and everyone else’s? Consumer Reports is based entirely off their readers’ responses, while OpenSignal, RootMetrics and J.D. Power do their own testing and analysis. Both approaches are valuable, but it does leave room for some contradictions.

That said, the evidence overwhelmingly points to Verizon being the fastest and most reliable network around. If having access to the internet from anywhere in the country is important to you, Verizon is your best bet. 

How is Verizon’s 5G network?

Verizon was the first carrier to launch its 5G network in April 2019, but it’s availability is still fairly limited. You can currently access Verizon’s 5G network in 36 U.S. cities, but within those cities, coverage is still pretty hit or miss. Here’s where Verizon currently has 5G towers:

  • Atlanta
  • Boise
  • Boston
  • Charlotte
  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Des Moines
  • Detroit
  • Grand Rapids
  • Greensboro
  • Hampton Roads
  • Hoboken
  • Houston
  • Indianapolis
  • Kansas City
  • Little Rock
  • Los Angeles
  • Memphis
  • Minneapolis
  • New York City
  • Omaha
  • Panama City
  • Phoenix
  • Providence
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Diego
  • San Jose
  • Sioux Falls
  • Spokane
  • St. Paul
  • Washington D.C. 

Verizon is the only carrier to exclusively use millimeter wave spectrum. It’s much faster, but you generally need to be within 1,000 feet of a tower to access it, and materials like cement and brick can block signals.

But so far, Verizon is the fastest by a mile. In OpenSignal’s testing, the average download speed on Verizon’s 5G network is 506.1 Mbps, compared to just 114.2 for Sprint, 62.7 for AT&T and 47.0 for T-Mobile. 

How does Verizon compare to other wireless carriers?

Verizon is generally the most expensive carrier, but you get what you pay for: Its wireless coverage ranks first in almost every nationwide test. 

Verizon’s unlimited data customers pay almost $15/mo. more every month per line than Sprint customers with similar plans. That can add up quickly, especially if you have a bigger family with several cellphone lines.  

But Verizon does provide extra value for that money. No matter where you are in the country, you’ll probably be in reach of its 4G LTE speeds, so you won’t ever have to worry about being without internet access. And with one of the most promising 5G plans of any carrier, it’s not a bad time to lock into Verizon. 

Depending on how you feel about Disney Plus, Verizon’s promotions might not be as enticing as other carriers’. You’ll pay close to the sticker price for most phones, and Verizon’s free devices for new customers are mostly limited to older models.  

Most people are reasonably happy with Verizon’s customer service. In 2020, Verizon received a 74/100 in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a “fair” grade from Consumer Report’s 103,435 readers and an 817/1000 in J.D. Power’s survey of 12,974 customers who’ve called their wireless company in the past three months. Verizon doesn’t have the very best customer service — that distinction goes to T-Mobile — but it’s certainly passable for most people. 

Verizon customer service

No one likes spending time trying to get hold of their phone company, but if you are ever in that unlucky situation, Verizon makes the experience relatively painless. You can reach someone through Verizon’s digital assistant or call its customer service line to speak with a representative on the phone, and Verizon is very responsive to customer service inquiries on its Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Verizon Wireless FAQs

How do Verizon upgrades work?

Verizon lets you upgrade to a new phone once you’ve paid off 50% of your current phone. Because Verizon’s device payment plans go 24 months, this means you can upgrade your phone after a year. However, the devices eligible under Verizon’s Annual Upgrade Program are fairly limited. Here’s what qualifies:

  • Samsung Galaxy S10 – 5G version only
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone® XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR if purchased before 9/12/19.
  • iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus (including (PRODUCT)RED™) and iPhone X purchased on or before Sept. 13, 2018.
  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus purchased on or before Sept. 14, 2017.
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ purchased on or before Oct. 21, 2017.

Can you switch to Verizon with your current phone?

Yes. Verizon will let you bring your current phone over as long as it’s compatible with its wireless network. (You can check Verizon’s “Bring Your Own Device” eligibility here.) In some cases, Verizon will even give you a $300 rebate for using your old phone and waive the activation fee. 

Does Verizon charge an activation fee?

Yes. You’ll need to pay a $40 activation fee when you buy a device from one of Verizon’s brick and mortar stores, but only $20 if you buy it online. 

Can you keep your phone number if you switch to Verizon?

Unless you’re switching wireless carriers at the same time you’re moving out of the area, you should have no problem keeping your phone number when you switch to Verizon. FCC rules state that simple ports must be processed in one business day, so it’s usually a pretty quick turnaround. Just make sure not to cancel your service with your previous provider until the port is complete. 

Should you switch to Verizon?

If you’re frustrated with dropped calls and spotty internet coverage, it’s absolutely worth spending a few extra dollars to make the jump to Verizon. And with a handful of attractive promotions and phone deals, you’ll probably get some sign-up bonuses that will make up for the price difference. 

But if you don’t find yourself using your phone’s data very much, or your coverage seems just fine in your area, you’re probably better off jumping to AT&T or T-Mobile. AT&T can get you a much cheaper phone upfront, while T-Mobile customers are the most satisfied with their service overall.

Joe Supan

Written by:

Joe Supan

Senior Writer, Wireless & Streaming Content

Joe oversees all things wireless and streaming for Allconnect. He has utilized thousands of data points to build a library of metrics to help users navigate these complex spaces. These include original content s… Read more

Trey Paul

Edited by:

Trey Paul

Editor, Head of Content

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