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Visible vs Verizon: Can the MVNO top Big Red?


A Samsung Galaxy S9 in front of a brick wall with the Visible logo on the display.

If you have your heart set on Verizon’s massive nationwide network, you might think your job is already done. However, there are a couple of different ways to tap into the Big Red network. One such method is to go with its wholly-owned subsidiary, Visible. Is this a Jedi master and apprentice situation? Let’s stack Visible vs Verizon and find out.

See also: Verizon buyer’s guide | Visible buyer’s guide

While your coverage options should be fairly similar, we’re going to dig into the best promos, prices, and phones to help you make a decision. Are you ready to take advantage of Verizon’s network? Let’s get started.

Visible vs Verizon — Pricing

Verizon Wireless logo stock image 7

Verizon is one of the most expensive carriers around, but you’re paying for a massive network and plenty of perks. If you don’t mind stripping a few of those perks away, you might be pleasantly surprised by Visible’s one-plan model. Check out the table below for a quick price breakdown:

  Visible Costs Verizon Costs
Entry-level unlimited plan $40 for one line
$35 per line for two lines
$30 per line for three lines
$25 per line for four lines
Start Unlimited
$70 for one line
$60 per line for two lines
$45 per line for three lines
$35 per line for four lines
Mid-level unlimited plan None Play / Do More Unlimited
$80 for one line
$70 per line for two lines
$55 per line for three lines
$45 per line for four lines
high-end unlimited plan None Get More Unlimited
$90 for one line
$80 per line for two lines
$65 per line for three lines
$55 per line for four lines

As you can see, Visible knows its lane and stays there. Its plan costs $40 for a single line, but you can hack that down to just $25 per month if you go in on Party Pay. If you team up with three friends, each of you will pay the $25 per month rate, and your payment punctuality won’t impact the other lines of service. There’s not much else to say about Visible’s costs — it’s one rate, one plan, and unlimited access.

We’ve mentioned that Verizon skews to the expensive side, but your best bet to save money is the Start Unlimited setup. If you add four lines, you’ll get down to just $35 per line per month. However, that’s as low as you can go. Each of the other unlimited plans — Play More, Do More, and Get More — will cost you quite a bit more per month, though you get more perks and premium data with each tier.

Due to Visible offering just one plan, you may want to stick with Verizon if you’re dead set on having extra perks. After all, the previously mentioned unlimited plans offer some mix of Disney Plus and Apple Music as part of your monthly rate.

If you decide that neither pricing model meets your needs, you may need to look elsewhere for service. Here are a few other carriers to look into:

Visible vs Verizon — Coverage

visible coverage map

While both carriers rely on Verizon’s nationwide network, you’ll see slightly better coverage if you opt for Big Red. This is because Visible uses Verizon’s LTE network exclusively, while the carrier itself operates on a blend of 3G, LTE, and 5G access. You’ll also miss international access if you go for Visible, as there is no roaming coverage.

As mentioned, Verizon is the way to go if you often find yourself on a 3G connection or you want to be one of the first to adopt 5G. Verizon employs a high-speed mmWave network for its 5G coverage, which is one of the fastest around even if it doesn’t offer great range by any means. You’ll have to check out Verizon’s interactive maps to see where its 5G is available.

See also: Where is 5G available in the US?

While Verizon offers superior coverage, you can’t rule Visible out due to the sheer size of Big Red’s 4G LTE network. It covers 71% of the United States — more than any other network. Our own Andrew Grush recently gave Visible a try as his primary carrier, and you can read about his experiences here.

Visible vs Verizon — Perks and promotions

Disney Plus homepage 2

You may have guessed from the pricing and the coverage options, but Visible and Verizon are quite different in the promos they offer. As an MVNO, Visible is great if you’re just looking for network access at an affordable rate. You won’t find any music or video streaming perks if you opt for Visible — though the unlimited hotspot is a nice addition.

While you’re out to dry on free subscriptions, Visible might be the king of free gift perks. Right now, you can grab select iOS devices like the iPhone 11 and get a free pair of Bose Soundlink II headphones. Many Samsung devices on Visible also include a gift card for accessories, so you can round out your setup with new headphones or save money on a smartwatch.

If you’re ready to splurge on Verizon’s high-end plans, on the other hand, you have a laundry list of perks at your disposal. All of the carrier’s unlimited plans include some blend of Disney Plus and Apple Music, though some plans only offer six months of access. Check out the table below for some quick information:

Plan Video Perk Music Perk
Verizon Start Unlimited 6 months of Disney Plus 6 months of Apple Music
Verizon Play More Unlimited Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus included 6 months of Apple Music
Verizon Do More Unlimited 6 months of Disney Plus 6 months of Apple Music
Verizon Get More Unlimited Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus included Apple Music included

If you want unlimited access to both of Verizon’s best streaming perks, you’ll have to splurge on the top-tier Get More plan. The media-focused Play More plan includes the same level of Disney Plus access, so it may be more worth your money if you’re already dedicated to Spotify or another music service.

See also: 10 best Music streaming apps for Android

Visible doesn’t exactly make up much ground on the promotions side either, since you can get as much as $1,000 off most Verizon phones when you switch or trade. Verizon also offers significantly more phones like the LG Velvet at low, $10 per month rates. The best discount you’ll find over on Visible is $200 off the Samsung Galaxy S10e, which doesn’t quite stand up to Verizon’s offerings.

Visible vs Verizon — Phone selections

Google Pixel 4 vs Samsung Galaxy S20

Not to sound like a broken record, but Visible once again acts like a slimmed-down version of Verizon. It offers a smaller selection of phones, though you’ll find that most recent flagships are available. Visible also has a solid selection of budget-friendly phones. If you’re not impressed by your options or you love your current device, however, you can always bring it with you. You can enter your phone’s IMEI number to double-check on compatibility right here.

See also: Best Verizon phones

Over on Verizon, you’ll find an almost endless list of phones to choose from. The carrier has a special relationship with Motorola, so it’s the only place you will find the folding Razr or the flagship Motorola Edge Plus. You’ll also have to stick with Verizon for other expensive devices like the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.

Verizon also allows you to bring your phone with you, and the process is almost the same as with Visible. Both carriers rely on the CDMA framework for signal, so they can essentially support the same list of devices.

Which carrier is right for you?

You can’t go wrong on the Verizon network either way, but the decision comes down to how much money you want to spend. If your goal is to keep costs low, stick with Visible. You won’t pay more than $40 per line per month, and Party Pay makes access even cheaper. Visible still offers the same great LTE access as Verizon, though again you won’t get much in the way of bonuses.

On the other hand, Verizon is a leading network in America for a good reason. Its network is huge, and its speeds are fast, even if you’ll have to pay extra. You can choose just about any phone on the market, and there are plenty of perks to add to your enjoyment. There’s nothing that Visible offers that Verizon can’t match, except for the money-saving potential.

Ultimately, you might decide that there is no winner in the Verizon vs Visible debate. If that’s how your coin lands, here are a few other networks you may want to look into:

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