Which Verizon plan is best for you? We check out family, individual, and prepaid

Verizon often brags about having the most reliable network, and if tests are correct, the company isn’t wrong. The carrier offers the best service in rural areas where T-Mobile and Sprint users just can’t get a signal. Verizon even revamped its plan to make it simpler and more understandable and acquiesced to customer demand for unlimited data.

The nation’s largest carrier was the last to bring back unlimited data, but it’s nice to see. Don’t fret, though: The Verizon Plan’s capped Small, Medium, and Large options remain, just in case you don’t want to pay for data that you won’t use.

Not everybody needs unlimited data. If you’re just a light mobile web user and don’t need to stream, Small’s 2GB limit should be fine. If you want a little more flexibility, step up to Medium’s 4GB. If you’re a once-in-a-while video or audio streamer and browse the web quite a bit, you’re likely going to need Large’s 8GB. And any heavier users really should consider Verizon’s three unlimited plans, Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, and Above Unlimited.

Verizon Plan

People Line cost 4G LTE data Total
1  

$20 (excepting unlimited data plans)

 

$35 w/2GB

$50 w/4GB

$40 w/ 5G (single device plan)

$70 w/8GB

$75 for Go Unlimited

$85 for Beyond Unlimited

$95 for Above Unlimited

$55

$70

$85

$90

$75

$85

$95

2 $20 x 2 (excepting unlimited data plans)

 

$35 w/2GB

$50 w/4GB

$70 w/8GB

$65 for Go Unlimited

$80 for Beyond Unlimited

$90 for Above Unlimited

$75

$90

$110

$130

$160

$180

3  

$20 x 3 (excepting unlimited data plans)

 

$35 w/2GB

$50 w/4GB

$70 w/8GB

$50 for Go Unlimited

$60 for Beyond Unlimited

$70 for Above Unlimited

$95

$110

$130

$150

$180

$210

4  

$20 x 4 (excepting unlimited data plans)

 

$35 w/2GB

$50 w/4GB

$70 w/8GB

$40 for Go Unlimited

$50 for Beyond Unlimited

$60 for Above Unlimited

$115

$130

$150

$160

$200

$240

5  

$20 x 5 (excepting unlimited data plans)

 

$35 w/2GB

$50 w/4GB

$70 w/8GB

$40 for Go Unlimited

$50 for Beyond Unlimited

$60 for Above Unlimited

$135

$150

$170

$200

$250

$300

A quick note on the unlimited pricing shown: The prices listed include a $5 discount for single-line plans as long as you sign up for autopay and paperless billing. If you don’t, you’ll need to add these amounts back in to get your price before taxes and fees.

You’ll pay $20 per person plus the amount of your data package and the cost of any phones you buy on Verizon’s installment plans. Only the cost of talk, text, and data are listed in the chart above — we’ll get into phone payments in a later section.

You can share a plan between up to 10 smartphones and devices. Tablet lines cost $20 to connect, hot spot lines cost $10 (for 600kbps speeds on Go Unlimited and 15GB of 4G LTE speeds on Beyond Unlimited), and wearables cost $5 to connect.

Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, and Above Unlimited

With everyone going to unlimited data, Verizon’s plans, while attractive, are on the expensive side. They’re also a little constrictive.

Starting August 2017, Verizon instituted a cap on all new and existing unlimited plan customers. On the carrier’s $85-a-month Beyond Unlimited plan and $95 Above Unlimited plan, videos streamed over the network are automatically throttled to 720p resolution (1280 x 720 pixels) on phones and 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) on tablets and mobile hot spot devices. It was technically a bandwidth limit: Verizon says the maximum speed for video applications tops out at 10Mbps.

Verizon’s cheaper, $75-per-month unlimited plan has even more strings attached. On it, videos are down-scaled to “DVD-quality streaming” 480p (640 x 480 pixels) resolution on smartphones and 720p resolution on tablets.

And there’s a hard usage cap on Verizon’s unlimited plan data plans. If you exceed 22GB in a billing cycle on the Beyond Unlimited plan, you’re subject to having your download speeds reduced until the end of the month. That amount is expanded to 75GB on the Above Unlimited plan.

The bottom line with Verizon is that it isn’t perfect. But if you need reliable service just about anywhere, Verizon’s premium to Sprint and T-Mobile might be worth it. In some areas, Verizon is one of the only carriers with decent service (if any), so in some cases, you might not have much of a choice.

Recommendations:

  • Stay away from the 2GB plan unless you’re sure you won’t use much data. App-heavy users will exceed this allotment quite easily.
  • Families should really consider the 8GB or Unlimited plans, with our preference being the Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited plans.

The perks of the Verizon Plan:

  • Strong service in rural areas
  • A big phone selection
  • Decent prices for individuals

The downsides of the Verizon Plan:

  • Verizon charges overages when you exceed your data limit, unless you have data limit or overage protection, which costs $5 a month
  • A hard cap and down-scaled video on all unlimited data plans
  • Pricier plans than T-Mobile or Sprint
  • International service costs more
  • Its network is CDMA, which makes buying unlocked phones that work on the network difficult

Verizon’s prepaid plan

Verizon also offers a prepaid plan for those of you who want to save some money. Its prepaid plans are a bit pricier than the competition, but if you want Verizon service, they tend to be a bit cheaper.

Recently, Verizon introduced a new single-line prepaid plan option. For $30 per month, you will be able to get unlimited U.S. talk, text, and 500 MB of data. On top of that, Verizon also announced that it was discounting its prepaid plans to be up to $65 for unlimited data and includes an option for 4G mobile hotspots.

Lastly, the carrier has also added its Travel Pass option to all if its prepaid lines — allowing users to make calls, send texts, and use data in Mexico and Canada for $5 per day. You can add the plan to your account before any trip via the My Verizon app.

Verizon’s multi-line option, Prepaid Family Account, lets you add up to four lines to a single account. Subscribers get a discount on each additional line (up to $20 a line) and have control of each line’s data allotment.

So how does it work? If you buy four Verizon prepaid lines at 10GB per line, you pay $60 for the first line and $20 less for each subsequent line (up to a maximum of five lines). The total price for four lines, then, is $180 a month without a contract. You can also mix and match the amount of data on each line — so you could have one line with only 500MB of data, and another with 10GB. Verizon also offers a fourth line for free with some amounts of data.

Here’s a chart that better explains it. For the line cost, we’ve calculated the average for each line. In reality, different lines cost different amounts.

People Line cost Total 
2 $30 w/ 1GB

$30 w/6GB

$37.50 w/16GB

$55 w/Unlimited

$60

$60

$75

$110

3 $30 w/ 1GB

$28.33 w/6GB

$35 w/16GB

$51.67 w/Unlimited

$90

$85

$105

$155

4 $30 w/ 1GB

$27.50 w/6GB

$33.75 w/16GB

$50 w/Unlimited

$120

$110

$135

$200

5 $30 w/ 1GB

$27 w/6GB

$33 w/16GB

$49 w/Unlimited

$150

$135

$165

$245

And here’s Verizon’s single-line prepaid pricing. Keep in mind that these prices assume you have autopay setup.

Talk & Text High-speed data Cost
Voice:
Unlimited in U.S. 

Text:
Unlimited in U.S. and 200 countries

1GB of data with Carryover Data  $30
Voice:
Unlimited in U.S. 

Text:
Unlimited in U.S. and 200 countries

6GB with Carryover Data $35
Voice:
Unlimited in U.S., Mexico, and Canada

Text:
Unlimited in U.S. and 200 countries

16GB with Carryover Data $45
Voice:
Unlimited in U.S., Mexico, and Canada

Text:
Unlimited in U.S. and 200 countries

Unlimited $65

Streaming video is throttled to standard definition (480p) resolution across the board. And while there are no data overages, your speed goes down after you run out of 4G LTE data to 128kbps.

There’s no way to purchase additional high-speed data either, which is unfortunate. Carryover data allows you to keep any unused data into the next month, but it expires at the end of the following month.

The company also offers a “feature phone” plan, which offers non-smartphone users unlimited talk, text, and mobile web access. That plan is $30 a month.

Connected device plans

If you’re just looking for a plan for a tablet or other internet-connected device, Verizon’s prepaid plans have you covered there, too. Here’s the breakdown. Keep in mind these data buckets do not carry over, so it’s “use it or lose it.”

 Cost  $10 + $10 per 2GB $185 $260   $335 $410  $560  $710 
 Data  2-20GB  30GB  40GB  50GB  60GB  80GB  100GB

Recommendations:

  • The $50 plan with unlimited talk and text and 5GB of data is ideal for individuals.
  • Families should look elsewhere for cheap prepaid plans.

The perks of the Verizon’s prepaid plan:

  • Great rural coverage
  • Lots of phone options
  • Cheaper than Verizon’s other plans
  • Pay week to week or month to month
  • Carryover data lets you save data you don’t use
  • No overages

The downsides of Verizon’s prepaid plan:

  • Still pricey for prepaid plans
  • International service is extra (except Mexico and Canada on some plans)
  • Its network is CDMA, which makes buying unlocked phones that work on the network difficult
  • There’s no way to purchase additional high-speed data if you run out

Top phones at Verizon

Phones Down payment Price/month x 24
iPhone XS (64GB)

iPhone XS Max (64GB)

$0 $41.66 x 24 = $1,000

$45.83 x 24 = $1,100

Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

$0 $33.33 x 24 = $800

$38.74 x 24 = $930

LG G7 ThinQ

LG V40 ThinQ

$0 $31.25 x 24 = $750

$32.49 x 24 = $980

Google Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3 XL

$0 $33.33 x 24 = $800

$38.74 x24 = $930

Verizon has a great selection of phones, but you will have to pay the full price now that two-year contracts and subsidies are gone. High-end phones range from $650 to $1,000, so monthly payments run somewhere between $30 and $45 a month for 24 months. Cheaper phones cost as little as $5 a month.

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