This is my review of Verizon Wireless. I signed up for their Above Unlimited Plan, now renamed their Get More Unlimited Plan, which is their most premium and expensive offering, to try their network and see what the experience is like.
Verizon is one of the most popular carriers in the U.S. Over 27% of people reported using them for personal purposes in 2018, they had over 61 million smartphone users in Q1 2018, and they have some of the some of the highest brand preference across the United States.
After a few months of using the Verizon, here’s what you need to know. I’ll be covering their features and what the experience was like using their network. I’ll briefly talk about their old plans and how they compare to the new plans. I’ll go over how the new unlimited plans compare with one another. And I’ll talk about the best alternative plans to consider, if you’re not looking to spend over $900 per year on cell service.
My Experience Using Verizon
First up, the experience using the Verizon network. As you’d expect, it was great.
Verizon’s Coverage & Network Performance
Verizon has a strong network with fast data speeds, and arguably the best coverage across the United States of the major carriers. In fact, Verizon’s robust coverage is one of the main reasons people choose their network.
I have friends who live in Maine, shoutout to Zach, where Verizon is really their only option. Zach says, “AT&T is available in Maine, but only works reliably on the southern coast, not available in the mountains or further up the coast.”
Coverage and network performance really come down to location, but I’d say in most locations Verizon tends to provide better coverage and service.
Not a huge deal for some, but for others like truckers or business people traveling across the country, Verizon’s robust coverage can make a difference.
You can check Verizon’s coverage and network performance in your area from reliable third-party sites such as OpenSignal, Sensorly, or RootMetrics. These interactive maps show you network coverage and the download and upload speeds recorded in each area.
Verizon Supported Features
In terms of features, you’re looking at everything here. We’re talking full support for wifi calling, VoLTE, visual voicemail, and the personal hotspot. Except for Verizon’s $70 Start Unlimited plan, which doesn’t support the personal hotspot. All their other plans do though, and the features worked great for me.
Verizon also has a whole slew of apps. If you purchase an Android phone directly from Verizon, these will often come preinstalled. The two I want to talk about here are Verizon messages and the My Verizon app.
Verizon’s messages app allows you to sign in to your Verizon account on your computer or tablet and send and receive text messages.
I think this is neat and worth knowing about, but the truth is Apple’s iMessage and Google’s messages apps are going to provide a significantly better experience.
The other app is the My Verizon App. You use this for managing your account, viewing your usage, paying your bill, and all that Jazz.
For me, this app was not great. I frequently had trouble logging in and connecting to the network. I imagine app updates can solve these issues, but when I was testing their network I had to use my online account because the app wasn’t working.
When you are able to log in, I think this app has three main functions:
- To let you manage your account & pay your bills
- To get support
- To up sell you on a ridiculous amount of add-ons
Verizon’s Ridiculous Add-ons Charge You Extra for Features You Don’t Need
The biggest surprise for me while browsing through the application was the astonishing number of add-ons Verizon offers for their plans. I hadn’t heard of any of these add-ons until I tried Verizon’s service! Here are the available add-ons Verizon offers with their plans:
You can get VZ Navigator with Real-Time traffic for $4.99/month. What? What is that? That looks like a 2003 version of Google Maps. It’s like those old school GPS unites people used to have in their car. And verizon calls theis their AWARD WINNING NAVIGATION SERVICE?!
You have something called Digital Secure for $10 per account or $5 per line. Apparently it’s got anti-virus, anti-malware, and identity theft protection. But think about it, when was the last time your phone got a virus. Right? I mean, iPhones don’t get viruses. So is this just a $10 add-on to rip people off?
Then we’ve got our Safe Wi-Fi. Always gotta make sure our wifi is safe. This is actually $0 per month. I honestly don’t know what it does, but at least it’s free.
Next you’ve got your Call Filter. $3 per month to know who’s calling and avoid spammers. This actually seems useful, until you realize all phones have some sort of caller ID and Google built this into their operating system for free.
And finally you’ve got, wait, WHAT?! Verizon Roadside assistance? I didn’t even know Verizon offered roadside assistance! At $3 per month it does seem reasonable for roadside assistance coverage I guess.
And in another section of the app Verizon has a Voicemail to Text for iPhone add-on for $3 per month. What this does is it transcribes your voicemail messages and sends the transcription as a text message to your phone. This may be useful, but I’d also just like to remind you that your iPhone automatically transcribes your voicemail messages already, in the voicemail app…
Most of these add-ons are useless. To me, they made an otherwise premium plan feel like a cheap service trying to upsell me things I didn’t need.
hink the app is fine for what it does, but I also think there are better app experiences out there.
The online experience for me was similar. Most of the functionality was fine, but some things were just weird. Like, I when I went to try and switch plans, I couldn’t choose any of Verizon’s prepaid options.
And while browsing through my online account, I stumbled across a referral program hidden in the menu system. Like WHAT?! Who hides their referral program but puts useless add-ons at your fingertips?!!
While the coverage and services was great, I don’t feel the experience was great.
I felt like Verizon had a lot of different ways to up-charge me with their add-ons, I couldn’t switch to their more affordable prepaid plans from my account, their referral program is completely hidden if it even works at all, and to get most things done you need to chat with customer support or go to a store.
My Poor Grandfather
When you have an issue with Verizon, you basically have to go to a Verizon store. And when you’re in a store, I think it can be a mixed bag for a lot of people.
You may get a wonderful, helpful representative. Or you may get someone looking for extra commission and who tries to upsell you on devices, add-ons, or services you don’t need.
My grandfather walked into a Verizon store once for an issue he was having with his iPhone, and the representative upsold him on a “free” tablet.
It turns out this tablet added an extra $10/month to his bill without him knowing. And while I’m sure the rep quickly went over the details of the promotion in store, I’m sorry, who does that?!
This man is having trouble with his phone, do you think he needs a tablet?!
Again, this isn’t to say all Verizon customer service is bad, and to many people having a physical store location they can go to may be a nice reassurance, but I personally feel like for $90 per month, the experience of Verizon could be better.
Verizon’s Plans Are Expensive. Here Are The Best Alternative Plans That Will Save You $400+ Per Year
And this brings me to my final point of this article. Unless you’re a family, Verizon’s plans are astronomically expensive.
And even if you are a family, they’re still expensive. The cost for the Play More Unlimited Plan technically drops to $40/person with 5 or more people, but let’s be real, there is no way your kids are contributing to your phone bill.
So if we can get below $40/person for phone service, I think that’s a big win in the Verizon network.
And here’s the thing, Verizon actually leases access to their network to smaller carriers.
These smaller carriers are able to provide identical coverage, because they’re literally using the same network, and often offer much more rates.
These are the best alternative plans to Verizon’s expensive unlimited options:
First, Visible. Visible is owned by Verizon and offers truly unlimited LTE data and unlimited hotspot data. Similar to Verizon’s it is always deprioritized during times of network congestion.
I had a positive experience when I tried them out, but others have had slow data speeds because they live in congested areas or poor customer service experience.
Still, Visible can save you $480 per year. It may even be worth signing up for one month of service with a new number to try Visible in your area before committing.
US Mobile is another great option in the Verizon network. You can get 30GB for $30/month, or unlimited data for $45/month.
What I love about US Mobile is you can customize your plan to your needs. Their custom plans are great for light users, and their unlimited plans allow you to get more data at still reasonable prices.
I also love their online support and their beautiful account dashboard. Take note Verizon, this is how your app should look.
With their strong customer support and company values, I think Reach Mobile could be worth considering here too. $35 for 3GB and $45 for 5GB.
What’s cool is if you sign up for the 5GB plan and only use 3GB, Reach will bill you for the lower cost 3GB plan.
10% of your plan also helps provide cellular data connectivity to people in need.
Xfinity or Spectrum Mobile
If you’re an XFINITY or Spectrum customer, XFINITY Mobile or Spectrum Mobile may be good options as well.
Their unlimited plans are basically the same. $45 per month gets you 20GB of priority data, unlimited hotspot data at 600Kbps, and standard definition video streaming.
For non-XFINITY or Spectrum customers this price jumps to $65 per month.
Verizon is Premium Service at a Premium Price. What Did You Expect?
So there you go, that is everything you need to know about Verizon wireless.
I think they are really only worth it if you are able to get not a family, but a group of five or more working individuals who can contribute to paying their share of the bill and bring that cost down to $40 per month.
Otherwise, I really do think there are better options out there, whether from Verizon Prepaid or one of the other carriers that uses Verizon for coverage. These plans can save you a lot of money on cell service because Verizon is expensive.
But what did you expect? It’s premium coverage at a premium price. And that’s Verizon.
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