What You Need to Know
Founded in 2000, Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless phone carrier in the United States. Serving more than 142 million subscribers, their robust coast-to-coast 4G LTE network includes rural areas other carriers don’t reach thanks to their LTE in Rural America program.
They offer both postpaid and prepaid services. Postpaid plans range between $40 and $115 per month based on your plan needs. Prepaid plans range between $30 and $60 per month.
If you need a device, you’ll find no-interest financing available on a new phone with a contract commitment. Already have your own phone? Verizon supports a decent selection of unlocked 4G phones!
However, as of July 2018, they've stopped activating 3G phones. So if you have an older CDMA/3G phone, you may need to upgrade to use their service.
- No-interest phone financing
- No-contract plans available
- Bring your own device plans available
- Calling to Canada and Mexico included on many plans
- No roaming fees in Canada and Mexico included on many plans
- Data rollover on all postpaid plans
- Unlimited data plan available
- Known for adding bloatware to phones
Carryover Data: Any unused data from your current monthly allotment will rollover to the next month. If data is not used by the end of the following month, it expires.
Safety Mode: Instead of automatically charging you for data top ups or overages, they’ll throttle your speed until the next billing cycle.
Exclusive Streaming Deals: Great for sports fans, these deals allow you to enjoy your favorite entertainment without worrying about your data bucket! Current partnerships include the NFL and the Verizon Indycar Series.
LTE Advanced: Offering 50% higher peak speeds, Verizon’s 4G LTE network is the fastest in the United States.
Awards and Recognitions
- Ranked #1 across all divisions in J.D. Power's "U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study Vol.1 (2017)".
- Ranked #2 in the Full-Service category of J.D. Power's "U.S. Wireless Customer Care Study Vol. 1 (2017)".
- Ranked #1 in J.D. Power’s 2016 “U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study Volume 2” for the West, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Southeast divisions.
- Ranked #1 in the RootScore Awards for the 1st half of 2016
- Tied with T-Mobile for fastest download speeds on Ookla’s 2016 “United States Speedtest Market Report”
- Ranked #1 for Nationwide Speeds in PC Magazine's 2017 US "Fastest Mobile Networks" study
- National winner for PC Magazine’s 2016, 2017, and 2018 US study, “Fastest Mobile Networks”
How's the Network Coverage and Speed?
They claim their 4G LTE network covers more than 2.3 million square miles and 98% of all Americans. While they still operate a 3G network, they will no longer activate new devices on it and are planning to shut it down by the end of 2019.
You can check coverage and network types in your area using their Coverage Map.
Verizon took first place in PC Magazine's 2018 and 2018 US "Fastest Mobile Networks" study for coverage and 4G upload and download speeds.
They ranked second in Ookla's "2018 United States SpeedTest Market Report" with a score of 26.02. This is an increase over their 2017 score of 21.13.
In OpenSignal's 2018 "State of Mobile Networks: USA," they ranked second for 4G download speeds with an average of 21Mbps and second for 4G upload speeds at an average of 7Mbps.
However, in 3G they lagged behind as the slowest of the 4 major carriers and average download speeds near 1Mbps.
Do They Charge Roaming Fees?
For domestic coverage, there is no need to worry about roaming. In areas without network coverage, you will see “Extended Network” displayed on your device. There is no additional charge for usage in this mode.
If you are travelling outside the US, you might incur roaming fees. Many of the upper-tier plans include roaming in Mexico & Canada.
Pay-per-use rates vary by country. Common fees include:
- Voice: $0.99 to $2.99 per minute
- Text Messaging (SMS): $0.50 per sent text and $0.05 per received text
- Multimedia Messaging (MMS): $0.25 per sent message and $0.25 per received message
- Data: $2.05 per MB
To help manage roaming costs, Verizon Wireless offers several add-ons:
- Daily TravelPasses: These 24-hour passes allow you to use your device in more than 100 countries for a flat daily fee. Usage counts against your monthly allotment. Prices range from $2 per device, per day to $10 per device, per day depending on your destination.
- Monthly International Travel Packages: Good for up to 30 days from purchase, these add-ons supplement your existing monthly allotments and unlock lower per-use rates in more than 140 countries. Prices range from $15 per device, per month to $40 per device, per month.
For rates in specific countries or more information about travel packages, consult the International Travel page.
What About Long Distance Fees?
Domestic calls to landlines and mobiles in the US are included with every plan. However, if you’re calling outside of the country, fees may apply. Many upper-tier plans include calling to Canada and Mexico at no additional charge.
Pay-per-use rates vary by country starting at $0.20 per minute.
If you plan to call international numbers often, you might consider taking advantage of an addon.
They offer two options depending on your needs:
- Call the World Share Plan: For $20 per account you unlock access to 1,000 minutes good for calls to more than 230 countries. Additional minutes are billed at $0.10 each.
- International Value Plan: For $5 per line you can enjoy free calls to Canada and Mexico as well as reduced rates to more than 230 countries. Per-minute rates start at just $0.05 and vary by country.
You can find more about specific calling rates and options on the International Long Distance page.
Does Verizon Offer Wi-Fi Calling?
Yes. If you have a supporting phone, they allow calling over Wi-Fi at no additional charge. They do not currently offer an app for Wi-Fi calling on non-supported phones.
Not sure if your phone is compatible? Consult the Verizon Store.
For more information on how to use Wi-Fi Calling, check their Wi-Fi Calling FAQs.
How About Voice over LTE (VoLTE)?
Yes. Verizon refers to their VoLTE service as HD Voice. When using HD Voice service and a compatible phone, you can switch between voice and video calls as well as use 4G data while on calls.
Not sure if your phone is compatible? The Verizon Store offers a list of options.
For HD Voice coverage, check their coverage map.
Can I Tether My Phone?
For most new plans, tethering or using your phone as a mobile hotspot is included at no additional charge. However, any data used by devices connected through tethering counts against your monthly data allotment. Tethering is also throttled if Safety Mode is activated on your account.
When tethering, track your data usage closely. Laptops, gaming consoles and other non-mobile electronics often consume more data than your phone or tablet will.
Can I Rollover Unused Data?
All new postpaid service plans at the time of writing include Carryover Data! Unlike many other carriers, you can even rollover any data top-ups or gifts for up to one month.
Unfortunately, if you’re on prepaid service, data rollover is not available.
What Add-ons or Bundles are Available?
Most Verizon plans include voicemail, call waiting, conference calling and access to a suite of apps to manage your account and features. If you’re looking for additional features, these are some of the most popular options:
- Caller Name ID: For $2.99 a month, you can display the name of callers even if they’re not in your contacts.
- Premium Visual Voicemail: Skip the voice menus and use an app for voicemails for $2.99 per month! They can even be converted to text for easy reading.
- Roadside Assistance: For $3 per month, per line, you can enjoy fuel delivery, free towing, tire service and locksmith service for added peace of mind.
- VZ Navigator: For $4.99 per month you can add enhanced GPS service to your devices complete with turn-by-turn navigation, intelligent routing and traffic updates.
- Data Boost: Most new plans support Data Boosts, allowing you to add 1GB to your data bucket for only $15.
- Verizon Cloud: With various prices and capacities, this feature ties cloud storage to your account to make storing and sharing photos, videos and other media hassle free.
Can I Bring My Own Device?
Yes! Many unlocked 4G phones with SIM support work with Verizon. General requirements include:
- The phone must support 4G LTE
- The phone must not be on the IMEI blacklist
- The phone must support frequencies in use by the Verizon network
- The phone must not be assigned to another Verizon account
- The phone must not be locked to another carrier network
They offer a Bring Your Own Device page -- complete with phone compatibility checks -- to get you started.
Do They Require a Credit Check?
There are no credit checks for prepaid service. However, monthly service agreements may require a credit check. At the time of writing, this is a "hard" credit check. This means the check will likely appear on your credit report.
To run the credit check, the carrier will need:
- Your name
- Current address
In some cases, a government-issued ID--such as a Driver's License, State Identification Card or Passport--is required as well.
NOTE: Credit checks from carriers that pull your credit bureau report may impact your credit score. If you're not sure the best options for your credit profile, we suggest contacting the carrier directly before attempting to obtain service.
For more information on credit check requirements and how they might affect your account, consult their Community Forums.
What About Activation and SIM Fees?
Verizon charges a $40 one-time activation fee for every new line of service.
If you upgrade your phone, there is an additional one-time charge of $40 each time you upgrade.
However, if you complete the transaction online, you can drop the activation and/or upgrade fees Verizon charges down to $20.
To bring your own phone or tablet, you'll also need a Verizon SIM.
Prepaid and monthly SIM kits are available for free by contacting customer service or stopping by an approved Verizon store.
NOTE: Fees often differ between retail stores and websites. Be sure to check both before signing up or adding a line to your account to maximize savings.
Do They Charge an Early Termination Fee?
Depending on your plan and contract, early termination fees might apply when cancelling.
Verizon’s Customer Agreement states:
“If you cancel a line of Service, or if we cancel it for good cause, during its contract term, you'll have to pay an early termination fee. If your contract term results from your purchase of an advanced device on or after November 14, 2014, your early termination fee will be $350, which will decline by $10 per month upon completion of months 7–17, by $20 per month upon completion of months 18–22, and by $60 upon completion of month 23 and will be $0 upon completion of your contract term. For other contract terms entered into on or after November 14, 2014, your early termination fee will be $175, which will decline by $5 per month upon completion of months 7–17, $10 per month upon completion of months 18–22, $30 upon completion of month 23 and will be $0 upon completion of your contract term. . . . Cancellations will become effective on the last day of that month's billing cycle, and you are responsible for all charges incurred until then.”
Can I Port My Number To or From Verizon?
Yes! Verizon follows all Local Number Portability guidelines--allowing you to transfer numbers both in and out of your Verizon account.
- The accounts your are transferring to or from must be active and in good standing.
- Local Number Portability rules must apply to the areas from which you wish to transfer the number.
This service is provided for free. However, if you are porting in a number after the line of service is already activated, you might incur number changing fees. There may also be fees for porting out from your other service provider.
You can find out more information at the Local Number Portability FAQ.
Will They Unlock My Phone?
According to their site, most new Verizon phones are not carrier locked. If you find your phone is locked, they recommend calling customer support for help.
As with most carriers, they cannot unlock a phone that is not locked to their network or is on the IMEI blacklist.
For more information on their policies, consult the Device Unlocking Policy page.
For additional questions about pricing, features and coverage, be sure to check our Verizon Q&A Forum. It’s filled with questions and answers from people like you looking to get the most out of their mobile service!
If you spot any errors or missing information, please let us know! It's appreciated and will help make this page better for everyone.
Voice network: AMPS, CDMA 800 / 1900 MHz
Data network: 1xRTT, EVDO Rev. A, LTE, 5G
1095 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, USA
800-922-0204 (or *611 from your cell)
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