Pros / Verizon has the best network of the Big Four.
Cons / Verizon prepaid plans are very expensive.
Verdict / Compared to Verizon’s postpaid plans, the prepaid plans are a great value, but not against other prepaid options.
Editor's Note: Verizon Wireless has recently restructured its prepaid plans, including a price cut to its unlimited prepaid plan and more available lines per plan.
Verizon Wireless is one of the Big Four wireless carriers in the U.S. It consistently tops the charts in terms of network coverage, reliability and speed according to reports by RootMetrics. We recommend checking coverage maps and network performance maps for everywhere you use your phone before switching cellular networks, just in case. Verizon also has a reputation for charging a premium for the great network. It costs a little less to get unlimited data with Verizon when you prepay, but that comes with a large caveat. Prepaid customers could see data deprioritization at any time during the billing cycle when the network is congested, in addition to Verizon’s 22GB speed cap for unlimited plans, so your data speeds are frequently throttled.
How much this particular fine print clause affects you depends entirely on how other people are using the network. You may never notice, or you might be two days into your plan and temporarily forced down to 2G speeds. The unlimited plan also doesn’t save you money. It costs the same as Verizon’s Go Unlimited plan but doesn’t include hotspot tethering. Compared with options from MVNOs that cost $10-$20 less per month, it isn’t a great deal.
Beyond the $75 unlimited data plan, Verizon has four other prepaid options, ranging from 500MB to 10GBs of data. If you’re currently a Verizon customer and don’t quite want to make the jump to a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), you can still save money switching from postpaid to prepaid. For example, Verizon’s postpaid $60 plan (for an individual) gives you 5GBs of data, while the prepaid $60 plan includes 10GB of data. It’s a good deal when you compare Verizon to Verizon, but elsewhere, $60 can get you unlimited data and mobile hotspot tethering with MetroPCS or Boost Mobile.
The range of plans Verizon offers its prepaid customers is nice. Data is available in 500MB, 3GB, 7GB and 10GB, so there’s an option for any type of data user. The limited plans are nice alternatives to the family data bucket-style postpaid plans Verizon offers, which don’t allow a lot of data per line and cost about the same. Even on limited data lines, you can’t use your high-speed data allowance for hotspot tethering. Video streaming quality is also limited to 480p, or DVD quality.
Overall, Verizon’s prepaid plans are a good value if you compare them with similarly-priced Verizon postpaid plans, but they’re expensive for prepaid. Still, Verizon is the best network in the U.S., so if you need the best coverage the prepaid plan options can save you some money.