Visible is a prepaid carrier, MVNO, which runs on the Verizon Wireless (opens in new tab) network. Since this is rated as the fastest 5G and best 4G coverage network in the US, that's a great place to start. It means Visible is flying up high on our guide to the best cell phone providers (opens in new tab) in 2021.
Visible is a great option for affordable pricing but also for range of coverage which means those deal based savings can be attainable by most of the US, no matter you happen to be based or travelling. You can save money and pay up front so as to avoid any nasty shocks from your bill later in the month. It also means fewer worries about credit checks.
So what's the catch? Since Visible is an MVNO it means customers won't get priority over Verizon Wireless customers. Fair enough when you consider how much is being saved by going this route. That can mean data connection throttling after going over a certain usage amount or slower speeds at congested times. But even at those speeds the 5 Mbps cap is still plenty fast enough for most tasks including streaming video, social media, web browsing, emails and more.
- Check out Visible's plan now (opens in new tab)
Visible: Plans and phones
Visible has expanded its offering significantly over the past 18 months, and now has a decent variety of plans and smartphones (opens in new tab). You'll find the iPhone SE (opens in new tab), iPhone 12 (opens in new tab), and Samsung Galaxy S21 (opens in new tab) on there, all for very reasonable prices. There are many other phones too, giving Visible an impressive spread of the latest handsets. Because you need to pay upfront fully, or finance your smartphone, don't forget to add this cost to the monthly price of any plan that you choose. There's an option to bring your old phone with you to Visible, which is a great way of saving yourself money upfront.
Unlike its range of phones, Visible is very streamlined in terms of plans. There's a single $40 per month offering, which is currently $25 for the first month as an introductory offer. That $40 is your total fee, including taxes, so Visible keeps things very simple. For that, you're given unlimited data, calls, and texts charged on a monthly basis. You also get limitless hotspots, to share your data with others, and no long-term contract conditions, so you can leave whenever you like. As prepaid plans go, it's very good.
Like Verizon’s own prepaid plan, Visible’s plan data is deprioritized in times of congestion. This is inconvenient depending on where you live and how many people use the Verizon network near you, but it might also never affect your network speeds.
The only variation offered to the $40 per month plan are multi-line plans, or as Visible calls them, Party Pay. Here you pay less for every other party member you have, up to a total of four. So, if you have two people, it's $35 per line. Three is $30, and four is $25. Ideal for families or house-shares that are happy to use a single line. This adds further value to an already compelling package but, again, don't forget that these prices do not include the cost of the handset.
Visible: Network and reliability
Because it runs on Verizon's network, Visible has some of the best coverage of all the MVNO networks (these are the ones that don't use their own cell towers, but piggyback others), and while it isn't given primary access to Verizon's network, you still get a great signal in most parts of the country. When tested, there were few blackspots across the majority of America, with the biggest gaps in the mid and north west.
Visible's data speeds aren't as quick as most of the post-pay cell phone providers, but you'll get between 5-12 Mbps in most areas, which is plenty for basic streaming and other tasks like email and social media. The fact that it's unlimited is a real advantage to Visible, especially at $40 per month.
If you're looking for a solid 5G prepaid provider, we'd probably suggest someone like Mint Mobile (opens in new tab) instead.
One thing that differentiates Visible from other prepaid cell providers is that it markets itself toward online customers. It is primarily managed via its Android and iOS app, so you don’t have to deal with salespeople during setup. You contact customer support and pay your bills through the app as well, which accepts credit and debit cards, PayPal and Venmo.
Should you choose Visible?
Overall, Visible is a smart, well-priced, reliable prepaid phone carrier. Its simplified offerings and streamlined, app-based service management make it easy to use, and the toughest decision you need to make is which of the wide range of phones you want to buy with it. Its lower price and use of the Verizon network make it a great option for the majority of the US, especially if you don't need lightning quick speeds and could potentially add other people to your party plan.