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Google Fi vs Verizon: Which carrier is worth your money?

In our quest to help you choose your next phone plan, we stack Google Fi vs Verizon to see which one is worth your money.
By
August 12, 2022
Verizon Wireless logo stock image 8
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Only one carrier can come out on top in a battle of young vs old. On the one hand, we have Verizon — a top US carrier with mountains of plans and coverage. On the other, Google Fi continues to grow with its unique network structure. The two are vastly different, and only one can be your go-to for service. In a battle of Google Fi vs Verizon, which carrier is right for you?

See also: Verizon buyer’s guide | Google Fi buyer’s guide

We will take pricing, coverage, and promos into account in our category-by-category breakdown. Are you ready to kick off the first round? Let’s get to it!

Google Fi vs Verizon — Pricing

Google Fi package and SIM edited
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

It’s well established that Verizon is one of the more expensive carriers. You’ll typically spend between $5 and $10 more per month for an unlimited plan on Big Red’s network compared to Google Fi. Before we dig too deep into the prices, check out our handy table below:

Google Fi costsVerizon costs
Entry-level Unlimited Plan
Google Fi costs
$60 for one line
$45 per line for two lines
$30 per line for three lines
$30 per line for four lines
Verizon costs
Start Unlimited
$70 for one line
$60 per line for two lines
$45 per line for three lines
$35 per line for four lines
Mid-level Unlimited Plan
Google Fi costs
Unlimited Plus
$70 for one line
$60 per line for two lines
$50 per line for three lines
$45 per line for four lines
Verizon costs
Play / Do More Unlimited
$80 for one line
$70 per line for two lines
$55 per line for three lines
$45 per line for four lines
High-end Unlimited Plan
Google Fi costs
None
Verizon costs
Get More Unlimited
$90 for one line
$80 per line for two lines
$65 per line for three lines
$55 per line for four lines
Other Plans
Google Fi costs
Flexible Plan
$20 for one line
$18 per line for two lines
$17 per line for three lines
$17 per line for four lines
Plus $10 per GB of data used
Verizon costs
None

Google Fi’s Unlimited Plus option aligns closely with Verizon’s Start Unlimited plan as far as unlimited plans go. Each starts at $70, though Start Unlimited bottoms out at $35 per line with four lines instead of $45 over on Google Fi. If you spring for one of Verizon’s higher-level unlimited plans, you’ll immediately notice a larger bill, though there are more perks to go with it. Big Red also offers a new low-cost plan called Welcome Unlimited. It starts at $65 per month and strips out most streaming perks, offering access to the 5G Nationwide network and not much on top.

See also: The best Verizon deals

Google Fi’s new Simply Unlimited plan undercuts Verizon with a $60 starting point. Once you add a second line, you’re looking at $45 per month. The third and fourth lines will set you back $30 each.

While it’s relatively straightforward to compare one unlimited plan to another, Google Fi has another trick up its sleeve — the Flexible Plan. You’ll start with a $20 per month flat rate for a single line, and each gigabyte of data you use costs $10. It’s a great plan if you don’t anticipate browsing too much. Google Fi even offers bill protection, so you won’t pay another dime if you use over 6GB of data as a single line.

Of course, you can always opt for an MVNO if you want to save money. There are tradeoffs to think about, but here are a few of our favorite options:

Google Fi vs Verizon — Coverage

google fi coverage map
Google fi

One of Google Fi’s best advantages over the Verizon powerhouse is its unique network setup. Rather than relying on one carrier for coverage, Fi combines T-Mobile, US Cellular, and the remains of Sprint for a vast signal blanket. As long as your phone is designed for Google Fi, it should automatically swap between the three networks for the best signal available.

The dark green regions indicate Google Fi’s 4G LTE coverage in the map above, while the lighter areas denote 3G and 2G coverage. Google Fi’s service may not be perfect, but it has come a long way in the past few years. If you have a 5G-ready device, you’ll also be able to tap into T-Mobile’s nationwide network at no extra cost. You can check out Google Fi’s local coverage by entering your zip code here.

See also: Where is 5G available in the US?

On the other hand, Verizon’s 4G LTE network is the largest among major US carriers, reaching 70% of the United States. It offers reliable coverage and solid speeds for most users across the country. Big Red also manages some of the best 5G speeds, though the mmWave network is not without drawbacks. If you’re not within the mmWave territory, Verizon’s brand-new Nationwide 5G network is far more accessible, and you can explore its new map right here.

Google Fi vs Verizon — Perks and promotions

Disney Plus comedy movies section stock photo

Coverage and pricing are important, but they don’t tell the whole story. A good set of perks and promos is the perfect way to round out your service, and Verizon has the edge — at least when it comes to streaming. Check out the table below for a quick overview of the perks:

Perks
Verizon Start Unlimited
Disney Plus and Apple Music for 6 months
Discovery Plus for 12 months
Verizon Play More Unlimited
Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus included
Discovery Plus for 12 months
Apple Music for 6 months
Verizon Do More Unlimited
Disney Plus and Apple Music for 6 months
Discovery Plus for 12 months
Verizon Get More Unlimited
Disney Plus, Hulu, ESPN Plus, and Apple Music included
Discovery Plus for 12 months
Google Fi Unlimited
Google One membership included

If you need your Mandalorian fix or you want in on Apple Music, Verizon is your best bet. Its unlimited plans — other than Welcome Unlimited — feature both services, though the Start Unlimited and Do More Unlimited only offer six months of access. Play More includes six months of Apple Music and a permanent Disney Plus bundle. The top-tier Get More plan includes both services permanently, and all plans now include up to one year of Discovery Plus and Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass.

See also: The best Music streaming apps for Android

Over on Google Fi, the Android creator tosses in a handy Google One membership with your Unlimited Plus plan. It’s a $2 monthly value, including cloud storage, discounts, and support for Google products. Unfortunately, the Flexible and Simply Unlimited plans are hung out to dry except for the bill protection for heavy data users.

Verizon is in the driver’s seat when it comes to promotions too. You can snag substantial savings on select Google Fi devices like the Galaxy S22 family or sign up for Pixel Pass and get a Pixel 6, but there aren’t as many devices to choose from overall. Big Red is happy to give you a couple of hundred dollars off of most flagships when you switch. In fact, you can get a Galaxy S22 or a Pixel 6 free right now when you trade in a device.

See also: Google Pixel 6 buyer’s guide

Google Fi vs Verizon — Phone selections

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Pixel 6 Pro, Oppo Find X5 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max camera housings close up
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Like many of the largest US carriers, Verizon offers an impressive list of devices. If you can name it, then Verizon probably supports it — as long as it’s a CDMA device. You’ll notice that a few of Verizon’s 5G phones are also set up under the UW name (ultrawide), which means that they’re explicitly configured for Big Red’s mmWave network. Luckily, the launch of Nationwide 5G makes it easier to bring your 5G-ready device or pick one up universally unlocked.

See also: Best Verizon phones | Best Google Fi phones

Google Fi also supports an incredible list of devices, and you can bring almost all of them yourself. You can grab the Pixel 6 Pro and the rest of the Pixel family, and now the entire S22 range right from the carrier. Here is the list of all other supported devices. The usual suspects — Apple and Samsung — are on the list, but you might be more excited to see OEMs like Xiaomi and Huawei supported on Google Fi as well.

Which carrier is right for you?

At long last, the answer you’ve been waiting for. In the battle of Google Fi vs Verizon, which carrier wins? Unfortunately, the answer is that it depends on your needs. Verizon offers a massive network and a laundry list of perks, though you’ll pay a pretty penny for coverage. If you need a lower-cost plan from Verizon, you’ll have to sacrifice most of the perks that make it worthwhile. Over at Google Fi, you’ll find just two plans and a few phones to pick from. Google Fi’s use of T-Mobile’s and US Cellular’s networks offers reliable coverage with seamless switching, and it’s an excellent option for travel abroad too.

See also: Google Fi vs AT&T | Google Fi vs T-Mobile

After all of this, you might still decide that you’re not sold on either network. There’s nothing wrong with that. Choosing a carrier is a marathon, not a sprint. Here are a few other carriers you might want to take a look at: