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Google Fi vs Visible by Verizon: How do they compare?
Google Fi and Visible by Verizon are both no-frills carriers, but they take different approaches. Visible only has a couple of plans and is light on promotions, but it is very affordable. Google Fi has the flexibility and relatively low prices of an MNVO, but like one of the larger providers, there are significant perks to committing to a longer relationship with the network. The question is, Google Fi vs Visible — which works better for you?
We’ve taken a look at Google Fi and Visible based on metrics such as pricing, promotions, coverage, and more to assist you in choosing between them.
Google Fi vs Visible — Pricing
Google Fi and Visible both offer unlimited national talk and text with all plans, so it’s only really data and extra features that vary. Where Visible has just two simple pans to choose from, things get a little more nuanced with Google Fi.
We’ll summarize the main plans of each provider in the table below, then go over the significant factors in play.
Google Fi Flexible
$20 + $10 per GB for one line
$18 + $10 per GB per line for two lines
$17 + $10 per GB per line for three lines
$17 + $10 per GB per line for four lines
$16 + $10 per GB per line for five lines
$16 + $10 per GB per line for six lines
Google Fi Simply Unlimited
$50 for one line
$40 per line for two lines
$25 per line for three lines
$20 per line for four lines
$20 per line for five lines
$20 per line for six lines
Google Fi Unlimited Plus
$65 for one line
$55 per line for two lines
$45 per line for three lines
$40 per line for four lines
$40 per line for five lines
$40 per line for six lines
$25 for one line (usually $30)
$35 for one line (usually $45)
Google Fi’s Flexible Plan is just that. It only costs $20 for a line, with an additional $10 per GB you consume. This means you’ll be paying $30 minimum but no more if you’re a light data user, and it’s on a month-by-month basis.
Google Fi has a feature called Bill Protection that guarantees you will not be charged extra per GB once you reach a certain limit. If you have a single line, this limit is 6GB, increasing when you have multiple lines. So the most you would pay is the $20 line fee plus $60 for data on a single line, which is $80 total. Google slows your connection once you pass 15GB of data usage for the month.
There are two unlimited packages, which are $50 and $65 per month respectively. The Unlimited Plus plan ups the fast data limit — the amount you can use before your data is slowed each month — to 50GB from 35GB and has unlimited hotspot tethering. It also allows you to use your data allowance worldwide, which is a huge bonus if you’re even a semi-regular traveler. There are more perks to the Premium plan outlined below.
Unlike Visible, Google Fi offers reduced prices if you add more lines of service. The table above lays it out, and it’s a handy addition if you’re looking to move the whole family to the provider.
Visible by Verizon
Visible offers two plans that both come with unlimited talk, text, data, and hotspot usage. Although there are some minor limitations, such as reduced hotspot speed after 50GB per month on the Visible Plus plan and no limit on the basic plan before hotspot speed can be slowed, the plans are very attractive overall.
The pricing for these plans is simple and reasonable, with the basic and Plus plans regularly costing $30 and $45, respectively. However, new customers can currently take advantage of a promotion that reduces the cost to $25 and $35, making it even more affordable.
By choosing the Plus plan, you can enjoy some additional benefits, including 5G Ultra Wideband (which is not available on the basic plan), unlimited roaming in Mexico and Canada, and international call and text allowances. This option may be worth the extra $10 for frequent travelers or those with friends and family abroad.
Google Fi vs Visible — Coverage
Google Fi piggybacks off the T-Mobile network, giving it excellent coverage in the US. 4G LTE is available almost everywhere, and 5G connectivity is both extensive and fast-growing. You can check the coverage map for yourself here. While T-Mobile is the primary network, Google states that your Fi-compatible phone will switch between networks as well as use secure Wi-Fi connections to ensure the fastest possible speeds.
Visible operates on Verizon’s network, which highlights the rewards it has received for the reliability of both its 5G and 4G LTE service. The Visible coverage map shows that it provides 4G LTE coverage across nearly all regions in the United States, with 5G service available in more densely populated areas. Additionally, the map marks specific cities where 5G Ultra Wideband is accessible.
Google Fi vs Visible— Perks and promotions
Of the two providers, Google Fi is the clear winner when it comes to perks and promotions.
All plans come with some nice features, such as the built-in VPN for a private online connection, but the extra you pay for the Unlimited Plus plan is where you unlock many of the perks. Aside from the data and call benefits already mentioned, you get data included for tablets and other devices, one year of YouTube Premium, and 100GB of Google One cloud storage.
Google Fi also offers phone discounts that are more reminiscent of the promotions provided by the big three networks than of an MVNO. You can save up to $1,000 by trading in your old device, and even $600 without switching up your old device. The kicker is that the discount is paid over 24 months in the form of bill credits, so you’ll need to stick with the network for a couple of years to get the full benefit.
Smalelr carriers generally have restrictions on hotspot data usage, but Visible stands out as an exception to this rule. However, Visible’s benefits are limited compared to Google Fi. While Visible used to offer a free gift card with a new phone purchase, this promotion is no longer available.
Despite this, there is one Visible promotion that may interest potential customers. If you are an iPhone user thinking about signing up with Visible, you can take advantage of a free 15-day trial without the need for a SIM card or credit card information.
Google Fi vs Visible — Phone selections
Visible has a wide range of devices on offer, including the Galaxy S23 Ultra, the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and the Pixel 7 Pro. There’s no sign of OnePlus on either operator, but Visible, while more streamlined than Verizon, has many of the most popular handsets available.
Google Fi has a more limited range of phones available and for a reason. Only certain models are designed for Google Fi, and while all phones unlocked to T-Mobile that you might bring will enjoy 5G connectivity (except iPhones), only the specified models can utilize Google’s network-switching technology to get the full benefit of the operator’s features.
That said, many of the most popular Android phones fall into this category. There are the Google Pixels, of course, plus the Samsung Galaxy phones in both the budget and high-end bracket and some Motorola devices.
Which carrier is right for you?
Google fans certainly won’t have much trouble in deciding between the two, but which is objectively right for you very much depends on how you use your phone.
For users looking for simple and affordable plans with minimal frills, Visible is likely to be the better choice. Unlimited data for as little as $25 per month blows Google Fi out of the water in terms of pricing, and you can even try it for free first. Most of the top phones are available if you need a new device, and the coverage is very good.
Google Fi is significantly more expensive, but you get some excellent perks that can’t be matched by Visible. It provides superior international services, additional perks such as a year of YouTube Premium with the Unlimited Plus plan, better device deals, and more. Google Fi also becomes more affordable if you require multiple lines, as it offers impressive family plan options.
iPhone users might lean more toward Visible, as 5G connectivity isn’t even available on Google Fi if you have an Apple device. The free trial on Visible is also only available on iPhones at the time of writing.
It’s unlikely that neither operator has a plan that suits your needs, but they aren’t the only boutique options out there if so. You could check out MVNOs such as US Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, and Mint Mobile.