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T-Mobile vs Verizon: Which carrier is better for you?

T-Mobile made a major move bringing Sprint into the fold, but have they made up any ground on Big Red?
By
January 1, 2022
The T-Mobile logo at MWC 2018.

For years, T-Mobile has been the third-largest US carrier, and the Sprint merger only solidified its position. The Un-Carrier’s goal is to become America’s leading carrier, and we’re here to find out if that’s possible. Let’s pit T-Mobile vs Verizon and see which carrier is ready for your business.

See also: Verizon buyer’s guide | T-Mobile buyer’s guide

At first glance, Verizon and T-Mobile are as opposite as they come. We’ll go category by category and see how each carrier fares on prices, coverage, phone selections, and more. Ready to choose your next carrier? Use this guide as your starting point.

T-Mobile vs Verizon — Pricing

Verizon Wireless logo stock image 1

The first difference between T-Mobile and Verizon is pricing. Verizon is one of the most expensive carriers around, while you can get T-Mobile’s nationwide access for less than ever before. Check out the table below for some quick prices:

T-Mobile CostsVerizon Costs
Entry-level unlimited plan
T-Mobile Costs
Essentials
$60 for one line
$45 per line for two lines
$30 per line for three lines
$26 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
T-Mobile Costs
Magenta
$70 for one line
$60 per line for two lines
$40 per line for three lines
$35 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
T-Mobile Costs
Magenta Max
$85 for one line
$70 per line for two lines
$47 per line for three lines
$43 per line for four lines
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

No matter which plan you pick, T-Mobile is the more affordable option. The more lines you add, the more you can save — upwards of $10 per line when you have four lines. While T-Mobile’s entry-level Essentials plan may skip a few of the streaming perks, you really can’t beat $26 per line for unlimited talk, text, and data with 5G access.

The pricing gap widens even further at the mid-tier plans, with T-Mobile adding Netflix streaming to the mix. However, you won’t get as much 4G LTE hotspot access with just 5GB compared to Verizon’s 15GB. Essentially, if you want the best perks around, head to Verizon. If you’re looking to save some green, stick with T-Mobile.

Once you reach the most expensive plans — Get More Unlimited and Magenta Max — T-Mobile makes up even more ground in terms of features. It offers 40GB of 4G LTE hotspot access while staying $8 more affordable per line.

If you’ve decided that both Verizon and T-Mobile are a bit too expensive, you might want to consider an MVNO on either network. Give these buyer’s guides a look while you’re here:

T-Mobile vs Verizon — Coverage

5g map t mobile
T-Mobile

When you have an impressive coverage map, it makes sense to show it off. At least, that’s the case with T-Mobile’s map, as seen above. The map is impressive, though T-Mobile claimed just 62% 4G LTE coverage nationwide before its merger with Sprint. Verizon boasted a healthy lead with 71% nationwide coverage. It may not sound like a massive difference, but it can impact rural settings.

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

While the Un-carrier may lag behind Verizon in actual 4G LTE coverage, it’s leading the charge with its 5G rollout. T-Mobile can spread its high-speed network over greater distances thanks to a low-band setup. On the other hand, Verizon highlights its short-distance mmWave configuration limited to select cities throughout the country. Big Red has recently rolled out its complementary Nationwide 5G network, and you can check out the new interactive map right here.

T-Mobile vs Verizon — Perks and promos

Hulu stock photo green background 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

While network coverage should be your primary concern, perks are just as crucial for the best all-around experience. Verizon is your best bet if you want streaming options. Its unlimited plans include Apple Music and Disney Plus for at least six months. T-Mobile is no slouch, though — its Magenta and Magenta Plus plans include a Netflix subscription. Check out the table below for more streaming specifics:

PlanVideo PerksMusic Perks
Plan
T-Mobile Essentials
Video Perks
None
Music Perks
None
Plan
T-Mobile Magenta
Video Perks
1 screen of Netflix Basic
Music Perks
None
Plan
T-Mobile Magenta Max
Video Perks
2 screens of Netflix Standard
Music Perks
None
Plan
Verizon Start Unlimited
Video Perks
6 months of Disney Plus, 12 months of Discovery Plus
6 months of Google Play Pass or Apple Arcade
Music Perks
6 months of Apple Music
Plan
Verizon Play More Unlimited
Video Perks
Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus included, 12 months of Discovery Plus
12 months of Google Play Pass or Apple Arcade
Music Perks
6 months of Apple Music
Plan
Verizon Do More Unlimited
Video Perks
6 months of Disney Plus, 12 months of Discovery Plus
6 months of Google Play Pass or Apple Arcade
Music Perks
6 months of Apple Music
Plan
Verizon Get More Unlimited
Video Perks
Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus included, 12 months of Discovery Plus
12 months of Google Play Pass or Apple Arcade
Music Perks
Apple Music included

As you can see, each of Verizon’s plans promises Disney Plus access, with the Play More and Get More options adding Hulu and ESPN Plus on top. You’ll even get up to a year of Discovery Plus for your enjoyment, which is a new addition for 2021. Outside of the video streaming realm, you’ll get six months of Apple Music with the Start, Play More, and Do More plans, while the Get More plan includes Apple Music permanently. Now, you can also add Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass to the mix with up to one year of a free trial.

On the T-Mobile side, you’ll want to skip the Essentials plan if you’re interested in streaming perks. You’ll be all set with Netflix on Magenta and Magenta Max though, it just comes down to how many screens you need. The Magenta plan includes just one screen of access while Magenta Max doubles the count to two screens. You get one year of Apple TV Plus with a new Magenta plan, too. T-Mobile may lag in streaming perks, but its T-Mobile Tuesdays program is a nice plus. The service offers freebies, discounts, and more as long as you have the app.

Both T-Mobile and Verizon love good promos, though you’ll have to grab a new device if you want the full menu of savings. If you’re switching carriers, it’s as easy as trading in your device. You might get a free phone out of the deal! Over at T-Mobile, you can get plenty of flagship devices on BOGO deals when you switch. Other solid options include a free iPhone 13 or Galaxy S21.

Over at Verizon, you can take up to $1,000 off top Android phones with a trade-in, no matter their condition. Make sure to check the terms of each deal carefully, but both carriers seem to offer excellent value if you’re in the market for a new device.

Right now, T-Mobile might have an advantage if you’re hoping to bring your own phone. The Un-Carrier is currently offering up to $800 in rebates when you pay off your bill and upload proof to your account. It’s only valid on select Google, Samsung, and Apple devices, but those tend to carry the highest costs anyway.

See also: The best Verizon deals | The best T-Mobile deals

T-Mobile vs Verizon — Phone selections

Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro review outdoor with autumn leaves
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

When it comes to new devices, both carriers offer impressive selections as two of the largest providers in the United States. The majority of each list is the same, though the CDMA and GSM divide offers unique choices. Verizon still relies on the CDMA setup, while T-Mobile has moved to the newer GSM framework. That means that you can bring a more comprehensive selection of phones, especially those from OnePlus, to the Un-carrier.

See also: The best Verizon phones | The best T-Mobile phones

While Verizon may not have the same OnePlus relationship, it does have a strong bond with Motorola. If you’re looking to grab any of the latest Moto phones like the Motorola Edge Plus, Big Red is the only way to go. You can also grab the newest selection of foldable, like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G, from either carrier.

You can technically grab Motorola devices on T-Mobile, though they bear the Un-carrier’s Revvl badge. One of the few differences outside the Revvl line is Verizon’s offering the iPhone 13 Mini for free.

Which carrier is right for you?

Question

Luckily for you, the Sprint and T-Mobile merger doesn’t need to play a factor in your decision. This is because there’s no cut-and-dry answer in the T-Mobile vs Verizon debate, as there are many differences to consider. T-Mobile is easily the more affordable option, and it offers the largest 5G network you’ll find right now. On the other hand, Verizon covers the most 4G LTE territory — which is most likely where you’ll spend most of your time anyway. You may also want to consider the CDMA and GSM divide when you choose.

The network that’s right for us may not be suitable for you, and maybe neither of these options is the perfect fit. If that’s the case, here are a few other carriers you may want to think about: