Your guide

Verizon logo on phone stock photo

Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’re reading this, there’s probably a good chance that you’re considering a move to Verizon’s prepaid service. There are plenty of things to like about Big Red. Overall, Verizon is the largest carrier in the US with over 151 million subscribers. Its prepaid service takes advantage of the large, nationwide network and avoids some of Verizon’s high costs.

See also: Best Verizon deals

As you work your way through this page, we’ll do our best to explain your pre-paid options. We’ll also highlight some of the best devices you can try on Verizon’s prepaid network. If you’d rather have some of the perks of MVNOs, we’ve included a few to choose from as well. Ready to learn all about your potential future carrier? Let’s get started.

Verizon at a glance

Big Red has existed in one form or another for decades — but it hasn’t always been called Verizon Wireless. The carrier many people rely on today launched in 2000 as a joint venture between Bell Atlantic and Vodafone of the UK. It’s been Better Business Bureau accredited since 1929, and currently carries an A-plus rating. Despite the high rating, the company is rated at just over one star according to BBB reviewers and has closed 7,191 complaints in the past three years.

Verizon’s massive 4G LTE network extends into all 50 states, and the carrier has claimed the Root Metric reliability award for the last 13 years — in a row. Its 4G coverage reaches more than 300 million Americans, and its 5G coverage is available in parts of 35 major cities. Unfortunately, Verizon’s prepaid plans don’t indicate that you can even access the 5G network — yet.

For a better picture of Verizon’s coverage, head on over to its product map

Pre-paid Verizon plans

 Basic Phone5GB Prepaid15GB PrepaidUnlimited Prepaid
Cost$35 per line$40 per line$50 per line$65 per line
Talk & TextUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
High Speed DataTalk & Text Only5GB 4G LTE then 2G15GB 4G LTE then 2GUnlimited
HotspotNot AvailableIncluded up to data capIncluded up to data capAvailable for $5 per month
Calls to Mexico and CanadaAvailable for $5 per monthAvailable for $5 per monthIncludedIncluded
Loyalty DiscountNot AvailableSave $5 per month after 3 months
Save $10 per month after 9 months
Save $5 per month after 3 months
Save $10 per month after 9 months
Save $5 per month after 3 months
Save $10 per month after 9 months

Basic pre-paid

It may be hard to believe, but not everyone needs a data plan with their phone. Verizon’s Basic prepaid option offers just talk and text and costs just $30 per month with autopay. There’s no option to add data, which means there’s no mobile hotspot, but it also means you never have to worry about going over a data cap.

For just $5 per month, you can add calling from the US to Canada and Mexico, and another $5 per day you use the service will grant calls and texts while you’re in our North American neighbor countries. Basic prepaid is built for a very specific set of customers, but it’s a great way to save some money.

Highlights:

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • International service from $5 per month
  • No data

Best for:

  • Users who want to save money and don’t need data.

5GB pre-paid

Once you add data to the mix, it might relieve you to see that Verizon skips the cute plan names. Instead of figuring out what’s in a name, you can instantly see just how much data you’re working with. For example, this 5GB prepaid plan comes with 5GB of 4G LTE data. Better yet, you can use as much of that data as you want for a full-speed hotspot.

In addition to the $5 autopay discount, the 5GB prepaid plan is the first to introduce Verizon’s loyalty incentives. After you keep your plan for just three months, you can save an extra $5 per month. Nine months on the network knocks off another $5 per month for a total of $15 off with autopay.

Highlights:

  • Loyalty discount after three months
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • 5GB of 4G LTE data
  • Mobile hotspot with data cap

Best for:

  • Users who need some data, but mainly stay on wi-fi
  • Users who plan to stay with the network for loyalty discounts

15GB pre-paid

For just $10 more per month, you can triple your data cap to 15GB and triple your hotspot as well. Of course, your hotspot feeds from your total data cap, but it should still be plenty. At just $45 per month, you’ll get unlimited talk and text, and calls to Canada and Mexico are included at no extra cost.

You can enjoy the same autopay and loyalty discounts as before, which makes the 15GB prepaid plan a slightly better value than the 5GB option.

Highlights:

  • Loyalty discount after three months
  • Calling to Canada and Mexico included
  • 15GB of 4G LTE
  • Mobile hotspot with data cap

Best for:

  • Users who call Canada and Mexico frequently
  • On-the-go users who need hotspot access

Unlimited pre-paid

The last Verizon plan on the menu gives you a taste of unlimited data at a prepaid rate. It’s the most expensive at $65 per month before any discounts, but unlimited data is tough to beat. The unlimited prepaid plan might be your best option for North American travel too as talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico are included at no extra charge.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the mobile hotspot. You’ll have to chip in an extra $5 per month to enjoy tethering and data wherever you go with up to 10GB of 4G followed by 600Kbps speeds thereafter. It’s more sensible than getting a standalone hotspot, but it makes unlimited sound, well — limited.

Highlights:

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data
  • Talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico
  • Mobile hotspot for $5 per month

Best for:

  • Users who don’t want to worry about data limits
  • Users who plan to spend time in Canada or Mexico

Which of Verizon’s prepaid plans is right for you?

Verizon Wireless logo stock image 6

If you’re set on joining Verizon’s prepaid service, the 15GB and Unlimited plans are your best bets. Most users will have no trouble staying under the 15GB cap, and you won’t have to pay anything extra for mobile hotspot. The unlimited prepaid plan is the best for your money if you’re a heavy-duty data user. You’ll have to pay a bit extra for a hotspot, but you can use it as much as you want.

When it comes to international service, the unlimited plan just edges out the 15GB plan. It includes data, talk, and text in Canada and Mexico while that perk is $5 per month with limited data plans.

Verizon Prepaid vs the competition

Sprint Verizon T Mobile and Verizon carriers stock photo 4

If you really want to decide on the right carrier, you’ll have to pit the best options against one another. We’ve set Verizon’s prepaid unlimited plan against AT&T and T-Mobile’s prepaid options. Our table also includes Visible for good measure as it’s a Verizon-owned subsidiary. You can learn more about all of the plans at the Best prepaid and no contract plans in the US.

 Simply Prepaid Unlimited Plus (T-Mobile)Prepaid Unlimited Plus (AT&T)Prepaid Unlimited (Verizon)Visible
Cost$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$120 for three lines
$150 for four lines
$75 per line$65 per line$40 per line
As low as $25 with Party Pay
Talk and TextUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
DataUnlimited
5G Access
Unlimited up to 22GB 4G LTE
5G Access
UnlimitedUnlimited
HotspotUp to 10GB 4G LTEUp to 10GB 4G LTEUp to 10GB 4G LTE for $5 per monthUnlimited
StreamingStandard Definition (480p)High Definition (1080p)Standard Definition (480p)Standard Definition (480p)
InternationalAvailable for $5 to $15 per monthUnlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada
Roaming in Mexico and Canada
Unlimited text to over 100 countries
Unlimited calls to Mexico and Canada
Calls, texts, and data in Canada and Mexico
Unlimited texts to over 200 countries
Not available
ExtrasMusic UnlimitedSave $25 with autopaySave with a loyalty discountNone

AT&T Prepaid

The best Verizon Prepaid competition comes from the second-largest US carrier, AT&T. Big Blue’s service is the most expensive at $75 per month, but that price falls to just $50 with autopay. For your money, you get unlimited 4G LTE data as well as 5G access and 10GB of hotspot access.

AT&T Prepaid is the way to go if you want to stream your favorite shows too. You can watch in HD quality, just as long as you have stream saver turned off. The Unlimited Plus plan even includes talk, text, and roaming in Mexico and Canada as well as texting to 100 countries.

Highlights:

  • Save $25 per month with autopay
  • Unlimited data and 5G access included
  • International texting to 100 countries

T-Mobile Prepaid

T-Mobile’s prepaid service is another affordable Verizon alternative, and it’s another option with 5G access included. You’ll only be able to stream at 480p and international service costs an extra $5 to $15 per month though. It’s a great option if you plan on sticking to domestic data, and each line gets 10GB of a hotspot and unlimited 4G LTE.

One of the biggest selling points for T-Mobile’s prepaid service is the savings. The first line costs $60, but each additional line of service costs just $30 more.

Highlights:

  • 10GB hotspot included
  • Each additional line costs $30
  • Add-ons available

Visible

If you’re dead-set on Verizon’s service, Visible takes a slightly different approach. It’s not technically an MVNO as it’s a wholly-owned Verizon subsidiary. There’s just one plan to choose, and it offers unlimited talk, text, and data. Like the true Verizon prepaid plans, Visible makes no mention of 5G access. You also won’t be able to call internationally to Canada or Mexico.

Visible’s service regularly costs $40 per month, but you and your friends can drop it to just $25 with Party Pay. Each of you is billed individually and late payments won’t impact the others, but you’ll all save money.

Highlights:

  • One simple plan
  • Hotspot and unlimited data included
  • Save big with Party Pay

Other MVNOs that run on Verizon’s network

So you want prepaid service and Verizon’s great network, but you don’t necessarily want to deal with Verizon directly. Visible is one of your best options as we mentioned before. However, there are a number of other MVNOs to consider too. Check out our table for quick information about some of our favorites:

 US MobileRed PocketPagePlusTotal WirelessVisible
CostBuild your own with talk, text, and data for as little as $5 per month
Unlimited from $40 per month
Limited plans as low as $10 per month
Unlimited plans for $60 per month
Limited plans as low as $12 per month
Unlimited plans for $55 per month
1 line starts at $23.70 for 1GB 4G LTE data
1 line up to $47.50 for 25GB 4G LTE data
$40 per month
As low as $25 with Party Pay
Talk & TextStarts at 75 minutes for $2
Starts at 50 texts for $1.50
$10 plan includes 500 texts and 500 minutes
Plans above $15 include unlimited talk and text
500 minutes talk and 500 texts for $12
Unlimited for all other plans
UnlimitedUnlimited
DataStarts at 50MB for $1.50Starts at 500MB for $10
Unlimited data for $60
100MB for $12
3GB 4G LTE for $30
8GB 4G LTE for $40
Unlimited for $55
up to 25GB high-speed dataUnlimited
HotspotAdd 10GB to the Unlimited All plan for $5Hotspot availableNot availableUp to 10GB on plans above $50Unlimited
InternationalUp to 10GB for Unlimited plansFree calls to 80 countriesPlans above $12 include $10 international calling card$10 global calling card availableNot available
ExtrasPick your subscription perks with 2, 3, and 4 line plans
5G access available
Free SIM cardVideo streams at DVD qualityEarn rewards points that can be used to pay for serviceSave with Party Pay

US Mobile

US Mobile is a unique Verizon MVNO in that you can build your plan just how you like it. In fact, everyone in your entire family can customize a plan. You pick your talk, text, and data, and US Mobile gives you a price. There’s even a brand-new unlimited plan that costs just $40 per month. The unlimited plan offers your choice of subscription services for free with 2, 3, and 4 line plans.

Red Pocket

You may not be as familiar with Red Pocket, but it’s an effective way to save money thanks to its variety of plans. There are plenty of limited service options to choose from all the way up to unlimited access. Red Pocket actually runs on all of the Big Three networks, but you’ll lock into a carrier when you sign up.

PagePlus

PagePlus is similar to Red Pocket with varying tiers of limited and unlimited service. The pricing structure is about the same as well, but PagePlus puts a warning on its website about using more than 60GB of data per month. You can also opt for pay-as-you-go minutes, data add-on cards, and international add-on cards.

Total Wireless

Total Wireless has a number of single-line and family plans, and each includes unlimited talk and text. The data is unlimited as well, though you have to pay more for unlimited high-speed access. Total’s basic unlimited plans offer just 1GB of high-speed data before you fall back down to 2G speeds.

Visible

We’ve already talked about Visible in the previous section on competition, but it offers one plan at one price. You can save with Party Pay and unlimited talk, text, and data are included. There’s no international access, but you can read about our own experiences with Visible in the review right here.

What phones can you use on Verizon Prepaid?

iPhone SE back crop

Verizon’s prepaid plans support nearly all of Big Red’s post-paid devices. If you can think of it, there’s a decent chance that it works on the network. From the Samsung Galaxy S10 family to the LG Stylo 6 and even the latest iPhone SE. If you want a full rundown of options, take a peek at our list of the best Verizon phones. Of course there are some phones specifically built with Verizon’s prepaid network in mind, and you can find them here. 

It’s also pretty easy to bring your own device to the Verizon network — at least as long as it’s a CDMA phone that supports all Verizon’s bands. 

See also: The best phone phones

What bringing your own device really comes down to is band support. As long as your phone can handle the right ones, you should be in business. Check out the following table for a breakdown of the bands you’ll need to join Big Red:

FrequencyBandNetwork Supported
39GHzN2605G
28GHzN2615G
1900MHz22G
3G
4G LTE
1700MHz/2100MHz4
66
3G and 4G LTE
4G LTE
850MHz52G
3G
4G LTE
700MHz134G LTE

Frequently asked questions

Q: Who owns Verizon?
A: At one point Bell and Vodafone were among Verizon’s owners. These days Verizon is owned by Verizon Communications is a fully US based company. 

Q: How do you get Disney Plus with Verizon?
A: Disney Plus is included with select plans, including Play More Unlimited. Basic and prepaid plans do not offer the perk, however. 

Q: How do you unlock a Verizon phone?
A: The great thing about Verizon is you might not have to unlock your phone! Unless its a prepaid device or an ancient iPhone 3G World device, Verizon phones already are unlocked for use on other supported carriers. However, we have a complete guide here that will walk prepaid and 3G World phone users through the unlock process. 

Q: Does Verizon have 5G and does it cost extra?
A: Yes, Verizon has one of the strongest 5G networks in the US with at least partial support in over 35 cities. 5G is included with most of Verizon’s plans, at no extra cost.