Verizon logo on phone stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’ve ever thought about switching to prepaid service, Verizon is a great way to go. Big Red’s prepaid plans are quickly becoming one of the best parts of the entire network. Verizon is still the largest carrier in the US with over 151 million subscribers, and its prepaid plans take advantage of the large, nationwide network without many of the 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. Luckily, Verizon’s prepaid plans now include Nationwide 5G access, though you’ll have to pay extra for Ultra-Wideband support.

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

Pre-paid Verizon plans

Basic Phone5GB Prepaid15GB PrepaidUnlimited PrepaidVerizon Prepaid plus 5G Ultra Wideband
Cost
Basic Phone:
$35 per line
5GB Prepaid:
$40 per line
15GB Prepaid:
$50 per line
Unlimited Prepaid:
$65 per line
Verizon Prepaid plus 5G Ultra Wideband:
$75 per line
Talk & Text
Basic Phone:
Unlimited
5GB Prepaid:
Unlimited
15GB Prepaid:
Unlimited
Unlimited Prepaid:
Unlimited
Verizon Prepaid plus 5G Ultra Wideband:
Unlimited
High Speed Data
Basic Phone:
Talk & Text Only
5GB Prepaid:
5GB 4G LTE or 5G Nationwide then 2G
15GB Prepaid:
15GB 4G LTE or 5G Nationwide then 2G
Unlimited Prepaid:
Unlimited 4G LTE or 5G Nationwide
Verizon Prepaid plus 5G Ultra Wideband:
Unlimited with 5G Ultra-Wideband
Hotspot
Basic Phone:
Not Available
5GB Prepaid:
Included up to data cap
15GB Prepaid:
Included up to data cap
Unlimited Prepaid:
Available for $5 per month
Verizon Prepaid plus 5G Ultra Wideband:
10GB of 4G LTE or 5G Nationwide
Calls to Mexico and Canada
Basic Phone:
Available for $5 per month
5GB Prepaid:
Available for $5 per month
15GB Prepaid:
Included
Unlimited Prepaid:
Included
Verizon Prepaid plus 5G Ultra Wideband:
Included
Loyalty Discount
Basic Phone:
Not Available
5GB Prepaid:
Save $5 per month after 3 months
Save $10 per month after 9 months
15GB Prepaid:
Save $5 per month after 3 months
Save $10 per month after 9 months
Unlimited Prepaid:
Save $5 per month after 3 months
Save $10 per month after 9 months
Verizon Prepaid plus 5G Ultra Wideband:
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 particular 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 or 5G Nationwide 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 a 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, making 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 or 5G Nationwide data
  • Mobile hotspot with a 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 second 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 and 5G Nationwide data followed by 600Kbps speeds thereafter. It’s more sensible than getting a standalone hotspot, but it makes the 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

Unlimited pre-paid plus 5G Ultra-Wideband

If unlimited data isn’t enough, and you want even more speed at your fingertips, Verizon has finally added 5G Ultra-Wideband data to the mix. The plan will run you $75 per month before any loyalty discounts, but it’s the best way to take advantage of Verizon’s power. It truly offers the best aspects of Verizon’s unlimited prepaid plan, and it skips a few of the flaws, too.

For starters, you actually get a mobile hotspot baked into your cost. You’ll only get 10GB of data to work with, but that’s better than paying extra.

Highlights:

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data
  • 5G Ultra-Wideband included

Best for:

  • Users who want the fastest speeds possible

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

Verizon Wireless corporate store
Verizon Wireless corporate store

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 a 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 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. There’s a good chance you won’t need the Ultra-Wideband 5G access either, as it only offers support in select cities.

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 US’s Best prepaid and no-contract plans.

Simply Prepaid Unlimited Plus (T-Mobile)Prepaid Unlimited Plus (AT&T)Prepaid Unlimited (Verizon)Visible
Cost
Simply Prepaid Unlimited Plus (T-Mobile):
$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$120 for three lines
$150 for four lines
Prepaid Unlimited Plus (AT&T):
$75 per line
Prepaid Unlimited (Verizon):
$65 per line
Visible:
$40 per line
As low as $25 with Party Pay
Talk and Text
Simply Prepaid Unlimited Plus (T-Mobile):
Unlimited
Prepaid Unlimited Plus (AT&T):
Unlimited
Prepaid Unlimited (Verizon):
Unlimited
Visible:
Unlimited
Data
Simply Prepaid Unlimited Plus (T-Mobile):
Unlimited
5G Access
Prepaid Unlimited Plus (AT&T):
Unlimited up to 22GB 4G LTE
5G Access
Prepaid Unlimited (Verizon):
Unlimited
Visible:
Unlimited
Hotspot
Simply Prepaid Unlimited Plus (T-Mobile):
Up to 10GB 4G LTE
Prepaid Unlimited Plus (AT&T):
Up to 10GB 4G LTE
Prepaid Unlimited (Verizon):
Up to 10GB 4G LTE for $5 per month
Visible:
Unlimited
Streaming
Simply Prepaid Unlimited Plus (T-Mobile):
Standard Definition (480p)
Prepaid Unlimited Plus (AT&T):
High Definition (1080p)
Prepaid Unlimited (Verizon):
Standard Definition (480p)
Visible:
Standard Definition (480p)
International
Simply Prepaid Unlimited Plus (T-Mobile):
Available for $5 to $15 per month
Prepaid Unlimited Plus (AT&T):
Unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada
Roaming in Mexico and Canada
Unlimited text to over 100 countries
Prepaid Unlimited (Verizon):
Unlimited calls to Mexico and Canada
Calls, texts, and data in Canada and Mexico
Unlimited texts to over 200 countries
Visible:
Not available
Extras
Simply Prepaid Unlimited Plus (T-Mobile):
Music Unlimited
Prepaid Unlimited Plus (AT&T):
Save $25 with autopay
Prepaid Unlimited (Verizon):
Save with a loyalty discount
Visible:
None

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 and 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, roaming in Mexico and Canada, and 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. 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 from, and it offers unlimited talk, text, and data. Like the true Verizon prepaid plans, Visible now offers 5G access as part of its plan. You also can finally call internationally to Canada and Mexico.

Visible’s service regularly costs $40 per month, but you and as many friends as you want 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 several other MVNOs to consider too. Check out our table for quick information about some of our favorites:

US MobileRed PocketPagePlusTotal WirelessVisible
Cost
US Mobile:
Build your own with talk, text, and data for as little as $5 per month
Unlimited from $40 per month
Red Pocket:
Limited plans as low as $10 per month
Unlimited plans for $60 per month
PagePlus:
Limited plans as low as $12 per month
Unlimited plans for $55 per month
Total Wireless:
1 line starts at $23.70 for 1GB 4G LTE data
1 line up to $47.50 for 25GB 4G LTE data
Visible:
$40 per month
As low as $25 with Party Pay
Talk & Text
US Mobile:
Starts at 75 minutes for $2
Starts at 50 texts for $1.50
Red Pocket:
$10 plan includes 500 texts and 500 minutes
Plans above $15 include unlimited talk and text
PagePlus:
500 minutes talk and 500 texts for $12
Unlimited for all other plans
Total Wireless:
Unlimited
Visible:
Unlimited
Data
US Mobile:
Starts at 50MB for $1.50
Red Pocket:
Starts at 500MB for $10
Unlimited data for $60
PagePlus:
100MB for $12
3GB 4G LTE for $30
8GB 4G LTE for $40
Unlimited for $55
Total Wireless:
up to 25GB high-speed data
Visible:
Unlimited
Hotspot
US Mobile:
Add 10GB to the Unlimited All plan for $5
Red Pocket:
Hotspot available
PagePlus:
Not available
Total Wireless:
Up to 10GB on plans above $50
Visible:
Unlimited
International
US Mobile:
Up to 10GB for Unlimited plans
Red Pocket:
Free calls to 80 countries
PagePlus:
Plans above $12 include $10 international calling card
Total Wireless:
$10 global calling card available
Visible:
Not available
Extras
US Mobile:
Pick your subscription perks with 2, 3, and 4 line plans
5G access available
Red Pocket:
Free SIM card
PagePlus:
Video streams at DVD quality
Total Wireless:
Earn rewards points that can be used to pay for service
Visible:
Save 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, but PagePlus warns 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 many 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 finally a little bit of international access, and you can read about our own experiences with Visible in the review right here.

What phones can you use on Verizon Prepaid?

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 S21 family to the LG K51 and even the iPhone 12. If you want a full rundown of options, take a peek at our list of the best Verizon phones. Of course, some phones are 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
Frequency:
39GHz
Band:
N260
Network Supported:
5G mmWave
Frequency:
28GHz
Band:
N261
Network Supported:
5G mmWave
Frequency:
1900MHz
Band:
2
Network Supported:
2G
3G
4G LTE
Frequency:
1700MHz/2100MHz
Band:
4
66
Network Supported:
3G and 4G LTE
4G LTE
Frequency:
850MHz
Band:
5
Network Supported:
2G
3G
4G LTE
Frequency:
700MHz
Band:
13
Network Supported:
4G 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, and it 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 it’s a prepaid device or an ancient iPhone 3G World device, Verizon phones are already unlocked for use on other supported carriers. However, we have a complete guide to 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.