Comparison Between US cellular or Verizon: Which Cell Phone Service is the Best?

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As you may know, US Cellular is currently the fourth largest main carrier now that Sprint is out of the game. In this article, we’re going to compare US Cellular vs Verizon to see which would be more worthwhile to own and use.

Nonetheless, you’ll come to notice Verizon and US Cellular share quite a number of features, including the use of CDMA technology. So, you can even use some of the unlocked cell phones from either brand with the other.

More on that, read the comprehensive comparison review below. I’ve included everything you should know in terms of coverage, rate plans, internet speed, video streaming, and Mobile WiFi.

US Cellular vs Verizon: A Summary on the Wireless Phone Providers

Here’s a quick peek of what to expect when you decide to use US Cellular or Verizon Wireless service.

FeatureUS CellularVerizon Wireless
Parent CompanyTelephone and Data SystemsVerizon Communications
Active subscribersApprox. 5 MillionApprox. 121 Million
Carrier NetworkUS CellularVerizon
Lowest Phone Plan$30$30  
Unlimited MinutesYESYES
Unlimited dataYESYES
Carry-OverYES (with MyData Vault)YES (Older plans)
Family PlansYESYES
Mobile HotspotYESYES
Mexico/ Canada Call PassFreeFree
Video StreamingYES [up to 1080p HD]YES [Up to 4K UHD]
Phone UnlockAfter 120 daysAfter 60 days
Device ProtectionAssurant SolutionsAsurion
Extra PerksRedbox Movie Nights Premium Robocall Solution  Free Discovery+, Free Apple Music, Free Apple Arcade 600GB Cloud Storage, Free Google Play Pass, Free Hulu/ Disney+/ ESPN+  

US Cellular

As was mentioned earlier, US Cellular is the fourth-largest main carrier after Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. And as a major, it usually offers the phone service while using its own network infrastructure. So, you’re less likely to experience deprioritization, unlike Visible and Mint, which leases their network from the other big carriers.

Despite having its own network towers, though, US Cellular doesn’t have a quite huge following. In the recent US Cellular third quarter 2021 results, the company reported approximately five million connections, which is much less compared to a provider like Verizon. However,  the low customer base has a lot to do with coverage, as we shall see later on in the article.

As for the service itself, US Cellular does have a wide range of cell phone plans to choose from, including unlimited high-speed data. It also does have a retail department where you can purchase your first or upgrade phone outright or through special financing.

Verizon Wireless:

Well, Verizon is the overall best cell phone service in the U.S. Not only does it have nationwide coverage, but also uses its own cell phone towers. So, it will also be less likely to encounter deprioritization compared to carriers like Visible and Total Wireless, with whom it shares the network.

More on that, Verizon has postpaid and also prepaid services, with at least eight cell phone plans to consider. All the plans include unlimited everything, but you’ll have to decide whether to choose the high-speed data allotment with or without caps.

Better yet, Verizon does have its own retail section where it offers the latest smartphones, plus basic phones for the seniors. And in case you don’t have enough budget at hand, you can finance your desired device at low monthly charges over 24—30 months.

US Cellular vs Verizon: Comparing the Features and Perks of the Cell Phone Operators

Here are the main differences that you should have in mind when deciding between Verizon and US Cellular phone service.

Network Coverage

When it’s a question about network coverage, Verizon takes the points as it has at least 4G LTE in all states. Of course, you might experience spotty signals in Nevada, Montana, and other Midwest states, but not in all cities. The 5G is also available in over 2,700 cities right now. Then, the 3G CDMA spectrum is also not entirely dead, albeit Verizon has scheduled to shut it off by the end of 2022.

US cellular or Verizon

On its end, US Cellular is more focused on serving the locals in the Midwestern and some north-western parts of the United States. So, it’s the best option if you live in Iowa, Oregon, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Illinois, Northern California, Maine Kansas, North Carolina, Washington, Missouri, Tennessee, Maryland New Hampshire, Virginia, and West Virginia.

As for the other places where US Cellular has no coverage, you can still use your phone through the other networks, namely Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. But just like when roaming with other carriers, you’re likely to experience slow or even worse performance.

Free 5G Coverage

Similarly, the two network operators offer access to the 5G service at no extra charges. That’s all the plans, including both the limited and unlimited allotments, lowest to the highest there’s. You just need to have a 5G-capable device, which you should know the manufacturers started making in 2020.

As for the 5G coverage, though, Verizon still takes the points as it’s in more cities compared to US Cellular. It’s also relatively faster on both the upload and download speeds, as we shall see below.

Phone Plans and Performance

When you compare Verizon vs US Cellular based on rate plans, there are three important things you have to focus on. They include plans pricing, structure, and performance.

If we start with US Cellular, there are about seven regular cell phone plans to choose from- two with fixed data and the rest with unlimited allowance. As was mentioned earlier, all the plans do include 5G and 4G LTE connectivity. So, you won’t have to pay any extra fees to enjoy the ultra speeds, as with carriers like Cricket Wireless.

Regardless, here’s a summary of the US Cellular Prepaid cell phone plan structure and pricing.

Chart 2:

FeaturesPay-As-You-Go Plan15GB PlanSmartphone Basic PlanUnlimited Plus Plan
DevicesSingle LineSingle LineSingle LineSingle Line
Price/ Line$30/ mo.$40/ mo.$55/ mo.$65/ mo.
Talk MinutesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Text MessagesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
High-Speed DataN/A (3¢/MB)15GBUnlimitedUnlimited
Priority DataN/AN/AN/A25GB
2G Unlimited DataN/AYESN/AN/A
Mobile HotspotN/AN/AN/A20GB
Mexico & Canada Pass$5/ Mo.  $5/ Mo.$5/ Mo.Free
Video Stream ResolutionN/A(480p Quality)(480p Quality)(480p Quality)

Well, US Cellular has specifically designed these prepaid plans for low to average surfers. If you’re a heavy data user, the unlimited plans on $70/ mo. and $75/ mo. may be a better choice for you. They have higher Priority data allowance, more Hotspot Access, free roaming in Mexico and Canada, plus HD to Full HD streaming.

The said priority data is the allotment that you get to enjoy your browsing at full speeds of 730Mbps to 2+Gbps when on 5G spectrums. After the priority data reaches the set allotment, you may experience temporary slow speeds in times of congestion. And if your usage exceeds 100GB, the company will further slow down the speeds to 3G for the remaining days.

Note, the provider does have family plans, whereby you can save up to $25/ month on the unlimited plans. It also has the option to enroll in autopay to receive a $5 discount on each line.

Verizon Wireless has Truly Unlimited

Indeed, Verizon rate plans include monthly allotments that have high-speed with and without caps. It also does have a basic phone plan, which is perfect for seniors or anyone else who doesn’t surf the net a lot. The plan usually includes only 500MB of data, which is just enough for an emergency, like checking the map, or downloading ringtones.

Anyways, here’s an overview of what to expect on standard Verizon Prepaid plans.

Chart 3:

Features5GB Prepaid Plan15GB Prepaid PlanUnlimited Prepaid PlanUnlimited Plus Prepaid Plan
Talk MinutesUnlimited TalkUnlimited TalkUnlimited TalkUnlimited Talk
Text MessagesUnlimited TextUnlimited TextUnlimited TextUnlimited Text
High-Speed Data5GB High-Speed Data15GB High-Speed DataUnlimited High-Speed DataUnlimited High-Speed Data
2G Speeds DataUnlimitedUnlimitedN/AN/A
Mobile HotspotN/AN/A10GB Hotspot (For $5/mo.)10GB Hotspot (free)
Mexico & Canada PassN/AFreeFreeFree
Video Stream Resolution480p quality480p quality480p quality480p quality

 Similar to US Cellular, Verizon Wireless has the best perks on unlimited cell phone plans. Verizon might even have a fancier dessert, but then you’ll need to dig deeper into your pockets. The simplest, Start Unlimited, plan goes for $70/ line per month and the highest, Get More, plan is $90/ mo.

If you want to get multiple lines for the family, Verizon does give discounts, whereby you can save up to forty bucks each month. All the plans do include 5G Nationwide and most also have access to the more advanced 5G Ultra Wideband spectrum. And as I mentioned when discussing Cricket vs Visible, the devices on Ultra-Wideband connections can register over 4Gbps download speeds.

So, US Cellular beats Verizon on the rate plan pricing but loses when it comes to the network speeds.

Free Mobile Hotspot Data

Well, Verizon should take the points on the Hotspot Access. Of course, not all the plans include the extra data for the feature. But those do, like Play More, Do More, Get More, and Unlimited Plus Prepaid Plan, usually starts with the fixed high-speed data allowance before dropping to 600 Kbps.

In other words, Verizon Wireless has an unlimited Mobile Hotspot, which can really come in handy if your job involves a lot of traveling. Of course, US Cellular also does give unlimited hotspot access, but that applies to the old subscribers who are still on the grandfathered plans- the Ready Connect Unlimited Plus plan at $90 for two lines.

As of now, the US Cellular Unlimited Plus, Unlimited Everyday, and Unlimited Even Better plans are the only ones with extra Hotspot access. However, the feature has capped high-speed data, ranging from 15GB to 30GB.

Video Streaming Quality

In this one, our two carriers will be splitting the points as they both support streaming beyond the DVD-quality resolution. True, indeed, that’s the standard streaming resolution for the regular prepaid plans from both companies. But then, the unlimited plans from US Cellular include streaming in 720p and 1080p Full HD. You can even stream in crispier 4K when on the 5G network and a capable device.

Similarly, Verizon allows you to stream videos and movies in HD quality when on unlimited plans. You can also stream in 4K Ultra-HD resolution when on a 5G Ultra Wideband spectrum with a capable device.

My Pick

 At this point, we can all agree both US Cellular and Verizon are great in their ways. However, I will recommend US Cellular if you’re in either of the states in the Midwestern or north-western region. Why?

For one, with US Cellular you can save a few coins, which you would have otherwise used on a similar Verizon plan. If it’s the 15GB plan, Verizon sells it at $50, whereas US Cellular is at $40. Yes, you’ll lose the free pass to call and text Canada, but you can just purchase a $5 pass and you’ll remain with some change.

As for the 5G performance, Verizon is also more appealing with its 4Gbps super-speeds. But then, the average 730Mbps and 2Gbps peak downlink speeds on US Cellular are pretty enough in the rural areas.