When comparing Straight Talk vs Verizon service earlier last month, the major carrier lead in about all the key features. On the plan structures, we even saw the prepaid plans seemingly cheaper than the MVNO after the first month- $25/ month. But now begs the question, how does Verizon Prepaid work? And is it worth it to downgrade from a postpaid to a prepaid package?
Well, this review is all about the Verizon prepaid service, whereby we’ll look at eight things you should know before moving. That includes the various call and data features you’ll have or miss, plus deprioritization, which happens to be a great concern.
Verizon vs Spectrum Mobile: A Quick Peek on the Features & Perks of the CDMA Phones
|Feature||Verizon Postpaid||Verizon Prepaid|
|Cheapest Phone Plan||$70||$30|
|Additional Taxes & Fees||$3 – $11.23/ line||$3 – $11.23/ line|
|Unlimited Data||YES [prioritized]||YES [deprioritized]|
|Free Mexico/ Canada Call||YES||YES [varies]|
|Video Streaming||YES [up to UHD]||YES [up to 480p]|
|Free Phone Deals||YES [Plenty]||YES [limited]|
|Phone Unlock Period||After 60 Days||After 60 Days|
|Extra Perks||Free Hulu/ Disney+/ ESPN+/ Discovery+, Free Apple Music, Free Apple Arcade, 600GB Cloud Storage, Free Google Play Pass, & Free Travel Pass||None|
What’s Verizon Prepaid?
The Verizon prepaid service is one of the many options out there you can consider while trying to cut down your phone bill. Of course, the service isn’t as famous as the postpaid program, but it still has various amazing perks to love.
One of these perks is the fact that Verizon doesn’t perform a credit check for prepaid applications. And as we saw in the Verizon vs Spectrum Mobile review, the cell phone plans have tiered loyalty savings that you can earn over the year. Thus, dropping the 5GB plan standard cost to as low as $25/ month.
How Does Verizon Prepaid Work?
The Verizon prepaid service is pretty much similar to an MVNO like Red Pocket or Visible. It has no annual contracts, security deposits, or credit checks. Thus, allowing you to join with bad credit or no credit at all.
Sadly, however, Verizon offers eSIM support on only the postpaid subscriptions- not prepaid. So, you can’t take advantage of the dual SIM on eSIM for single-line iPhone and Android devices.
Similar to postpaid service, Verizon prepaid customers will also have access to the carrier’s extensive LTE and 5G towers. And that includes even the rural areas where T-Mobile and AT&T tend to struggle.
Phone Deals & Promos
At the time of writing, there were over a dozen Verizon iPhone deals for Existing customers, plus those switching from other carriers. However, these Apple deals are only applicable to postpaid customers- none for prepaid users.
The only free phone when you switch to the prepaid service is the Motorola One 5G UW Ace. Then, the rest of the promo deals on iPhones, Samsung Galaxy, and other Android devices give you a partial discount of $300.
Free 5G Access & Speeds
Verizon offers free 5G access to prepaid and postpaid customers. However, only the subscriptions of the Verizon Unlimited Plus have access to both the 5G Nationwide and Ultra-wideband spectrum. Then, the rest can only tap to the 5G Nationwide, which utilizes the existing LTE infrastructure.
Of course, the Verizon 5G Nationwide is still amazing (when available) on browsing speeds. In a recent speed test with iPhone 12, the download speeds recorded 214Mbps while the uploads were at 50+Mbps.
Unfortunately, my prepaid plan for the test didn’t include the 5G Ultra Wideband. But a speed test on the Verizon postpaid service (which has 5G Ultra-Wideband) peaked at 4099Mbps on downloads and 179Mbps for uploads.
Note: you might experience lower speeds on the Ultra-wideband if you’re in the urban areas due to network congestion.
If you happen to travel a lot, Verizon does allow network roaming on the prepaid service. Domestic roaming is absolutely free, but the coverage isn’t guaranteed everywhere since it usually varies with the partners available.
On the other hand, international roaming is available but requires an active Prepaid TravelPass or a separate International plan.
As you can see in the plan pricing chart below, Verizon does offer free roaming in Mexico & Canada on the unlimited plans.
Phone Plans & Pricing
When it now comes to the rate plans, the Verizon prepaid is more affordable than the postpaid service. The lowest plan with an unlimited talk & text plan (with no high-speed data) has an introductory price of $35/ month. Then, you can enable the Auto-Pay mode with a payment card to get a $5 discount. See below.
Chart 2.2 Verizon wireless Phone plan Structure
|Features||Text & Talk Only||5GB Plan||15GB Plan||Unlimited Plan||Unlimited+ Plan|
|Introductory Price (before taxes)||$35/ mo.||$40/ mo.||$50/ mo.||$65/ mo.||$75/ mo.|
|Loyalty Discount||N/A||$5 – $10||$5 – $10||$5 – $10||$5 – $10|
|Free 5G Access||YES (Nationwide)||YES (Nationwide)||YES (Nationwide)||YES (Nationwide)||YES (Both)|
|High- Data Allotment||N/A (only 2G)||5GB (then 2G)||15GB (then 2G)||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Mobile Hotspot||N/A||N/A||N/A||10GB (At $5/ mo.)||10GB (then 3G)|
|Video Stream Quality||N/A||Up to 480p||Up to 480p||Up to 480p||Up to 4K UHD|
|Canada/ Mexico Calls||$5/mo.||$5/mo.||FREE||FREE||FREE|
|Call/ Text/ Data in Canada or Mexico||$5/day||$5/day||$5/day||0.5GB / Day (then 2G)||0.5GB / Day (then 2G)|
As you can see, 60% of Verizon Prepaid plans are about half the cost of the postpaid service from the carrier. But then, you’ll lose some of the perks, especially on the high-speed data allotments, Mobile Hotspot, and free-roaming in Canada/ Mexico.
As for the pricing structure, all the plans, including the Text & Talk only, have an auto-pay discount of $5. However, you can only redeem the bonus in the second month after adding a debit or credit card.
On top of the auto-pay bonus, you can also get the tiered loyalty tip, which gives you a $5 discount after three months of continuous payments. Then, after the ninth month, you get another $5 discount, which now gives you a total bonus of $10.
So, in the tenth month onward, the standard cost for the 5GB plan will be $25/ month while the Unlimited Plus drops to $60.
Nonetheless, do remember Verizon charges taxes and rests of fees separately depending on your state. If it’s here in California, the Verizon additional taxes and fees will be about $7.11/ line on the 5GB plan. Thus, bringing your total cost (after discount) to around $32.11/ month.
Deprioritization & Throttling
Unfortunately, all Verizon prepaid customers, including the Unlimited plans usually get deprioritized data. Hence, the reason you’ll find some users complaining about having unusable data in the urban areas due to congestion.
In most cases, though, the significant drop in data speed to an unusable state will be for the LTE phones. If on the 5G network, either Nationwide or Ultra-Wideband, you’ll still have a usable phone even during deprioritization.
Meanwhile, Verizon offers the 5GB and 15GB prepaid plans with capped high-speed data before throttling to the 2G speeds. The two unlimited plans are the only ones with uncapped high-speed data, but, of course, you’ll experience deprioritization during congestion.
The Verizon 5GB & 15GB prepaid plans now include the Mobile Hotspot option. However, the usage of all the devices you tether will count towards the high-speed data allotment you receive.
If you opt for the Verizon Unlimited prepaid plan, you’ll need to purchase the mobile hotspot separately for $5/ month. The add-on hotspot plan will give you 10GB of 5G Nationwide/ LTE data, then the speeds drop to 600kbps for the rest of the month.
The Verizon Unlimited Plus plan also gives you 10GB of 5G Nationwide/ LTE hotspot data, then the speed drops to 600kbps. But this time the Mobile Hotspot feature is included on the plan for free. And the best part, the areas with 5G Ultra-Wideband provides you with unlimited hotspot at ultrafast browsing speeds for the tethered devices.
The Verizon prepaid phone is a great option if you don’t want to pay for the expensive postpaid plans. Similar to the postpaid customers, you’ll have access to the extensive coverage of the carrier, plus free 5G, roaming, voicemail, WiFi calling, and international texting.
On the Verizon Unlimited Plus Plan, you also get to enjoy “truly unlimited” ultrafast browsing and tethering with your laptop. But like the rest of the plans, the carrier offers the prepaid package with deprioritized data. So, you’ll experience a drop in speed when in urban areas or other congested places.