In 2023, we’ve witnessed an intense duel between wireless phone providers, both the major carriers and their MVNOs. The debate between T Mobile vs Verizon Wireless, in particular, has been an everyday talk, specifically on who has the best 5G service.
While the discussion always follows a series of mixed reactions, one is still better than the other. And in this review, we’re going to look at the network performance and perks of the two side by side. So, you’ll have a glimpse of what to expect in terms of coverage, browsing speeds, and deprioritization.
T Mobile vs Verizon: A Summary on the Wireless Rivals
But before we even get to the main topic, how do Verizon and T-Mobile stand out individually? See below
|Founded||December 1999||April 2000|
|Total Subscribers||106.9 Million (by September 2021)||121.9 Million (by September 2021)|
|Postpaid and Prepaid||Postpaid and Prepaid|
|Carrier LTE Bands||71*, 66, 12*, 5, 4*, 2||66, 13*, 5, 4, 2|
|Cheapest Phone Plan||$15/ mo.||$30|
|Carry-Over||YES [with Data Stash feature]||YES [grandfathered plans]|
|Advertised Download Speeds||Up to 143Mbps||Up to 1400Mbps|
|True Download Speeds||Up to 560+Mbps||Up to 3+Gbps|
|Free Mexico/ Canada Call||YES||YES|
|Mobile Hotspot Data||YES||YES|
|Video Streaming||YES [Up to UHD]||YES [up to UHD]|
|Phone Unlock Period||After 40-365 days||After 60 days|
|Extra Perks||Free Netflix, Free Apple TV, Free Paramount+ Free Music Unlimited T-Mobile Tuesdays offers||Free AMC+ Free Discovery+, Free Apple Music, Free Apple Arcade 600GB Cloud Storage, Free Google Play Pass, Free Hulu/ Disney+/ ESPN+|
|Type of Service||Online and In-store||Online and in-store|
Is T-Mobile any Good?
T-Mobile’s, indeed, a good phone service when you’re within the coverage areas. The best proof is from its large customer base, which was close to 107 million subscribers in the third quarter of 2021.
Of course, part of these subscribers is the old Sprint users who decided to stick around after the successful merger. But even then, it’s still a sign the carrier has something desirable.
One of the main perks is the fact that T-Mobile runs on its own network towers. So, you’ll still have better data speeds when Ultra Mobile or Mint Mobile and the rest of its MVNOs are experiencing deprioritization.
Speaking of data speeds, T-Mobile has an average download speed of 560+Mbps on the 5G Ultra-Capacity (high-band spectrum). And best of all, you’ll have access to the ultra-fast service in all the plans at no additional cost.
Is Verizon Wireless Any Good?
Similarly, Verizon Wireless is a good service if you’re up for it. The provider’s the largest across the country, with close to 122 Million postpaid and prepaid users during the third quarter of 2021. At the time of writing this, though, that number is some millions higher as the tech giant has just completed the TracFone Wireless acquisition deal with America Movil.
As for the network performance, Verizon has impeccable download speeds of over 3000Mbps when on the 5G Ultra-Wideband spectrum. The carrier has also been busy integrating the 5G mmWave with its newly-purchased C-band spectrum. So, more people farther from the towers will now be able to tap into the ultra-fast service.
But again, not every customer within the coverage area will access the improved Verizon 5G wideband, apparently. Read on the complete Verizon vs T-Mobile comparison review below to find out if your phone will be amongst on the whitelist or blacklist.
T Mobile vs Verizon: Comparing the Various Features and Perks of the Phone Providers
Technically, it’s easier to find a phone compatible with T-Mobile than Verizon. As a GSM carrier, it’s compatible with not only its branded devices but also most unlocked cell phones, including those from AT&T. However, the device will need to have the main LTE band 71 or its supplementary primary band 4 or 12.
On its end, Verizon is also compatible with many LTE and 5G devices in the market. However, the provider has two limiting rules that a lot of people tend to ignore yet are crucial. The first rule is the use of CDMA frequencies on its 3G network.
Then, the second and most important rule is that Verizon has only a single major band, “13”. Unfortunately, the carrier’s the only one on this tech, and even the others don’t have it as a supplementary. Hence, the reason you’ll find some LTE phones can work on T-Mobile and also AT&T but not Verizon.
Usually, many carriers advertise to have nationwide coverage. However, that necessarily doesn’t mean that they have signals everywhere, but in most cities across the states.
In our case, Verizon has the widest coverage, including the remote parts of Oregon and many other rural areas. So, it’s a great choice if your work or lifestyle involves a lot of traveling.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile also has pretty good coverage, including the major cities of Oregon and other Midwestern states. However, as you hop farther from the metros, you’ll start noticing less coverage to a point you even have zero bars. Thus, leaving you with an unusable mobile phone that can’t make/ receive calls or browse.
Free 5G Access & Speeds
When we now compare Verizon vs T-Mobile on 5G service, the results are mixed convenience for the two main features: Access pass and performance speeds.
For instance, T-Mobile usually offers a free 5G pass on all the plans, including the prepaid service and also premium unlimited packages. When it comes down to the browsing speeds though, a lot of people only access the low-band spectrum, which offers speeds of up to 100-200+Mbps on downloads and 7-38Mbps for uploads.
Regardless, quite many users have been able to tap to the mmWave 5G (commonly called Ultra-capacity). And in that case, you can expect an average of 560+Mbps on download speeds and 11-90+Mbps on uploads. However, some users on T-Mobile community forums have claimed to achieve 700+Mbps in rare cases.
Meanwhile, Verizon is currently marking at 3+Gbps download speeds and up to 105+mbps uploads when on 5G Ultra-wideband spectrum. On the previous test with Mint Mobile and Verizon, though, we saw it’s also possible to hit up 4Gbps when there’s no congestion.
Sadly, however, Verizon has limited its 5G Ultra-wideband to only unlimited plans, for now. If you have the other cheaper plans, you’ll only have access to the 5G Nationwide, which has 90-225Mbps on download speeds.
Phone Plans & Pricing
Unfortunately, you have to spend more on either T-Mobile or Verizon to make the most with your phone. But fortunately, the two carriers now have relatively affordable prepaid services that now compete with those of their MVNOs.
If it’s T-Mobile, you currently don’t need to spend $60 or have five lines so you can pay twenty bucks a month. The carrier has a Pay as you go T-Mobile Connect plan that starts at $15/ month and also Simply Prepaid that starts from $40/ line, as shown below.
|Features||10GB Plan||Unlimited Plan||Unlimited Plus Plan||Essentials Plan||Magenta Plan||Magenta MAX Plan|
|Regular Price||$40/ mo.||$50/ mo.||$60/ mo.||$60/ mo.||$70/ mo.||$85/ mo.|
|Multiple Lines Discount||$5 – $8||$10 – $16||$15 – $24||$15 – $36||$10 – $38||$15 – $45|
|Free 5G Access||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Mobile Hotspot Data||10GB||Unlimited (3G speeds)||10GB LTE (then 3G)||Unlimited (3G speeds)||5GB LTE (then 3G)||40GB LTE (then 3G)|
|Video Stream Quality||Up to HD||Up to 480p||Up to 480p||Up to 480p||Up to 480p||Up to 4K UHD|
|Canada/ Mexico Data||N/A||N/A||N/A||2G Data Speeds||5GB LTE (then 2G)||5GB LTE (then 2G)|
Overall, T-Mobile isn’t exactly expensive as we tend to put it, sometimes. The Simply Prepaid plans, which includes 10GB, Unlimited, and Unlimited Plus plan are relatively affordable. And the more lines you add, you get a monthly family discount on each of them.
In the 10GB plan, T-Mobile usually offers high-speed browsing data of a similar amount, then unlimited 2G speeds afterward.
But remember, the carrier also has the T-Mobile Connect prepaid plans, which start at $15/ month for 2.5GB and $25/ month for 5.5GB of high-speed data. However, these plans don’t include unlimited 2G data, thereby will need a data refill after finishing your monthly allowance.
It’s also worth noting that T-Mobile has priority data allotment for almost all the “Truly” Unlimited plans. The Magenta MAX is the only unlimited plan you can enjoy full browsing speeds even during congestion. Check Full details
Verizon is also Unlimited
Indeed, Verizon also has “Truly” Unlimited data, whereby you get to enjoy fast browsing speeds even during congestion. However, the carrier has capped all these plans with 50GB of premium/ priority data per month, as shown below.
|Features||5GB Plan||15GB Plan||Unlimited Plus Plan||Start Unlimited||Do More Unlimited||Get More Unlimited|
|Regular Price||$40/ mo.||$50/ mo.||$75/ mo.||$70/ mo.||$80/ mo.||$90/ mo.|
|Plan Discounts||$5 – $15 (loyalty tip)||$5 – $15 (loyalty tip)||$5 – $15 (loyalty tip)||$10 – $40 (2+ lines)||$10 – $40 (2+ lines)||$10 – $40 (2+ lines)|
|Free 5G Access||YES (Nationwide)||YES (Nationwide)||YES (Both)||YES (Nationwide)||YES (Both)||YES (Both)|
|Data Allotment||5GB (then 2G)||15GB (then 2G)||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Mobile Hotspot Data||N/A||N/A||10GB LTE (then 3G)||N/A||15GB LTE (then 3G)||30GB LTE (then 3G)|
|Video Stream Quality||Up to 480p||Up to 480p||Up to 4K UHD||Up to 480p||Up to 4K UHD||Up to 4K UHD|
|Canada/ Mexico Calls||$5/mo.||FREE||FREE||FREE||FREE||FREE|
|Canada/ Mexico Data||N/A||N/A||0.5GB / Day (then 2G)||0.5GB / Day (then 2G)||0.5GB / Day (then 2G)||0.5GB / Day (then 2G)|
In the Verizon Unlimited plans, you can enjoy high-speed browsing speeds throughout the month. As was mentioned, though, the carrier has capped these plans with 50GB of priority data. And once your usage exceeds that allotment, you may experience temporary slower data speeds of 3Mbps to 600kbps during network congestion.
Another thing, the Verizon prepaid plans don’t end with the $40 and $50 plans. The carrier has a basic phone plan, with 0.5GB of high-speed data, going for $30/ month. Check Full details.
Technically, both T-Mobile and Verizon should have been the winner here since they use their own network towers. Thus, will always be the priority when the network surface is too busy.
However, the winning point will go to T-Mobile as it has more priority data for unlimited subscribers. In fact, the Magenta Max plan has unlimited priority data (win no caps). Thus, you’ll experience no deprioritization during your time on the network.
Moreover, T-Mobile usually throttles all the capped prepaid plans (except T-Mobile connect) to 2G after depleting your high-speed data allotment.
Meanwhile, the same happens for users on the Verizon 5GB and 15GB Prepaid plans. That’s you’ll get high-browsing speeds at the start of the cycle, then throttling to 2G speeds afterward.
However, the wireless carrier has all its Unlimited plans (and even data-only plans) with premium data caps. And after reaching that allowance, you may experience deprioritization to as low as 3Mbps speeds on 5G Ultra-wideband or 600Kbps on 5G Nationwide/ LTE during congestion.
Video Streaming Quality
Last but not least, Verizon takes the points here as it has more plans (up to four) you can enjoy streaming in vivid 4K Ultra-HD quality. Even better, you can purchase a $10 Premium Streaming pass for the other plans, thereby improving your video quality up to 4K quality.
On its end, T-Mobile has only the Magenta Max plan with free 4K video streaming capabilities. The other unlimited plans are limited to SD streaming quality (about 480p resolution). But, of course, you can amp your standard Magenta plan with a $15 MAXUp pass to unlock 4K streaming benefits.
Both T Mobile and Verizon are great phone services to consider in your next switch. But personally, Verizon has always been my champ. Of course, it’s disappointing how they lack unlimited priority data and also dropped their priority data to 50GB per cycle. But their coverage and speeds are beyond what every blogger/ vlogger would want to have while on the go.
However, T-Mobile is the winner on all the crucial perks, including plan cost, data allotment, and deprioritization. So, it might be a better choice for you, considering you’re within the coverage map and rarely travels.