Choosing a cell-phone provider is a series of tradeoffs. Your typical conundrum: Between good, cheap and fast, you can pick two (if you’re lucky).
But Visible, a new digital wireless carrier, is offering plans for $40 a month for unlimited data, messaging and minutes — oh, and it’s on Verizon’s 4G LTE network.
And for a limited time, it’s offering customers the chance to use the service without the typical caps on its download speed.
Yep. Good, cheap — and fast.
Get Verizon Service (for a Fraction of the Price)
First, let’s talk about Visible’s parent company, Verizon.
Verizon is the Big Cheese of the wireless world. It is generally viewed as the most expensive of the Big Four carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile). But Verizon can charge more because its network is often independently rated the best, in terms of coverage and reliability.
With Visible, you can jump onto Verizon’s 4G LTE wireless network — for a fraction of the price.
Verizon’s entry level unlimited-data plan costs $75 a month, with unlimited 4G LTE, video streaming at 480p resolution (which wireless providers call “DVD quality”), unlimited text, talk and data, and unlimited mobile hotspot.
Visible’s plan comes with those same features, but it only costs $40 a month — using the same Verizon network.
What You Get With Visible
Here’s the nitty-gritty on what you get with Visible’s phone service:
- Unlimited talk and text on Verizon’s 4G LTE Network.
- No annual contract. No hidden fees.
- You can keep your phone number or get a new one.
- Unlimited mobile hotspot, speed capped at 5 Mbps.
- Visible only offers single-line plans, but if you’re shopping for the family, you still might find it cheaper to get a separate account for each family member.
No Speed Cap If You Make the Switch Now
Right now, Visible is running a limited-time promotional deal to remove the speed cap for customers for as long as they stay with the provider. That means customers will get uncapped, unlimited data. Good. Cheap. And fast.
Phones — Bring Your Own or Buy One
If you’ve got a late-model iPhone (iPhone 6 or later), or an Android phone, such as the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ and the Google Pixel 3 and 3a, you’re all set. Visible will ship you a SIM card overnight at no charge, and you’re ready to go.
You can get a prepaid Mastercard for up to $200 when you switch to Visible and buy a phone. If you bring a compatible phone, you can get a $100 prepaid card.
If you have an Android phone that isn’t compatible with Visible, you can trade it in for a no-frills Visible Android phone for free.
Everything Is Online
There aren’t any Visible stores anywhere. No brick-and-mortar locations of any kind.
Instead, you do everything through Visible’s app. That’s where you pay your bill and manage your account.
That’s also where you’ll find customer service. The app offers live chat with customer support from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time) on weekdays, and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Bottom Line: Comparison-Shopping
How cheap is Visible? How does it compare to its competitors?
The all-inclusive unlimited-data plans for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon cost $80, $70, $85 and $85 per month, respectively.
The Big Four carriers also have cheaper unlimited-data plans, although those come with restrictions. For a single line, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon will charge $70, $60, $60 and $75 per month, respectively. And only Verizon (and Visible) has Verizon’s network.
Among discount carriers, Cricket Wireless offers an unlimited data plan that costs $55 per month for a single phone line.
MetroPCS has an unlimited data plan for $50 per month, or $60 if you want a hotspot.
Notice anything about those prices? They’re all higher than $40.
Visible costs $40.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’s currently paying too much for cell phone service.