Back in July 2019, I switched to Verizon Wireless Prepaid Service. now thatI’ve been using the service for over six months I thought it was time for a long term review.
My overall impression is positive. I like Verizon Wireless Prepaid, and I’d recommend the service for people that want a prepaid wireless service and live in areas where Verizon’s network is the best option for coverage. While it is not the least expensive service that uses the Verizon towers, it offers a good balance of service and features.
I previously reviewed Verizon Wireless Prepaid back in 2016. You can see that review here, How To Sign Up For Verizon Wireless Prepaid Bring Your Own Device Plan. Since that review, the plan prices and amount of data included has changed, but overall, what I said in that review holds true today.
One of the things that is different this time is that I now switched my main number to Verizon, not just a second one for review purposes. I also switched my wife to Verizon too. Changing wireless carriers for yourself is one thing, bringing along a spouse, family member, or other loved one is another matter entirely.
Before this we were both trying Sprint for a year. We both had one year of free unlimited talk, text, and data with Sprint. That offer was too good to pass up. I discussed my time with Sprint and decision to switch to Verizon in two YouTube videos. Check out I Switched Wireless Carriers and Broke All My Own Rules if you are interested in more about that.
Switching to Verizon Prepaid
Both my wife and I switched to Verizon. We kept our own phones and took advantage of Verizon’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. Note that some carriers call this Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP). I have and iPhone X and my wife uses an iPhone SE.
We use iPhones, but the service will work with Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, or other Android phones too. If you do not have a phone, you can buy one directly from Verizon. If you want to bring your own, the phone needs to be compatible with Verizon and eligible for activation on their network. You can check if your phone is eligible on the Verizon Wireless BYOPD page here.
Whenever choosing a wireless plan, you should take a few moments to decide what your needs are.
First, choose a prepaid service, that has coverage were you use your phone most. Where I live in metro Boston, MA. Verizon and AT&T both have excellent coverage. So does T-Mobile. Sprint’s coverage was spotty locally. Where I live many people love Verizon. In the past we have generally found AT&T coverage to be better, but my wife wanted to try Verizon. Here is the important thing to remember, what is important is for you to choose then service that uses the network that has coverage where you are. The US, is a big place, and what is right for me in Boston may not be right for someone in rural Wisconsin or El Paso ,Texas for example.
For features, we both wanted Wi-Fi Calling, Visual Voicemail, and Personal Hotspot (Mobile Hotspot)
We each chose the $40 plan with unlimited talk, text, and 3GB of data. That comes to $80 for two plans. However by taking advantage of the Auto Pay and Prepaid Family Plan discounts the total came out to $60 per month. Note that the Auto Pay discount does not apply for the first month.
Sign up and Transfer
The sign up process went relatively smoothly. I transferred both out phone numbers from Sprint. The sign up and transfer process went relatively smoothly. Before starting, I needed two Verizon nano SIMs for our iPhones. I picked up two sims at my local Apple store, free of charge. You can also order them from Verizon, and they should be free. If you already have a SIM that should work too.
I signed up and activated our service online. I started in the late evening with the hope to have our service transferred by morning. My wife’s number transferred without issue overnight. Mine did not, but that was my fault. When you transferee your number from one carrier to another, you need to provide your account number and pin from your current carrier. I transposed two digits when entering my account number. A quick call to support and I was able to correct that an in an hour or two my transfer went through. Note that during this time my Sprint service remained active.
In my experience, signing up for a service and getting a new number always is faster and easier.Most people want to keep their current phone number, but it takes a little more effort because the two companies need to work together to complete the transfer.
In most cases, Verizon’s voice service has worked well. Around town and on the road, traveling between Massachuesetts, Connecticut, and New York coverage has been good. No issues with dropped calls. I found one corner of my living room that did not have good coverage for voice occasionally. Verizon coverage on my street isn’t as good as when I go around town. 99.9% of the time I don’t have issues with voice calls.
Text Messages (SMS)
Both us us have had no issues with text messages. Note that by text messages, I mean SMS, on the iPhone this is the “Green Bubble”. When you exchange text messages between iPhones or other Apple devices most people are using iMessage, or the “Blue Bubble”. iMessage uses your internet connection which will either be your cellular data or Wi-Fi depending on what you are connected to at the time.
Picture Messages and Group TextsMMS
Both Group Text messages and Picture Messages with Android phones work without issue.
Our cellular data, or internet, works well. At our home, the speeds are ok. Not as good as when outside the neighborhood where Verizon is very fast, but it’s acceptable. We have Wi-Fi at home, so we rarely need cell data at home except for the occasional use of Mobile hotspot if the Wi-Fi is down for some reason, or if we have exceeded the range of Wi-Fi while outside the house.
If you rely on cellular data at home, this will be a bigger consideration for you.
We each get 6GB of data. 3GB of data comes with the plan, and 3GB is “bonus” data. None of the data rolls over from month to month. I’ve never run out of data. If you do, you should have reduced 2G data speeds. You can also bu additional data as needed but I have not tried that at this time.
With Wi-Fi Calling, you can use your make and receive calls and exchange text messages using your Wi-Fi connection instead of the cellular network. Wi-Fi Calling is great when you have Wi-Fi but little or no cellular service.
Both of us have enabled and used Wi-Fi calling without issue. I did not notice any issues with it. We both leave it disabled most of the time as the coverage at home is good enough with out it.
Both of our iPhones are able to use Visual Voicemail on the iPhone without problems. I have not tried it with Android, in my previous review it worked with Android. Our visual voicemail also offers voice mail transcription.
Personal / Mobile Hotspot
Mobile Hotspot lets you connect your laptop, tablet, or other Wi-Fi device to the Internet using your phone’s cellular data connection.
Both of our phones are able to use Mobile Hotspot. My wife uses it with her iPad as needed and I use it with my MacBook Pro when needed. Note that Verizon Prepaid only includes hotspot on the plans that include hotspot. Their unlimited prepaid plan does not include any hotspot. Not even a fixes mount of hotspot. For some unlimited customers that could be a deal breaker. At one point in the past, Verizon Prepaid included unlimited reduced speed hotspot with the unlimited plan. I don’t know why they changed it.
My Verizon app
Verizon offers the My Verizon app for both iPhone and Android. You download it from the Apple App Store or from Google Play for your Android phone. I don’t use the app too often, but you can access your account to see information about your data usage, buy more data, pay your bill, manage your account and devices. The app also has a deed section to provide you with information about your account as well as deals and promotions on new phones. I’ve used the app to check how much data I’ve used and to make sure my bill was paid.
Is it the same as postpaid Verizon Wireless Service
While not strictly part of this review, some of you may be wondering if Verizon’ Prepaid service is identical to their more expensive postpaid service. The answer is no, it’s not the same but you may not be able to tell the difference.
In 2017 and early 2018, I activated a Verizon postpaid line and compared it to prepaid services using the Verizon network. I couldn’t tell the difference. Call quality, features, data speed all seemed the same to me. All carriers with tell you that when networks are congested, prepaid customers will be “de-prioritized” over postpaid customers. You may or may not notice a difference. I did not. Now postpaid services, may offer additional benefits like better customer service, international roaming options, or other benefits.
For more details, See my article Is Prepaid Wireless Cheaper Than Postpaid Wireless?