The four big wireless service providers in the U.S. are AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Each one has its own unique set of deals and features, but these aren't the only options you have to choose from. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (or MVNOs for short) are other providers that harness the network of the Big Four carriers so you can still choose the one that has the best coverage in your area while having more flexibility over what you spend. When it comes to MVNOs powered by Verizon's network,
Best Overall: Visible
Visible is the first, and one of the most unique, MVNOs on this list. Rather than going into a store to get started with your new phone service, everything with Visible is handled through its mobile app. This includes creating an account and paying your bill.
There's just one plan to choose from at Visible, and it costs $40/month. For that price, you get unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data with uncapped speeds. Mobile hotspot is included, there aren't any annual contracts, and Visible prides itself on offering access to fast customer service that's powered by real people. Even better, that $40/month rate is all-in with taxes and fees included.
Visible also has a unique twist when it comes to family plans. It's called Visible Party Pay, and it allows you to get multiple lines at a discount. However, rather than one person being in charge of everyone's bill, each person that's included in a Party Pay gets their own Visible account and their own bill. You can get two lines for $35/line, three lines for $30/line, or four lines for $25/line.
Perhaps the biggest downside to Visible is that it doesn't currently support any international calling, texting, or data use. That's a rough omission if you do a lot of traveling or have family in other countries, but if not, Visible is an easy recommendation.
- Unlimited everything for just $40/month
- Taxes and fees included
- Uncapped LTE speeds
- Free hotspot
- Party Pay offers big savings
- No international calling
- Plans not flexible
Not much to complain about
For just $40/month and not a penny more, Visible gives you unlimited everything on Verizon's LTE network.
Best Family Plan: Total Wireless
Another great option to consider when looking for Verizon MVNOs is Total Wireless. Plans start as cheap as $23.70/month for unlimited talking and texting with 1GB of LTE data (after that it's downgraded to 2G speeds). Stepping up to the $33.20/month plan upgrades you to 5GB of LTE data, with the highest-end $47.50/month plan offering "unlimited" LTE that's pushed back to 2G if you use more than 25GB during the month. Yes, hotspot access is included.
Total Wireless is also a solid choice for families thanks to its selection of various family plans. They work out as follows:
- 2 lines — Unlimited talk/text and 30GB of shared LTE data for $57/month
- 3 lines — Unlimited talk/text and 60GB of shared LTE data for $80.70/month
- 4 lines — Unlimited talk/text and 100GB of shared LTE data for $95/month
Total Wireless lets you add 5GB of extra LTE data for $10 no matter which plan you choose, and any that's unused carries over to the next month without any hassle.
International calling isn't natively included with Total Wireless plans, but you can add it for an extra $10/month. However, that $10/month charge only gives you the option to make international calls. You'll still need to pay the per-minute rate Total Wireless charges, which can be anywhere from $0.01/minute on the low-end up to $14.20/minute.
- Low-cost family plans
- Generous data allowances
- Data carries over to the next month
- Hotspot access is free
- Optional international calling
- Unlimited plan not as competitive as Visible's
- International calling is pricey
Lots of shared data at a great price
Total Wireless is an all-around great pick, but its affordable family plans with generously shared data are where it shines.
Best International Calling: Straight Talk
If you live in a town that has a Walmart, it's kind of impossible to not hear a thing or two about Straight Talk Wireless. Straight Talk plans are sold in-store at Walmart and online, and similar to another pick on this list, it uses the service of all four major carriers to cover as many customers as possible — including Verizon.
There are four unlimited plans to choose from, with the cheapest costing $34/month for 3GB of 4G LTE. Jumping up to $44/month will give you 25GB of LTE to use, and if you want to go big with the $55/month plan, you'll have unlimited LTE speeds for the entire month (although Straight Talk has the right to throttle your speeds after you use 60GB). Also, if you want to be able to talk to friends or family overseas, Straight Talk has an international plan that comes with 25GB of LTE and unlimited calling/texting to Mexico, China, Canada, and India for $60/month.
Hotspot access is included for free, but only if you get the $55/month plan. Straight Talk also allows you to add additional LTE data if you're running low for a particular month, selling 1GB for $5 and 2GB for $10.
Visible tends to be the better deal overall, but for people that do a lot of international calling, Straight Talk's unlimited international plan is definitely worth a look.
- Unlimited calling to Mexico, China, Canada, and India
- Hotspot included with Unlimited Nationwide plan
- Unused data rolls over to next month
- Physical top-up cards available
- High prices compared to the competition
A solid choice if you make a lot of international calls
For people that often make calls to Mexico, China, Canada, or India, Straight Talk's international plan is a great option.
Best Perks: US Mobile
US Mobile is an MVNO you may not have heard of before, but it's one you'll definitely want to check out. It uses a combination of T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon to power its service, but if you bring over a Verizon-capable phone, you'll gain access to Verizon's network, which US Mobile dubs as its "most reliable 4G LTE coverage."
Service plans with US Mobile are highly customizable. You can pick and choose how much talk, text, and data you need with a Custom Plan, or go with the Unlimited Plan and get unlimited talk, text, and data with your choice of how fast you want it to be. The Customizable Plan is great for people that don't use their phones too much and can practice some self-restraint, but the real magic of US Mobile lies with that Unlimited Plan.
You start at $40/month for unlimited calling, texting, and data with speeds capped at 5Mbps. You can add hotspot access for another $5/month, or pay $10 more per month for hotspot and "Ludicrous" speeds that are marketed as being 200Mbps and higher.
The plan on its own is decent, but the real appeal comes from US Mobile's "Perks" program, which allows you to get free subscriptions as you add more lines to your account. You get a new perk with two lines, three lines, and your fourth line. Each tier comes with new perks to choose from, and for a family of four, you could end up getting Apple TV+, Spotify Family, and PlayStation Plus free — a value of almost $300/year.
Finally, if you ever travel out of the country, US Mobile gives you up to 10GB of free LTE roaming data if you choose the Unlimited Plan.
- Custom Plan is great for light users
- Decent value with the Unlimited Plan
- Ludicrous data speeds
- Free digital subscriptions as you add more lines
- Up to 10GB of international roaming
- Hotspot isn't free
- Unlimited Plan caps speeds at 5Mbps (unless you pay more)
Free music, movies, and games
If you have a bunch of digital subscriptions, US Mobile can save you a good chunk of money every month with its Perks program.
Best for Wi-Fi: Xfinity Mobile
Xfinity Mobile launched in April 2017, and while it's only available for subscribers of Comcast's Xfinity home internet and home phone services, it's a pretty good deal for those that are.
Xfinity Mobile comes with unlimited nationwide calling/texting and access to millions of Wi-Fi hotspots. For mobile data, you have a couple of options. You can go with Xfinity's By the Gig plan, with data costing $12/month for 1GB, $30/month for 3GB, or $60/month for 10GB. The actual cost is pro-rated based on your usage.
There's also the much more appealing unlimited plan, which is $45/month for unlimited data. However, no matter if you pay by the gigabyte or go unlimited, you may see reduced speeds after you hit 20GB during the month. Hotspot access is included for free, but it's limited to just 600Kbps. Xfinity also offers international calling with per-country rates and a $10/month optional add-on for unlimited calls to Mexico and Canada.
Speaking of add-ons, Xfinity offers something called an "HD Pass." If you subscribe to the $45/month unlimited plan, this increases your video streaming resolution from 480p SD to 720p HD and gives you "higher quality cellular service" — aka preference over other customers when the network is especially congested. HD Pass costs an extra $20/month, meaning you'll need to spend a total of $65/month per line if you want the best experience Xfinity Mobile has to offer.
That definitely puts a damper on Xfinity Mobile's unlimited plan, but if you don't use much data per month, you could end up paying just $12/month for your wireless service.
- Affordable By the Gig plan
- Access to millions of Wi-Fi hotspots
- Change your data at any time
- Mix and match plans for a family
- International roaming in 200+ countries
- One of the most expensive unlimited plans on this list
- Only for Xfinity customers
Always around Wi-Fi? Xfinity is worth a look
For someone that mostly uses Wi-Fi to stay connected, Xfinity Mobile has potential to be a super low-cost wireless option.
Best Budget Pick: Page Plus
For our last pick, we recommend checking out Page Plus. I actually used Page Plus some years back when I used to rely on Big Red's service to communicate with the outside world. While there's nothing here that's groundbreaking, it's a solid MVNO with some good plans worth checking out.
Page Plus plans start at just $10/month with automatic billing turned on, and while you'll only get 500 call minutes and texts with 100MB of data, it's a dirt-cheap option that just may work for some folks that only use their phone here and there for basic communication.
Unlimited plans start at $27/month with auto-billing, and this includes 3GB of 4G LTE data before being slowed down to 2G. The two other plans cost $36/month and $50/month and come with 8GB or unlimited LTE data, respectively. No matter if you choose the $27, $36, or $50 plan, they also come with unlimited international texting and a $10 credit for international calling.
If you find yourself needing additional data during the month, you can get 1GB for $5 and 2GB for $10. Any unused data carries over to the next month, so you're never out any money for topping up.
- Cheap plans for lighter usage
- Affordable per/GB data add-ons
- Unused data carries over
- Free international texting
- $10 credit for international calls
- Not the best unlimited plan out there
- Not a lot of extras
Keep costs as low as possible
Page Plus shines with its dirt-cheap plans that appeal to people who aren't constantly on their phone.
Now that you've made it to the end, you can see that you have a ton of options when it comes to Verizon MVNOs. All of these companies work well for certain groups of people, but overall, we have to give our top recommendation to
Wireless service providers aren't always the most user-friendly, but Visible goes out of its way to make things as simple as possible. When you see that you'll pay $40/month, that's exactly how much you'll pay. Taxes and fees are included in that price, meaning you won't find any surprise charges on your monthly bill. There's also no keeping track of how many minutes or data you've used, as everything with Visible is unlimited.
Visible's $40/month plan is solid on its own, but things get really exciting when you factor in Party Pay. If you have a family of four, this brings your per-line cost down to just $25/month. Plus, since everyone in Party Pay is in charge of their own bill, this makes it a great option for roommates, friends, and work colleagues if you're all trying to save some extra cash every month.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Joe Maring is Android Central's News Editor and has had a love for anything with a screen and CPU since he can remember. He's been talking/writing about Android in one form or another since 2012 and often does so while camping out at the nearest coffee shop. Have a tip? Reach out on Twitter [email protected]!