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The 7 Best Verizon MVNOs to Check Out in 2023

If you‘re looking to save money on your cell phone bill without sacrificing coverage or data speeds, it might be time to consider a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). MVNOs are smaller carriers that lease access to the big networks, like Verizon‘s, and resell it to consumers at a lower cost.

Verizon has the largest 4G network in the country, covering 70% of the United States, according to a 2022 report from WhistleOut. It also has the fastest 5G speeds, with median download speeds of 255 Mbps. So if you want the best coverage and performance, Verizon is hard to beat. The catch? You‘ll pay for that privilege, with unlimited plans starting at $70 per month before discounts.

That‘s where Verizon MVNOs come in. By leasing network access instead of building their own infrastructure, MVNOs can offer much cheaper plans while still giving you the same great Verizon coverage. Customers can save $30 or more per month by switching to a Verizon MVNO, which adds up to $360 per year.

"MVNOs offer a compelling value proposition for consumers who want the best network without breaking the bank," said Kimberly Palmer, a telecommunications analyst at Accenture. "As the cost of living continues to rise, we expect even more people to explore these alternative carriers."

Indeed, the MVNO market has been growing steadily and is expected to be worth $91.6 billion by 2026, according to Allied Market Research. But with so many options out there, it can be hard to know which Verizon MVNO is right for you.

To help you decide, we‘ve put together this guide to the 7 best Verizon MVNOs worth checking out in 2023. We‘ll cover the key features, pricing, and potential drawbacks of each carrier to help you find the perfect plan for your needs and budget.

1. Visible

Best for: People who want unlimited data for the lowest price
Starting price: $30/month

If you‘re looking for the cheapest unlimited data plan on Verizon‘s network, Visible should be your first stop. For just $30 per month, you get unlimited talk, text, and data, plus free calling and texting to Canada and Mexico. You can even save an additional $5 per month if you sign up for Visible‘s Party Pay discount, which lets you join up with friends or family to score a lower rate.

The main compromise with Visible is that your data speeds may be slowed down if the network is congested. Verizon uses a system called "prioritization" to manage traffic on its towers. If a particular tower is seeing heavy use, Verizon will prioritize its direct customers over MVNO customers like Visible.

However, Visible says that most customers see speeds of 5-12 Mbps, even when deprioritized, which is plenty fast for streaming video, browsing the web, and using social media. And unlike some other carriers, Visible won‘t cut you off after you use a certain amount of data.

Another downside of Visible is that it doesn‘t offer any family plans, so you‘ll pay full price for each line. It also has a relatively small selection of phones you can purchase directly, though you can bring your own Verizon-compatible device.

2. US Mobile

Best for: Customers who want lots of plan options and features
Starting price: $12/month

US Mobile is one of the most customizable Verizon MVNOs around. It offers a wide range of plans, from cheap options with just talk and text to unlimited data plans with plenty of bonus features. You can create your own plan by mixing and matching the following:

  • Minutes: 75 to unlimited
  • Texts: 50 to unlimited
  • Data: 500 MB to 100 GB or unlimited

This flexibility is great if you have specific needs or you want to fine-tune your plan to avoid paying for more than you‘ll actually use. US Mobile also offers several unique perks that most other Verizon MVNOs don‘t have, like:

  • International data roaming in over 140 countries
  • The ability to add a streaming service like Netflix, HBO Max, or PlayStation Plus to your plan
  • Faster data speeds with a premium "Ludicrous" or "Fast" unlimited plan
  • eSIM support for compatible phones

The main downside of US Mobile is that its plans tend to be a bit pricier than some other Verizon MVNOs. Its unlimited data plans start at $45 per month for the basic version, which is $15 more than Visible charges.

3. Xfinity Mobile

Best for: Comcast Xfinity customers who want to bundle services
Starting price: $15/month

Xfinity Mobile is a unique Verizon MVNO that‘s only available to Comcast Xfinity internet customers. But if you are an Xfinity subscriber, it‘s definitely worth considering, as you can save a lot by bundling your mobile and internet service together.

Xfinity Mobile offers two main types of plans:

  • By the Gig: $15/month for 1 GB of shared data, $30/month for 3 GB, or $60/month for 10 GB
  • Unlimited: $45/month per line for 20 GB of high-speed data, then slower speeds

One of the best perks of Xfinity Mobile is that it comes with access to millions of Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots around the country. Any time your phone connects to one of these hotspots, it won‘t count against your monthly data allotment. This can really help you stretch your data, especially if you opt for one of the By the Gig plans.

Another nice feature of Xfinity Mobile is that it offers free international data roaming in over 200 countries. You can use your regular plan abroad at no extra charge, though speeds will be limited to 256 Kbps.

4. Spectrum Mobile

Best for: Charter Spectrum customers who want to bundle services
Starting price: $14/month

Spectrum Mobile is very similar to Xfinity Mobile in that it‘s only available to customers of a specific cable company (in this case, Charter Spectrum). It offers the same two types of plans: By the Gig starting at $14/month for 1 GB and Unlimited starting at $45/month for 20 GB of high-speed data.

One unique feature of Spectrum Mobile is that it will automatically move you between By the Gig and Unlimited plans based on your usage. So if you sign up for By the Gig but use more than 20 GB in a month, it will bump you up to Unlimited and charge you the higher rate. This can be convenient if your data needs vary from month to month.

Spectrum Mobile also offers a few international perks, like free texting abroad and low rates for data usage in certain countries. However, its overall international offerings aren‘t quite as robust as Xfinity Mobile‘s.

5. Straight Talk

Best for: People who prefer to buy phones and plans in person
Starting price: $35/month

Straight Talk is one of the few Verizon MVNOs that you can sign up for in person at a retail store like Walmart. It offers several different plans, but the most popular is probably its $45 per month unlimited option, which comes with 25 GB of high-speed data.

One thing to note about Straight Talk is that it doesn‘t guarantee which network you‘ll be on. Some of its plans use Verizon‘s network, while others use towers from AT&T or T-Mobile. If you want to be sure you‘re getting Verizon coverage, you‘ll need to check the details of the specific plan you‘re signing up for.

Straight Talk does offer a good selection of phones that you can purchase outright or pay for over time with a financing plan. However, many of them are locked to Straight Talk‘s service, so you may not be able to bring them to another carrier later on.

6. Total Wireless

Best for: Families who want to share a pool of data
Starting price: $24/month

Total Wireless is a great option for families because it offers discounts on multiple lines and lets you share a pool of data between them. For example, you can get 4 lines with 100 GB of shared data for $95 per month, which works out to less than $25 per line.

The way Total Wireless‘s shared data plans work is that each line gets unlimited talk and text, plus access to the shared high-speed data allotment. Once that allotment is used up, speeds are slowed to 2G for the rest of the month. This can be a good way to keep your family‘s data usage in check, as everyone will be incentivized to use Wi-Fi whenever possible.

Total Wireless also offers more traditional single-line plans starting at $24 per month for 1 GB of data. Its most expensive single-line plan is $50 per month for 25 GB of data, which is a decent deal. Just keep in mind that video streaming is limited to SD quality on all of its plans.

7. Affinity Cellular

Best for: Seniors who want a basic, affordable plan
Starting price: $10/month

Affinity Cellular is a lesser-known Verizon MVNO that caters to seniors and anyone else who wants a simple, low-cost plan. It offers several tiers of service starting at just $10 per month for 250 minutes, 250 texts, and 250 MB of data.

Of course, most people will need more than that these days. Affinity Cellular‘s most popular plan is probably its $25 per month option, which includes unlimited talk and text plus 3 GB of high-speed data.

One nice perk of Affinity Cellular is that it offers a 10% discount to AARP members. It also has a decent selection of easy-to-use phones that are well-suited for seniors, like the Jitterbug Flip and the Lively Smart.

The main downside of Affinity Cellular is that it doesn‘t offer any unlimited data plans. Its most expensive plan tops out at 7 GB of data for $50 per month, which is pretty pricey compared to the other options on this list.

Comparison of the Top Verizon MVNOs

Here‘s a quick comparison of the plans and pricing for the 7 Verizon MVNOs we‘ve covered:

Carrier Starting Price Cheapest Unlimited Plan Key Features
Visible $30/month $30/month No speed caps, Party Pay discount
US Mobile $12/month $45/month Highly customizable plans, international data
Xfinity Mobile $15/month $45/month Bundled with Xfinity internet, free Wi-Fi hotspots
Spectrum Mobile $14/month $45/month Bundled with Spectrum internet, automatic plan switching
Straight Talk $35/month $45/month Available in retail stores, good phone selection
Total Wireless $24/month $50/month (25 GB) Shared family data plans
Affinity Cellular $10/month N/A Senior discounts, easy-to-use phones

As you can see, there‘s a pretty wide range of prices and features among these Verizon MVNOs. Visible is the clear winner on price for unlimited data, while US Mobile offers the most flexibility and Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile are good options for bundling.

Tips for Switching to a Verizon MVNO

If you‘re convinced that a Verizon MVNO is right for you, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you make the switch:

  1. Check your coverage: Even though all of these carriers use Verizon‘s network, coverage can still vary a bit depending on your specific location. Be sure to check the coverage map for the MVNO you‘re considering to make sure you‘ll have good service in your area.

  2. Buy a compatible phone: Most newer phones will work on Verizon‘s network, but it‘s always a good idea to double-check before you buy. If you‘re bringing your own device, make sure it‘s unlocked and compatible with the MVNO you‘re signing up for.

  3. Port your number: If you want to keep your current phone number, you‘ll need to port it from your old carrier to your new one. This process can usually be done online or over the phone, and it‘s typically pretty quick and painless.

  4. Watch out for hidden fees: While Verizon MVNOs generally have lower prices than Verizon itself, they may still charge activation fees, "line access" fees, or other hidden costs. Read the fine print carefully before you sign up to avoid any surprises.

  5. Take advantage of promotions: Many Verizon MVNOs offer promotions for new customers, like discounted or free service for the first few months. Keep an eye out for these deals, as they can save you even more money.

The Future of Verizon MVNOs

As the cost of cell phone service continues to rise and consumers look for ways to save money, we expect Verizon MVNOs to become even more popular in the coming years. In fact, a recent survey by Consumer Reports found that 60% of people who switched to an MVNO in the past year did so because they wanted to save money.

"MVNOs are disrupting the wireless industry by offering cheaper plans and more flexibility," said Jeff Moore, principal analyst at Wave7 Research. "The big carriers are starting to feel the pressure, and we‘re seeing them react by offering their own prepaid brands and more affordable options."

One trend to watch in the MVNO space is the growth of "digital-first" carriers like Visible and US Mobile. These companies don‘t have any physical stores and instead rely on apps and online tools to manage their service. This allows them to keep costs down and pass the savings on to customers.

Another development we‘re keeping an eye on is the rollout of 5G networks. While most Verizon MVNOs currently only offer 4G LTE service, some are starting to launch 5G plans as Verizon‘s network expands. For example, Visible recently introduced a new $45 per month "Visible+" plan that includes access to Verizon‘s "Ultra Wideband" 5G network.

"5G is going to be a game-changer for the wireless industry," said Moore. "It will enable new types of applications and services that we can‘t even imagine yet. MVNOs that can offer 5G service at an affordable price will be well-positioned to compete in the future."

Conclusion

If you‘re looking to save money on your cell phone bill without sacrificing coverage or data speeds, a Verizon MVNO is definitely worth considering. These alternative carriers offer plans that can be half the price of what you‘d pay for Verizon service directly, while still giving you access to the same nationwide network.

Of course, there are trade-offs to using an MVNO, like the possibility of slower data speeds during times of congestion and more limited customer support options. But for many people, the savings are well worth it.

To find the best Verizon MVNO for you, consider your data needs, budget, and any extra features you might want, like international roaming or a bundled streaming service. Then compare the plans and prices of the top providers to see which one offers the best value for your specific situation.

Making the switch to an MVNO can seem daunting, but it‘s actually a pretty straightforward process. Just make sure you have a compatible phone, check the coverage in your area, and watch out for any hidden fees or gotchas.

As the wireless industry continues to evolve and 5G becomes more widespread, we expect Verizon MVNOs to play an increasingly important role in providing affordable, high-quality cell phone service to consumers. So if you‘re looking to cut your phone bill without cutting corners, it‘s definitely worth giving one of these alternative carriers a try.