Unlimited cell phone data plans can get expensive in a hurry, and data speeds often get throttled, defeating the purpose of having an unlimited plan and leaving wireless customers looking for a better option.
Visible Wireless offers unlimited data at more affordable prices than the biggest wireless providers. Its prices start at $25 monthly, versus $40 to $70 for a similar service. You can enjoy the benefits of a prepaid phone plan, which means you’re not bound to a contract and expensive cancellation fees.
But does Visible’s cell phone coverage measure up, and what other features do they offer? In this Visible Wireless review, we’ll break down its unlimited data plans, additional features, and coverage reliability to help you determine if Visible might be right for you.
Table of Contents
- What Is Visible?
- Visible Coverage Quality
- Visible Wireless Plans
- Visible Wireless Phone Deals
- Visible Protect
- Other Visible Wireless Features
- Visible Pros and Cons
- Alternatives to Visible Wireless
- Is Visible Worth It?
What Is Visible?
Visible is a prepaid cell phone company that doesn’t require contracts and is owned by Verizon Wireless. It’s best known for offering some of the most affordable data plans in the industry. In addition, users get access to the Verizon data network. Most prepaid phone companies use the T-Mobile network, which is widely available yet more likely to have spotty coverage in rural areas.
Other Visible benefits include:
- No mobile hotspot data limits
- Unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada
- Spam protection
- 24/7 access to human assistance
- Verizon home internet discounts (Visible+ subscribers only)
- Complimentary international calling and texts (Visible+ subscribers only)
You will either pay $25 per line per month for the starter plan or $45 monthly for premium data speeds. You might pay a similar amount with other carriers and only get 10 GB of high-speed data or less.
One reason for Visible’s incredible value is that it doesn’t have physical stores or offer phone-based support (live chat is available), which lowers overhead costs.
Of course, the adage “you get what you pay for” still rings true. While you might pay more on other carriers, many existing Visible customers (via online reviews) recommend upgrading if you live in congested areas to receive prioritization which translates into consistently faster data speeds.
Eligible iPhones with eSIM capability can enroll in a 14-day risk-free trial to decide if Visible is worth it. If eligible, you can receive a temporary phone number to test alongside your current provider.
Visible Coverage Quality
5G data speeds are available nationwide as Visible uses Verizon’s excess capacity to offer voice, text, and data services at a lower cost. The default 5G frequency is the low-band spectrum comparable to, yet faster than, Verizon’s 4G LTE network and improves as the infrastructure expands.
Visible customers in many metro areas nationwide have access to the 5G Ultra Wideband speeds, Verizon’s fastest capacity and 10 times faster than 4G LTE. You need the premium Visible+ plan to receive the fastest speeds.
During non-congested periods, your service quality is competitive with a traditional – and more expensive – postpaid plan. However, data speeds can be significantly slower at peak periods as the higher-paying customers get first priority.
Like other unlimited data plans, videos play back in standard definition (SD) instead of high definition (HD) to preserve network bandwidth. This setting also prevents premium members from burning through their 50 GB of ultra-wideband data as quickly.
Additionally, Visible’s mobile hotspot speeds are restricted to 5 Mbps for all users. This is comparable to 4G LTE speeds and isn’t the fastest for mobile hotspots, but you don’t have monthly data caps like other prepaid carriers.
Visible Wireless Plans
You can choose between two unlimited talk, text, and data plans with Visible: Visible and Visible+. Choose the latter to get the fastest available speeds and additional perks. Here’s a closer look at each plan.
The entry-level Visible Plan costs $25 per month and includes these perks:
- Unlimited talk, text, and data
- 5G and 4G LTE data speeds
- Unlimited mobile hotspot
- Unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada from the U.S.
You can add a wearable device like an Apple Watch for $5 per month on both Visible Wireless plans.
If you live in a congested area or want more international talk and text features, consider the Visible+ plan for $45 monthly. You can also get free data in Canada and Mexico.
In addition to the basic plan perks, other benefits include:
- 5G Ultra Wideband (when available)
- Premium network experience
- Unlimited talk and text Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands
- 0.5 GB of high-speed data per day in Canada and Mexico (then 2G)
- 500 complimentary minutes to over 30 countries from the U.S.
- Unlimited texting to over 200 countries from the U.S.
- $10 savings per month on Verizon Home Internet
You can enjoy the quickest network speeds for the first 50GB each month. After that, Visible may begin throttling your data speeds for the rest of the month.
Limited Time Offer: Use code 35FOR6 to pay only $35 monthly for the first six months of service.
You can also bring your own Apple Watch or buy one from Visible and get unlimited wearable data for $5 monthly.
Visible Wireless Phone Deals
Visible partners with Affirm to offer buy now, pay later financing on Apple, Google, and Samsung devices. Unlike a traditional carrier, you don’t need to commit to a two-year contract. Devices are locked to Visible for the first 60 days, but you can switch to another carrier.
The following Visible programs can help you buy a cheap cell phone.
Visible’s Upgrade Plan is enticing if you upgrade your phone regularly. Visible will pay off up to 50% of the remaining balance when you upgrade to a new device and finance the new phone with Affirm.
The 0% APR repayment terms last 12, 18, 24, or 36 months (down payment required). After paying off half of the balance, Visible sends you an upgrade offer by email. After financing a new device, you mail in your old one to Visible, and they pay off the remaining balance.
When you join Visible and buy a replacement device from its online store, you can receive a trade-in credit for your existing phone. New users are eligible for this program, but eligible current members can also participate.
The prepaid carrier will send you an estimate for your current phone and you will mail it in using a prepaid shipping label to undergo a final inspection. You will receive a credit that offsets your purchase amount.
When you finance a phone purchase, the credit is returned to your payment method with a new phone or as a Mastercard gift card.
When transferring an existing number, new members can swap qualifying Android devices for a free replacement. If you’re comfortable using an off-brand device with a lower market value than Google and Samsung devices, you may like this option.
Here are two options available as of October 2023:
- TCL 30 LE
- Orbic Joy
Both are basic smartphones, but they get the job done and can help you stay out of debt.
After verifying if you have a qualifying device, Visible Overnight mails your new phone to you, and you have 14 days to ship your current phone. There are no out-of-pocket costs; your phone can be eligible if it turns on.
You can purchase refurbished iPhones at a discounted price that you can pay in full upfront or apply for Affirm financing. These devices probably won’t qualify for the trade-in or upgrade programs, but you can spend less money overall and still enjoy several years of life from your phone.
You can purchase cell phone insurance on phones and devices you buy through Visible. Visible Protect plans range from $3 to $10 per month.
Insurance benefits include:
- Mechanical/electrical failure (new devices only)
- Accidental damage (cracks, drops, spills)
- AppleCare (iPhone and Apple Watch devices)
- Pocket Geek® Mobile by Assurant® (Antivirus by Avast for Android phones)
- 24/7 claims
These protection plans are available in all states except for New York.
Other Visible Wireless Features
Here are some of the best benefits of a Visible plan.
1. Unlimited Talk, Text, and Data: All Visible plans provide unlimited talk, text messages, and data usage within the United States. You can also enjoy free calls and texts to Canada and Mexico from the U.S.
2. WiFi Calling: You can enable your phone for free WiFi calling. This feature is handy if you have spotty reception unless you go outside or a different part of the building (a hassle nonetheless).
3. Unlimited Mobile Hotspot: Each Visible plan offers a free mobile hotspot without any data caps. The download speed is a relatively slow 5 Mbps, and you can only connect one device at a time.
4. Month-to-Month Billing: Some prepaid carriers require you to commit to a multi-month subscription to qualify for the lowest price. Not so with Visible, as either plan costs $25 or $45 (unless you’re eligible for a limited-time offer) without a contract. You can pay your Visible bill with a credit card, debit card, prepaid card, Apple Pay, PayPal, or Venmo.
5. Free International Calls: All Visible plans allow you to call Mexico or Canada from the United States. Premium users can also make free calls when traveling in Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Further, they receive 500 minutes monthly to make calls overseas to over 30 nations.
6. Bring Your Device: It’s possible to bring your current unlocked device to Visible if you don’t need to buy a new phone just yet. You can also bring your own Apple Watch.
7. eSIM Activation: Newer phones have eSIM capability, so you don’t need to wait to receive a physical SIM card in the mail to activate the service. You can see if your device is eligible when joining Visible. However, ineligible devices still receive a physical card via overnight shipping. Complete the activation process by connecting to WiFi and downloading the Visible mobile app.
8. Free Trial: iPhone users with eSim capability can enjoy a 15-day free trial without providing a credit card number. You will receive a trial number to test the voice, text, and data capabilities. Unfortunately, this free trial isn’t available to Android users, and iPhones with a physical SIM cannot participate, nor can potential customers who have enrolled in this free trial within the last 12 months.
9. Bring a Friend Discount: After enrolling with Visible, you will receive a referral link your friends and family can use to join. If your friend uses your Friend Link to sign up, you will both save $20 on the following month’s cell phone bill.
Visible Pros and Cons
Visible offers affordable wireless plans with many additional features, such as free mobile hotspots and international calling. But Visible has its drawbacks, too. Here is a list of pros and cons:
- Affordable monthly plans
- Unlimited cellular data and mobile hotspot
- Free international calls and texts to Canada and Mexico
- 15-day free trial for eligible iPhones
- $20 refer-a-friend bonus
- Several phone trade-in programs
- Potentially slow data speeds in congested areas or peak hours
- Slow mobile hotspot speeds (up to 5 Mbps)
- Video playback is in SD only
- No multi-line discounts
Alternatives to Visible Wireless
If you’re looking for the fastest possible data speeds in any location, it may be worthwhile to choose another wireless carrier, even if it means paying more each month. Here are some Visible alternatives to consider.
Verizon Wireless, with a postpaid contract, offers faster and more reliable data speeds in congested areas and during the day’s busiest hours. You will pay more for an unlimited plan, but you might be able to find employer or multi-line discounts and phone purchase deals to spend less. Make a list of your desired features to determine if Verizon is right for you.
Mint Mobile offers unlimited data plans starting at $30 monthly when you pay for 12 months of service upfront. The monthly rate costs more when you choose a shorter duration of three or six months.
Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile 5G network, which is highly available but not necessarily more reliable than Verizon. Coverage qualify depends on your local area. Other notable Mint Mobile benefits include up to 10 GB of mobile hotspot data, free calling to Mexico and Canada, plus free texting to over 190 countries.
Tello offers its “Unlimited Everything” plan for $29 per month. Valuable benefits include free calls to over 60 countries and unlimited mobile hotspots. You can choose a fixed data plan and potentially pay less when you don’t need unlimited data.
This mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) uses the T-Mobile network, which is how it can offer many features at rock-bottom prices. You pay month-to-month for ultimate flexibility.
Is it worth it to switch from Verizon to Visible?
Visible can be just as reliable as Verizon most of the time across the country. However, many who have tried both report that Verizon is more reliable and delivers quicker speeds in congested cities and busy periods when the network practices data de-prioritization. You may choose Visible+ ($45/month) instead of the basic Visible plan ($25/month) as you get faster internet speeds.
Is Visible really owned by Verizon?
Yes, Verizon has owned Visible since it launched in 2018. However, Visible’s headquarters are in Denver, whereas Verizon is based in New York City.
What are Visible’s customer service options?
Live chat and email support is available 24/7. You can also reach out to their social media channels. Phone-based support and in-person store support are unavailable.
Does Visible have hidden fees?
Visible’s all-in price is $25 or $45, which includes fees and taxes. There are no hidden fees. As each plan has unlimited data, you won’t have to purchase add-on data packages if you exhaust your monthly allowance.
Is Visible Worth It?
Visible is worth using if you want Verizon Wireless coverage at a discounted price and month-to-month prepaid phone plans. Regardless of your chosen plan, it’s one of the cheapest unlimited data plans available in the U.S.
Fast internet speeds are available in most parts of the country, although data speeds can be slower in congested areas and peak usage hours. If that’s a concern, you may be better off sticking with a postpaid carrier (Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T) as they receive the quickest speeds first during peak periods.
If possible, consider trying out the 14-day free trial to see how reliable Visible is at home, work, school, and while you run errands.
Overall, Visible is among the best choices for an affordable unlimited data plan and unlimited mobile hotspot. You can also enjoy the reliability of the Verizon Wireless network. If you’re ready to cancel your postpaid phone contract, this is one of the best prepaid phone plans to consider.
- Affordable monthly plans
- Unlimited cellular and mobile hotspot data
- Free international calling to Canada and Mexico
- 15-day free trial
- Several phone trade-in programs
- Speeds may slow in congested areas or during peak hours
- Slow mobile hotspot speeds
- Video playback is in SD only
- No multi-line discounts
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About Josh Patoka
After graduating in $50k with student loans in May 2008 from Virginia Military Institute with a B.A. International Studies and Political Science with a minor in Spanish (he studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain for 3 months), Josh decided to sell his soul for seven years by working in the transportation industry to get out of debt ASAP and focus on doing something else with a better work-life balance.
He is a father of three and has been writing about (almost) everything personal finance since 2015. You can also find him at his own blog Money Buffalo where he shares his personal experience of becoming debt-free (twice) and taking a 50%+ pay cut when he changed careers.
Today, Josh relishes the flexibility of being self-employed and debt-free and encourages others to pursue their dreams. Josh enjoys spending his free time reading books and spending time with his wife and three children.
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.