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Visible Wireless review: Exceptional budget phone plans with unlimited data and reliable coverage

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A hand holding a phone displaying the Visible home screen.
Visible Wireless' unlimited plans make it an attractive phone carrier for the price if you use a lot of data each month.Eve Montie/Insider

Visible Wireless is Verizon's shot at the low-cost mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) market, providing access to Verizon's 5G and 4G LTE networks for as little as $25 a month.

Both Visible's base plan and premium plan, Visible+, come with unlimited data subject to deprioritized speeds, though Visible+, the best cheap cell phone plan for unlimited data, offers 50GB of guaranteed high-speed data for an added monthly fee. Both plans also come with unlimited hotspot data usage.

I tested the efficacy of Visible's base plan in New York City through an average week, looking into the MVNO's coverage consistency, data reliability, and call quality, among other factors. If you're looking to make the switch, I also outline the setup process as a new user and compare plan offerings so you can judge whether Visible has a plan that suits your needs.

Plan offerings and flexibility

The baseline Visible plan comes in at $25 a month and includes unlimited data (subject to deprioritization), unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada, and unlimited hotspot data.

The premium Visible+ plan costs $45 a month. In addition to the base plan's offerings, the premium plan guarantees a 50GB allotment of high-speed data, and adds more international perks along with a discount offer on Verizon home internet.

Plan

Monthly data allotment

Monthly price (regular)

Features

Visible

Unlimited

$25

  • Spam protection

  • Unlimited mobile hotspot*

  • Unlimited talk and text to Mexico/Canada

Visible+

Unlimited (including 50GB/month of guaranteed premium high-speed data)

$45

  • Spam protection

  • Unlimited mobile hotspot*

  • Unlimited talk and text to Mexico/Canada

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data roaming in Mexico/Canada

  • Widespread international calling and texting

  • 5G Ultra Wideband access

  • $10/month discount on Verizon home internet

*Visible's unlimited hotspot is capped at a data speed of 5Mbps, and your hotspot can only accommodate one device.

Separating itself from Visible's base plan, Visible+ includes international calling from the US to over 30 countries and texting to over 200 countries, which along with unlimited data and hotspot data make for an excellent deal relative to big-budget phone plans that offer similar benefits with a much higher price tag.

While both the Visible base plan and the upgraded Visible+ program include unlimited data, Visible+ customers are guaranteed 50GB of premium high-speed data monthly. This is important to note in terms of deprioritization, as Visible+ customers won't be subjected to slower data speeds in congested areas as long as they're within their high-speed data allowance.

Visible's base plan has access to unlimited data that is subject at any time to deprioritized speeds, and it doesn't have access to the newer 5G Ultra Wideband networks.

Input of a Visible SIM card into an Android phone.
Visible offers the coverage of their broadband giant parent Verizon at a fraction of the cost.Eve Montie/Insider

With either Visible plan, customers are able to bring their own phones as long as they're compatible with Verizon's network. Visible has a compatibility checker available on their site, and if your phone isn't found to be compatible you can trade it in for credit toward a new phone or swap it for free with an Android phone. You can also elect to keep your previous phone number through a "porting-in" process on Visible's website or mobile app.

There isn't much in the way of setup guidance beyond the articles on Visible's help site, and once your SIM or eSIM is activated the setup process is entirely complete. Overall the experience as a new customer is barebones — particularly in comparison to a competitor like Mint Mobile, which provides the new user with a setup assistance kit, guided walkthrough of the app and its capabilities, and an easily navigable Support site.

New Visible customers can opt to test the service with a free 15-day trial — and if results are less than you'd hoped for, it's easy to cancel the trial through Visible's app.

Coverage area

An enticing reason for switching from one of Verizon's pricier premier plans to a Visible plan is that you'll get to keep the same network coverage at a lower monthly cost for a single line.

Operating under Verizon's network, Visible provides strong 4G LTE, 5G, and 5G "Ultra Wideband" connections across most of the United States, with some gaps in coverage in less populous areas. Visible+ offers 5G Ultra Wideband coverage in many urban areas, which means that your data speeds will be the fastest that a 5G connection can provide.

Before signing up for Visible, checking in on their provided coverage map will confirm whether Verizon covers your area to begin with.

Map of United States indicating Visible’s data coverage areas.
Visible's coverage map indicates 5G and 4G/LTE covered areas in blue and 5G Ultra Wideband covered areas in teal.Visible Wireless

Service reliability and speeds

The best feature of Visible's unlimited data plans is that your data is truly unlimited in the manner of the best cell phone plans from major carriers, in that speeds aren't capped after you use a certain amount of data, unlike some other nominally unlimited plans.

Granted, Visible customers are prioritized after Verizon's higher-paying customers who use the same network and could theoretically encounter slower speeds at any time on the Visible baseline plan. But in areas with less network congestion, it's possible you may not experience any meaningful disruption from deprioritization.

Even conducting my testing in New York City didn't leave me disappointed. On the baseline Visible unlimited plan, I could load videos and social media apps with almost no buffering time, which means a lot in an urban area, where everyone is using data at the same time in close proximity. My texts sent from just about anywhere, calls went through totally fine, and the audio quality was quite good.

Video calls came with mixed results, however. I found that while on a 4G connection, I could see and hear the person on the other end of the line perfectly fine. The reverse connection was not so clean, though, and my call partner noted that my audio and video were skipping to the point of incoherence (despite their being connected via a high-speed WiFi network). When I tried another call while connected with 4 bars of 5G data, the issues went away entirely.

This disparity wasn't entirely a surprise to me, as a 4G connection will be generally less reliable than a 5G (or a 5G Ultra Wideband) connection. It's worth noting that I had a 4G connection at all versus a 5G one, as my testing regions were entirely covered by Verizon 5G coverage according to Visible's coverage map, so the slower connection suggests that I was subject to deprioritization in a congested area.

One con of being on Verizon's coverage network in a populous area is that they're a popular network for a reason, and a lot of people utilize their services. Thus, Visible customers may encounter deprioritization more frequently.

Customer support

As far as in-app and online support is concerned, Visible offers a typically distant level of customer care that you can generally expect from a wireless carrier (particularly a larger network or an MVNO operating on one), with a basic help page that refers the user to a knowledge base of support articles to help resolve any issues you may have in setup, activation, or account information.

Visible's app includes the same help center knowledge base as its desktop website, and additionally includes a shop tab that you can use to purchase smart watches or upgrade your phone.

Picture of a phone in hand with the Visible app open to the Shop tab.
Visible's app, meant to be a source for users to manage their service, could use some work.Eve Montie/Insider

From a user experience standpoint the shop tab in the app isn't terribly useful — you only purchase a new phone or smart watch every once in a long while, so the shop tab isn't the most useful resource to include in the mobile app. It doesn't help that the app requires you to log in every time you use it, which is a bit of a chore.

You can also manage your plan in the Account tab, view your plan specifics, and upgrade your plan from the app if you choose. All of the most pertinent user information lives in the Account tab, and you can chat there with a digital assistant to access quick help.

Overall, relative to the outstanding customer support offered by competitor Mint Mobile, Visible's app and site support are lackluster and not particularly user-friendly.

Should you sign up for Visible Wireless?

Visible Wireless' affordable unlimited plans make it an attractive phone carrier if you use a lot of data each month and know that Verizon's network adequately covers your area.

In my testing, Visible's base plan had consistently reliable coverage and allowed me to send texts, make calls, and load apps seamlessly. Though I encountered disruptive, slower data speeds when taking video calls in a congested area, the effect of this deprioritization was momentary, and it was ultimately a minor blemish on an overall positive experience with the service.

If you don't use massive amounts of monthly data, however, Visible is likely not worth the monthly price, as other budget carriers like Mint Mobile and Tello Mobile provide tiered data plans that cost less than Visible's base plan.

FAQs

Who owns Visible Wireless?

Visible Wireless is owned by Verizon, and it runs using Verizon's 4G LTE and 5G networks.

While this means that users have access to Verizon's network at a considerably lower cost than Verizon's base plans, it does mean that base Visible customers will be prioritized after Verizon customers in congested areas.

This means that Visible data speeds may slow down in order to accommodate the higher-paying Verizon customers, who are ultimately paying for convenience and top-tier data speeds.

Does Visible work abroad?

If you're a Visible customer from the US going abroad outside of Mexico and Canada, you'll need to pick up a local SIM card in order to use data while overseas.

Both Visible and Visible+ provide unlimited calling and texting to Mexico and Canada from the United States. Visible+ adds unlimited data roaming in both countries, but neither plan includes international data roaming in countries outside of Mexico and Canada.

Customers with Visible+ can also make calls to over 30 countries and send texts to over 200 countries, and WiFi calling should work anywhere if you have access to a WiFi network.

How do Visible's unlimited plans work?

Visible's unlimited plans are prepaid monthly and include unlimited data and hotspot data as well as unlimited talk and text on Verizon's network of coverage. Under Verizon's umbrella, Visible users can take advantage of 4G LTE speeds consistently, and even 5G (or 5G Ultra Wideband for Visible+ users) if there isn't much network congestion.

The service is intended to be a low-cost alternative for customers looking to use Verizon's network, but who aren't in the budget for one of their more premium plans. Visible strips the process of network management down to the basics, with no annual contracts or hidden fees, just prepaid data service.

The caveat is that while your data is unlimited, the speed of the data could slow down due to Verizon network traffic at any time on the base Visible plan or after the guaranteed 50GB of high-speed data on Visible+.

Does Visible offer a family plan?

Unfortunately, Visible only offers unlimited plans for one line at a time and does not offer a traditional "family" plan. If you have multiple base-subscription lines on your plan, for example, each will cost $25 a month.

Visible used to provide a "Party Pay" option that added discounts for multiple lines on the same plan, but the service ended as of January 2023. For families looking to save on multiple lines, Visible may not be the service for you.

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