If you’re thinking about switching to Verizon-owned Visible to lower your cell phone bill, you may be wondering what type of network speed you’ll get.
As a Visible customer and someone who writes about cell phone plans, I get asked about data speeds a lot.
What You Need to Know About Visible’s Data Speeds
Many people are confused about the data speeds to expect with Visible and other low-cost cell phone service providers, and it’s understandable.
After all, Visible launched with a 5 Mbps (megabits per second) speed cap. But that’s long gone.
In this article, I’ll share what Visible says about its data speeds and compare that to my experience as a customer for the past year. Let’s dive in.
What Visible Says About Data Speeds
We’ll begin on Visible’s homepage. Here’s what the carrier says about its data speed cap that I mentioned:
“Unlimited data*, messages, and minutes all on Verizon’s 4G LTE Network. Plus, for a limited time, we’ve removed our speed cap – free for as long as you remain a member.”
In the fine print on the plan page, there are two additional relevant notes:
- In times of traffic, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic.
- Mobile hotspot speeds capped at 5 Mbps.
And if you search around Visible’s website for long enough, you’ll find the following information about data speeds. It’s a lot more specific.
“Visible expects members on the Verizon 4G LTE network will experience typical download speeds of 5-12 Mbps. Many members are getting more. (Some have claimed 100+ Mbps.) Upload speeds are typically 2-5 Mbps. Videos will typically stream at a resolution of 480p. With respect to latency (how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another) for use of real-time data applications, we expect the network to device (round-trip) latency to be about 150 milliseconds.”
Download speeds of 5-12 Mbps? That’s not impressive, but on Visible’s 5G page I learned that you can expect speeds of up to 200 Mbps when 5G service is rolled out.
That’s more like it, but how does Visible’s company line compare to my experience? I’ll show you next.
Speed Test Results From a Visible Customer
For the past year, I’ve been tracking Visible’s data speeds using the free Speedtest app. When you run a speed test with this app, you’ll get several pieces of information:
- Download speed is what matters when it comes to streaming video and music, surfing the web and using most of the apps on your phone.
- Upload speed becomes important if you send large files over email using your phone.
- Ping measures the responsiveness of your connection. It’s also referred to as latency. Those who play video games on their phone will want a fast ping.
From October 3 to November 9, I ran 25 separate speed tests to provide a better snapshot of Visible’s service. These tests were all conducted in Miami Beach, Florida.
Take a look at the results in the chart below, then scroll down for some context.
|Date||Download Speed (Mbps)||Upload Speed (Mbps)||Ping (ms)|
Let’s break down the results:
- First, the average download speed on Visible’s 4G LTE network was 29 Mbps. That’s well above the 5-12 Mbps that Visible’s website says customers can expect.
- Next, the average upload speed checked in at 26.1 Mbps. Upload speeds are generally lower, but this is also solid.
- Finally, the ping averaged 120 ms (milliseconds), which is not great but slightly faster than the 150 ms that Visible mentions on its website. Gamers will want 60 ms or less.
Beyond the Numbers
Now, let’s take the numbers out of this for a second. I want to talk about my experience using my phone.
If you’re like me and use your phone to make phone calls, send text messages, read articles, check Instagram and watch YouTube videos, Visible’s download speeds should be fine.
In my year with Visible, I’ve never had a video freeze or buffer — and I’m a heavy data user.
For example, I started taking a lot of walks during the coronavirus pandemic and would stream live TV with Sling or Hulu Live using my cellular data. It worked flawlessly every time.
Am I getting speeds as fast as Verizon postpaid? No. As I mentioned earlier, Visible says speeds will be slowed during network congestion. This is referred to as deprioritization.
You can see the difference in this Visible vs. Verizon speed test that I conducted in 2019:
But for cell phone users like me, it’s not about having the best download speeds. Sure, people on Verizon’s postpaid plans are getting faster speeds — but they’re paying twice as much.
The choice is yours: Do you want the fastest data speeds or do you want a lower monthly cell phone bill?
THE BOTTOM LINE: As long as I can do everything that I need to do on my phone, the Speedtest numbers don’t matter to me. The only number that does is my monthly savings!
Before you sign up for Visible, read my full review and the 9 things you need to know!