Verizon-owned Visible continues to offer one of the best deals in wireless after making big changes to its plans in 2022, but the service is not for everyone.
If you’re thinking about switching to Visible from Verizon or another premium service, you need to understand how Visible works to decide if it’s worth the monthly savings.
What Is Visible and Is the Phone Service Worth It? Fast Facts
- What is Visible?: A Verizon-owned prepaid phone service that offers affordable unlimited plans for single-line users
- What network does Visible use?: Verizon’s nationwide network, including 5G access
- How much does Visible cost?: $30 a month or $45 a month depending on the plan that you choose; taxes and fees included
- What do you get with Visible?: Unlimited data, talk, text and mobile hotspot usage
- How fast are data speeds with Visible?: 5G speeds up to 200 Mbps with the base plan; access to 5G Ultra Wideband with premium plan
- Does Visible offer mobile hotspot?: Unlimited mobile hotspot data capped at 5 Mbps
- Can I get a deal on a new phone with Visible?: Frequent discounts on Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy devices; new iPhone 14 is now available (Learn more here)
- Does Visible offer customer service? No stores or 800 number; customer service handled through the app
- What happened to Party Pay? Visible is discontinuing its Party Pay program for new users after launching updated plans
I joined Visible in October 2019 and have been a paying customer ever since.
New customer offers include a 15-day free trial and phone discounts, while the referral program is available to all users.
In this real customer review, I’ll share the pros and cons that you need to know before you sign up for Visible.
Table of Contents
- Plans and Pricing
- Network Coverage
- Call and Text Performance
- Data Speeds
- Mobile Hotspot
- Video Streaming
- Phone Options
- Customer Service
- Deals and Discounts
1. Plans and Pricing
Visible now features two unlimited wireless data plans after an August 2022 update.
The Visible base plan offers unlimited data, talk, text and mobile hotspot for $30 a month. Taxes and fees are included.
Visible’s premium plan, called Visible+, costs $45 a month with taxes and fees included.
The biggest difference between the two plans? Data speeds.
- Visible’s base plan includes 5G Nationwide and 4G LTE data, with 5G speeds capped at 200 Mbps
- Visible’s premium plan unlocks access to Verizon’s fastest speeds with 5G Ultra Wideband and 50GB of premium data when connected to 5G Nationwide and 4G LTE (5G Ultra Wideband is always premium data)
Both plans include talk and text from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico. But the premium plan features additional international talk, text and data roaming access compared to the base plan.
Visible and Visible+ Unlimited Plans
|$30/month, taxes and fees included||$45/month, taxes and fees included|
|Unlimited talk, text and data||Unlimited talk, text and data (includes 50GB of premium data on 5G Nationwide & 4G LTE)|
|5G Nationwide & 4G LTE||5G Ultra Wideband, 5G Nationwide & 4G LTE|
|Unlimited mobile hotspot data||Unlimited mobile hotspot data|
|Spam Protection||Spam Protection|
|Unlimited talk and text to Canada and Mexico||Unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada|
Unlimited talk, text and roaming in Mexico and Canada
International calling from the U.S. to 30+ countries
International texting from the U.S. to 200+ countries
Visible’s plans are designed for single-line users, not families. There is no multi-line discount.
With Visible’s rollout of the new plans, the service is discontinuing its Party Pay discount program that allowed users to pay as low as $25 a month.
Existing Party Pay members will have their rate locked in for a period of time.
“Existing Visible members have the option to maintain their Party Pay discount while on their current plan and will have their Party Pay rates locked in based on their Party status as of October 18, 2022.”
Billing is handled through the Visible app. As a prepaid service, no credit check is required unless you finance your phone. There are no activation or early termination fees.
In January 2022, Visible added a 15-day free trial for select iPhone users.
The free trial is a great way to test out Visible’s service in your area, particularly if you’re not sure about the network coverage or data speeds where you live. Learn more here.
2. Network Coverage
Visible is owned by Verizon and uses its 5G and 4G LTE networks.
If you live in an area where Verizon offers strong coverage, Visible is likely a solid option to consider.
The company told MichaelSaves.com the new Visible plans offer a better network experience, including domestic roaming and improved latency with many new access points from Verizon’s network.
3. Call and Text Performance
Visible’s call and text performance will vary depending on your location.
During my several years as a Visible customer, I’ve had very few issues with dropped calls or missing text messages. It has been extremely reliable.
During the early days of my Visible service, I did receive a few spam text messages. However, that is no longer an issue.
Visible has added free Scam Protection to reduce robocalls. Activate this feature from the Visible app by clicking Account, Privacy and Security, and then toggle on Scam Protection.
If you’re in an area with little or no cell coverage, Visible supports Wi-Fi Calling at no additional charge. Just make sure to go into your phone’s settings to activate this feature.
4. Data Speeds
Like most low-cost cell phone service providers, Verizon-owned Visible slows your data when the network is congested.
This is more likely to happen if you have the base plan.
As mentioned earlier in this review, the new Visible+ plan includes 50GB of premium data on the 5G Nationwide and 4G LTE networks — which Visible calls Premium Network Experience. When connected to 5G Ultra Wideband, Visible+ users will always get premium data.
These premium Visible+ users will receive high-priority access during times of network congestion.
Although I pay for a Visible plan without priority data, deprioritization only happens on occasion for me. I’ve always been able to stream video, use my apps and surf the web with Visible.
However, some users have told me the deprioritization has made using the service difficult at times.
I’ve tested Visible’s data speeds extensively over the past few years using the Speedtest app.
The screenshots below show my last speed test with Visible’s old unlimited plan compared to my first speed test with Visible’s new base plan.
The download speeds were similar at around 150 Mbps, but the new plan has a much lower ping.
|Old Visible Plan||New Visible Base Plan|
|Download speed||164 Mbps||149 Mbps|
|Upload speed||1.42 Mbps||3.98 Mbps|
|Ping (latency)||129 ms||20 ms|
From my experience, anything over 25 Mbps is fast enough to stream video without buffering. Download speeds greater than 100 Mbps are impressive for a $30 a month plan.
The lower ping is also very encouraging. Visible told me that latency would improve with the new plans.
Both speed tests were conducted from the same location with an Apple iPhone 12.
Bottom line: For me, Visible’s data speeds on the entry-level plan have been fast enough to do everything I need. But if you want the absolute fastest data speeds, you may want to pay more for the Visible+ premium plan to access Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband.
5. Mobile Hotspot
Unlimited mobile hotspot usage sets Visible apart from many of its competitors, but there is a 5 Mbps speed cap.
I tested the mobile hotspot feature while putting together this review. Instead of connecting to Wi-Fi, I used Visible’s mobile hotspot capability to connect my laptop to the internet and type away.
According to Speedtest.net, the download speed was 10 Mbps. That’s double the 5 Mbps speed cap.
That mobile hotspot speed test result aligns with my experience over the past few years. The 5 Mbps speed cap isn’t always enforced.
I find the unlimited mobile hotspot data extremely useful for when I’m working on my laptop at coffee shops or other public places. It has also come in handy when power outages have knocked my home Wi-Fi offline.
6. Video Streaming
Visible has long said that video typically streams at 480p, which is standard definition. However, I’ve been able to stream YouTube videos in 720p (high definition) with the base plan.
Some users on the Visible+ plan have been able to stream video in 4K when connected to 5G Ultra Wideband.
From my experience, 480p or isn’t a big deal on a 6-inch phone screen. But if you insist on 720p or 1080p resolution at all times, Visible may not be for you.
Keep in mind that you can stream in HD when connected to Wi-Fi instead of cellular data.
Not sure what to make of this? Open up YouTube on your phone and watch a few videos in different resolutions to see if you can really tell the difference on your phone.
If your experience with 480p isn’t bad, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed using Visible.
7. Phone Options
Customers can purchase a new phone or bring a compatible Apple or Android device to Visible. The service has made a lot of progress when it comes to phone options over the years.
You can use the compatibility checker on Visible’s website to see if your phone will work.
I switched to Visible at a time when I needed a new phone, so I ended up purchasing a device from the carrier. At last check, about 30 phone models were available for sale. They include:
- Apple iPhone 14
- Apple iPhone 14 Pro
- Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone 13
- Apple iPhone 13 Pro
- Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone 13 Mini
- Apple iPhone SE
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4
- Samsung Galaxy S22
- Samsung Galaxy S22+
- Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
- Google Pixel 6
- Google Pixel 6 Pro
- Motorola Edge
When I purchased my device, I got a $200 prepaid Mastercard. That’s a frequent deal for new customers.
I always pay for my devices in full, but financing is offered through Affirm at as low as 0% APR. Financing does require a credit check and you may need to make a down payment.
Phones do go out of stock from time to time. See Visible’s website for the latest offers.
In addition to phones, Visible supports smartwatches. You can purchase an Apple Watch from Visible (or bring your own) and pay $5/month for unlimited data.
8. Customer Service
Visible has no physical stores or even an 800 number to call for help. Everything is done through the app.
If you’re switching from Verizon or another major carrier to Visible, perhaps the biggest change will be adjusting to the way customer service is handled.
Customer service options:
- Live chat
- Facebook Messenger
Although Visible primarily offers customer support through live chat, you can request a callback. Learn more here.
My switch to Visible was trouble-free, but I’ll admit the absence of traditional phone support made me nervous. The company does provide frequent updates about your order via email.
I signed up on a Friday and began the process of transferring my number with Visible.
My old cell phone service provider released my number to Visible before my new phone arrived, but my service continued without interruption.
After FedEx delivered my phone on Monday, I turned it on and was using Visible moments later.
I read on Visible’s website that the average length of time to complete porting is 4.9 days, so don’t wait until the very end of your billing cycle to make the switch. Give yourself some time.
Also, have the account number and PIN from your current provider. Visible needs that for the transfer.
If you’re bringing your own phone to Visible, eSIM is now available for select devices. This allows you to switch your service in as little as 15 minutes without a physical SIM card.
If your device isn’t compatible with eSIM, Visible will overnight you a physical SIM card instead.
9. Deals and Discounts
Aside from the 15-day free trial that I mentioned earlier, Visible frequently promotes deals for new customers.
I made the switch to Visible because of a limited-time offer that gave me a $200 prepaid Mastercard for purchasing a new phone and transferring my number to the service.
At the time that I signed up, there was a $100 offer if you brought your own device.
Deals and discounts change frequently, so it’s best to visit Visible’s website for the latest information. Just know that they’ve been pretty aggressive with the prepaid Mastercard promos and even free gifts.
Visible updated its referral program in May 2022. When someone refers Visible to a friend, both the referrer and the referee get $20 off a month of service.
Visible Phone Service Pros and Cons
|Low price starting at $30/month||No physical stores or 800 number|
|Verizon’s network||Data speeds slower at times (base plan)|
|Unlimited mobile hotspot||No discount for families|
|Frequent phone deals and discounts|
BOTTOM LINE: If your cell phone bill is too high, there are ways to lower it. You just have to weigh the pros and cons. But don’t expect all the perks that a premium cell phone plan offers when you’re paying half the price.
Have you switched to Visible or another low-cost carrier? Add your review in the comments below.