Both low-cost cell phone service providers rely on Verizon’s 4G LTE towers to provide coverage, but key differences remain.
Xfinity Mobile vs. Visible Comparison
Before switching to Verizon-owned Visible, I was a customer of Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile for two years. In this article, I’ll use my experience to compare the two.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
- Plans and Pricing
- Network Coverage
- Call and Text Performance
- Data Speeds
- Mobile Hotspot
- Video Streaming
- Phone Options
- Customer Service
Plans and Pricing
- Affordable Unlimited and By the Gig options
- Available only to Xfinity Internet customers
- Switch back and forth between plans
- Up to five lines, with no phone or activation fees
- Taxes and fees extra
- Unlimited talk, text and data for $40 per month for a single line
- Party Pay reduces monthly cost for groups of 2-4
- Available nationwide; no eligibility restrictions
- Taxes and fees included
Visible and Xfinity Mobile can both save you money compared to Verizon, but their plans and pricing are unique.
I’ll start this comparison with Visible. Since its nationwide launch, Visible has offered one simple plan for $40 per month. You get unlimited talk, text and data with the single-line plan. Taxes and fees are included in that low monthly price.
In late October 2019, Visible introduced “Party Pay.” This is the company’s version of a multi-line discount for groups of two, three or four. You can lower your monthly bill to as low as $25 per line.
- 2 Group Members: $35/month per line
- 3 Group Members: $30/month per line
- 4 Group Members: $25/month per line
Unlike most competitors, each group member has their own Visible account and pays separately. If someone leaves the group, you lose the discount.
Xfinity Mobile works a bit differently. You can only sign up for the service if you have internet service with Comcast. If you don’t meet that eligibility requirement, you’re out of luck.
Like Visible, Xfinity Mobile has an unlimited data plan option. It costs $45 per month for a single line, but taxes and fees are extra. There are no phone line or activation fees for up to five lines.
The other data option with Xfinity Mobile is called By the Gig. It starts at $12 per month for 1GB. You can also get 3GB for $30 and 10GB for $60. Taxes and fees are still extra. With By the Gig, data can be shared with other people on your plan but doesn’t rollover. If you go over, you’ll pay $12 for every extra GB.
A cool feature with Xfinity Mobile is that you have the freedom to change plans whenever you want. If you’re on By the Gig and use a lot of data during a particular month, just switch to the Unlimited plan at any time. You can always switch back later.
As I mentioned, Xfinity Mobile and Visible both use Verizon’s 4G LTE network — so you’re getting access to the same towers. But there’s a bit more to say about the network coverage.
With Xfinity Mobile, you get access to millions of Comcast’s Wi-Fi hotspots in addition to Verizon’s network. Connecting to those hotspots can lower your data usage if you’re on a By the Gig plan, and you can use Wi-Fi calling in cellular dead zones if your phone is compatible.
Meanwhile, Visible uses Verizon’s 4G-enabled towers only, so some towers on their prepaid and postpaid network aren’t accessible. However, Visible told me it has domestic roaming available through some third-party towers to provide service in areas where Verizon 4G isn’t available.
If you live in an urban or suburban area where Verizon’s 4G LTE network is strong, chances are Xfinity Mobile or Visible’s coverage will be adequate. But before you switch, check out the coverage maps and ask around. Your family, friends and neighbors on apps like Nextdoor may have valuable feedback about the network coverage where you live.
Call and Text Performance
Verizon has been the most reliable network everywhere I’ve lived (DC, Atlanta and Miami Beach), so I’ll get straight to the point. If you’ve checked the coverage maps and determined that Xfinity Mobile or Visible have strong network coverage where you live, I don’t think you’ll have any problems with call or text performance.
I spent two full years as an Xfinity Mobile customer before switching to Visible and the call quality was excellent. My family and friends never complained about having trouble hearing me and I don’t recall ever having a dropped call. My experience with Visible has been equally as good. I can’t tell the difference between the two carriers.
As far as texting, my messages always go through quickly and I can’t complain too much. However, I did get a few spam text messages during my first few days with Visible. That was never a problem with Xfinity Mobile. Those text messages slowed down once I started using the “Block & report spam” feature from Visible’s messaging app.
Since so much of our time is spent using the internet on our phones, fast and reliable download data speeds are essential.
At launch, Visible capped download data speeds to 5 Mbps. However, that restriction was lifted when I signed up in October 2019. I’ve run numerous speed tests using the Speedtest by Ookla app and average a download speed of around 20 Mbps. That’s plenty fast to browse the web, stream YouTube videos and use apps like Facebook.
I also tested Xfinity Mobile’s download speeds frequently during my two years of service. It was very fast, but I can’t say whether one company was better than the other. If there was a difference, it wasn’t noticeable enough to affect my experience.
I should mention that Xfinity Mobile and Visible say they may slow your data during times of network congestion. Visible won’t slow you down based on data usage, but Xfinity Mobile will. On its website, the company says you can expect reduced data speeds of 1.5 Mbps download once a line exceeds 20GB of data usage during a billing cycle.
- By the Gig users get 4G LTE hotspot speeds
- Mobile hotspot speeds capped at 600 Kbps for unlimited plan users
- Unlimited mobile hotspot
- Speeds capped at 5 Mbps
When you need to connect a computer to the internet but don’t have Wi-Fi access, mobile hotspot comes in handy. Xfinity Mobile and Visible both support mobile hotspot and I never had a problem using the feature with either carrier.
For Visible, customers get unlimited mobile hotspot use with that $40 per month plan. However, the company says it will cap mobile hotspot speeds at 5 Mbps. When I conducted a speed test using mobile hotspot, I was able to record download data speeds higher than 10 Mbps.
Xfinity Mobile says it restricts mobile hotspot speeds for unlimited plan users to 600 Kbps. On its website, Xfinity Mobile states:
“At that speed, you’ll be able to perform common tasks such as email, instant messaging, and basic web browsing. However, you’ll likely experience buffering when streaming audio and/or video on your connected devices.”Xfinity Mobile
Although I never conducted a speed test while using mobile hotspot on Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited plan, I did test the feature and was able to stream a YouTube video without buffering. Therefore, I am not sure the 600 Kbps speed cap is always being enforced.
If you want 4G LTE speeds with your mobile hotspot, you can switch to Xfinity Mobile’s By the Gig plan. Hotspot speeds are not limited with that data option, but the data that you use will go against your monthly allotment.
Like most cell phone users these days, I spend a lot of time watching videos on YouTube, Facebook and even streaming services like Hulu Live. The picture on my 6-inch phone screen is always crisp and clear, but I know that I’m not typically streaming in HD.
With Visible, video typically streams in standard definition (SD) at 480p. You can get HD-quality video if you’re connected to Wi-Fi.
Xfinity Mobile’s video streaming quality depends on your plan. If you have the Unlimited plan, it’s also 480p or what is referred to as DVD-quality. For HD, you can either connect to Wi-Fi or pay $20/month per line for an HD Pass that will get you 720p resolution on phones and 1080p resolution on tablets.
By the Gig lines include HD resolution of 720p on phones and 1080p on tablets, but that will use up your data more quickly. I suggest that you turn on Data Saver, which reduces quality to 480p. Of course, you can connect to Wi-Fi for an HD-quality video experience with this option as well.
When you’re switching cell phone service providers, you have to decide whether to bring your own phone or buy a new one. Xfinity Mobile and Visible give you that choice and have made improvements in their phone offerings.
Bring Your Own Phone
For those who want to keep their current device, start by entering your phone’s IMEI on Xfinity Mobile and Visible’s websites to see if it’s compatible. If you have a fairly recent Apple iPhone, there’s a good chance it’ll work out. The providers now allow you to bring select Androids, but there seem to be more limitations.
Buy a New Phone
Want to buy a new phone from Xfinity Mobile or Visible? That’s what I did. Again, both providers have made strides. They’re offering the latest Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel devices, plus a few budget options in the $100 to $200 range. When I last checked, Xfinity Mobile and Visible offered more than two dozen phone models each through their online stores.
Another thing that Xfinity Mobile and Visible have in common is the phone payment options. You can choose to either pay for the device in full or spread payments over 24 months at 0% APR if you qualify.
Phone Deals & Discounts
Since the monthly plan price is lower with both carriers, don’t expect the same phone deals that Verizon offers. However, you will find frequent discounts of $100 to $250 with both Xfinity Mobile and Visible. These deals are often presented for customers who activate a new line and transfer their number. The money back typically comes in the form of a prepaid card, not cash off the phone price.
- Sign up at select Xfinity Stores or online
- Toll-free customer service number
- Facebook Messenger and chat support
- Sign up online only
- No toll-free customer service number
- Facebook Messenger, Twitter and chat support
- No physical stores
Customer service is tricky to review because we often only hear about the nightmare stories and not when things go well. I’ve had no major issues with either Xfinity Mobile or Visible’s customer service, so I want to focus this section on the availability of customer service. There are some major differences.
With Xfinity Mobile, you can go to select Xfinity Stores to sign up for the service or complete the process online. I chose the online option.
Once you’re up and running, customer service is handled primarily by phone/text, Facebook Messenger and live chat. One time I went into an Xfinity Store for help with a problem and they just gave me the phone number for customer service, which is (888) 936-4968.
As for Visible, it’s an online-only company. One of the ways they keep costs down is by not having an 800-number to call. Your customer support options are live chat through the Visible app, Facebook Messenger and Twitter. I’ve tested Visible’s customer service out a few times and had positive interactions, but the inability to call someone for help will be a dealbreaker for some people.
As a former Xfinity Mobile customer and a current Visible customer, I hope that my review of the two cell phone service providers has been helpful.
Is one better than the other? I really can’t say. It’s going to depend on how you use your cell phone. But I can confirm that both will provide significant savings compared to Verizon.
- If you really need an unlimited data plan, Visible is the cheapest option. Where else can you get Verizon’s network for $40 per month or as low as $25/month per line with a group of four? That’s an incredible value.
- For light data users, Xfinity Mobile is attractive at $12 per GB. When I was on the service, I typically stayed below 1GB, so my bill was $15 after $2 to $3 in taxes and fees. The only catch is that you need to have an Xfinity internet plan to sign up.
If you’d like to learn more about either of these low-cost cell phone providers, I invite you to read my full reviews below. In those articles, you can also watch YouTube videos that I created to lay out the pros and cons of the services.
- Xfinity Mobile Review: 10 Things to Know Before You Sign Up
- Visible by Verizon Wireless Review: 9 Things to Know Before You Sign Up
Do you have a cell phone service plan with Xfinity Mobile or Visible? I want to know what you think! Add YOUR review in the comments below!
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