Verizon Report Card

Verizon can point to an extensive network, excellent customer service and an assortment of attractively priced plans. In the end, though, that wasn't enough to best T-Mobile and its array of subscriber perks to become our choice as top cellphone provider. Still, Verizon came in second by the thinnest of margins. It's an excellent choice for your wireless service, especially if you place a premium on network performance and reliability.

Carrier Performance (48/50 points)

Verizon had the fastest average download and upload speeds in our six-city carrier testing. Big Red posted a national average of 24 Mbps down and 14.3 Mbps up, and it was the only carrier to post an average speed of less than a minute in our app-download test. Verizon's performance was strong in each of the cities we tested, but it fared particularly well in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Our results mirrored findings by network testing specialist RootMetrics, which declared Verizon the best-performing network in its most recent report. (It's the sixth consecutive time Verizon has topped RootMetrics's rankings.) Verizon finished behind T-Mobile in testing by OpenSignal.

MORE: See How Verizon’s 4G Performance Stacks Up

The bottom line: If you're in Verizon's coverage area — and since the company's network covers around 308 million people, there's a good chance you are — you can count on fast speeds and solid performance.

Plan Offerings (17/20 points)

Last year, Verizon simplified its data plans, eliminating the distinction between family and individual plans and paring back its offerings to just four data allotments. While the carrier continues to charge access fees, these have at least been simplified to $20 per device, regardless of how you purchased your phone or how much data you use. This year, it's boosted the amount of data it now offers subscribers and lets people who sign up for those plans roll over their unused data to the following month. (On the downside, pricing went up $5 to $10 on Verizon's plans, but existing subscribers can still with their current plan and pay their old rate if they choose.)

MORE: Compare Verizon’s Phone Plans to Other Carriers

After this rejiggering, Verizon's 4GB plan for $70 is a good choice for individuals. T-Mobile offers unlimited data for the same amount of money, though it limits the quality of video streaming. What's more, Verizon offers a superior network, increasing the value of that $70 plan, even with tiered data.

For family plans, Verizon also has an attractive offering: 16GB of shared data for $90 a month, and it throws in another 2GB of data per line in a current promotion. Access fees would push that to $170 a month for a family of four. Those fees, coupled with the unlimited data that T-Mobile offers subscribers gives T-Mobile's $160 family plan the edge over Verizon. (And T-Mobile promotions sometimes push that cost lower.)

Verizon has prepaid plans as well, but they're pretty pricey, relative to the plans from dedicated prepaid carriers like Cricket and MetroPCS. Still, opting for Verizon gives you prepaid service on Big Red's superior network. Be sure to take advantage of automatic payments if you do use one of Verizon's prepaid plans, as the carrier gives autopay customers an extra gigabyte. So Verizon's $45 a month plan would give you 3GB instead of the standard 2GB.

Customer Service Rating (13/15 points)

Verizon's highly informative support site, helpful live chat and knowledgeable phone reps contributed to a thoroughly impressive array of technical support. In our undercover tests, Verizon's Twitter presence quickly proved helpful as well. Only slow responses on Facebook kept the carrier from a higher finish.

MORE: Compare Verizon’s Customer Service to Other Carriers

Phone Selection (8/10 points)

Like the other major carriers, Verizon makes sure to have many leading flagship phones on offer to customers. Of the phones on our checklist, only the LG G Flex 2 and Galaxy S6 Active were unaccounted for, putting Verizon's offerings just behind AT&T's extensive selection. Note that Verizon's CDMA network prevents many unlocked phones from using its service, though.

Special Features (3/5 points)

As noted above, with Verizon's installment plan, you can buy your phone one monthly payment at a time and can upgrade early by trading in your phone — but only after you pay off your current device. By contrast, Sprint's Easy Pay and T-Mobile’s Jump let you trade in at 50 percent, though those two programs also charge monthly fees.

Verizon customers on the More Everything Plan get premium access to NFL Mobile, which lets them watch the NFL Network live and view local and prime-time games. Verizon customers also get free, exclusive features on INDYCAR 15, including live radio broadcasts, pit-crew chatter and in-car video streams — if you're into that.

Under Verizon's Travel Plan, you can now take your regular plan with you when you travel abroad, though it costs extra — $2 a day per line in Canada and Mexico and $10 a day in 65 other countries. (Subscribers with 16GB and 24GB monthly plans can use their regular plans for free in Canada and Mexico.) Verizon also offers international plans for lengthier trips overseas.

Best and Worst Wireless Carriers

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  • seoguy
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomsguide.com/forum/id-2807917/wireless-carrier-2015.html
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  • sam81_
    Cricket has some pretty awesome internationl features like use plan in thr whole NA
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  • Steve_102
    Tmobile the best. I ALWAYS have constant problems with Tmobile, they have numerous times sold me on a plan by "mistake" to have to correct it later. Their sales people never have matching answers, no one knows how plans operate and more. T-Mobile sales and customer service sucks, but they appear nice.
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  • Walt_1
    I have Cricket. And it;s not really that hard to find out that the throttle data at 8MBs. That's plenty and I have ATT's coverage non roaming of course
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  • Chris_220
    I attempted to switch from Verizon to Tmobile due to their international rates. I am military and Tmobile offers great rates in Qatar. I was told that my Galaxy S6 would work by a Tmobile Rep, and ordered SIMs under the Bring your Own Device plan. I was informed that I could receive a full refund within 30 days by the rep on the phone if I changed my mind. I received the SIM cards, and learned that my Verizon variant S6 wouldn't support data services on the Tmobile network; from what I gather my location relied on a Band that they didn't provide? Regardless, I closed the account and asked for a refund on the SIM cards. I was initially told by a customer service rep that they would not refund the SIM cards. After reviewing the information I received when I initially began the process of switching and noting that it did say I had 30 days to get a full refund, I called back and was informed that I would receive a refund for the SIM cards (that was after being bounced around several times to different reps and eventually their orders department. I was informed not to worry about returning the SIM cards, because it wasn't economical for Tmobile to reuse them. I was told that I would receive a refund for the SIM card purchase. This has never happened. I have interacted with them over the phone and on chat numerous times, and been given the run around every time. I am disputing the charges with my credit card company based on the chat logs I have promising a refund, and I am also posting to this and other forums in the hopes that prospective customers will see it and stay away from Tmobile. My goal is to cost them at least as much in revenue from a potential customer as they have effectively stolen from me. So, if you're reading this, please take my advice and stay away from Tmobile. They ripped me off, and they might do it to you as well.
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  • th666
    Strange... AT&T has always beat T-Mobile in reception, until... THIS ARTICLE. Whazup wid dat? Somebody at T-Mobile got cozy widya?
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  • zeterian
    You need to update this article with Project Fi by Google. It's pretty good.
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  • zeterian
    Is there a reason you keep trying to pass off this old article as representative of what's out there now. Project Fi beats all your entries in every category, yet you still omit it. It's been available to everybody since March. This is OLD NEWS. Changing the date doesn't make it new.

    It connects to both T-Mobile and Sprint plus wi-fi, which ever has the strongest signal. Downloading data over a home or free wi-fi doesn't count against your monthly data usage. I can download TBs of data at $10/GB with rebates instead of rollovers. I got connected to a human tech support in less than a minute last night.

    Are you getting paid to ignore certain carriers of are you that unaware of what's out there? Either way the validity of any articles will be suspect with regard to current models used for testing.
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  • Claybuster
    T Mobile lies! If you Binge through another device like Apple TV it eats your data. Netflix and HULU can only be watched on the phone. I told the represenitive that I was using my Apple TV and was told it was ok, but I found out I did NOT get unlimited data as advertised. I returned my 2 day old IPhone 6se for a refund and now I am having trouble getting my money returned, seems like they cannot find the phone after they signed for the receipt of the phone. I went back to Verizon. Still waiting for my money!
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  • Jmmedc
    I have T-Mobile and yes, they offer good plans, hot spot use and great speed but only if you are outside. Once you inside your home or in a building all bets are off. Inside a building you are lucky if you get a bar at 4g unless you commit to a bulky signal booster. I believe that if T-Mobile really wants to be in the number 1 spot they need to install more towers to truly improve reception indoors where most of are most of the time due to employment commitments.
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  • Claybuster
    Anonymous said:
    I have T-Mobile and yes, they offer good plans, hot spot use and great speed but only if you are outside. Once you inside your home or in a building all bets are off. Inside a building you are lucky if you get a bar at 4g unless you commit to a bulky signal booster. I believe that if T-Mobile really wants to be in the number 1 spot they need to install more towers to truly improve reception indoors where most of are most of the time due to employment commitments.
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  • Claybuster
    They lie by omission also. The Binge is only good on the phone. If you use Apple TV or the like it uses your data fast! They do not refund money on a new phone in a timely manner. TMobile stinks. I went back to Verizon and will stay there!
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  • Jmmedc
    Is there a way t-mobile can read our comments?
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  • rgd1101
    sure, post on their facebook or twitter
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  • Claybuster
    Anonymous said:
    Tmobile the best. I ALWAYS have constant problems with Tmobile, they have numerous times sold me on a plan by "mistake" to have to correct it later. Their sales people never have matching answers, no one knows how plans operate and more. T-Mobile sales and customer service sucks, but they appear nice.
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  • Claybuster
    I agree on how bad TMobile is. I went with them for the data on Binge and found that Binge only works on the Phone! Hot spotting to as an Apple TV you use your data up fast and you go to 2g for streaming. I was told different when I did my research. After many hours of research I went back to Verizon. I do travel and Verizon cannot be beat.
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  • Diehardlinux
    The hi jacking with straight talk:
    This has to be the worst prepaid cellular provider out there. As for security, there is none.
    This is the most shocking thing that has ever happened to me. The person who had stolen my number, had put it in a cheap Huawei phone with no SIM card and tried to port the phone to Verizon. My SIM card was deactivated because the number had been put into that phone. After the number was stolen, it was changed through the automated system allegedly which out my knowledge.

    After two hours on the phone on 06/05/16, I was told by a supervisor most of this stuff. Mind you while I was trying to get my number back, the person was in my account. I had to call back the next day and speak to another supervisor to try to get my number back and to get my minutes back that I had paid for. A day and a half without a phone had got me into some serious thinking about security layers on some of these sites. This one pretty much did not have enough security. Especially if my passcode was changed on the website. The person who had done it knew my mothers maiden name.

    Last call to straight talk management, I followed up on a promise by straight talk manage Genesis to provide me a nano SIM card for my device because I had used the SIM card I had out of a bring your own phone kit I had bought through Walmart some time ago. Long story short after talking to the management about my whole experience, THEY WERE NOT WILLING TO FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THEIR PROMISE. I told the straight talk representative that this is the worst customer service experience I had ever received and would not be stay with straight talk.

    Final thoughts after this experience, I said either I get to port out to another carrier of my choosing with my number or I change my number. Either way I'm leaving straight talk. Peace to the burner phone site and there lack of security.
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  • Kathy_21
    My verizon phone died again from water damage and I got a coupon in the mail from MetroPCS, which sounded too good to be true, but I had to check it out. There was absolutely no one in the store when I arrived on a Saturday afternoon, which was a terrible first impression. The phone froze up on day 8, on a Sunday @ 6pm, and of course, they were closed. I took it back for an exchange the next day and the manager accused me of damaging the phone intentionally, told me he didn't like my attitude, and I should go back to verizon !!! So I did, and they verified that the phone was not damaged!
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  • treetops422
    I had to stand outside or by a door or window to use virgin mobile calling without missing what people say. I was with virgin for 3 years and 3 phones. Iv had metro for 2 weeks I can hear people anywhere in my apartment. I live in a major city phoenix az. Virgin mobile is the worst ever, their insurance premium is 100$ on a 150$ phone.
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  • rgd1101
    Anonymous said:
    I had to stand outside or by a door or window to use virgin mobile calling without missing what people say. I was with virgin for 3 years and 3 phones. Iv had metro for 2 weeks I can hear people anywhere in my apartment. I live in a major city phoenix az. Virgin mobile is the worst ever, their insurance premium is 100$ on a 150$ phone.


    VM use sprint. metro pcs use t-mobile.
    why would you get insurance on a $150 phone?
    What about google project fi? it use US Cellular, sprint and tmobile network. or wifi.
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