Verizon - The #1 Phone Carrier

Editors' Note: We've published the results of our latest network testing. Current rankings reflect previous results, but we plan to update scores once we have new customer service rankings for wireless carriers.

Verizon had the fastest network in our carrier speed tests. It had the best customer service when we went undercover to grade how carriers handled tech support questions. Throw in an attractive mix of plans and phone selection that outshines what its rivals offer, and it's easy to see how Verizon landed on top of our rankings as the best U.S. phone carrier.

Verizon leapfrogs from second place over previous champion, T-Mobile, to claim the wireless carrier crown. And this really is an instance where Verizon put in a little extra effort to grab the top spot. Here's how Big Red won the day.

Carrier Performance (38/40 points)

When we went to six cities across the country to test LTE speeds for different carriers in 2017, Verizon recorded the fastest national download average download speed. We expanded that test to eight cities in our most recent testing, and Verizon tightened its grip on the best performing network crown, sweeping all three categories we test. Verizon was the top-performing network in five of the eight cities we tested this year, finishing as runner up in two other cities. We'll update our scores soon to reflect these new numbers, but Verizon continues to impress with its network performance.

Verizon still has a tiered data plan, and if you're an individual user who doesn't burn through data, it's a pretty compelling option.

Verizon also rates highly in performance by third-party testing companies. While it's finished behind T-Mobile in previous testing performed by OpenSignal, that company's latest report had Verizon surging back, tying T-Mobile in download speed and winning the 4G availability, upload speed and video experience categories. Verizon continues to dominate RootMetrics' rankings, finish first in that company's report for the second half of 2018.  Ookla says Verizon's speed score ranking was just behind T-Mobile's nationwide, but Verizon finished first in more cities.

Verizon launched its 5G network in Chicago and Minneapolis in April, and just named 25 more cities that will get the service next. (Verizon has said that 30 cities will have 5G by the end of 2019.) April test results revealed a 5G network that's both fast and frustrating, though we saw better speeds when we returned a month later to test the Galaxy S10 5G.

Plans (22/25 points)

Feeling pressure from its rivals, Verizon reversed course to offer an unlimited data plan in early 2017; in fact, it now offers three of them. Verizon's best unlimited option, the $85-a-month Beyond Unlimited plan, lets you stream at HD resolution (though only 720p) and adds 15GB of LTE hotspot data. It costs the same as a single line T-Mobile plan with HD streaming (though T-Mobile customers with multiple lines pay less for HD streaming). Discounts for adding extra lines aren't very generous, though, and this unlimited plan costs a family of four $200 a month, though Verizon now lets you mix and match its different unlimited options. That means you can have one Beyond Unlimited line while opting for a cheaper option on the remaining lines in your plan.

That cheaper option would be the more basic Go Unlimited plan costs individuals $75 a month; families of four will pay $160. Your video streams will be limited to 480p resolution and your hotspot speeds will be severely capped. But the biggest knock is that Verizon reserves the right to throttle your data speed if its network is congested.

For families, Verizon has a Just Kids plan that you can add provided at least one line on your plan includes unlimited data. Just Kids features 5GB of LTE data, with Safety Mode enabled so that you aren't charged if your child uses too much data. (Speeds are slowed for the rest of the billing period. Phones on a Just Kids plan have parented controls enabled, and you get unlimited talk and texts to 20 contacts.

The third plan is the Above Unlimited plan. At $95 a month, its only real appeal is for people who use a lot of data (Verizon will only throttle you after you use 75GB of data on Above Unlimited versus 22GB on its other plans) or who travel internationally. Otherwise, this is a very expensive option when cheaper choices are available.

As it launches its 5G network this spring, Verizon plans to charge $10 a month for unlimited 5G data. You'd tack that amount onto your existing Verizon unlimited plan, though for the Galaxy S10 5G, that option will be restricted to Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited plans. (Verizon is waiving the $10 fee for a limited time.)

Unlike T-Mobile, which only offers unlimited data now, Verizon still has a tiered data plan, and if you're an individual user who doesn't burn through data, Verizon's 5GB-for-$55-a-month offering is pretty compelling. Verizon also lets you roll over unused data to the next month — another welcome change in policy — and if you enable Safety Mode, Verizon merely slows down your data speeds to 2G when you go over your allotment rather than charge you overage fees.

MORE: Verizon Phone Plan Buying Guide

For prepaid plans, Verizon also offers a wide range of options, starting at $30 a month for a slender 500MB data plan and going all the way up to unlimited data (now $65 a month with autopay discount). You can add extra prepaid lines at a discounted rate, with the discount increasing based on the size of your plan. Your best option is likely Verizon's 8GB prepaid plan, which costs $45 a month after you enroll in autopay.

Customer Service (19/20 points)

In our undercover testing, Verizon topped our customer service rankings by nailing every aspect of tech support. The carrier fielded questions posted to Twitter and Facebook with alacrity. The company's phone support reps were courteous and helpful — one even wound up saving our undercover tester money on her monthly bill. But it's Verizon's online support that really stands out, thanks to thorough documentation and helpful online tools like a device simulator to help you learn about how to use your smartphone.

Phone Selection (9/10 points)

Verizon's CDMA network is no longer the barrier it once was, especially with the carrier lining up so many noteworthy exclusives to offer its subscribers. Verizon was the only carrier to offer the Pixel 3 (though Sprint and T-Mobile now offer that phone, too) and it will remain the exclusive carrier for the Moto Z4. Verizon also supports a Moto Mod add-on that delivers 5G connectivity (at least where Verizon's 5G network is online). Verizon is the first carrier to offer Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G, though that 5G-ready phone will come to other carriers later thiis year.

Verizon also offers one of the widest selections of phones, and if there's a flagship device from a major phone maker, it's likely to be available through Verizon.

If you end up buying a phone from Verizon, make sure to activate it online, since the fee there is only $20; in-store activations now cost $40.

Featured Verizon Phones: Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 5G, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, Galaxy Note 9, Red Hydrogen One, Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL

Special Features (3/5 points)

Verizon took a page out of T-Mobile's book by adding discounts for current and former military members plus their families. If you're active-duty military, a reservist, Gold Star family or veteran, you can get a $15 discount on one line, with discounts for two lines ($35 off) and three or more lines ($40 off) also available. Similar to T-Mobile's Digits, Verizon's My Numbers service lets you add up to four numbers to your account, which can come in handy if you want to keep separate lines for business and personal calls. My Numbers costs $15 a month for each extra number.

Verizon can't quite match the other special features that T-Mobile provides to its subscribers — few carriers can — but it rewards customers in a few different ways. That unlimited data plan Verizon added this year includes calling from the U.S. to Mexico and Canada. Travel in those two countries, and you'll pay $5 extra per day to use your phone's existing data plan. (It's $10 a day if you travel to more than 100 other countries.)

MORE: Best International Phone Plans

Verizon just revamped its previously lackluster Verizon Up rewards program. Previously, you earned a credit for every $300 you spent on products and services with the carrier, but now you earn credits every time you pay your bill. Those credits can be redeemed for prizes and discounts.

Verizon's apps are a mixed bag. The carrier's Verizon Smart Family program adds parental control tools for managing screen time and blocking apps and websites for $5 a month; adding another $5 lets you add location tracking services. But that duplicates functionality available elsewhere, as does VZ Navigator, a $5-per-month assisted GPS service. Verizon Cloud's 5GB of free storage is OK, though not nearly as vast as the 15GB that Google Drive gives you.

One of Verizon's most notable perks is no more. It used to be the exclusive carrier for streaming in-market NFL games, but Verizon now makes games available to customers of other wireless carriers. It's part of Verizon's efforts to get more eyeballs on platforms including Yahoo and AOL. However, Verizon customers can take advantage of a new perk if they have an unlimited data plan: Verizon offers a free six-month subscription to the Apple Music streaming service to customers with Go Unlimited plans, while the $10-a-month service is now included for free with Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited plans.

    Your comment
  • PhilipMichaels
  • tyronesuerpype
    I have had all of your top rated phone carriers and most may be fine if you stay in your "home" area. If you plan on traveling in the U.S., the only carrier I and my friends have had that works the best is Verizon. I had T mobile that worked great as long as I stayed home, but traveling it sucked. All the other features of these carriers do not matter if you have no cell or data service. I hated going back to Verizon, but now they have prepaid plans that are very competitive.
  • bounds
    Really stay away from AT&T We were long time (10 year) customers who in the end their customer service lied to us and then the company did not stand behind what their reps said they would do. In the end try someone else.
  • Rob1C
    I disagree with the way Points are divided.

    Performance taking up 40 points is too much and it's based only on Data Speed. It's essential that you never get dropped and important that you can walk or drive around without ever being in a dead spot.

    Plans is 'OK' allocated 25 points, I guess. It should be more about what would be the so-called 'Perfect Plan' that various Groups might want and how far does what is offered stray from that.

    Presumably there are 3 or 4 Groups with 3 or 4 Add-on Extras. The 'Plan Choices' being "Free and Cheap" where the reasonable number of free phones are offered with a low cost Plan. Next up is pay something towards the phone and towards the monthly rate, receiving a 'decent' phone (last year's higher end or this year's upper-mid) with some Data. Third pay a couple of hundred towards the phone and an extra $10 month to get a fair bit of Data (but not crazy, that's what the Add-ons are for). Forth Tier would be no holds barred 2-5 hundred towards the phone and 15 or 20 extra a month for lots of Data. The Add-ons could be 'Phone Upgrade' (where the cheaper Plan can get a better phone), 'Data Upgrade' (where you can bump up your Data, maybe increase Upload Speed if you upload more than the average person), and a 'Jetsetter Upgrade' for double price where you're uncapped for Roaming and Data - OR whatever you think would be a bunch of desirable options.

    The question then would be how does each Carrier's Plans differ from what it is assumed that people would want.

    Where I am we have 3 or 4 Tiers of Carriers. Number one is the richest some of whom put down Landlines back in the day, or Cablevision (either way they have the Wire or Fiber going to the Towers). Number two is owned by #1 but charges half as much, so you might as well sign with #2; they have a few fewer phones on offer or are second to get a particular phone but you can bring your own. Third Tier are the ones who discussed with the Regulators the benefits of competition and the detriment of the former monopoly. Third Tier gets to use 1st Tier's Towers for a reasonable Fee (yet charge less than half as much monthly). The 4th Tier being 'Johnny come lately' who simply showed up last with a promise of a Bankroll and an acceptable Business Plan, they're all over the map for Service and Plans ranging from copying the Big Guys to selling 'Monthly Cards' from Gas Stations and Convenience Stores (still around 50-60% of Tier 1 rates).

    If you can divide all that into 25 points ... good going !

    For the other sectors the Customer Service HAS to be good enough, I was with one of the biggest Tier 1s, damn you if you wanted something - 20 minutes of Elevator Music interspersed with telling you what spot in line you were and an estimated wait time. Once I waited 40 minutes, when they asked how they could help I explained that I had waited over a half hour and asked that they hire more people politely mentioning that if other callers were grumpy that would be the reason why - they replied that they had just hired over 500 people to which I replied that it must be insufficient as the wait was unrealistic but they didn't seem to get my point.

    Speakerphone was your only friend, it kept you from losing the circulation in your arm (speaking of which).

    If they're Tier 1 and charge the max for everything they had best not be ripping you anywhere be it a limited selection of phones, the extortion pricing for years or extended waits for lousy service - all that should lump into Service and drop the score.

    Lastly (because I'll type no more and the reader is likely nodding off) the Phone and Extras should score more.

    The selection of phones should be decent from bleeding edge to refurbished for free.

    Bring your own phone and get a discount is an important feature - some dogs only sell you a phone with a Plan and every couple of years it's a new Plan at an increased cost.

    As for Extras what are those, Tech Support comes from the Internet and it's not like I need phone lessons or an oil change - if they'd take 4 year old phones for a $100 tradein that would be something but they don't ...

    Want me to Manage your Cellular Provider? tell them they need Rob not you need to be robbed.
  • morty8908
    TL;DR-tests were a joke and not objective, Look at Ooklas site to see who has the has the fastest service

    Verizon Has consistently lost in the data speed category (according to Okla, the site you claim to have used.) you also offer no information about the devices or settings you used. if you are using 2 of the same phones with the exact same settings,battery life, and even cell phones cases, then maybe this could be called a fair trial. but you went to only six cities, why not just look on Ookla's actual site for who has the fastest? T-mobile every time. I understand Verizon has to pay saps like you to say they are the best. The only way you could get anyone to maybe believe this is the fact that you only let them win by 1 point. Any more and you would have been laughed at (more so than right now anyway.)

    Also, as someone who as used both services, T-mobile has fantastic customer service. Every provider has Philippines call centers, so depending on when you are calling in (maybe one provider has a promotion going on and they are busier than usual so you get routed more often to those crap centers in the Philippines) and judging performance of customer service, you need to remove the calls from the Philippines and instead only rate those calls from the corporate customer service, not third party overflow.
  • sakman74
    For the past 6 months, one of our verizon wireless lines has been charged international outgoing calls.
    I have explained to verizon multiple times, that the line is using a calling card based in the US (a US number) and that the call log of the device (which is never touched) does not show these outgoing direct international calls.

    in the past there used to be no way for someone to make a direct international call from a verizon wireless phone, at least this was not possible on our lines. it seems in recent times that has changed and the representative said there is no way to turn that 'feature' off.

    we are basically being told the verizon bill log never lies. we have - to date - been charged $ 300 for such calls which were not made directly from the phone to an international number.

    before you decide who to choose simply based on who comes out number 1, look at this example of what the carrier is doing to it's customers - before you choose verizon wireless.
  • jerbigge
    I have Tracfone. I'm a long term member and quite satisfied with Tracfone. However if you want to make a lot of calls, text a lot, or download data,
    Tracfone isn't for you. It is best for the individual who only carries a cell phone for occasional use, accidents, etc. I'm quite happy with my iPhone SE
    I purchased from Tracfone for a very good price. However dealing with Apple makes you feel like you are dealing with a government agency where
    everything is done the way "they" decide. Most businesses that I deal with online put some sort of "cookie" on your computer so after this is done,
    you just "sign in" with your user name and password already stored. My user name and password I use on Amazon dates back to the start of this
    century. I've never had a bit of trouble with them. Apple? Like signing in to the CIA... The people who work the customer service lines do their
    best, but the entire experience dealing with the company is about like dealing with some government agency that doesn't give a damn about
    customer satisfaction. They do make a very good product, but I have no intention of buying say a book or music or anything else from Apple.
  • bulkbuy
    I highly recommend adding a measure to the analysis for coverage in rural areas. Educators, Consumers, & Businesses located in rural areas have been widely shorted by wireless providers in rural areas. Its 2017 and time 4G wireless data and voice truly be a reliable nationwide benchmark. Education systems nationwide including ones in rural areas count on the fact, children will have access to the latest technologies available today. But the truth is, some simply do not due to the FCC preventing actions to require carriers to provide complete coverage for areas they market in.
  • the2ndflood
    Verizon is by far the best carrier, especially here in Tennessee. Everyone that I know who lives in a remote area, is only able to use Verizon. I am surprised though, that Straight Talk has such slow data speeds, even when on Verizon's network. I have been reading that Verizon has lifted its policies on limited data speeds on for MVNO's using their carrier. But definitely, by far, MVNO's have the worst possible customer care! Holy **** is it bad! You have to tap through tons of menu options and if you do manage to get a hold of someone, they either will not help or just hang up on you! Verizon also wins in customer care as well. Each reply will even give you their work email address, so you can contact them when you need more help.
  • 89startup
    thanks for the info! I use Verizon and I'm completely satisfied with its work
  • pushpdeep.ece
    ATT is the worst .... Went through the experience of trying to prorate the last month's bill (coz i only used half the month) but of course didnt happen... the customer service rep didnt help at all.. and kept on trying to sell my DirecTV subscription.. even though i had told him I am her eto talk about proration and i have canceled my service already for because so many times i have been swindled by ATT ( including 1) selling me a Galaxy S7+ on the promise that its in a BOGO offer, but really., if i were to unlock it.., they wont.. and want me to stay in the 2 year contract and pay them monthly 2) fraudulently selling me a Samsung tablet saying its free with a new phone, but really it wasnt 3) promising me that if I keep a second line on my account for 2 more months my bill after that for 1 line would drop to $55, after i had called to cancel the extra line that i didnt need)... Their international plans suck...and so many hidden charges.... I gave them so many chances ... NEVER EVER GOING BACK TO ATT OR GOING TO RECOMMEND TO ANYONE . In business school they taught me, that existing customers are your best source of revenue... Seems like ATT follows the path of not caring for them but rather extorting money from with all sorts of lies and deceits
  • bonalite9
    Sprint is so deeply in debts of more than $ 37 Billion Dollars. If Mr. Masayoshi Son does not pay off those debts soon, not only Sprints will never be Profitable as it's has been for the past few Decades, but its days as the number 4 Wireless Carrier in the United States of America will be sadly numbered.
    So, Please, Mr. Masayoshi Son, Find some highly well qualified CEOs in the U.S to Successfully Manage Sprint for you or Sell it to someone whom will be able to Save it from going Bankrupt......It is never a good Idea to Invest money while being deeply in debts. Pay off your Debts First then, you can profitably Invest Comfortably. And by doing so, Sprint will be very Profitable, its Stock will Soar and you will be one of the Wealthiest Billionaires ever........Take a look at AMAZON .COM, INC. ( AMZN ) !!!! That's an Excellent Genius CEO! And you can do that as well Mr. Son........
  • Dark Lord of Tech
    Total Wireless $35.00 a month for Unlimited talk and text and 6GB of DATA on the Verizon Network.
  • bcpietsch
    VZ customer service is the best? OMG I have had them as my wife and daughter insisted they are only carrier with good coverage in Ithaca, NY though both T mobile and ATT have had coverage in Cornell for years as good as VZ. They were the best network when it was CDMA vs ATT and T mobile in early days before GSM became ubiquitous in towers but IMHO T mobile is easily the best carrier with unlimited not throttling until 50 gig shared data reached and they give free Netflix with account now (2 screens and only 480p but you could cut cord on DSL or cable or FiOS if you watch limited amounts of TV or pay the extra 2 bucks for 1080/4096 2-4 screens-not sure if the data plan allows 720p or 1080p through but see no reason why not as I can see 1080p on my FIOS before and after unlimited. VZ now that T mobile has put their feet to fire at least now has a reasonable (not that reasonable) 200 dollar a month 4 line family plan (22gig is unlimited while ww used to pay 100 for 12 gig shared data so that is relief from overages..
    But you can not get a person on phone with VZ and if you go to store go to Burlington mall as that is only store where folks wont put up with nasty reps like in Nashua that refused to let me pick up my iPhone 6 plus as an upgrade with 64 gig memory 2 years ago at the price I got online of 34 per month (subsidized that is still about $649 or 699 for a phone with the min memory you needed on an iPhone 6-witness my daughters and wife can not shoot photos or store music or even download apps and my youngest just got iPhone 8 before heading to France as it was impossible to do anything and update apps without offloading unused apps (feature?) I blame Apple and VZ for this as they wanted to upsell CLOUD Memory-also VZ added protetction plans for stolen phones and redundant to APLCARE Plans in mall store and the bill was some almost 400 a month with zany 25 a month base plan then 15 a month subsidy towards iPhone purchases that was not a subsidy they just did not charge 40 a month per line but then data cost us 100 a month so bill was avg. 350 while paying phones (so you coud say it was 250 given avg phone paid over 24 months is 25 month or 600 for base iPhone 6). Still they only finally got our bill down when iPhones paid off and then was able to swap for Ulimited as they come close to matching T mobile and lost 4 million subsrcibers (well T mobile gained 4 million so maybe 2 milloin from ATT 2 million from VZ) but if VZ so great and customer service so great why exodus to T mobile and Sprint--because people are sicik of being gouged and worse insulted by the most arrogant imho customer service depts in world. And I am dual customrer having FIOS and until I replaced all my set top boxes with TIVOs and a cable card which they barely admit you can get for $5 a month and use TIVO set top boxes and pay not monthy fee for STB Motorola door stop heater or terrible 4 room DVR bait and switch service for added $30 a montu duals as an STB but still pay $14 a month for each HDTV with VZ STB so I cut FIOS bill from $240 a month to $143 with all premium channels using TIVO (and now TIVO minis are no service plan payoff required so only need to buy out TIVO contract for 200 or so one time fee on TIVO Roameo DVR which I have for 3 years now and I have all the APPs for on demand SHO HBO EPIX MAX and NETFLIX and AMAZON PRIME all resident for on demand streaming of premiums so I am ready to cut cord on FIOS if they dont do better on price but for now I am still loving the programming over FIOS so for now keeping digital broadcast but once Google Youtube LIVE TV has bundling with local news etc. and DISCOVERY network sets up a streaming Web site I will be gone as fast as I can as FIOS will not give you live support ever alwayus must chat to chap in Mumbai or Chennai and never get quotes on deals but since I am not on contracts any longer I get the best 89.99 triple play but I DONT WANT their damn land line as its not legacy so its full of spam calls all day all night and they cannot bother to get rid of robocallers and do not call registry is a joke and eery0one says they are survey company-only legal spamming calls...I really intensely dislike VZW and FIOS for their terrible customer service though I respect their engineering in early years they have rested on arrogant laurels too long and your site fails to show integrity in reviewing them as tops in customer service as a quick look on web shows VZ is rated lowest possible score on many consumer web sites-not sure but Consumer Reports also had customer service as highest from SPRINT Reseller CREDO mobile and VZ was not the top for customer service or price but was near top as they are all awful until T mobile recently finally got their data net up to snuff and its now by far the best with most capacity-I am a retired engineer so I think I know what is what here..your logisitcs dont state methods to testing but does not seem to be highly technical so I hightly distrust any consumer rating site that takes advertising (why Consumer Reports refuses advertizing as its why car ratings are real while Car and Driver, Motor Trend always have some car that is terrible reliability and ranks it car of year etc. alas the web gives more info but more wrong info and Tom's seems highly suspect but welcome full disclosure of your test methodology as no way T mobile lost badly to VZ unless as other reader said you tested in data centers of carriers he mentioned and did not do significant coverage tests in differing cities and rural areas VZ has good coverage and service but customer service-LMAO best-no way in heaven! lol
  • chineduso2001
    FRAUDULENT AND INCONSISTENT BILLING FROM SPRINT NETWORK (Please avoid being victimized - open your eyes).
    For the past 10 years I have been with Verizon Network Provider, I never had issue with them. But for a taste or desire for change I opted to port to Sprint NP. I had new unlocked iPhones with VZ for me and family members which Sprint agent claimed would not work with Sprint N. Presumably, Sprint were on a promo buy one iPhone 8 and get another free. I signed for an unlimited data for 4 lines on anticipation I will only pay for two iPhones out of the 4 iPhones. On receiving the 1st bill, the amount was so high - I was billed for the 4 iPhones and TEP and high amount of surcharge (that's crazy). I went back to the Sprint NW Store to complain. They reviewed my bill and I also opted for removal of the optional TEP ($52 monthly) - unexpectedly, subsequent bills should drastically be reduced. Surprisingly, the next bill from Sprint NW was almost doubled the previous bill. Very frustrating. I totally regretted my porting to the mystery network. I made several calls to Sprint Customer Care with no reasonable response - in one of the responce, I was told that the promo and the signed lease do not take affect immediately. I felt sorry to myself and to other innocent potential subscribers.
  • kirillmusic
    Don't agree with the ranking of T-Mobile as second. On paper it all looks good and big US cities are ok, but try to go to a small city in US or go to Europe, and coverage becomes very spotty. Additionally, they have what looks like a good plan for international travel, but it's not in reality. The company towers and tech side are full of glitches, as we experienced first hand, and they end up charging $3 per minute instead of promised 20 cents. You'll be calling customer service a lot, trying to adjust it. 2G speed in Europe is also super slow, so is Latin America, it often goes down to 1 G, and then you lose ability even to text, let alone find anything on map or internet. It's much cheaper just to go to a local cell store and to get a local 10 euros prepaid sim which will last you a month with great coverage/speed. Tmobile is very frustrating. And they charge you for WiFi calling outside US, which is so crooked, because it's the local internet provider, whose network you are using to call on WiFi, not one of the wireless companies partnering with T-Mobile. The only thing they are good for is the pricing on limited 2GB/5GB family plan inside US in big cities, but even unlimited is really not that cheap. And they are getting worse, not better.
  • h0va4life
    1779369 said:
    We rank AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and other carriers based on their call quality, data speeds, phone selection and customer service. Best Wireless Carrier 2015 : Read more

    You never mention what carrier sim you were using for Straight Talk. I've used ST for years with the ATT based sim and the experience is excellent. My data speeds are 20mbps MINIMUM. I have a verizon iphone 7plus that I am using it with. Also wifi calling is supported, but I never really need it since my voice coverage is good.
  • h0va4life
    I've been using the straight talk ATT sim on my verizon iphone 7+ and I've had NO issues. Great speed too, normally 20 mbps minimum. Also supports wifi calling.
  • waynedunham
    Where is Google Fi in the list? I've had Verizon, Consumer Cellular, and U.S. Cellular and Google Fi is head and shoulders above them all. Where my camp is up in Maine U.S. Cellular is the only carrier that has a tower that can get a reliable signal. For a few years I had a U.S. Cellular pay as you go phone that I would put a months worth of coverage on whenever I'd go up to Maine and spend any time at my camp (near Searsport Maine). I was a longtime Verizon customer since they had about the best overall coverage of any of the carriers, but up in Maine once you get North of Augusta Verizon only works in/near the major towns/cities and as soon as you get a few miles out of town you got nothing. So I switched to Consumer Cellular which didn't give me much/any better coverage in Maine, but in CT where I live there was great coverage and my bill was less than half what I'd been spending on Verizon.
    As soon as I saw that Google Fi added U.S. Cellular as one of their networks I bit the bullet and bought a Motorola phone, the only Google Fi phone that wasn't bat-crap expensive, and have been very happy ever since. Got rid of the U.S. Cellular "Maine" pay as you go phone and cancelled my phone and one tablet on Consumer Cellular. I kept one tablet on Consumer Cellular that I gave to my Mom who can get Consumer Cellular coverage at her home in Maine.

    Don't diss Google Fi. Great coverage, excellent service (IMHO) and WAY cheaper than virtually any of the other options, especially if you go with a Motorola compatible phone which half or less the price of their other compatible phones. At least for a non-family plan which I"m not sure they offer. But for a single user like myself with a Google Fi compatible phone and a data only sim in my LG-Gpad tablet it works great! (and still MASSIVELY cheaper than VZ, also known as the "anything extra costs massive $$$")
  • kep55
    I have Straight Talk. Speeds are abysmal. Coverage beyond a tower is spotty. Customer service is rank. The only reason I got it it because it was the cheapest available amongst all the robber baron companies. Which really doesn't say much.
  • h0va4life
    3004 said:
    I have Straight Talk. Speeds are abysmal. Coverage beyond a tower is spotty. Customer service is rank. The only reason I got it it because it was the cheapest available amongst all the robber baron companies. Which really doesn't say much.

    I have the Straight Talk sim on ATT towers and I've got excellent coverage and speeds, minimum 20mbps which is good enough for everything on a cell phone. If you're using the TMO ST sim then you should switch to ATT.
  • Does anyone know about the coverage and speed of Pure Talk USA?
  • stonew508
    Straight talk is unlimited data and voice for 55 a month, why didn't you mention that plan?! This is a seriously flawed article, very disappointing for a Tom's guide.
  • arshadnikzad
    I joined cricket wireless 5 months ago and bought a cell phone with the SIM card. After a few months, I wanted to switch to Straight Talk since they provide better services with lower rates. So I called Cricket, got my account number and let them know that I am switching. They never told me anything about the fact that I have to stay with Cricket for 6 months before I can switch so that they can give me unlock pin for my phone. I bought a Straight Talk SIM, switched to Straight Talk and of course bought a monthly plan from them. I turned on my phone and it wouldn't let me do anything unless I enter a PIN. I called Cricket and asked for the PIN and only then they tell me I have to stay active with Cricket for one more month. I have already spent a lot of money to switch, I have paid my phone my off, yet I am kept hostage to use a service I don't want for another month. So I started the 3 DAYS LONG PROCESS of switching back to Cricket. I got my account number from ST which is my phone's IMEI and the PIN, I asked the Manager to see what I can I do, he litterally asked me to sale my phone and get a new one. Called Cricket to switch back only to realize I have to buy a new Cricket SIM card. Fine, 10 bugs doesn't make a lot of difference. I bought a SIM card. Called them again just to know they cannot find my account number. At this stage, my phone number is NOWHERE; Cricket wouldn't accept it and ST has already released it. I used Cricket online chat more than 10 times, I called the customer care 20 times in two days, no one was able to help. Every single agent gave me different excuse that they are not able to activate my service. Following their instructions, I ended up buying a monthly plan from Target. Called them back they said "Oh sir but you have to buy online to actiwate for free now you haw to port-in for twenty fi dolla", that is the accent since almost none of the agents do not even know how to communicate in English. And now I have to pay more. I tried buying the SIM from Cricket website but they rejected all my 3 different cards telling the address does not match, before I went to target. I called 10 more times, chatted 20 more times begging people to help telling them I have a Cricket phone, SIM and plan, all I needed was someone is trained enough to activate my number for me. They are brutally untrained and every time I had an interraction with them I felt like it is the agent's day 1 in customer care. At the end of the process I'd littrally memorized my IMEI, SIM Number and PIN Number for my plan. Finally, got had mercy on me and an agent named Claudia answered my call. I was almost crying at this stage. She was able to everything in 5 minutes for me. You could totally tell that she is the only one who knows what to do in the whole team of Cricket customer care. I am just waiting for this month to be over and I cannot wait to switch back to ST. I hate Cricket and their quality of customer service. Totally not nearly competitive to other ones.