Verizon’s Cheap Visible Service Just Fixed a Major Flaw

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Visible has carved out a space for itself in the increasingly competitive world of low-cost wireless service by offering unlimited data for just $40 a month on the extensive cellular network of Verizon. But unless you brought your own phone — and an iPhone at that — you haven't able to take advantage of Visible's low-cost unlimited plan.

Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom's GuideThat's changing today (Jan. 24). Visible announced that it's going to start selling smartphones instead of requiring you to bring your own device. And the phones being offered include two Android models.

That would be the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ from Samsung, giving fans of Android phones an option if they've been intrigued by Visible's service but unable to try it due to the iPhone-only restriction. Those are the only two Android devices offered right now, but a Visible spokesperson said to expect support for more Android phones soon.

MORE: Best Cheap Cell Phone Service - Monthly Plans for Under $40

As for the iPhone, Visible will offer 11 different versions of Apple's smartphone, from last fall's releases dating back to the iPhone 6s and including the iPhone SE. Visible's prices are in line with what you'd pay for each model at Apple — a few bucks less in some cases. Visible's bring-your-own-device program worked on most every phone from the iPhone 6 on.

Most mobile virtual network operators require you to buy your phone outright, but Visible's departing from that strategy, offering the ability to pay off your device in monthly installments. It's offering zero-percent financing with no-money down through financial services firm Affirm.

In addition, Visible plans to launch a device protection program called Visible Protect. Available for as little as $10 a month, Visible Protect cover accidental damage, loss, theft, and out-of-warranty mechanical breakdowns. Visible says its service will include access to Apple Care, and it will be available for Android phones as well.

While the addition of Android phones and the ability to buy a phone through Visible removes a pair of obstacles that may have prevented people from turning to the wireless service, a big restriction still remains. While Visible uses Verizon's LTE network for its coverage, it places a 5 Mbps cap on data speeds. While that didn't prove too restrictive when we tested Visible's wireless service, the speed cap could be a turnoff to wireless customers who want fast data, especially since Verizon's network has proven to have the fastest LTE speeds in our testing.