Visible, a prepaid wireless carrier that is owned by Verizon and runs on the very same network, offers one pretty good plan: it costs $40 per month (including taxes and fees), it doesn't require a contract and it's unlimited.
But, like so many deals in wireless, it typically comes with a catch. Visible caps downloads at 5 Mbps, even though Verizon's LTE network is capable of supporting around ten times that. Well, for a limited time, Visible is lifting the catch.
Visible announced this morning (June 26) that it will not impose data speed restrictions on existing customers or anyone who joins now, and that those users will get to keep their unlimited speeds for as long as they remain with Visible.
Visible says it's still figuring out how long this promotion will last, though the company did explain in a blog post why it isn't simply removing the cap indefinitely.
"The 'limited time' window to receive this offering will be determined as we learn more about member needs," the press release reads. "We'll also be rolling these insights into a bigger program to come later this year."
From the sound of it, Visible is seeking feedback to understand precisely how critical that 5 Mbps restriction is for its customers. As for what the "bigger program" referenced in the release might entail, the company isn't revealing its cards at the moment — though it's possible today's news could be a preview of an eventual second plan offering faster or unrestricted data to come later in the year. (That's our best guess, anyway.)
If you're already a Visible customer, you simply have to restart your phone to start getting those uncapped downloads, and then you're locked in for good.
$200 off Pixel 3a and other devices
Visible has also taken this occasion to remind the world that it will start carrying the $399 Pixel 3a and $479 Pixel 3a XL in the coming weeks. Those who purchase one of Google's new midrange handsets, or one of many other phones sold online through Visible's store, including the iPhone XS and XR and Samsung's Galaxy S9, will be issued back $200 in the form of a Mastercard prepaid virtual account.
We think the Pixel 3a is already a great deal at $399, but it's absolutely a steal with what amounts to a $200 gift card — and especially when you factor in Visible's limited-time plan.
It will be interesting to see how this data speed experiment changes Visible's approach going forward. As it stands, the company's regular proposition is a good one, and even offers the bonus of unlimited hotspot data. However, it's less compelling if you rely on full-speed LTE for things like high-definition video streaming, or you frequently share pictures and video.
Visible currently holds streaming video over its network to 480p resolution, and the company has confirmed to Tom's Guide that that particular limitation, as well as the 5 Mbps cap for hotspot use, will continue even for customers locked into unrestricted speeds.
Ordinarily, the alternative we'd recommend to Visible's usual plan is Metro's $40 option, which lacks unlimited data but allows 10 GB of full throughput on T-Mobile's LTE network. I suspect many users might find that 10 GB is more than sufficient for one person given regular Wi-Fi usage, though of course everyone's circumstances are different. For what it's worth, T-Mobile's network is a bit spottier than Verizon's, and you could probably do even better from a raw data-for-money perspective if you spring for one of Mint Mobile's bulk plans.
We'll be testing Visible's faster service in the coming days, and you can expect impressions in our updated review.