Visible Phone Service: A Budget Carrier That Keeps Things Simple

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Saving money rocks, and one good way to cut monthly expenses is to reexamine your cell phone plan. If you’re considering switching carriers, Visible is a budget wireless service provider worth a look.

Bottom line up front

Visible is owned by Verizon and runs on the established carrier’s extensive network. Plans offered are prepaid only so there’s no credit check, and you can bring your own compatible phone. Thanks to Verizon, coverage is broad across the U.S., but Visible customers, like those on other prepaid plans, are susceptible to lower data speeds during times of congestion. And customer service is solely available via online chat.

On the bright side, signing up is easy, and Visible is one of the only prepaid providers that lets you hook up an Apple Watch to cellular service.

How to get started with Visible

Visible’s website is more user-friendly than Verizon’s, and the company keeps it simple with just two plans. A recent plan structure update did away with a kind-of-complicated group discount system called Party Pay.

Now, choose from the Visible and Visible+ plans, which come in at a reasonable $30 and $45 per month, respectively. Both plans offer unlimited data. The more expensive option touts a “premium network experience” and calling to more countries outside the U.S.

Visible’s two plans

Plan

Visible

Visible+

Price

  • $30 per month (taxes and fees included).

  • $45 per month (taxes and fees included).

Features

  • Unlimited data, talk and text.

  • Unlimited data, talk and text.

Coverage

  • Verizon 5G Nationwide and 4G LTE.

  • Verizon 5G Nationwide and 4G LTE.

  • Plus, faster 5G Ultra Wideband (where service is available and w/ a compatible phone).

  • 50 GBs of premium data that won’t be slowed each month.

Extras

  • Unlimited mobile hotspot (speed capped at 5 Mbps).

  • Unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada.

  • Unlimited mobile hotspot (speed capped at 5 Mbps).

  • Unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada.

  • International calling from US to 30+ countries.

  • International texting from US to 200+ countries.

Visible’s data speed

Deprioritization is the typical kicker when it comes to prepaid cell phone carriers and plans. It means the network owner — Verizon in this case — can reduce data speeds for prepaid customers during times of heavy cell phone traffic. But the details on Visible’s website suggest customers on the $45 Visible+ plan are in the clear, with 50GBs of deprioritization-free premium data each month. Customers on the $30 plan won’t have the same luxury, as the company notes data may be temporarily slowed on the Visible plan when the 5G Nationwide and 4G LTE network is congested.

Another important footnote: the data for mobile hotspot — the ability to use your phone as a wireless access point for other devices — is unlimited, but speeds are held to 5 Mbps.

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Bring your own phone to Visible, or buy one

The best way to save on a device is to bring the one you already have (assuming it’s compatible with the network), but Visible will gladly sell you something new. The company offers popular models from Apple, Samsung and Google, and financing through Affirm. A few used iPhones were also available on Visible’s site at the time of this writing.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Bring your own Apple Watch (or buy one). Visible is one of few nationwide budget carriers that supports a cellular plan on a compatible Apple Watch. It’s $5 more a month.

Is Visible phone service right for you?

On paper, Visible’s value is crystal clear. It's hard to ignore unlimited data and the reliability of Verizon’s network at just $30 a month. Not to mention Consumer Reports ranks the service fourth out of 19 providers in overall satisfaction. But the possibility of slower data speeds at times on the $30 Visible plan might represent a risk for some. Others may find the all-online customer service approach inconvenient. That said, if you’re looking to cut the cost of your current cell phone service, you might want to give Visible a test run.