Overview: Prepaid by Verizon (Cellular Data Plans)

verizon-prepaid-plan-cellular-data-plans-reviewVerizon is a major US cellular carrier.

Verizon owns most of their network, so you are very infrequently roaming - and even when you are, they don't impose domestic data roaming caps.

For those who want a flexible plan or are not eligible for a postpaid account, Verizon's direct prepaid accounts are available for both smartphones and data-only devices.

Currently Available Prepaid Plans:

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  • Unlimited Phone or Tablet/Hotspot Device: $65 ($70 w/o autopay)
  • 8GB Phone or Tablet/Hotspot Device: $45 ($50 w/o autopay)
  • 3GB Phone or Tablet/Hotspot Device: $35 ($40 w/o autopay)
  • 500MB Phone plan: $30

For Our Comparative Pricing Grid:
Guide to Cellular Data Plan Pricing

Testing Status

We have tested, and keep a Verizon Prepaid Unlimited Hotspot Device plan in our arsenal.

Policies & Perks:

  • Carrier Networks Used: Verizon
  • Carrier Relation: Direct, prepaid
  • Plan Types Available: Phone, data only
  • Device Types Permitted: Phones, Hotspots, Tablets
    • Hotspot (Jetpack) Devices: Can be added as a line on an account for the full price of line, including as the only line on the account, except for the 500mb plan. Hotspot devices can share (hotspot) all data on a tiered plan or unlimited plan at full speed, subject only to network management (at all times).
  • Device Purchase Required: No, but can purchase a device
  • Mobile Hotspot Use:
    • Phones and tablets on tiered data plans allow mobile hotspot use of all plan data - but speeds are throttled to 3G/600kbps.
    • Phones and tablets on the unlimited plan have no mobile hotspot use.
    • Hotspot/Jetpack device lines on tiered plans can hotspot all plan data at full speed.
    • Hotspot/Jetpack device lines on the unlimited plan can hotspot unlimited data at full speed.
  • Throttling: Plans experience un-throttled network speeds for on-device data. After the data bucket on tiered plans is used, on-device speeds and hotspot speeds are throttled to 2G/128kbps for the remainder of the cycle.
  • Network Management: These plans are always subject to deprioritization behind postpaid customers on congested towers.
  • International Roaming: TravelPass is available for prepaid plans - for $5 a day per line, customers can use their plan data in Canada and Mexico, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. For $10/day per line, plan data can be used in 30+ other destinations.
  • Domestic Roaming: Some - but not full. Verizon prepaid utilizes most of Verizon postpaid domestic roaming for calls or data when you are off their network domestically. To view the disparities, see Verizon's map comparisons here. There are no additional charges for domestic roaming when it is supported - but you may see slowed data speeds (3G/2G speeds).
  • Plan Period: 30 days
  • Data Roll Over: Base data on current Verizon tiered-data prepaid plans does not roll over - you lose what you don't use at the end of your billing period. (Older prepaid plans included roll-over data, and that feature is grandfathered in for those who keep their accounts in good standing.  Upgrading an older line to the new prepaid plan will eliminate carry over data from the line).
  • Overage Charges: There are no overage charges on prepaid plans. Once you use your data, data use is throttled to128kbps speeds for the rest of the billing cycle. However high-speed data top-ups are available on smartphone plans at $5 for 500mb to be used within 30 days, and $10 for 1GB or $20 for 3GB (which can be used within 90 days).
  • Streaming: No streaming services are provided with prepaid accounts. All video streaming is capped at 1080p for hotspot devices and tablets, and 480p for phones.
  • Unlimited Data Plans: All data on the unlimited plan is always network managed. Phone lines and tablet lines do not include any hotspot data. Mobile hotspot (Jetpack) lines can be added as lines on the unlimited plan, and can then hotspot all data at high-speed, subject to network management.
  • Lines permitted per plan:
    • 10 lines are allowed per account.
    • Additional lines after the first are eligible for up to a $20/month discount depending on device and plan.
    • A family plan allows for the ability to mix-and-match line types on a single account.

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Quick Take

Verizon's prepaid plans offer flexible and affordable solutions for a variety of data consumers.

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