Visible is Verizon's own prepaid brand for smartphones.
Visible's app based phone plan offers customers unlimited calling, text, and (as of June 2019) high-speed on device data, with unlimited mobile hotspot data for a single device at a time throttled to 5mbps.
Hotspot use is limited to a single device connection at a time.
All Visible data usage is always subject to network management. Video is reduced to 480p resolution as well (DVD quality).
Visible does not include any Canada, Mexico or international calling, texting, or data usage.
For Our Comparative Pricing Grid:
Guide to Cellular Data Plan Pricing
Table of Contents
- Testing Status
- Currently Available Plans
- Visible Policies
- Video Review
- Related Articles
- Analysis, Hands on Notes & Review
- Exclusive Member Tips
- Purchasing Options
Currently Available Plan Options:
- Unlimited: $40/month - single line
- Party Pay - Introduced in October 2019, each party can have up to 4 members, each paying their own bill directly to Visible. For each new member, each saves $5/month. Four members on a line equals a bill of $25/month per line.
Plan Perks & Policies:
- Carrier Networks Used: Verizon 4G LTE / Native
- Carrier Relation: Direct subsidiary
- Plan Types Available: Phone
- Device Types Permitted: Compatible smartphone models
- Device Purchase Required: No, but Visible does sell self-branded devices
- Mobile Hotspot Use:
- Yes, unlimited, throttled to a max of 5 Mbps.
- Hotspot connections are limited to one at a time.
- Throttling: On device data is full-speed. Hotspot data is throttled to a maximum speed of 5 Mbps
- Network Management: Always
- International Roaming: None
- Domestic Roaming: None
- Plan Period: Monthly
- Data Roll Over: None
- Overage Charges: None
- No streaming services are provided as a perk with Visible.
- Video is "typically" reduced to 480p resolution (DVD quality)
- Unlimited: Yes
- Lines permitted per account: Up to 4 lines per 'party' are allowed, each paying individually
- Extras: Plan is activated and terminated via the Visible app.
In April 2019, one of our team members acquired a Visible plan to try out. In June 2019, the line was re-activated to test the new high-speed on device data offer made by Visible.
Our hands on report is shared below
- Cellular Carriers Add Extra Data in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic Posted on: March 24, 2020
- Verizon Launches Yahoo!Mobile - Based on Visible - Unlimited Data for $39.99 Posted on: March 11, 2020
- Visible Introduces Party Pay - Reducing Cost of Unlimited Verizon Plan to As Low as $25/month Posted on: October 31, 2019
- Visible Removes Speed Cap from $40/month Unlimited Verizon Plan - Mobile Hotspot Remains Throttled at 5Mbps Posted on: June 26, 2019
- Verizon Based Visible $40/mo Smartphone Plan Enables Android Compatibility, Hotspot Use Official Posted on: January 24, 2019
- Visible by Verizon is Officially Available to (almost) All Posted on: September 27, 2018
- Verizon Based Visible Prepaid Service Enables Mobile Hotspot Feature On Beta Basis Posted on: June 22, 2018
Potential Alternatives to Consider:
For other featured cellular data plans ideal for RVers and Crusiers - here's some other options to consider:
Special Public Review
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Our review of the Visible plan for use as a home internet replacement for RVers and Cruisers (Oct 1, 2019):
Thoughts & Analysis
- Cheap, unlimited data option - As low as $25/month with Party Pay
- Full speed data on device ("limited time only" as of June 2019)
- Verizon 4G LTE Native coverage area
- Mobile hotspot use included, capped to 5 Mbps (enforcement is variable)
- Reportedly easy start-up and termination of plan
- No activation fees
- Requires shipment of a physical Visible SIM card first (free)
- All mobile hotspot data is throttled to a maximum of 5mbps speed
- Higher ping times
- Always subject to network management
- Hotspot is limited to a single device connection at a time
- Phone lines only - no tablet or Jetpack option
- Can not purchase refill cards
- No access to Verizon's roaming partners or 3G coverage map
We've been tracking Visible's service since it was released in May of 2018. We've seen reports of excitement, and frustration, with the service.
Visible remains shrouded in reports of higher latency than native Verizon service.
In good signal conditions, ping times on postpaid Verizon tend to be in the 40-80ms range. Because Visible traffic is routed through their own servers first, there's extra ping time. Visible's FAQ states that they "expect network to device (round-trip) latency to be about 150 milliseconds."
And, being constantly subject to network management - prioritized behind postpaid Verizon customers - we've seen folks who reportedly use the service within populated areas be frustrated by unusable data service.
There have also been reports over the summer of dropped calls, TXT messages and blips in data.
In April 2019, Cherie decided to switch around her phone plans. Previously she had the original 'New' Verizon Unlimited Data plan that she was paying $80/month for a single line of service.
With the iPhone XS with DSDS (dual sim), she switched the eSIM back to our company AT&T unlimited data plan for about $35/month. And then decided to give Visible a try using the regular SIM slot.
NOTE: During the April 2019 testing, all Visible data was subject to a 5mbps throttle cap. As of June 2019, 'limited time' high-speed on device data is available on the plan, although MHS data is still throttled to 5mbps. For the first couple of months there was no actual throttling of mobile hotspot data, but starting in late September we did start to notice intermittent signs of it.
This review has been updated to reflect the Visible plan since the lifting of the speed caps
Getting the plan was a bit of a struggle and more difficult than it should be.
We ordered the free SIM card online and got the initial verification e-mails. After the SIM didn't arrive after a week, she logged into the Visible website to be greeted with a pop-up that said there was a problem and she needed to initiate a chat session.
A supervisor confirmed the order details (name, data, shipping address) and said the SIM should be on the way. A few days later, it wasn't - and we had to repeat the process.
Throughout the entire time, customer service could not tell us what the problem was and we were never proactively contacted about there being potential issues.
We suspect the root issue was our credit card on file being closed do to an unrelated suspicious transaction, or perhaps having a different shipping address from billing address? Hopefully this was an isolated issue that others won't encounter.
The SIM did finally arrive after about two weeks after ordered, and activation was super easy from that point.
We discontinued the plan after the first month of service and our initial review, and we easily re-activated it online in June to test the plan without the speed throttling in place. We have kept the plan in service for several months, regularly testing for signs of the mobile hotspot cap being enforced - it wasn't until late September that saw any indication of it.
Here is a single site quick test showing the differences in speeds we've gotten across 4 different Verizon plans - our Visible plan, Verizon Prepaid Smartphone (capped data at 15GB), Verizon pUDP (the unlimited prepaid Jetpack plan) and Verizon gUDP (legacy postpaid unlimited plan).
Here are the speed results (download / upload / ping) - taken on 9/24/2019 in Grand Rivers, KY:
|Plan / Device||On Device: Down / Upload / Ping||Hotspot: Down / Upload / Ping|
iPhone XS Max
|36.4 / 6.98 / 110ms||5.25 / 4.76 / 109ms
(one reading at: 41.55 / 13.64 / 115 ms)
|Verizon Prepaid (15GB)
|45.5 / 10.9 / 50ms||43.4 / 5.1 / 59ms|
|---||76.2 / 13.4 / 57ms|
|---||105 / 13.7 / 60ms|
Visible is definitely lower priority than Verizon postpaid plans and even their direct prepaid plans. But definitely usable speeds in this location.
When testing mobile hotspot on Visible, we initially saw nearly full speeds. However by the second test we consistently saw near 5 Mbps hard throttling. We tested several times on device to confirm that higher speeds were staying consistent.
It does seem that Visible is starting to enforce the mobile hotspot speed cap.
The ping time is also considerable, and does cause a noticeable short stutter delay in loading of requests. For regularly web surfing, this results in a delay when loading new pages. But once the load has started the pages tend to load fairly well. Certainly usable for many tasks - but for those with latency dependent tasks this plan may not be suitable.
We tested video streaming with odd results. On YouTube, we were able to stream at 1080p, but with some buffering. On Netflix, we were seeing 288p resolution. Testing on Fast.com frequently resulting in speeds around 1.5-2.4 Mbps - indicating a harder throttle to video service.
The mobile hotspot feature works, but we are not seeing the 1 device limitation from our iPhone - as we have been able to connect multiple devices at a time.
Does the SIM card work in other devices?
We did try swapping the Visible SIM into the 8800L hotspot, and the 8800L showed no service with the SIM card. We also tried it multiple cellular embedded routers - this plan is meant for the smartphone models supported by Visible.
We tried putting the SIM into another iPhone that did not have the Visible App installed, and it worked fine.
Customer Service Frustrations
We've had to contact customer service multiple times in setting up this plan and then afterwards, and while chat is readily accessible and reps friendly, they seem to have limited ability to help. That they could give us no feedback as to why our original order was in limbo was frustrating.
After receiving the SIM card, we noticed a number of phone calls (from a variety of numbers) coming through on the number assigned. We asked Visible if they could either change our number or block calls. They were unable to do so. The only solution they offered was to cancel our current account with no refund and activate a new line of service.
So do be aware that if you end up with a new phone number and it's been active before - this could be a problem.
All and all, Visible is pretty much as advertised. If the mobile hotspot speed throttling, higher ping times and potential for only one device to utilize mobile hotspot off a smartphone is workable for you - it's definitely a great value for unlimited data.
Do be prepared for some potential frustrating customer service issues.
This Review Contains Additional Member Exclusive Content
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Selecting the right cellular data plan for your mobile internet needs is only one part of the equation. Here's some further guides on understanding the selection process as well as the additional gear you might need.