Verizon Wireless is the largest cellular carrier in America, with more than 100 million subscribers. In late 2010 they became the second U.S. carrier to launch an LTE network, and currently operate the nation's largest LTE network. They also launched VoLTE services in mid 2014, which allows for HD Voice calling and video calling in-network.
Pros: Verizon prepaid offers not only pay-as-you-go and monthly prepaid plans, but it also offers its prepaid data plans for tablets and hotspots, with plenty of additional mobile data options.
Cons: The straight pay-as-you-go option is extremely expensive, with calls at $0.25/minute and texts at $0.20/text.
Lowest Price Per Anytime Minute: $0.25
Verizon Wireless offers three different prepaid monthly plans: two for basic phones and one for smartphones. Their basic plans range from $35 - $45 depending on whether you need unlimited minutes. Their smartphone plan is $45, but there are different categories for 4G phones and slower 3G phones. Their pay-as-you-go plans range from a flat $0.25/minute to paying $1 - $2 for each day of use and nothing on days you don't use the phone.
Read more about Verizon Wireless plans
Customer service can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via email, a toll free number and from your Verizon prepaid cell phone without incurring airtime charges. Their customer service reputation isn't the greatest, but they normally can help with some patience. Read more about Verizon Wireless Customer Service here
Free Nights: Unlimited available
Credit Check: None
Free Weekends: Unlimited available
Daily Access Fee: $0.99 to $1.99
Payment Options: Verizon prepaid service allows you to set up autopay with a credit card or debit card. You can also purchase additional minutes/pay monthly fees on the Verizon website with a credit or debit card, via phone or in person at Verizon Wireless stores or kiosks.
Text and Picture Messaging: Text messaging is unlimited on all of the monthly plans, although picture messages are not. The basic pay-as-you-go rate is $0.20 per text message and $0.25 per picture message. The $0.99 daily plan reduces that to $0.10 for text and $0.25 for picture, and the $1.99 daily plan reduces it to $0.02 per text and $0.25 per picture.
Data Plans: All of the monthly plans include 500 MB of data, and additional Bridge Data can be purchased at any time. Bridge data comes in increments of $5 for 500 MB, $10 for 1 GB and $20 for 3 GB. Bridge data expires in 30 - 90 days.
Downloads: Verizon offers every type of download you can imagine. Ringtones, music, wallpaper, IM, email, web, ringback, voice guided GPS navigator, games, applications, vcast (which allows you to watch streaming videos and TV) and more. Prices vary based on service and phone. Downloads are subject to a 99 cent download fee, which is assessed for the first download in any 24-hour period. Downloading some things will count against your data bucket.
International Calling: Verizon allows international calling. Puerto Rico is not considered an international call. Verizon charges normal airtime rates for calls to Puerto Rico. International calling rates start at 29 cents per minute in additional to normal airtime charges. You'll need to check with customer service to get the rates of the country you plan to call prior to making international calls.
Text Messaging Available: Yes
Roaming Charges: Calls placed while roaming are charged an additional $0.20 per minute on top of regular airtime.
Text Messaging Charge For Incoming: Yes
Calling Features: Verizon includes 3-way calling, call forwarding, caller ID, and call waiting with all prepaid plans.
Unlimited Text Messaging Plan Available: Yes
Activation Fee: There is an activation fee of up to 25 dollars to get started with service. If you purchase a phone on their site, they will waive the fee.
Nationwide Long Distance: Verizon treats nationwide long distance calls as they do regular calls. There are no additional charges for making long distance calls to the United States or Puerto Rico above normal airtime charges.
Unlimited Plan Available: Yes
411 Calls: Directory assistance calls are charged a fee of $1.49 per call in addition to normal airtime charges.
Earliest Minute Expiration: Minutes expire based on the denomination you purchase them in; $15 to $29.99 expires in 30 days, $30 to $74.99 expires in 60 days, $75 to $99.99 expires in 90 days, $100 and above expires in 365 days. If you refill your minutes before they expire and your existing balance will be carried forward with the new expiration date.
911 Calls: Yes
Phones: Verizon offers phones in a wide range of pricing and features. Feature phones are available for both monthly and daily plans, while smartphones, including BlackBerry devices, are available on the prepaid monthly plans.
Standard Calling Features: call waiting, caller ID, 3 way, call forwarding
Some Available Cell Models: Samsung Galaxy SIII Mini, LG Cosmos 3, Moto X, Apple iPhone 5, LG Optimus Zone 2, LG G2
Cheapest Phone Model: varies