Verizon Wireless outclasses other nationwide carriers in terms of call quality and LTE coverage, earning it lots of praise from experts and users. However, plans can be pricey and customer service isn't always as helpful as it could be.
Share and share alike. Verizon wireless has revamped its plans and pricing structure for new customers. All plans are now shared data (though a minutes only "shared" plan for basic phones is also available). Every device is subject to a $20 line access fee to which you add a pool of data that all can use. Data starts at 1 GB (Est. $30 per month) and goes up to a whopping 100 GB (Est. $750 per month). Whatever package you choose, watch your usage as extra data is charged at a high rate of $15 per GB. Phone contracts are no longer offered -- your options are to buy a phone on installments, pay the entire cost up front, or bring your own compatible phone to the network. Extra features such as free international calls, roll over data, and early upgrade plans offered by some competitors are missing.
Fast and reliable. Independent testing by RootMetrics, PCMag.com and others leave little doubt: on a national basis, Verizon continues to outshine the competition, though some of the other carriers are creeping closer, and sometimes perform as well or even a little better in certain areas. User satisfaction with network performance is also high, with Verizon coming in first in network quality in all six regions of the country in the latest J.D. Power and Associates survey.
Iffy ratings. On the downside, Verizon Wireless's customer support gets mediocre scores. It's below average in J.D. Power and Associates surveys that measure satisfaction with customer care and the buying experience. Ditto at PCMag.com, where the carrier's poor grades in satisfaction measures offset its stellar performance ratings to land Verizon in the middle of the pack in that site's Readers' Choice awards.
1. J.D. Power & Associates
J.D. Power and Associates surveys users on the overall quality of their cellular network. Those with the fewest performance-related issues -- dropped calls, missed calls, data connection issues, etc. -- rate highest. Verizon is the top finisher, and is also the top performer in all six regions of the country.
Review: Wireless Network Problem Incidence Increases as Texting and Web Use Grows, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, March 5, 2015
2. J.D. Power & Associates
This J.D. Power and Associates survey looks at of user satisfaction with their carrier's customer care. Verizon does not distinguish itself here, finishing only ahead of Sprint in the rankings and with a score that's below the average of all full-service (postpaid) providers.
Review: Overall Satisfaction with Wireless Customer Care Service Is Lower among Customers with Device Payment Plans, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, July 30, 2015
3. J.D. Power & Associates
Verizon also fares poorly in this J.D. Power and Associates survey, which measures satisfaction with the buying experience in store, on the phone, and on line. It only edges out Sprint, and earns a score that's below average among similar carriers.
Review: Wireless Carrier Sales Reps Play Key Role Delivering a Satisfying Purchase Experience to Tablet and Smartphone Shoppers , Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Feb. 19, 2015
ConsumerReports.org surveys its subscribers to learn their satisfaction with their cell phone carrier. Verizon is included. Data is presented both on satisfaction nationally, and with satisfaction based on responses in 26 major cities.
Review: U.S. Cell Phone Service Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, September 2014
Verizon finishes in the middle of the pack in this reader survey of cell phone users, which includes both prepaid and postpaid services, Terrific scores in performance categories are offset by lower scores in other areas dealing with fees and overall customer care.
Review: Readers' Choice Awards 2015: Smartphones and Mobile Carriers, Ben Gottesman, March 19, 2015
PCMag.com testers fan out across the country evaluating the big four carriers on coverage and performance. Though it's not the top finisher everywhere, Verizon's performance wins the day in about half of the urban and rural areas surveyed, putting it sufficiently ahead of its competitors to be crowned the fastest nationwide network.
Review: Fastest Mobile Networks 2015, Sascha Segan, June 22, 2015
RootMetrics names Verizon as the top cellular network in the U.S. Looking at the 125 most populated metropolitan areas, all 50 states, and across the country, testing shows that the carrier is first in network reliability, speed, data performance and call performance.
Review: First Half 2015 Mobile Network Performance in the US, Dave Andersen, Aug. 18, 2015