Verizon Wireless provides excellent call quality, 4G data speed and nationwide coverage. However, its selection of prepaid cell phone plans and handsets is limited compared to its extensive selections for contract cell phone customers. Verizon Wireless receives a ranking just below the industry average overall, rated in seventh place out of the nine carriers reviewed, by consumers.
Limited selection of plans. Verizon's Pay As You Go Daily Plans charges prepaid subscribers a 99 cent access fee on days when calls are made, plus 10 cents per minute including nights and weekends (another version drops the 10-cent charge but charges $2 per day for unlimited calls). Verizon's Prepaid Per Minute plan omits the daily access fee, but calls cost 25 cents per minute and texts cost 20 cents.
Verizon also offers pay-by-the-month plans. $50 per month gives you unlimited talk, text and web on basic devices, while unlimited talk, text and 1 GB of data on a smartphone costs $80 per month.
Nationwide and great call quality. Verizon Wireless Prepaid features a network that blankets most of the United States, and reviewers say that Verizon has the best prepaid wireless call quality. Both experts and customers report the best coverage and the fewest dropped calls with this carrier. PCMag.com readers rank Verizon Wireless best among national cellular service providers -- just behind U.S. Cellular -- due to its best-in-class coverage and good call quality. Verizon Wireless's reliability is also well above average.
Above-average customer support. Reviewers at TopTenReviews.com say that Verizon Wireless's customer support is consistently among the best in the wireless industry, though some users have called it iffy. Numerous options are available to contact the support staff, including very responsive online chat support. Telephone and email support are also provided, and the website features an extensive FAQ. PrepaidReviews.com's editors like the variety of payment methods available.
Small selection and only one smartphone. Verizon Wireless offers six phones for its pay-as-you-go customers, starting at about $50. Those with the $50 monthly basic plan can choose from two Samsung and one LG phones. The prepaid monthly smartphone plan offers just one phone, the Samsung Illusion (*Est. $100).
Review Credibility: Excellent ConsumerReports.org ranks Verizon Wireless's prepaid service alongside prepaid offerings from AT&T, Consumer Cellular, T-Mobile, TracFone and Virgin Mobile. Rankings are based on feedback from more than 66,000 cell phone users nationwide.
Review: Prepaid Cell Phone Service Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, January 2011
2. J.D. Power & Associates
Review Credibility: Excellent In this survey of about 6,400 prepaid wireless cell phone users, Verizon Wireless receives a ranking just below the industry average overall, in seventh place among the nine carriers reviewed.
Review: 2011 Wireless Non-Contract Customer Satisfaction Index Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, March 31, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good This article addresses overall satisfaction with cell phones and cell phone service as reported by PCMag.com readers in 2012. Verizon Wireless is rated in second place behind T-Mobile. A chart shows how each service stacks up in a dozen categories, such as price and handset choices.
Review: Readers' Choice Awards 2012: Smartphones and Mobile Carriers, Ben Gottesman, March 28, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Verizon Wireless rates sixth in TopTenReviews.com's evaluation of prepaid cell phone services for 2013. Its relatively low ranking, compared to its first-place finish in the Cell Phone Providers review, is due to its lack of a monthly service plan. Its prepaid plan phone selection is not as extensive as for its other service plans. Note that TopTenReviews.com's evaluation of prepaid cell phone providers is based only on features and doesn't look at how each phone service performs.
Review: 2013 Prepaid Cell Phones Comparisons, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Fair In their ranking of prepaid wireless plans, PrepaidReviews.com editors give Verizon 4 out of 5 stars. More than 550 users posting comments give Verizon an average of 2.5 stars out of 5.
Review: Verizon Prepaid Wireless Cellular Service, Editors of and Contributors to PrepaidReviews.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Fair In this older review, Adam Fendelman, About.com's former guide to prepaid wireless, says that Verizon Wireless has some intriguing prepaid options but that it can't compete with Virgin Mobile's prepaid wireless plans overall. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Is Prepaid Wireless or a Monthly Contract Cheaper?, Adam Fendelman, Oct. 12, 2009