Verizon holds out in 1st-place in the nation in all of the most important categories: coverage, speed, and phones. But are they the right choice for everyone? What about the up-and-comer, T-Mobile? After all, T-Mobile offers better prices, great perks, and solid coverage, too.
So if you’re wondering which one is right for you and are thinking about switching from Verizon to T-Mobile, or vice versa, then read on in our head-to-head comparison of T-Mobile vs. Verizon.
Plans and Pricing
|Plan||Monthly price||Video streaming quality||Data||Coverage||Taxes, fees, activation|
|T-Mobile one||$70/month||480p||Unlimited at 3G speeds||Up to 5GB LTE in Mexico and Canada; data at 2G speeds when international||No activation fees; all included|
|T-Mobile One Plus||$80/month||HD||Unlimited 3G + 20 GB 3G LTE||Up to 5GB LTE in Mexico and Canada; data at 2G speeds when international||No activation fees; all included|
|Verizon Go Unlimited||$75/month||480p||Unlimited 4G + 600kbps||Up to 512MB of data per day in Mexico and Canada; TravelPass needed for international data (+$5-10/day)||Fees are not included|
|Verizon Beyond Unlimited||$85/month||720p||Unlimited 4G + 15GB of 4G LTE||Up to 512MB of data per day in Mexico and Canada; TravelPass needed for international data (+$5-10/day)||Fees are not included|
|Above Unlimited||$95/month||720p||Unlimited 4G + 20GB 4G LTE||Up to 512MB of data per day in Mexico and Canada; TravelPass needed for international data (+$5-10/day)||Fees are not included|
Having a great cell phone plan means more than just offering the lowest monthly rate. You also need add-ons and a great balance between data, coverage, and speeds. T-Mobile simply wins this round.
Not only is T-Mobile’s lone unlimited plan cheaper than any of Verizon’s unlimited options (starting at $70/month vs. $75), but it’s less restrictive, too. You only get your data slowed down if you hit 50GB during the billing period — Verizon’s similarly-priced plan, Go Unlimited, reserves the right to throttle your speed at any time.
Verizon’s Beyond Unlimited gives you just a 23GB threshold, with only the Above Unlimited plan (75GB) exceeding T-Mobile’s data limit.
Although both T-Mobile and Verizon Go Unlimited restrict video streaming to 480p, you can upgrade to T-Mobile One Plus for HD streaming and other extras like 10GB of LTE hotspot data and free Wi-Fi on Gogo-enabled flights– for just an extra $10/month. That’s still cheaper than T-Mobile’s Beyond Unlimited, which costs $85/month for similar extra features.
Another area to note is that T-Mobile doesn’t require any contracts — you pay by the month and cancel at any time. Verizon doesn’t either, but when they did away with their 2-year contracts in 2017, they raised their activation fee from $20 to $30 and upgrade fees to $20. T-Mobile eliminated their activation fees.
Each of these costs for T-Mobile includes taxes and fees, which we love: what you see is what you get– no added fees.
T-Mobile also comes out on top with family plans. A family of 4 will pay $160/month for unlimited data. The equivalent plan at Verizon — Beyond Unlimited — costs you $200/month.
If you’re a single user who doesn’t need unlimited data, both carriers also offer a selection of prepaid plans, and T-Mobile has an Unlimited Talk and Text (no data) plan, as well — a great option for those of us who want to be less connected.
The “what you see is what you get” that mentioned about T-Mobile still applies here: there are no extra fees — all taxes and fees are included in their listed price, and there’s not even an activation fee.
Verizon, however, has a laundry list added to your monthly rate: one-time activation of $30/new line, $20/line/month line access charge, varying network surcharges, plus 8.74% tax (or higher, depending on state).
When it comes to contract termination fees, the good news comes from T-Mobile again: they have no contracts, so you don’t have to pay any termination fees if you cancel your account.
Verizon, however, charges you between $175 and $350 to terminate your contract, depending on your device.
Winner: T-Mobile for better pricing, fewer restrictions, and zero “gotchas.”
Coverage is always a tricky category. As long as where you live is covered that’s all that really matters, right? I mean, if T-Mobile only covered Antarctica and Verizon covered all the rest, but you lived in Antarctica, then T-Mobile would be your personal winner, right?
Unfortunately for T-Mobile, they don’t cover Antarctica, we don’t live there even if they did, and as a reviewer coverage area matters. While Verizon wins this category due to covering a larger percentage of the country, T-Mobile’s loss isn’t really as bad as it might look since they still cover the more populated areas.
In the 2019 OpenSignal report, OpenSignal declared Verizon the winner in nearly all their measured categories. That’s a stark contrast from previous reports, wherein OpenSignal’s own words were “accustomed to handling T-Mobile accolades”. Verizon has made a comeback in the last 6 months, with T-Mobile coming in a close second.
And we do mean close second. They were only 0.2 behind in 4G (a 0.2 lead over Verizon in Download Speed was a tie for some reason though?). They also only lost Upload speed by 0.3. Their most significant loss, in video experience, was a category that every provider was mediocre at.
RootMetrics, who have declared Verizon the overall winner for 10 years, ranked them 1st once again, making this the Big Red’s 11th consecutive year topping the scoreboard.
J.D. Power’s Customer Care study muddies the waters a bit by awarding T-Mobile an 833 and Verizon a second-place score of 812. You could view this as an endorsement of their customer experience, but we can tell you that when it comes to figuring out the basic details of a plan, Verizon wins hands down; we had to visit half a dozen pages to even find all the plans that T-Mobile offers.
Winner: Verizon takes the category.
Most flagship phones are available at just about every major carrier– both T-Mobile and Verizon offer the latest iPhones and Androids. However, Verizon is the only carrier who you can buy Google’s Pixel phones from directly. They also landed the Moto devices before any others, although those are now available at T-Mobile, too.
In counter, T-Mobile has a wider device selection when it comes to the more budget-conscious among us. They offer a solid selection of phones under $200 from LG and Samsung, as well as the branded Revvl. And it’s worth noting that you can buy a Pixel from Google, then take it to any carrier you want.
You can bring your phone over to either carrier, but with T-Mobile your unlocked phone is more likely to work with their GSM-based network– something Verizon can’t say.
Winner: Verizon wins for its exclusives– T-Mobile wins affordability and greater compatibility with unlocked phones
J.D. Power ranked T-Mobile as the highest full-service carrier (833), with Verizon coming in close behind (812). That shouldn’t be wondered at too much, with T-Mobile’s new “team of experts” program, which immediately connects customers with real humans when they call or initiate an online chat. That’s something the other carriers need to emulate to beat.
With more perks and extras included into their monthly rates, T-Mobile easily wins this one.
Both Verizon and T-Mobile know how to add a little sugar to the deals they offer, with both providing some interesting perks.
T-Mobile - Traveler perks
T-Mobile gives subscribers all the perks. To start with, T-Mobile ONE gives you an hour of inflight data and free inflight texting so long as your flight is GoGo-enabled; upgrade to ONE Plus and you get unlimited data.
And once arrive at your international destination, you’ll be able to text and use data in 140+ countries worldwide.
T-Mobile - Netflix + T-Mobile Tuesdays
But if you’re not a big traveler, no big deal – T-Mobile still has some perks for you. Netflix is free with 2 or more lines, and everyone regardless of number of lines has access to T-Mobile Tuesdays.
T-Mobile Tuesdays provide rewards to all T-Mobile customers that can include free movies, sports tickets, and more. Nice.
Verizon - Verizon Up
In comparison to T-Mobile, Verizon’s perks are pretty scant. You can use data when traveling, but you need to pay an additional $5-10 per day, depending on the country, for a TravelPass.
But Verizon has it’s own rewards program: Verizon Up. It’s rewards are similar to T-Mobile Tuesdays’, but Verizon has customers earn “credits” to use as currency.
It works like this: spend $300 and you get a credit; for every credit you earn, that’s one reward.
Winner: This one should be ultra-clear: with more perks and extras included into their monthly rates, T-Mobile easily wins this one.
Recap -- who wins?
There’s a reason carrier rankings are so tight at the top… so there’s just one question to ask: what do you care about most?
Both carriers are pretty neck-and-neck– where Verizon wins one area, T-Mobile wins another. In our comparison, both carriers won 3 areas each.
Verizon won in coverage, performance, and device selection– but lost when they split their unlimited offerings into separate tiers and came up short in customer service. The Un-carrier provides a lower monthly bill, better perks, and stronger customer service– but their coverage and network performance falls up short.
To Sum Up:
Verizon is more expensive than T-Mobile, but in some cases they’re definitely worth the money. Verizon has:
- Better coverage. So if you live in a rural area, you’ll be better off.
- Better devices. While T-Mobile has added the Google Pixel to their lineup, Verizon has had them longer and has some of the first models for those on a budget.
- Better speed. Again, Verizon has better speeds – although it’s a close race.
We love how T-Mobile includes their taxes and fees into the monthly price – that sets a good tone right off the bat. But T-Mobile’s rural performance is subpar to Verizon. But, T-Mobile has:
- Better data. T-Mobile gives you a 50GB soft data cap, more than double Verizon’s 22GB.
- Better perks + Internationals: T-Mobile’s T-Mobile Tuesday doesn’t require you to spend a certain amount of money or do anything special – you’re automatically enrolled. Plus you can score a free Netflix subscription and solid international service while travelling.
There’s a reason that carrier rankings are so tight — it’s a close race between pretty evenly matched competitors. And with that narrow gap, there’s just one question to ask: what do you care about most?
Does either carrier have overage charges?
T-Mobile provides a very generous 50GB per month soft data cap. The best part? You won’t even see any overage fees, either — just some slow-down. But 50GB of data per month is a wildly high cap — you could stream standard definition video for an hour every single day without coming close to it.
Verizon, on the other hand, has a data cap of 22GB per month, and for every 1 GB that you pass over that cap, you’ll be charged $15.
Does either carrier allow you to bring your own phone?
Yes, both carriers allow you to bring your own phone, or as Verizon says, “BYOD.” That said, not every device is compatible with the carriers’ network. But when it comes to that, T-Mobile is a little more “BYOD”-friendly, with a higher chance of compatibility although if you have any questions you should call them or look into it more yourself.