Between streaming music while I'm driving to work, watching old reruns of The Office on Netflix for the umpteenth time, and endlessly scrolling through Instagram, there are two things I care about when it comes to my phone: speed and data.
Specifically, I care about more speed and more data. And that's what Visible, a "virtual" network operator that relies on—and is owned by—Verizon, is now offering in its first unlimited high-speed data plan. Not only does it cost just $40 a month but there are no annual contracts required and it's compatible with almost every major phone out there, including the iPhone, Google Pixel, and Samsung Galaxy.
Sounds pretty good, right? Yes, but it sounds almost a little too good. We dove into the details—and ask our expert whether or not Visible is worth your money—below.
What does unlimited high-speed data really mean?
While Visible has offered unlimited data plans since it launched last year, it has always capped speeds at 5 Mbps (which, for reference, is about one-tenth the speed of Verizon's regular service which averages 59.4 Mbps). Now, however, Visible has uncapped its plans, giving users access to not just as much data as they want but as much data as they want at faster speeds.
Is there a catch?
Yes—because Visible may not be as fast as you think. "On Verizon's current unlimited plans, you get high-speed data until you use a certain amount of data per month. After that, your data can be de-prioritized and slowed down when the network is congested," our Exec Editor TJ Donegan explains. "With this cheaper plan, your data is pretty much always subject to being slowed down due to congestion. Speeds will depend on how aggressive Verizon is about throttling, but it's still allowing itself to throttle when necessary."
Plus, if you're someone who loves watching YouTube (or in my case, Netflix) on your phone, there's more bad news. Visible revealed that videos will still be limited to 480p—aka standard definition—which is common for many unlimited data plans.
So is it worth purchasing?
For some people, yes, Donegan says. "I think this could be worth it for people on a single line that want a simpler, more affordable way to access Verizon's network without worrying about data caps."
He adds that, "This change definitely makes Visible a more attractive alternative, especially if you just pay for one line. Single-line plans are outrageously expensive otherwise, and without a speed cap this is a great deal—even if it's not quite as good as advertised."
If you are interested, you'll want to act fast—Visible has been very vague about how long the offer will be available for, stating only that it will be for a limited time. In a press release, Visible explained, "The 'limited time' window to receive this offering will be determined as we learn more about member needs." However, they added that whoever gets in now will be able to keep their unlimited plan moving forward for no additional cost (as long as they're a member).