skip to main content

Verizon Wireless vs. AT&T Wireless

Need 5G, unlimited data, or both? We weigh the best competing cellular plans from AT&T and Verizon.

  • Best for extra perks
    • Unlimited plans: $65.00–$90.00/mo.
    • Family plans: $30.00–$90.00/mo. (per line)
    • High-speed data: Unlimited Ultra Wideband 5G
    • Hotspot data: 60GB
    Compare Top Features
  • Best for speed
    • Unlimited plans: $50.00–$85.99/mo.*
    • Family plans: $30.99–$75.99/mo. per line
    • High-speed data: None to unlimited, depending on plan
    • Hotspot data: 5GB–60GB/mo.
    Compare Top Features

Compare Verizon and AT&T head-to-head

Can you really go wrong with either of these cellular carriers? Not really. Verizon and AT&T are two of the biggest brands in the country for mobile phone plans, and they both can get you excellent nationwide coverage along with 5G speeds, unlimited data, and even some additional perks.

If we really had to choose between the two, though, we’d go with Verizon. With its competitive pricing structure and vast network coverage, it gets you the best deal for the best-possible service whether you’re living in San Francisco or Scarborough, Maine.

AT&T is no slacker, though. The carrier has higher prices on its flagship plans, along with lower data allotments for hotspots, but it still gets you solid nationwide coverage and has a larger 5G network too.

Is your mobile data fast enough?

You won’t always get consistent internet speeds on cell phones, since a wireless network can be impacted by a range of factors. But you can take a speed test to see current speeds. If you’re often on the go, download our speed test app to check your speed no matter where you are.

 

Looking for an easy way to test and track your internet speed anywhere?

Download our free, easy-to-use speed test app for quick and reliable results.

Pros and cons: Verizon Wireless vs. AT&T Wireless

Pros:

  • Add-ons for Disney Bundle, hotspot data, and other perks
  • Faster 5G speeds

Cons:

  • Limited millimeter-wave 5G access
  • Stricter caps on premium data

Pros:

  • Unlimited premium data on Unlimited Premium plan
  • Extensive nationwide network

Cons:

  • Slow 5G speeds
  • No premium data for Unlimited Starter plan

Unlimited plans and pricing: Verizon vs. AT&T

Verizon and AT&T both offer unlimited cellular plans—but the one you want depends on what you’re looking for.

Verizon leads off with low prices and then lets you pay extra to add on a grab bag of perks to go with its higher-tier unlimited plans, including streaming subscriptions and discounts on connected plans. AT&T offers unlimited premium data on its highest-tier plan and slightly lower prices all around.

Let’s take a gander at the details to see what you’ll get from each carrier.

What is premium data?

Premium data is internet data that runs over 4G LTE and 5G networks, giving you speeds in the range of 30–100+Mbps. While most of these plans are technically unlimited, the truth is that your speeds will slow down to a snail’s pace once you use your premium data for the month.

The only exceptions to this rule in the mobile world are with AT&T’s Unlimited Elite plan and T-Mobile’s Magenta Max plan , both of which put zero restrictions on premium data use. You’ll get premium data all month long with no slowdowns whatsoever. Verizon doesn’t have this option—its highest-tier plan caps premium data at 50GB per month.

Verizon unlimited plans and pricing

PackagePrice*Premium dataHotspot dataDetails
Unlimited Welcome$65.00/mo.None (speeds can slow during network congestion)None
Unlimited Plus$80.00/mo.Unlimited premium data30GB
Unlimited Ultimate$90.00/mo.Unlimited premium data60GB

Verizon’s unlimited phone plans are all notably cheaper than AT&T’s, and they give you more to work with too. Unlimited Plus and Unlimited Ultimate both come with totally unlimited premium data, letting you use the internet over high-speed 5G and 4G LTE networks as much as you want without having to worry about data caps or slowdowns during network congestion. The plans also give you twice as much hotspot data as what you would get from AT&T’s corresponding phone plans.

The only drawback with these plans is that you don’t get the perks and extras that customers usually got from Verizon plans. Instead, in a unique pricing structure, you can pay $10 a month extra per each additional perk, which includes things like subscriptions to the Disney Bundle, Apple One, Netlix and Hulu with ads, and Walmart+. It’s a little strange to offer so-called “perks” for a price, but it’s probably worth investing in one or two of these if you’re already subscribing to these plans because they can save you a few bucks a month.

Verizon Perks

In addition to the monthly phone plan, you can add on packages that give you discounts, memberships, and subscriptions. Choose as many as you like.

PerkPrice
Disney Bundle subscription (Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+$10.00/mo.
Netflix and Max (with ads)$10.00/mo.
100GB/mo. mobile hotspot data plan$10.00/mo.
Apple One subscription$10.00/mo.
Walmart+ membership$10.00/mo.
Apple Music Family subscription$10.00/mo.
SmartWatch Data and Safety plan discount$10.00/mo.
+play monthly credit$10.00/mo.
3 TravelPass days$10.00/mo.
2TB cloud storage$10.00/mo.

Pro tip:

You can use a mobile hotspot to get high-speed Wi-Fi while you’re working remotely outside of the office or traveling away from home.

AT&T unlimited plans and pricing

PackagePricePremium dataHotspot dataVideo streamingDetails
AT&T Unlimited Starter® SL$65.99/mo.N/A (speeds can be deprioritized during network congestion)3GBSDView Plan
AT&T Unlimited Extra® EL$75.99/mo.50GB15GBSDView Plan
AT&T Unlimited Premium® PL$85.99/mo.Unlimited premium data50GB4K UHDView Plan

Unlimited Extra is a solid bet here because it comes with a hefty chunk of premium, high-speed data for less money than one of Verizon’s equivalent plans. You also get a decent amount of hotspot data, letting you connect other devices to your phone’s Wi-Fi hotspot to get internet when you’re away from the home or office.

Unlimited Premium is also a great bet—it gives you truly unlimited, premium, high-speed internet data. Not everyone is going to need unlimited data on their phone: on average, people use around only 10GB of data per month, according to one report.

But go for this plan if you spend a lot of time using your phone without Wi-Fi for things like posting to social media, making Zoom calls, or streaming movies and TV shows. (And speaking of streaming, Unlimited Premium also comes with a subscription to Max at no extra cost.)

We’re not as sure about the Unlimited Starter plan, which doesn’t come with a set amount of premium data. Without a premium data cap, your internet speeds can be slowed due to overuse or network congestion. That means you’ll likely get very slow data at music festivals, sports games, airports, or any other place where there are a lot of other people around.

Looking for cell phone companies near you?

Find out whether Verizon or AT&T is available in your area by entering your zip code below.

Family plans and pricing: Verizon vs. AT&T

You can add additional lines to Verizon’s and AT&T’s unlimited phone plans for family members and friends. The price per line goes down as you add more lines to your plan, giving you some flexibility to invest in a better plan or simply save money by splitting the bill with others.

Verizon family plans and pricing

PackagePriceDetails
Unlimited Welcome$30.00–$50.00/mo. per line
Unlimited Plus$35.00–$60.00/mo. per line
Unlimited Ultimate$55.00–$90.00/mo.* per line

All of Verizon’s unlimited plans come with price drops as you add more lines. Adding one additional line to Unlimited Plus drops the cost per line by $10 per month, while having four lines brings the per-line price down to just $35 per month. That’s a nice way to save on a deluxe plan.

AT&T Wireless family plans and pricing

PackagePriceDetails
Unlimited Starter® SL with 2 or more lines$30.99–$60.99/mo. per lineView Plan
AT&T Unlimited Extra® EL with 2 or more lines$35.99–$65.00/mo. per lineView Plan
AT&T Unlimited Premium® PL with 2 or more lines$45.99–$75.99/mo. per lineView Plan

Like Verizon, AT&T will bring down the price per line on any unlimited phone plan if you add more lines. You’ll get a very nice $15 off per month on each line by adding just one more line to an AT&T Unlimited Premium plan. Having multiple lines on your plan means you can pay less for a higher-tier plan, which still gets you premium service and a bunch of premium data (even an unlimited amount in the case of Unlimited Elite).

Prepaid plans and pricing: Verizon vs. AT&T

Prepaid is the way to go if you want a simple phone plan at a cheap price. You won’t have to worry about overage fees or credit checks, and some plans still give you minimal perks—like hotspot data and premium data.

You won’t get unlimited premium data on any prepaid plans, but that won’t be a problem for most people. So long as you’re not making a dozen Zoom calls a day using phone data or downloading huge files onto your phone, you’ll probably be fine with only a few GB of data per month.

Verizon prepaid plans

PackageStarting price (then $5/mo. off per line with auto pay.)Data capHotspot data5G Ultra Wideband access?Details
5 GB Plan$30.00/mo.*5GB5GB (from the total plan allowance)No
15 GB Plan$40.00/mo.*15GB15GB (from the total plan allowance)No
Unlimited Plan$50.00/mo.*Unlimited (speeds can be slowed during network congestion)5GBNo
Unlimited Plus Plan$60.00/mo.*50GB premium data25GBYes

On each of Verizon’s prepaid phone plans, the monthly price drops by $5 per line with auto pay. 

It’s nice that you can save money. But we’re not sure it’s worth paying so much upfront for a bare-bones prepaid plan. AT&T’s prepaid options give you a more straightforward deal.

AT&T prepaid plans

PackagePriceHoptspot data cap5G access?Details
Unlimited Prepaid$40.00/mo.N/AYes
Unlimited + 10GB Hotspot Data$25.00/mo.10GBYes
Unlimited + 5GB Hotspot Data$50.00/mo.5GBYes

AT&T has a wide number of prepaid plans to pick from, ranging from very cheap to something closer to what you’d get from the flagship unlimited plans. You won’t get the same perks as the unlimited plans—no 5G access, no Max, less hotspot data—but they’re a lot cheaper, which is nice.

Is Verizon or AT&T available in your area?

Get a list of mobile phone providers in your area by entering your zip code below.

Get the same mobile coverage for half the price

An MVNO is a wireless cellular provider that uses a major cellular company’s network to give you discounted phone service.

An MVNO phone plan doesn’t have the same bells and whistles of a major carrier’s flagship plans—you’ll likely experience slower speeds and less reliable reception since major network data is prioritized over MVNO network data. But an MVNO plan will cost you a lot less and still give you decent cell service. In some cases, you can also get generous premium data allotments, data for hotspots, and other extra perks.

Here’s a look at the best MVNOs associated with each major cellular carrier—Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

MVNO carrierNetworkPricesData capDetails
VisibleVerizon$25.00–$45.00/mo.Speeds can slow down during network congestion on standard plan; Visible+ includes 50GB premium dataView Plans
Cricket WirelessAT&T$15.00–$60.00/mo.5GB–UnlimitedView Plans
Mint MobileT-Mobile$15.00/mo.* (for 3 mos.)5–40GB of premium dataView Plans

Visible—Unlimited data and perks for friends

The best MVNO for Verizon is Visible, a relatively new wireless provider. Its plans are cheap and come with unlimited mobile data AND hostpot data, but speeds are much slower than you’d get from Verizon itself.

Keep in mind that the unlimited wireless data can be slowed during network congestion, since you don’t have a set amount of premium data. Also, the hotspot options are pretty limited: you get either speeds up to 5Mbps or up to 10Mbps, depending on your plan.

Still, Visible is a solid option if you want a phone plan that’s cheap and generous. And you can get a lower price if friends sign up or if you join a “Party Pay” plan with four lines or more.

View Visible Plans

Cricket Wireless—Affordable pricing and lots of options

Cricket Wireless, which uses AT&T’s nationwide network, is a well-established MVNO that gives you a lot more to choose from compared to Visible—Cricket even has its own 5G phone. Cellular plans range in price from $15 to $60 per month, with plenty of data coming from even the lower-tier plans.

In our personal experience, cell service on a Cricket plan can be hit or miss. In some cities, your phone reception will be perfect and you won’t have any issues; in other places, you could get bumped behind AT&T’s primary customers and experience spotty reception (or no reception at all).

But you really can’t beat the price, and it probably won’t be a problem if you live in an area with solid AT&T coverage.

View Cricket Wireless Plans

Mint Mobile—Dirt-cheap deals and Wi-Fi calling

Mint Mobile works over T-Mobile, and it gives you some of the cheapest prices you can find from any cellular provider. The cheapest plan is just $15 per month, giving you 5 GB of premium data and 5G access in areas where 5G is available.

The plans all come with Wi-Fi hotspot capability at no extra charge. And if you’re in an area with no cell reception, a Mint plan lets you make calls and send texts over a Wi-Fi connection (so long as your phone is compatible to do so).

View Mint Plans

5G availability: Verizon vs. AT&T 

Carrier5G availability (% of time customer is on 5G)Details
Verizon9.8%
AT&T20.7%View Plans

Neither Verizon nor AT&T have much of a 5G presence nationwide—certainly not compared to T-Mobile, which has taken the lead for 5G availability and speed consistently over the past year.

5G is still quite new technology, so it’s understandable why the footprint is small. But according to a recent study by Opensignal, if you’re in a 5G-accessible area, you’ll get 5G from AT&T and Verizon for only a fraction of the time you’re on your phone. AT&T gives you more access overall, but neither provider will give you a whole lot of quality time on a 5G network.

Pro tip:

Not sure about what 5G is and whether you should be paying for it? Learn about 5G speeds, pricing, devices, and more.

4G LTE and 5G speeds: Verizon vs. AT&T

Avg. 4G LTE speedsAvg. 5G speedsView plans
Verizon34.3Mbps135.3Mbps
AT&T40.1Mbps123.5MbpsView Plans

Coverage: Verizon vs. AT&T

Verizon and AT&T both have nationwide coverage to ensure you get consistent cell service. Looking at their respective coverage maps, it appears that coverage can get spotty in some remote areas, namely in parts of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and other western states. But both carriers have cell service in all 50 states and Washington, DC.

Not sure whether these carriers have strong cell service in your area? Head over to Verizon’s coverage map or AT&T’s coverage map to search your address.

Final call: Verizon vs. AT&T

This is a very close race, but we think Verizon is the slightly better option. The prices are lower than AT&T’s, and you can get a ton more goodies when you order add-ons, including subscriptions to Disney+ and a great deal on a mobile hotspot plan.

You honestly can’t go wrong with AT&T either though. We love AT&T’s Unlimited Elite plan because it comes with totally unlimited, premium, high-speed data (which is not an option with any of Verizon’s plans). AT&T also has much better prepaid options, with straightforward plans that come with a fair amount of data at a cheap price.

FAQ about Verizon vs. AT&T

Can I bring my own phone to AT&T or Verizon?

Yes, you can bring your own phone to AT&T or Verizon. AT&T and Verizon run on different networks, so you’ll need to unlock your phone before you bring it over. (AT&T runs on GSM; Verizon runs on CDMA.)

If you’re switching to AT&T from Verizon or switching to Verizon from AT&T, you can also check if your phone is already compatible by reading each provider’s bring-your-own device policy.

Can I keep my phone number if I switch to Verizon or AT&T?

Yes, you can keep your phone number if you switch cell phone providers. Thanks to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), your current cell phone provider can’t say no if you ask to take your phone number with you.

But the FCC doesn’t require your new provider to automatically give you your old phone number when you start your new cell phone service. It’s best to check before you hand over your credit card.

Author -

Peter Holslin has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

Find Providers in Your Area