This probably sounds familiar:
You're ready to change wireless providers, but your budget isn't ready to take on another huge smartphone payment. If you're looking at the Verizon network, you're probably wondering if there's a Verizon bring your own phone program. Considering Big Red is one of the most expensive carriers out there, you hardly need to add another charge to your bill.
It's not just about money, though, there are many reasons to bring your own phone to a provider. You can keep your phone's apps and contact information, not to mention the fact that you like your phone, and it probably hasn't reached the end of its usefulness.
Here's the good news: Verizon does have a bring your own phone policy. The question is: how does it fare compared to its competitors?
In this guide, we're going to discuss Verizon's BYOD program, what plans they offer, and how to activate your own device on the Verizon network. Lastly, I'll help you decide whether Verizon is right for you.
In This Guide
Verizon BYOP Plans
If you plan on bringing your own phone to Verizon, you should know that Verizon offers two main types of plans for its mobile customers: Verizon prepaid phone plans, and the postpaid Verizon plans.
First, I would like to delve into the details of the postpaid Verizon plans.
The New Verizon Plan
All of Verizon's cell phone plans include unlimited talk and text, as well as Carryover Data and Safety Mode. Even better news: all new customers are now put on no-contract plans.
As a quick note, Safety Mode limits your data speeds once you exceed your high-speed data allotment.
However, for anything above the L plan, you'll also receive the added benefits of calling to and from Mexico and Canada at no charge, as well as the ability to use your device in Mexico and Canada. Additionally, you can add an extra 2GB per line with sizes L or larger.
At the time of this writing, there are 12 plans, though one is available for a limited time. Five of the plans are labeled by size - for instance, the small plan, which is only 2GB in size, is labeled as S. The other remaining sizes are labeled by the amount of data that comes with the plan. Overall, the plans range from 2GB to a whopping 100GB, but the 100GB is incredibly expensive.
In fact, Verizon has recently been claiming that two out of three people use less than 5GB per month. Since then, Verizon has launched its 5GB and 7GB plans, for just a few dollars more than the 4GB plan. However, these promo plans are limited to one smartphone and a maximum of three lines; you can also only access these particular plans in store or over the phone at 1-800-256-4646.
The Verizon Prepaid Plan
There are four fresh plans in the Verizon prepaid plan roster. The prepay plans range from 2GB to 10GB of high-speed data. All plans include unlimited U.S. talk and text. Furthermore, you'll also receive unlimited text and picture messaging to the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. However, one 5GB (without carryover data) and the 10GB packages feature unlimited talk to Mexico and Canada, whereas the 5GB plan (with carryover data) and the 2GB plan will charge you $10 per month when you add 1000 minutes to Mexico and Canada.
There is one basic phone plan, which grants you unlimited talk and text, as well as unlimited text and picture messaging to the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Verizon is also home to several data device plans. You can choose between 500MB and 10GB plans, which are good for a determined amount of time.
The Unlimited Plan
Big Red was third in line of the big four carriers in the move to bring back unlimited service plans. A single line runs $80 per month, with each additional line bringing the cost per line down by a few dollars. This plan, of course, includes unlimited talk and text, among other bonuses.
Be warned: unlimited data really means 22 GB of high-speed data on the LTE network, followed by unlimited 3G speed data. All major carriers impose a similar high-speed data cap, except the T-Mobile unlimited plan which tops out at 30 GB. Fortunately, most cell phone users use less than 2-3 GB of data on a monthly billing cycle, so unless you're a very heavy user you shouldn't have issues with throttling.
Learn More: You can read our comprehensive guide to learn more about data throttling.
Which Devices Can You Bring?
The answer? It depends.
There are two types of devices, technologically speaking: GSM phones and CDMA phones. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA phones, while T-Mobile and AT&T utilize GSM phones. It used to be that each type worked on its own kind of network and ne'er the twain did meet. Newer devices, however, can cross over - depending upon the device.
- Sprint: Some Sprint phones are compatible - for example, if you have an iPhone 5c model or newer, you probably won't need to buy a Verizon iPhone. Compatible Android phones include Nexus models and some Moto phones.
- AT&T: You'll need to check with Verizon about compatibility if you have an AT&T device. Some newer phones designed for the 4G LTE network may operate on LTE, however, you may have trouble in areas with only 3G coverage.
- T-Mobile: If you have a T-Mobile phone, you may have the same issues as with an AT&T device, as the T-Mobile network is also GSM. Some LTE-capable T-Mobile phones will work on the Verizon LTE network, however, you may not get optimal service all the time.
Related: You can read our guide on CDMA and GSM devices here to learn more.
Wait: you might be saying to yourself, what if I have a phone from an MVNO like Straight Talk or TracFone Wireless?
TracFone Wireless and Straight Talk services both operate on all four major networks. This means you could have either a GSM or CDMA device, so you'll need to find out which one it is in order to know whether you'll be able to bring it over to Verizon.
If you're on an MVNO plan right now, you can find out if you're compatible with the Verizon network here.
SIM Card Activation Kit
There is one other particular prepaid plan you should pay attention to if you plan on bringing your device to Verizon: the 4G LTE SIM Activation Kit.
With this kit, you'll receive the following:
- One SIM Card
- The first month of service
- Unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of data
- The ability to add more data to your plan and carry the data over for up to 90 days
Free overnight shipping applies to this order, by the way. To use the SIM Card Activation Kit, all you need to do is insert the SIM Card, which you can learn more about in "What is a SIM Card?", in your phone and activate. Simple. However, the latest phones are not compatible with the 4G Activation Kit. You will be limited to phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or the iPhone 6 Plus.
You can certainly bring your phone number from another carrier to a prepay plan. All you need to do is call Prepaid Customer Service at 888-294-6804.
How to Activate Your Own Device
So how would you go about activating the unlocked phone you bring to Verizon? Well, you have a couple of choices to rely upon besides visiting a store. Well, you can always visit a store, but there is no need to with Verizon.
You can either activate a device with a new service or activate a device on an existing mobile number, depending on your situation. You can also check out our guide on how to unlock phones if you're unsure of how to undergo the process of unlocking your phone.
First, activating a device with a new service:
You can go to the bring your own device page on Verizon. You need to first check the device and SIM IDs (these are different from a phone serial number), then select a data plan that fulfills your desires. From there, you can tack on features, add accessories, and check out. The deed is done.
Now, for activating a device on an existing mobile number.
To do this, you can always head on over to the Activate, Switch or Bring Your Own Device page in My Verizon. All you need to do with the service is tap Activate and select the line you'd like to change. From there, you'll be asked whether or not you're activating a device that was previously used on your account. Choose "No" and follow the next few steps:
- Follow the prompts to check the Device and SIM IDs.
- If you need to, update your protection plan.
- Again, if you need to, update your plan.
- Back up your content.
- And finally, click on "check out".
Pro Tip: Worried about your carrier's willingness to unlock phones? Don't be. The FCC requires mobile providers to perform this service as long as the device meets the requirements. The main conditions include no outstanding contract fees or installment plan payments.
Why Use the Verizon BYOP Plan?
With Verizon's bring your own phone (or bring your own device) service, you can bring your device to the provider's network. Not only will you receive a free SIM card, but you won't have to worry about annual contracts and be able to keep your unused data with the Carryover Data feature.
You can either bring a single device or multiple devices to activate. Furthermore, you can select any of the new Verizon plans to attach to your own phone.
Verizon may also provide temporary (or permanent) advantages for its customers. As one incentive to switch to Verizon, you will receive NFL Mobile, which will let you stream live local and primetime games, highlights, NFL RedZone, and more, all in HD, without using any data. However, this little surprise is available only to Verizon Wireless postpaid plan customers.
Verizon Wireless is also sporting a new feature for its data: PopData. PopData allows you to enjoy all-you-can-stream 4G LTE data sessions, which is great for streaming TV and movies.
You can choose either 30 or 60 minutes of all-you-can-stream data, but if the demand is high, PopData sessions may be prioritized behind regular usage, resulting in lower speeds.
Whenever PopData is available, you can start a session immediately from your phone's data hub or from the feed with the "Get more data" function. You can choose an all-you-can-stream 30-minute PopData session for $2 or a 60-minute session for $3.
Read More: Ready to make the switch to Verizon? Great, we'll guide you through the process.
Are Verizon BYOP Plans Right for You?
Verizon BYOP plans are definitely suitable, even if a little bit on the expensive side. Prepaid and postpaid plans are eligible for the program, and there are incentives to consider with the service. Not only that, but Verizon's network offers the greatest coverage and reliability. Verizon should certainly be under heavy consideration for switching.
According to ZD Net, there were 113.7 million retail connections in total from Verizon, as of Q3 2016. It probably helps that Verizon's offers a simple BYOD program.
One last parting bit of wisdom: if you want to take advantage of Verizon's contract buyout program, which reimburses you for your early termination fee, you'll have to trade your phone in and buy a new device. The carrier's BYOD program is ideal, for example, if you're coming from a no-contract plan and don't have any early termination fees to worry about.
If the Verizon BYOD program just isn't what you're looking for, you can use our BYOP plan comparison tool to see what AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint offer.
You can read our buyer's guide to cell phone plans if you want to hear our top picks for who offers the best cell phone plan.