The rivalry between AT&T and Verizon Wireless is not as strong as - say the competition between T-Mobile and Verizon - but it exists. Both major carriers are battering consumers with information that may not even be 100 percent accurate. In fact, the Sprint statistics regarding reliability being within 1 percent of Verizon's LTE network isn't exactly true.
Even worse is that there is a lot of information that is either embedded in fine print in random areas on the website or locked away in FAQs. Because information is difficult to find or just downright lacking, you and I are met with frustration, unsure of who to side with. There are just so many factors to take into consideration, including the cost, coverage, customer service, and plan offerings. So what can we do to make it easier for you?
We can help you by providing clear cut information. We will dirty our hands, pore over the important data, and read through the fine print in an effort to save you time and energy. Hopefully, with this guide and our cell phone plan comparison tool, you'll be able to make an informed decision as to whether you should side with AT&T or Verizon Wireless... or neither. You can always go with neither and instead opt for T-Mobile and Sprint.
Hopefully, with this guide and our cell phone plan comparison tool, you'll be able to make an informed decision as to whether you should side with AT&T or Verizon Wireless... or neither. You can always go with neither and instead opt for T-Mobile and Sprint.
In This Guide
Verizon Wireless is a fantastic wireless operator, boasting an LTE network that covers 99 percent of the United States. As of Q3 2016, the service has attracted a whopping 143.9 million subscribers. The customer base fawns over the excellent coverage, which extends beyond urban areas.
In fact, Verizon is home to the LTE in Rural America Program, which provides coverage for 2.7 million rural residents in 169 counties.
And if you're seeking the latest phone, you won't have to worry with Verizon - you can adopt the latest phone, even phones temporarily (or completely) unavailable at other major carriers like the Google Pixel. At the time of this writing, Verizon has exclusive rights to sell the Google Pixel line of devices. You can check the best deals for a Google Pixel here.
Unfortunately, you're paying for quality when you opt for Verizon. It happens to be one of the most expensive carriers in the United States. In fact, its prices have been one factor in the negative shift of wireless consumers - 307,000 customers have left the service in the first quarter of 2017 in favor of Sprint and T-Mobile networks (and AT&T too), which is an absolute first for the company. But you will receive fantastic customer service, as its ACSI score is set at 71 for 2016.
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How much will Verizon pay you to switch?
The Verizon network will pay up to $650 via prepaid debit card once you trade in an eligible phone. The phone must be free of any major cosmetic damage and needs to be in good working condition. Additionally, the value of the device must be more than $0.
What's important to note is that if you have an outstanding balance for your old device, you'll receive up to $650. Also, if you just paid an early termination fee, you'll earn up to $350. You can learn more about the process of switching to Verizon with our guide, "How to Switch to Verizon."
While Verizon may have the best network around, AT&T's network is quite solid. AT&T offers the LTE-Advanced network, which is 50 percent faster than 4G LTE2. However, you'll need a 4G LTE Advanced compatible phone and be in an area that offers LTE-Advanced data.
Overall, AT&T covers over 325 million people. However, the fact remains that the coverage isn't as extensive as Verizon.
AT&T also carries the latest phones, but do not expect devices like the Google Pixel to be listed on the shop's website (not quite yet anyway). In terms of plans, AT&T provides customers with Mobile Share Advantage or an unlimited plan. Initially, the plans are only a little less expensive compared to Verizon, but as the plans grow in amount, the prices balance out.
When it comes to the ACSI score, AT&T is tied with Verizon, landing a 71.
How much will AT&T pay you to switch?
Like the other three major carriers, AT&T is offering you up to $650 per line, but it is in the form of an AT&T Promotion Visa Prepaid card.
The value of your AT&T Promotion Visa Prepaid Card is based on the Early Termination Fee or the device payment plan balance at the time of your termination.
All you need to do is purchase a new smartphone on AT&T Next and activate a new line, port your number to AT&T, trade in your current smartphone, and send your new provider your final bill.
You can learn more in regards to switching to AT&T, with this here guide.
Verizon and AT&T both offer a range of cell phone plans, but which one is better than the other? Let's take a look at what each contestant offers.
Verizon Cell Phone Plans
The Verizon network shows off various types of plans on its official site, both monthly and pay as you go. Verizon's postpaid cell phone plans feature unlimited talk and text, but the data, which is labeled by size - ranges between 2GB and unlimited amounts of data.
Verizon has recently come out with a new unlimited cell phone plan, dubbed Verizon Unlimited. While continuing the trend of expensive plans, the Verizon Unlimited plan comes packed with perks and solid coverage the carrier is known for. You can learn more about unlimited cell phone plans here.
Sometimes, Verizon may offer plans with additional benefits. For instance, you may be able to save money on Verizon FiOS service - yes, Verizon FiOS - with the adoption of Verizon Unlimited. However, you may have to have the FiOS high-speed internet, TV, and home phone package, so unless you already have the service, you may not be able to save, as you could only have high-speed internet or TV (or both).
Verizon U (1 Line)
A bit more about the Verizon Unlimited plan - you'll be able to take advantage of unlimited talk and text, mobile hotspot usage of up to 10GB of data, HD video streaming (yes, you'll have premium features such as high-definition video streaming that you'll have to pay extra for elsewhere), Mexico and Canada service, and more.
This iPhone carrier (as well as Samsung Galaxy) doesn't come equipped with a lot of fancy features, but it has recently adopted "Safety Mode" and "Carryover Data." Safety Mode ensures that you will not pay any surprising fees once you exceed your data limit. However, you will experience slower data speeds. This applies to all plans. Carryover Mode, on the other hand, allows you to keep your unused data until the end of the following month.
Regarding prepaid services, or no-contract plans, there are a few plans that you can select from. You do begin with a few GB of data with these contract plans, but there are cheaper options in the postpaid plans.
Finally, Verizon also has what is known as business plans, which is perfect for both large and small businesses.
Despite the high price point for Verizon's plans, it continues to offer great plans, great phones, and great coverage. Now if only it could make its plans more affordable because the T-Mobile network is sporting more enticing offers and plans. AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint all feature plans at cheaper prices.
In fact, as of early 2017, the Verizon vs T-Mobile rivalry has only become stronger. T-Mobile plans have steadily become more affordable, whereas Verizon has been struggling to maintain its customer base. In fact, the unlimited T-Mobile plan is more affordable compared to Verizon Unlimited.
AT&T Cell Phone Plans
AT&T offers what is known to be called the Mobile Share Advantage packages. With Mobile Share Advantage, there are no overage fees whatsoever, meaning that you will only experience reduced speeds once your high-speed data amounts have been exceeded.
AT&T cell phone plans typically range from 1GB of data to a total of 100GB, which can be shared among family members.
This Samsung Galaxy and iPhone carrier also offers the GoPhone service, which is for prepaid, or no-contract plan users. The GoPhone prepaid phone plans, range from no data package to unlimited amounts of high-speed data. What's also unique is that you can select a certain amount of data or minutes for a small fee per day or even per minute.
Finally, AT&T offers two types of unlimited data plans, one of which allows you to save on DIRECTV services. However, you will not be able to save on AT&T U-Verse TV residential service. Both unlimited plans include unlimited talk, data, and text, but there are differences between the two.
AT&T AT&T Unlimited Data Plus Next Every Year (1 Line)
AT&T Unlimited Plus includes HBO programming, 10GB of mobile hotspot per line, high-definition video streaming at the fastest speed, unlimited text from the U.S. to over 120 countries, and roaming in, as well as unlimited talk and text to, Mexico and Canada. It should be noted that that roaming feature may be removed if voice, text, or data usage in Mexico and/or Canada is over 50 percent of the total voice, data, or text usage for two consecutive months.
With AT&T Unlimited Choice, you receive max speed at 3Mbps, standard-definition video streaming - no HD video streaming, sorry - unlimited text from U.S. to over 120 countries, and roaming in, as well as unlimited talk and text, to Mexico and Canada.
Note that after 22GB of usage, AT&T might slow down data speeds.
Stream Saver is included in the Unlimited Plan. Stream Saver will identify the streaming video content and adjust the resolution and data speed accordingly.
When considering a provider, you may need to consider your family. How many lines will you need? Will you save money with a particular provider? Will there be any added benefits for your family that you may want to take advantage of? I have explored the options of each competitor and have outlined them below.
Verizon Family Plans
Family is important, and Verizon understands that even though it doesn't serve traditional family cell phone plans - you can read a more in-depth analysis of Verizon's family plans here.
With that being said, if you have any additional lines that you would like to add to the New Verizon plan, then you can add them to any of Verizon's plans. All you need to do is select the data amount of your plan and then add up to 10 lines to that plan. That simple.
AT&T Family Plans
Similar to Verizon, AT&T's allows customers to add multiple lines (devices) to the plans; these plans thus become family plans, which you can read more about here. Furthermore, you can share the savings with the Multi-Line Discount on prepaid plans. For instance, you will save just a few dollars for the second line, a few more dollars for the third line, and so on and so forth.
Initially, the Verizon plans are more expensive compared to AT&T plans, but then the prices even out and end up the same. When it comes to family plans, it is a tie between the two competitors.
Read More: You can compare family plans across all carriers here.
AT&T or Verizon: which offers better coverage? After all, no one likes to experience dropped calls. Even worse? No signal whatsoever. After all, you may need to call a tow truck in the case that your car dies in the midst of a blizzard, which is not a comfortable situation to experience. So which provider powers over the other?
Want to see how the coverage of AT&T and Verizon stack up against the coverage of Sprint and T-Mobile? We've got your back with "Who Has the Best Cell Phone Coverage?"
Which carrier has the greatest coverage around? Verizon! The network boasts a coverage that blankets 99 percent of the United States. The coverage also includes rural areas. Overall, the network covers 2.4 million square miles.
While Verizon is reliable, featuring a heavy amount of coverage, AT&T is speedy. AT&T's LTE coverage areas are extensive but not as grand as Verizon's coverage.
Customer service is important. Without reliable customer service, businesses would burn to the ground. After all, who wants to continue a relationship with a business after a rotten experience? No one, unless the business is able to regain the loyalty of the unsatisfied customer.
Verizon Customer Service
Verizon is known for solid customer service. You'll receive the quality you pay for with Verizon. You can access support through various methods, including FAQs, forums, chatbox, telephone, and social media.
AT&T Customer Service
As mentioned earlier in the overview, AT&T's ACSI score lands at 71, meaning it ties with Verizon in terms of customer satisfaction. There are several ways to contact AT&T, but you must first select the product you are seeking help for. After you do, you can receive support through chatbox, phone, social media, community forums, and FAQs, just like Verizon.
Between Verizon and AT&T, which has better customer service? I would have to deem this match's outcome a tie.
AT&T or Verizon: Which Is Better?
AT&T and Verizon are often battling for the top spot in the war of the best cell phone plans, but after analyzing the sections, I would have to give the crown to Verizon in the battle of Verizon vs AT&T.
Not only does Verizon offer plans for around the same price, but its talk and LTE coverage is better by comparison, and it offers plans that are suitable for both large and small businesses. AT&T, while it can be cheaper with its plans, offers less coverage with a more expensive unlimited option. However, with the most expensive unlimited option, you do save on DIRECTV, which is a plus.