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Prepaid Operator Profile: Verizon

This is another of Prepaid Phone News' series of comprehensive US prepaid mobile operator profiles. I will be posting new profiles frequently, starting with the best known carriers. Eventually these posts will cover all the major US mobile operators' prepaid plans as well as the MVNOs that offer a good value.

Overview: Verizon Wireless is the largest US mobile operator with an estimated 137 million subscribers, including 5.7 million prepaid subscribers, as of Q3, 2015.

Technology: Verizon uses the 850 Mhz and 1900 Mhz band for CDMA voice and 1xRTT (2.5G) and EVDO (3G). Since 7/17/2014 Verizon's LTE 4G network,is available to prepaid customers. Verizon LTE mainly uses 700 MHz band 13 with supplemental coverage on 1700Mhz band 4. Verizon markets their band 4 service as XLTE.

Plans: Verizon offers monthly plans only. A hallmark of Verizon prepaid plans is strict control over which phones are allowed on each plan.

Verizon's prepaid smartphone plans are priced at $45/month for unlimited talk and text and data with the first 2 GB delivered at high speed and the rest throttled to 128 Kbps or $60/month for unlimited talk and text and data with the first 5 GB of data at high speed. Customers using auto pay get a bonus of 1 GB of extra high speed data per month. Additional high speed data can be added using "Bridge" data packages which are available in three sizes: 500 MB good for 30 days for $5, 1GB good for 90 days for $10 and 3GB good for 90 days $20.

Verizon sells a range of Android phones as well as iPhone models for these plans. You can also use any Verizon Smartphone. Classic BlackBerrys work for talk and text only as Verizon no longer offers prepaid customers access to the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), which is required by BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), BlackBerry Email and some apps.

Prepaid Smartphone Plans
PlanMonthly CostVoice MinutesTextsMMSData
$45/Month Plan$50unlimitedunlimitedunlimitedUnlimited, 5 GB HS 1
$60/Month Plan$70unlimitedunlimitedunlimitedUnlimited, 10 GB HS 1
1 Data speeds throttled to 128 Kbps after the high speed (HS) data allotment is used up. Auto-pay users get an extra 1 GB per month. Add on "Bridge" high speed data packages available: $5 500 MB/30 days, $10 1GB/90 days, $20 3GB/90 days.

Walmart Exclusive Plans: Smartphones and SIMs purchased from Walmart stores or Walmart.com can be activated on two special plans.

Walmart Exclusive Smartphone Plans
PlanMonthly CostVoice MinutesTextsMMSData
$50/Month Plan$50unlimitedunlimitedunlimitedUnlimited, 7 GB HS 1
$70/Month Plan$70unlimitedunlimitedunlimitedUnlimited, 12 GB HS 1
1 Data speeds throttled to 128 Kbps after the high speed (HS) data allotment is used up. Add on "Bridge" high speed data packages available: $5 500 MB/30 days, $10 1GB/90 days, $20 3GB/90 days.

Verizon also has two plans for basic feature phones. These plans are limited to feature phones sold by specifically for use on prepaid and some basic post paid feature phones. Smartphones and advanced feature phones that Verizon labels as "3G Multimedia Phones" or that have "full HTML" browsers are not allowed on the basic phone plans. To Verizon a "full HTML" browser seems to be any browser, except Opera Mini, that allows you to scroll horizontally as well as vertically! It's probably safest to stick to the handful of feature phones that Verizon sells specifically for prepaid.


Prepaid Basic Phone Plan
PlanMonthly CostVoice MinutesTextsMMSMobile Web 1
$15/Month Plan$15300 minutes OR texts OR MMS300 minutes OR texts OR MMS300 minutes OR texts OR MMSunlimited
$30/Month Plan$30unlimitedunlimitedunlimitedunlimited
1 Mobile web is 2G and 3G only and only works with the browsers pre-installed on Verizon feature phones. According to Verizon, "Mobile Web does not provide full web browsing"
2 Overage 25¢ per minute, 20¢ per text

Verizon's Pay As You Go and Daily plans were discontinued November 15, 2015 and are no longer available for new activations. Users who activated on these plans before 11/15/15 are grandfathered and can keep them indefinitely as long as they don't change plans or allow the plans to lapse due to non-payment.

Grandfathered Prepaid Basic Phone Plans (No Longer Available)
Plan Monthly Cost Voice Minutes Texts MMS Data
Pay As You Go $10 1 25¢/each 20¢/each 2 25¢/each 99¢/day unlimited 3
$0.99/Day 4 $10 1 10¢/min, unlimited M2M 10¢/each 2 25¢/each 99¢/day unlimited 3
$1.99/Day 4 $10 1 unlimited 2¢/each 2 25¢/each 99¢/day unlimited 3
1 Minimum monthly cost is with a $30 top up every 90 days.
2 Or use a messaging pack: $10/month - 250 texts or MMS + unlimited texting to from Verizon customers, $20.month - unlimited texts and MMS
3 Unlimited data is available for 99¢/per day. The 99¢ charge is imposed only on days data is used and is valid for 24 hours from first use.
4 The daily fee on these plans is charged only on days you make or receive calls (incoming and outgoing texts do not trigger the daily charge) and is valid until 11:59 p.m. Checking voice mail from the prepaid phone will trigger the charge.

Tablets Verizon branded tablets require special data plans and will not work on prepaid phone plans. Available packages are $15/week 500 MB, $20/month 1 GB,  $35/2 months for 2 GB, $60/2 months for 5 GB and  $100/2 months for 10 GB.

International Calling:  The $60 plan and the $70 Walmart plan include unlimited calls to Canada and Mexico.

International Add-On: Customers on the $45 and $30 Prepaid Unlimited Plans can add the $10/month Mexico & Canada Plan to their accounts. It provides 1000 minutes per month to landline and mobile numbers in Canada and Mexico,

International Rates: Verizon's pay per use international rates (rates below) are expensive.  I recommend that you use a calling card or international call-back service for international calls.

International Voice Rates
Puerto Rico25¢/minute
Mexico (landlines only)10¢/minute
Mexico (mobile), Canada, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands and Northern Marina Islands.29¢/minute
All other countries$1.49/minute
On PAYGO and the $1 daily plan these rates are in addition to the basic per minute rate of 25 or 2 cents/minute.

International Messaging: There is no extra charge for text or picture messaging to Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. To other countries texts are 25¢/each to send.

International Roaming: Verizon prepaid offers roaming in Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean at the following rates:

  • Puerto Rico, Canada and U.S. Virgin Islands 69¢/minute
  • Mexico 99¢/minute
  • Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis $1.99/minute

Texts are 50¢ to send and 5¢ to receive in all the countries listed above

Taxes and Fees: Verizon adds applicable state and local sales taxes and point of sale e911 fees to auto payments and online airtime payments. Taxes and fees can be avoided by buying refill PINs from callingmart.com and other online retailers.

Coverage: Verizon's native coverage is second to none. Roaming at 20¢ extra per minute is available almost everywhere in the US where there is any cell phone service.

Devices: Verizon offers feature phones as well as iPhones, Android, Window Phones. All Verizon branded phones are allowed on the prepaid Smartphone Plans.

BYOP: In addition to Verizon phones, Verizon accepts the unlocked iPhone 6 and later, the Nexus 5X, 6 and 6P and the 3rd generation Motorola Moto G Pure Edition. A Verizon SIM is required when activating LTE phones. Verizon SIM are reusable, inactive SIMs can be reactivated. SIMs are available on the Verizon site, Verizon stores or by calling customer care at 1-800-922-0204 (press 0 four times for a live operator).

How to Buy: Verizon prepaid phones are available from Verizon stores, "big box" retailers like Target, Best Buy and Costco and online.  Basic models can be purchased supermarkets convenience stores and chain drugstores.

How to Activate: Start by activating online at http://www.verizonwireless.com/activate or by calling (800) 294-6804 from another phone.

Non-LTE phones require an extra step after activating online or by calling. Turn the phone off and on. If the phone displays "Press SEND to activate", press the SEND or call button. If the phone doesn't display "Press SEND to activate" complete activation by  dialing *22898 SEND from the wireless phone.

LTE phones LTE phones activate automatically when turned on after activating online or by calling. Do not dial *22898 when activating an LTE phones

Payment Options: Verizon offers may ways to add funds to your prepaid account.
Price Validity
$15.00 30 days
$30.00 90 days
$60.00 90 days
$100.00 365 days
$150.00 365 days
PIN cards or codes in the denominations shown at the right are available at Verizon stores, most convenience stores, supermarkets, chain drugstores and big box retailers like Target. PINs can be purchased at a discount from callingmart.com and other online retailers.

You can top up by sending a text containing your refill PIN to VZPAY (89729) or online at verizonwireless.com/myprepay or by calling *611 from your mobile phone or (888) 294-6804 from another phone.

Automatic payments using a credit or debit card can be set up at verizonwireless.com/myprepay or by calling *611 from your mobile phone or (888) 294-6804 from another phone.

You can make a one time payment with a credit or debit card at www.verizonwireless.com/refill  or by calling *611 on the phone or (800) 294-6804 from another phone.

Taxes and Fees: Verizon adds applicable state and local sales taxes and point of sale e911 fees to auto payments and online airtime payments. Taxes and fees can be avoided by using refill PINs from callingmart.com and other online retailers.

Account Management: You can check your balance and expiration date and view detailed call records at My Verizon. You can also check your balance and expiration date by calling *611 from your wireless phone, or (888) 294-6804 from any phone.

Call Forwarding, Call Waiting and 3-Way Calling

To forward all calls to another number: Press *72 followed by the number you want calls forwarded to (*72-123-456-7890), press Send and wait for a confirmation tone or message. You will be charged for forwarded calls.
To cancel call forwarding: Press *73 SEND and wait for a confirmation tone or message.

To forward unanswered calls only (conditional call forwarding): Press *71 followed by the number you want calls forwarded to (*71-123-456-7890), press Send and wait for a confirmation tone or message. You will be charged for forwarded calls.
To cancel conditional call forwarding: Press *73 SEND and wait for a confirmation tone or message.

Call waiting:  Call waiting is enabled by default. It lets you place one call on hold while you take another call. When you are on a call and have another incoming call, you will hear a short tone. You'll have approximately 30 seconds to answer before the second caller hears a standard message or is forwarded to voicemail. You will be charged for both calls.

To answer Call Waiting: To put the first call on hold, press "SEND." You'll automatically be connected with the second call. To return to the first call, press "SEND" again. To switch between the two calls, press "SEND."

To cancel Call Waiting before placing a call: press *70 + the 10 digit number you are calling, then press "SEND."

3-Way Calling: Lets you create a conference call between yourself and two other people. You will be charged for both calls.
  • While on the first call, dial the 10-digit number of the second person and press "SEND." The first person is automatically put on hold while the call is made.
  • When the 2nd person answers, press "SEND" to create the conference call.
  • If the second person does not answer, press the "SEND" key twice to end the connection and go back to the first person. To end both conversations completely, press the "END" key
Verizon Prepaid "Secret" Codes:
All are free to use.
*611 - call customer support
#DATA (#3282) - shows  data used
#MIN (#646)  - balance in minutes
#BAL (#225) - balance in dollars
#PMT (#768) - make a payment

Free information services calls
711 - Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) for the hearing and speech impaired
911 - Emergency services

Customer Service:
Phone support: Call *611 or  (888) 294-6804 for 24/7 customer telephone support. To reach a live operator press 1 for English, then 4, 6 and 4. To order an LTE SIM card call (800) 922-0204 and press 0 four times for a live operator.
Chat support: Use the online chat form.

Phone Sales and General Information Web Siteverizonwireless.com/wcms/consumer/shop/prepaid.html

Verizon Pros: Outstanding coverage, LTE, 24/7 telephone support. Detailed online call records. Call forwarding, call waiting, conditional call forwarding and 3-way calling are supported.

Verizon  Cons: Expensive "Use it or lose it" data. No pay as you go plans. High international calling rates.

Updated 29-Nov-2016:  New Walmart exclusive plans added.

29 comments:

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  1. Uhh, fyi, the link to activate phones on Verizon prepaid goes to Tmobile...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for letting me know. I've fixed the link

      Delete
    2. Do you happen to know how long I have to top up before I lose my number?

      Delete
    3. 30 days after your airtime expires.

      Delete
  2. Thanks! Nowhere in the Verizon details could I find that info. I have to pay $15 per month but if I can go another 30 days, that will cut it in half. I only use the phone when I'm in the motorhome & away from T-mobile signals.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Yeswap,
    I currently have a phone number from H2O Wireless. Unfortunately, this was a recycled phone number and I sometimes get calls for that person. I want to change it, but not from H2O because they do not have a list to select from, and the number is randomly generated. I have a question: Does Verizon prepaid allow for selecting a number from a list? Also, what is the minimum I would have to pay after buying a phone to be able to transfer the number? I want to select a number from a list, because if I see many similar numbers on the list, I would think that those numbers are not recycled and are indeed new unused numbers.


    Also, does At&t gophone allow to select a number from a list? And what is the minimum topup need to transfer the number? what about pageplus? I have a CDMA very old smartphone that i might be able to put on pageplus to get a number, but's its a sprint phone.

    Thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know if Verizon, AT&T or any other operator will let you choose a number from a list. But almost all operators will change you number for free if you tell them you are getting too many unwanted calls. Try asking H2O.

      I believe you would need to add the minimum top-up of $15 to get a working number on either AT&T and Verizon is $15.

      Delete
  4. also do you know if some prefixes are recycled more than others? and what is the chance of getting an easy to remember number in the 650 area code?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe almost all phone numbers are recycled. It usually isn't a problem unless you get one that belonged to a deadbeat who gets multiple calls daily from bill collectors. If that happens most operators will give you a different number for the asking.

      A brand new area code would probably have mostly non-recycled numbers. An area code that includes mostly wealthy residents might have fewer deadbeats.

      Delete
  5. also should i consider talkforgood or att mvnos to choose my number?

    ReplyDelete
  6. yeswap, why does verizon prepaid now have an activation fee? how does verizon unlimited compare to pageplus unlimited and att gophone unlimited? aren't att mvnos cheaper because they don't have activation fee and their rates are lower too?

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's $100 for 1 year (or 365 days) of service, not $150 as you've listed in the table.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The table is correct. Both the $100 and the $150 refills are good for one year.

      Delete
    2. Correct, I've added the $100 refill to the table.

      Delete
  8. HoFo ID Grateful4adviceOctober 7, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    I believe Verizon still offers an unlimited talk/text/1 gb data for smart phone plan through Walmart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They sure do. Thanks for remainding me, I've added information about it to the post.

      Delete
  9. Looks like Verizon prepaid doubled the data on the $45 plan. Now 1.0 GB. Auto pay will get you 1.5 GB. With free tethering and 90 day bridge data still available.

    ReplyDelete
  10. How much is it per forwarded call on prepaid accounts and do you only get charged if the call is answered?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If your are on an unlimited plan there's no charge for forwarding calls. On the pay as you go and 99¢/day pans forwarded calls cost the same as 10¢ or 20¢ per minute as any other call. There's no charge for unanswered forward calls.

      Delete
  11. Verizon is again offering an additional 1GB of data every month on their ALLSET Prepaid Plans for signing up for Auto Pay. Additional 1GB applied on 30 days of activation of Auto-Pay.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Verizon Wireless Prepaid Offer @ BestBuy - Get a $45 Bonus Credit when you buy AND activate a select smartphone with a $45 top-up card. New activations ONLY. Verizon will provide the credit to the number 2-3 days after activation and monthly payment.

    ReplyDelete
  13. VZW Prepaid now offers a $30/month smartphone plan with unlimited voice and SMS, but no cellular data. You cannot add a data package to this plan, according to the footnotes on the prepaid plan page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've added the missing $30 Smartphone plan. It's been available since March, but was inadvertently left out. Thanks for letting me know.

      Delete
  14. From what I've seen on the internet the Walmart double data promo ($45 2 GB, 3 GB with autopay) has expired January 17, 2016. You had to purchase Walmart's Verizon sim pack with a plan by January 17th and have it activated by a month later. Does anyone know if this program is going to continue or if there is a replacement program.

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  15. I chatted with Verizon rep today after reading about their new plan ($45 2 GB, 3 GB with autopay) . I asked if existing customer would automatically get the additional data. They told me no and this promotion was for new customer activations. I asked if I switched to AT&T GoPhone for their $45 plan with 2 GB (includes one month rollover) and "if" I decided to come back as new customer would I get the promotion? They came back and said as an "exception" they will fill out the form and have plan switched to new one. They said it would occur in 3 business days. I will wait and see if they switch my plan within the next week. If not I will be moving to AT&T GoPhone at end of my billing cycle. Nice to have Moto X Pure 2015 and not be tied to CDMA or GSM carrier only. Phone manufacturers should make more of these unlocked phones with all the radios for us to have freedom to jump to another carrier when unhappy.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Verizon does not care about Prepaid - "Tracfone is our prepaid brand. ...Our retail prepaid is above market. We're really not competitive in that environment for a whole host of reasons and it's because we have to make sure that we don't migrate our high-quality postpaid base over to a prepaid product."

    http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/verizons-shammo-tracfone-our-prepaid-product/2016-04-21

    ReplyDelete
  17. Is it still possible to activate a Verizon Prepaid account without buying any airtime just to get a number to port out?

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  18. Verizon Prepaid $30/Monthly Smartphone Plan does not seem to be available anymore. Not showing up as an option.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The $15 basic phone plan is gone, too.

      Delete
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