Verizon is a premium service, on a premium network, at a premium price. Verizon was the right choice for my family for several years, but we eventually moved on. Our experiences are summed up below.
Verizon’s size allows them to provide more support than smaller providers. If you want to talk to them on the phone, their customer service number is available seven days a week. They answer the phone more than twelve hours a day, so it’s easy to find a convenient time to call.
They also have physical stores. The physical stores are great if you need to hand your phone to someone so they can fix it. They are also good when face-to-face is the best way to work out your billing questions.
The down side is that there can be a wait, if the store is busy. Wait time varies. Busy downtown locations can have a longish wait, but I’ve never waited more than twenty minutes. More remote locations are less busy, and I typically talk to an employee within five minutes at those places.
My experiences at the stores have been good. Any employee I’ve spoken with has been well-informed and got me what I needed efficiently. And the stores have been easy to find — any town I’ve lived in recently has multiple stores to pick from.
We switched to Verizon from AT&T after moving to a town where the AT&T coverage was spotty. Once we switched to Verizon, we had no complaints about coverage, wherever we went in the United States. For example, I remember camping in Yellowstone National Park, and noticing that Verizon phones worked in our camp ground, while AT&T phones had no reception.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there are places where some other carrier has better coverage than Verizon, but I didn’t find those places.
We were charged what we expected to be charged. Our data needs changed over time, depending on travel and WiFi coverage wherever we were spending our days. But we could always log into Verizon’s web site and see how we were doing. When we needed to increase our plan size, it was easy to do so.
I was traveling enough that I was interested in trying a provider that catered more to international travel. However, Verizon was familiar and comfortable for us, so it made sense to leave my other family members on Verizon.
The catch was, taking just one person off the plan would increase our monthly costs, even if the other plan was cheaper. This is because the biggest expense with Verizon is the core plan, with unlimited minutes & texts. Adding more lines is cheap with Verizon, unless data usage also increases.
In our case, we were paying $50 per month for the Verizon medium plan, and another $20 per month for each line. With three people, that meant $110 a month (plus various taxes and fees, but I’m keeping this simple for sake of illustration.)
That averages out to around $37 per person. I could find some phone providers that suited my needs well for $30 per month, but if I switched, our total monthly costs would grow to $120 per month.
Ultimately, we did switch, but the idea of our family costs going up so that I could try something less familiar did make us hesitate. The Verizon price setting team has my respect for that!
Picking a Verizon plan is very simple; “pick a number of gigabytes, and a number of phone lines.” But if one is willing to deal with more complex pricing, there can be cheaper options.
As I started to look at other providers to satisfy my travel needs, I learned that Verizon’s pricing model was pretty different from some of the alternatives. My family could be saving a significant amount of money by switching away from Verizon.
Verizon provides good service, and I would not fault anyone for using it. The simplicity of the pricing and availability of physical stores makes it great for people who want to keep their lives simple.
For us, though, we were willing to invest effort in reducing our monthly costs. After trying FreedomPop and Ting, we eventually settled on Ting. It looks like our family phone costs going forward will be $55 / month plus fees, compared to Verizon’s $110 plus fees. We’re happy to be saving $660 per year.
The pricing worked out this way because of my family’s phone use patterns (voice minutes, text messages, data, phone count.) The math may be different for your use case.