Is Visible’s $40 cell plan better than Verizon’s defunct $65 unlimited hotspot deal?

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, 100-ton USCG master.

15 Responses

  1. Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

    It’s frequently difficult to figure out why cell phone companies offer plans the way they do. This is a great example, as the same plan on Verizon would cost you over $80 a month. But with Visible, a company owned entirely by Verizon, you can get the plan for half that. Like the $65 unlimited hotspot plan it’s likely Verizon will at some point (and quite possibly without any warning) pull the plug on this plan so if you’re interested I wouldn’t wait too long.

  2. Adrian says:

    I have been a Visible customer almost since inception. Their answer was that no, the SIM cannot be used in a data device, in our case a cell modem for boat internet- LTE distribution use among IP devices.

    The other caveat of Visible is that it priorities access to the Verizon network to true Verizon subscribers, which, if you are out on a boat not close to anyone else is no problem but I have encountered dropped calls, or even the inability to make calls nor use cellular data if there are too many Verizon phone users in the area using that same network.

    You pay less, you get less access reliability.

    I have been happy with the performance considering the price tag, and will continue to use them as long as the service limitations do not deteriorate.

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    A few thoughts:

    1. Some boaters don’t seem to realize it, but using a phone as a WiFi hotspot can work fine for supplying internet to onboard laptops, tablets, etc. You may need to keep the phone on a charger much of the time, but that can also work well with a cell booster in areas where the signal is weak (and a Bluetooth headset for phone calls). I’ve been happily using that setup for years.

    2. I’m a longtime and fairly content Verizon user, but I’m a bit disturbed by the Visible marketing. Pretending to be a hip upstart discount cell company is almost amusing, but going out of the way to mock cell phone stores is gross. My wife, for instance, has gotten valuable iPhone help at our local Verizon store. How would you feel as a Verizon representative when the company advertises your unavailability as a feature?

  4. Adrian says:

    Of course Ben, customer service can be crucial, but with technology constantly advancing one has to be able to troubleshoot themselves. Often with halp of the internet, remedies can be found faster than a trip to the store. And how about when you are on the water or in a remote area? No store around

  5. Xavier says:

    Hello Ben,

    I for one don’t take offense at the anti-store campaign. For those of us willing and able to do without store support, the savings can be important, though I recognize this alternative is not for everyone.

    Please consider: suppose you are on the $65 Verizon prepaid plan and you go to the store to resolve an iPhone question twice in the year. That is $780. Now suppose you are on the Visible $40 plan. That is $480; you don’t get to ask any questions, but the difference is $300.

    For $300, one might consider: a (longer) drive to an Apple Store to ask a question (DO make an appointment before getting in the car!), or a few hours of internet searches on DuckDuckGo, Chances are, sort of device failure, a solution will be found. Also, Apple on the telephone is surprisingly willing to consult on the telephone for many day-to-day issues.

    To each his own, I say, and for those able to do it, save $300!

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      I get it, Xavier, and I’m a potential Visible customer. But I’d respect Verizon more if they simply marketed Visible as a good value in large part because the service doesn’t have the expense of stores, instead of the mockery. I might also trust them more. And side note: it’s hard to put a $ value on not having to mess with my dear wife’s phone 😉

  6. Luis Soltero Luis Soltero says:

    anyone know if this plan works in Canda and/or Mexico? And if so what the terms of use are and any additional costs?

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      My SIM card arrives tomorrow so I should know more after I get to experiment a little more. But, I do know that Visible is quite clear about there being no roaming being supported. I believe this is both domestic and international, so if you’re out of Verizon service your phone won’t roam to another carrier, even while in the US. For international roaming they suggest WiFi or inserting a SIM from a carrier in the country you’re visiting.

      Ben S.

      • Norm Miller Norm Miller says:

        Noticed some SIM card unlimited plans for sale on Ebay, any experience in buying a transferred plan? I have a new Peplink Balance 30 for Quiet Company and it can accept 2 SIMS.
        Hope all is well!
        Great Harbour GH47

  7. Anonymous says:


  8. David Lyman says:

    Just spent 3 months in the Caribbean living on a boat trying to find the Internet. Of course the bars and restaurants ashore offer access, for the price of a beer, but often for only 30. Minutes. I resorted to using Verizon’s International plan. For $10 a day I get 24 hours of internet, phone calls, messaging and can use the connection as a local hit spot. The upload speed for sending videos is shot to my Vimeo channel was better than any link ashore, but that often required and additional $10 to keep the higher data rate.
    The plan worked on the boat out in the anchorages when I was with cell tower range.
    I spent around $200 over 3 months to get online. That’s on top of my normal $50 a month line charge.
    Ten years ago i used a company Calle HotHotHotSpot. They charged $50 a month and had service out into the anchorages in most harbors. I didn’t see them this year.

  9. Will B. says:

    Ben — how about an update for folks (like me) running across this post, wondering about your “sim in a data device” experience.

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