A tech startup has listened to the complaints of mobile customers and is offering a unique take on mobile plans that could save you hundreds of dollars. Best of all: The plans are totally unlimited. If you're looking for a simple alternative to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, this carrier just might be what you're looking for.
In our day and age, we carry devices that put the supercomputers of yesteryear to shame -- all while giving us on-demand access to media, information, and pretty much everyone we have ever met. That's why we're willing to pay to get the most out of our phones every day.
There is one aspect of smartphones, however, that we're a bit more hesitant to sing praises about: our carriers. Sure, cellphone carriers will slash rates, run promotions, and offer device discounts, but our mobile plans can be expensive and overcomplicated. No matter how it's presented, we are still paying top dollar for voice, text, and internet -- often with a data cap or similar restrictions. Factor in device financing and you have the perfect recipe for staggeringly high monthly bills no matter what kind of plan you're on.
Things are finally starting to change, though, in the world of carriers.
Visible competes against major carriers with its simple, affordable plans
Since making its debut, Visible has gone out of its way to differentiate itself from its competitors. Unlike traditional wireless providers, Visible doesn't require contracts or long-term commitments -- just a basic, monthly subscription fee of $40 per month. What that gets you, however, is unlimited voice, text, and internet data.
Similar to Google's Google Fi, you select your device, sign up, and receive a SIM card in the mail. Once you're ready, you simply pay the monthly subscription fee and you're ready to go. Unlike Google Fi, which is an MVNO that runs on Sprint, T-Mobile. US Cellular and other networks, Visible runs on a single network from Verizon. Also unlike Google Fi, Visible is lifting its data cap for a limited time.
That $40 price-point isn't an exaggeration, either. In markets where state and local taxes can increase your monthly wireless bill, Visible retains its $40 flat rate across the board. What's more, if you're thinking of switching, you can bring your own device (although the company does offer phones, as well as financing options). You'll need to check if your device is compatible, but the company's website has a page where you can plug in your device and carrier information to find out.
That said, Visible does support some of the most popular smartphones on the market -- including both the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy families of devices.
Visible's parent company is Verizon, which gives devices access to Verizon's entire network infrastructure -- which is often ranked as one of the strongest in the country. This backing allows Visible to go toe to toe with other big names like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint on a much more even playing field.
But when it comes to customer service, Visible runs its own show. They refer to their customers as "members" and frequently survey them to see what features they want next. In 2018, they added mobile hot spots. This year, they're lifting the data cap.
Is there a downside?
Another thing to keep in mind is the number of lines you currently use on your existing wireless plan. Visible's target audience is single-line account holders. If you happen to have a large family plan with multiple users, there isn't a corresponding plan on Visible -- yet. Instead, you would need to sign up each of them individually at the same $40 rate. If you have many users on your account, this can potentially add up.
On the other hand, if you're living alone with your partner, the kids are moved out, and you're looking for something cheaper, you'll only end up paying $80 for your two lines. That's still a better rate than most competitors. For a family of 6, maybe not so much.
Best low-cost cellphone plans for 2018
Fortunately even the most expensive of carriers offer cheaper options, and while they may not be offered at the same price point as what is sold by lesser carriers, they provide the top-notch quality at a more affordable rate.