Verizon Wireless Review: Saving Big on Free iPhones and Family Unlimited myPlan

Switching phone carriers is a big decision. Especially if, like me, you have a family plan. But last December, amidst the holiday frenzy, I made the leap. After over twenty years with AT&T, I was drawn to Verizon’s offer of free phones and personalized myPlan service, along with some of the best unlimited data deals around. Though not without its bumps, it was much easier than I anticipated.

Considering a switch to Verizon Wireless? Here’s what you need to know, and how I saved a bundle for my whole family while snagging two brand new iPhones.

Verizon Wireless

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With free smartphone upgrades, the freedom to tailor myPlan for your family, additional services like Apple One for $10 a month, and significant discounts when switching or adding lines, Verizon can be an excellent way to save cash on your wireless bill.

From $30/month at Verizon

What We Love About It

I don’t want to disparage AT&T; it’s provided me with good service over the years, spanning from my early Nokia days to Motorola Razr and then to the iPhone 15. The issue is, I ended up inheriting an old unlimited data plan that didn’t include many of the more modern offerings like hotspots. Even with my corporate discount, transitioning to one of the current plans would have been more expensive. So, after some research and talking to friends in New York City who use Verizon, I ultimately decided to take the plunge and make the move.

16a122b25fb93fe9b31ae9b66bf3df78Unlimited Data and myPlan

Verizon’s myPlan, launched in 2023, differs from its closest competitors. The idea is that if you have multiple people on your family plan, you can precisely allocate everyone’s needs based on three service levels (down from Verizon’s initial six levels): Unlimited Ultimate starting at $55, which adds international travel options; Unlimited Plus starting at $45 for faster 5G; and Unlimited Welcome starting at $30 for basic unlimited plans. The more lines you add (up to four), the better the discount.

For my family, the mix made perfect sense. While my husband uses a different service provider for work, my family consists of two teenagers and my mother, who don’t need pricier, more complex plans. I opted for Unlimited Ultimate, which gives me 60GB of hotspot data and access to Verizon’s faster Ultra Wideband, while my family uses Unlimited Welcome, which is basic 5G. Another perk of my Unlimited Ultimate? When traveling to another country/region, I get unlimited texts and calls and 10GB of free international data per month.

Starting January 4th, those switching to Verizon can now get the Unlimited Welcome service for just $25 per month and lock in this price for three years.

785a91797b86761af3928fb191de8103Savings on Additional Services and Discounts

Once I had that sorted out, I could consider the additional benefits, all for $10 a month. These include Verizon’s most popular packages like Netflix and Max (with ads), saving $7 a month; the Disney Bundle, including Disney (ad-free), Hulu (with ads), and ESPN+ (with ads), saving $9 a month; and the Apple One Plan bundling Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and iCloud+, saving $10 a month.

I initially went with Apple One since I was already paying for Apple TV+ separately, which recently increased to $10 a month—so theoretically, I could get the rest of the Apple services for free. In a perfectly seamless customer service moment (some of which was with Verizon), I didn’t even have to let Apple know; it just automatically updated my subscription settings. Another value-add was the 100GB hotspot, typically priced at $35/month. Of course, if you buy too many, the discounts may not be as worthwhile, but there are still some nice savings, and you can add or remove each one at any time.

Additional savings on the monthly bill include enrolling in online auto-pay, enjoying an extra $10 discount per line per month—a significant change. And because I already have Verizon FIOS at home, my mobile bill saves even more.

Free Apple iPhone (and Other Smartphones)

Like most mobile providers, Verizon entices you to switch services by offering free phones. By signing up for a Verizon Unlimited plan (meaning adding lines or switching to Verizon), you can choose from a range of new smartphones (including Samsung Galaxy series and Google Pixel) when trading in old devices. I was lucky to already have the iPhone 15, which ranks high in our best smartphones list, but my mother and son both had older devices, so being able to swap them out for newer iPhones was great. And since neither of us was in a rush to get new phones, we got an extra $20 discount per line for bringing our own devices. More savings.

Now that the holidays are over, Verizon’s 2024 trade-in offer applies to new customers on select Unlimited Ultimate plans. You can choose any new smartphone, as long as it matches the smartphone you submit. Have an iPhone 12 Mini? You can swap it for an iPhone 15 Pro Max. Same with any Galaxy, Pixel, and so on.

225dd55fb81873ae86ca9841c3779a02Customer Service

I’ll admit, I was nervous about making such a massive switch with so many of us relying on the service, and I was pleasantly surprised by how smoothly Verizon handled it. Since the Verizon store in my Brooklyn community isn’t an “authorized retailer,” I was advised to make an appointment at one of the company’s flagship stores to ensure the best experience. Luckily, I was able to make it to the Hudson Yards location in Manhattan, which also happens to be CNN’s New York headquarters. The staff there patiently guided me through everything I needed to consider, choose, and ultimately do, without any issues or waiting around. I can’t tell you how long I’ve spent in AT&T stores waiting for service.

I completed all the transactions and add-ons under guidance, received advice on all available discounts, and was even shown the amounts of taxes and fees (often hidden in your bill). Since my mother’s phone needed a new SIM card to make the switch, they helped me figure out how to send it to her in New Jersey without interrupting her service. And then they handed me a business card with email and phone numbers in case I needed anything. Truly full-service.

What We Didn’t Like

Merging FIOS and Wireless

The biggest issue I encountered with Verizon was having to merge my current home FIOS and new wireless accounts into one “My Verizon” account. The company recently made it the sole place to view, manage, and pay all bills, but every time I logged in, it only displayed my mobile information. It took me 60 minutes of messaging with four different agents before I finally opted to have someone call me. To be fair, the issue was easier to resolve when speaking with someone, but it was still an hour of my life I’ll never get back.

Inconsistent Service in Some Areas of NYC

Since switching to Verizon, my service hasn’t changed, but my son, who attends high school on the Upper West Side, has complained about his data not being great. Of course, each service has its dead spots, making it hard to pinpoint exactly where each service will offer optimal coverage. Just like our case, it can spread from one block to another, from one neighborhood to another.

Bottom Line

Trying out Verizon after using one phone service for over 20 years wasn’t easy. But with enticing sign-up deals for brand-new smartphones, a range of cost-cutting add-ons, free hotspots and international data, calls, and texts, as well as discounts for online bill payment and FIOS services, it’s hard to resist. Apart from the annoying message congestion that cropped up a few weeks later, the customer service was top-notch.

Of course, it’s worth checking out what services other carriers offer and researching service maps based on where you live. But if you’re willing to explore what other service providers offer to ease your mobile expenses, Verizon is a solid choice.

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