Today, wireless company Verizon quietly launched its latest foray into the world of telecommunication options. Dubbed Visible, the new service offers unlimited data, minutes, and messages on Verizon's 4G LTE network for just $40 a month. What's more, it's prepaid, so you're not beholden to any sort of annual contract.
Visible works via an app that you download to your iOS device (Android phones unfortunately aren't supported at the moment, but the company's website states that compatibility with non-iOS smartphones will be coming soon). You can choose your own number, or keep the number you've had so those you communicate with don't get confused. Once you've download the app and completed registration for the service, you'll be mailed a SIM card within a day or so unless you signed up right before the weekend. Pop it in, and voilà! You've got a working phone. You can make your payments in the app using Venmo and PayPal as well, so there are no physical prepaid cards or anything like that to mess with. If you already had an account with another provider, you don't have to worry about canceling it if you don't want to go through that, either — once your number is transferred to Visible, your account will be automatically cancelled for you.
If you decide to hop on the Visible train, here are some of the features you'll get:
- Full calling capabilities, including Voicemail, Call Forwarding, Call Waiting, Caller ID, Call Hold, and 3-Way Calling
- The ability to be on a call and surf the web simultaneously
- Text messaging capabilities, including iMessage (because you'll also have data and the ability to connect to Wi-Fi)
- Unlimited data at speeds up to 5 Mbps
- No data slow-downs based on data usage
- The ability to sign up for autopay, so you never miss a payment
- The option to cancel your Visible account whenever you like
- Complete functionality within the Visible app — it's your hub, so everything you could ever need to do you can do there
- Chat access to Visible's Care Team if you're experiencing issues
While Visible sounds fantastic — especially for individuals who already have an unlocked phone but need to find a cost-effective provider or those who are switching from a family plan to paying their own cellphone bill for the first time — there are a few drawbacks. First off, Visible is currently only available for those who have been invited by others using the service as a part of its early access program, so if you don't know anyone who's already a part of the in-crowd, you won't be able to try it for yourself just yet. Secondly, Visible is only compatible with most unlocked iPhones, but not all of them — some iPhone SE and iPhone 7 models aren't supported. If you have an invite code but aren't sure if your phone will work with Visible, you can figure it out here by scrolling to the bottom and selecting "Check compatibility." Finally, as I mentioned above, Visible's data speeds max out at 5Mbps. This may not bother some people, but if you're a stickler who's into streaming super high-res videos, you may want to skip this service. At 5Mbps, video will typically stream at a resolution of 480p.
If you're interested in Visible, I'd recommend checking out the company's FAQ page for more detailed, granular information. Overall though, it seems like a great option for those who don't have a lot of cash but still want a fully-functional smartphone that they can use to call friends, browse social media, keep up with their group chat, and pretty much anything else they like.
Would you consider trying Visible? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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Tory Foulk is a writer at Mobile Nations. She lives at the intersection of technology and sorcery and enjoys radio, bees, and houses in small towns. When she isn't working on articles, you'll likely find her listening to her favorite podcasts in a carefully curated blanket nest. You can follow her on Twitter at @tsfoulk.