2021 Review: Verizon Wireless vs AT&T Wireless

2021 Review: Verizon Wireless vs AT&T Wireless
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The nation's two biggest wireless network is AT&T and Verizon, however which one gives you the most bang for your buck? It all depends on what you're after.

Verizon is the most costly cellular service, yet its coverage and freebies (free Disney+, anyone?) are unmatched. AT&T has the highest data limits (meaning your data won't be throttled at the end of the month), but the coverage isn't as good as Verizon's. Despite the fact that AT&T's data plans are around $5 cheaper a month than Verizon's, neither company provides incredibly low-cost packages.

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Unlimited Plans

The choice between AT&T and Verizon may come down to network coverage and pace.

Both AT&T and Verizon are known for their unlimited data plans. In reality, neither provider has anything to give in the way of limited data plans. As a consequence, it's either go big or go home.

However, not all unlimited data plans are the same. There are few other different tiers with different data limits, benefits, and prices (yes, unlimited doesn't necessarily mean unlimited). So, from each tier, we'll compare Verizon and AT&T's unlimited plans.

Verizon vs AT&T: First-tier unlimited plans

AT&T Unlimited Starter plan

Verizon Wireless Start Unlimited Plan

The Start Unlimited Plan and the Unlimited Starter Plan are the two options. That isn't at all perplexing (is it really that difficult to come up with a more original plan name?). Either of these plans is $5 apart in price and provides unlimited data (subject to throttling).

The Unlimited Starter package from AT&T restricts video streaming to 1.5 Mbps, which is appropriate for standard definition but not for HD. The plan is $5 cheaper than Verizon's (saving you around $60 a year), but there is a higher upfront cost.

Verizon's plan still restricts streaming media (in this case, to 480p image quality), but it compensates by including a free one-year pass to Disney+. So, if the $70 price tag on this package is getting to you, just watch an episode of The Mandalorian to distract yourself!

Both of these entry-level unlimited plans come with a big catch: there's no hard data cap, but your data can be pummeled (slowed down) at periods of data traffic. That means you might not be able to watch your favorite musical act perform live at the festival if you don't have enough bandwidth.

Verizon vs AT&T: Second-Tier Unlimited plans

Verizon Wireless Do More and Play More Unlimited Plans

AT&T Unlimited Extra Plan

With Verizon and AT&T's second-tier plans, you'll get a fixed sum of full-speed data. When you reach the limit, your bandwidth will not be throttled.

The 50 GB cap on AT&T's Unlimited Extra and Verizon's Do More Unlimited plans is a lot of data. Just half of that is included in Verizon's Play More Limitless package (but 25 GB is still nothing to scoff at).

The video quality is the other big difference in Verizon's Do More and Play More unrestricted plans. The Do More Unlimited Plan will maintain you watching in accepted definition while the Play More Unlimited Plan will offer you HD quality video streams.

All three of these mid-tier plans provide unrestricted chat, text, and data in Canada and Mexico, as well as 15 GB of hotspot use.

If you want even more from your mobile phone contract, check out the top-tier options...

Verizon vs. AT&T: Top-tier unlimited plans

Verizon Get More Unlimited Plan

AT&T Unlimited Elite plan

It's not just about the cost. If you're a YouTube addict or a PUBG Smartphone player, the top-tier plans from Verizon and AT&T are well worth every penny.

The Verizon Get More Unlimited Plan provides a whopping 75 GB of unrestricted data. This is enough data to play every installment of Game of Thrones (in standard definition) on your phone! Not that someone would like to do anything like that...|

Try 100 GB if you thought 75 GB was a lot. Every month, you'll get that with AT&T's Limitless Elite package. Even the most phone-addicted teens will struggle to consume this massive amount of data.

In addition, AT&T's top-tier package includes 30 GB of mobile hotspot data and a free HBO subscription (you know, for all that Game of Thrones). Top-tier Verizon rewards include 30 GB of hotspot data and free Apple Music and Disney+ subscriptions.

Our favorite AT&T and Verizon unlimited plans

We understand that there was a lot of knowledge about unlimited data plans. So, for the TL;DR crowd, we'll make it a little easier. In each of the tiers, we've listed our favorite plans.

Our guidelines for AT&T and Verizon unlimited data plans are as follows:

First Tier: AT&T's Unlimited Starter

It's a little less expensive than Verizon's plan, and it gives you the opportunity to the country's fastest network, which could be helpful when the network is clogged up.

Second Tier: Verizon's Do More Unlimited

On the top network, it provides 50GB of data for nationwide coverage. You'll also get a Disney+ subscription!

Top Tier: AT&T' Unlimited Elite

It will provide you with a huge amount of data: 100 GB. This package is less expensive than Verizon's top-tier plan, but it comes with plenty of extras (including a free HBO subscription).

Family Plans

While Verizon's monthly rates are cheaper, AT&T's startup fees will quickly add up.

There's nothing quite like gathering the whole family to find out who still owes money on the phone bill. But seriously, if you enter a family plan with your children, siblings, and other relatives, you can save a lot of money.

Again, Verizon and AT&T have very similar products. As a consequence, for many consumers, the option will likely come down to network and benefits: Verizon has better coverage, while AT&T has quicker data speeds. Verizon offers Disney+, while AT&T (higher-tier plans) provides HBO.

Take a closer look:

Verizon's Family Plans

Verizon offers a variety of family plans, including restricted data, limitless data, and prepaid options. Here are a few of the most common choices.

AT&T family plans

AT&T also offers a wide range of family plans to fit all budgets. There are unlimited plans available if you have a family of data hogs. There are also lower-data choices if you want your kids to spend more time looking at their textbooks and less time looking at their tablets.

Here's a look at some of AT&T's most famous family plans. To create your own family plan, go to WhistleOut's website and click on the table.

Speed and Coverage

Verizon and AT&T also offer excellent national coverage, but Verizon has the advantage.

We've already discussed how Verizon has the strongest national coverage and AT&T has the quickest data rates in the industry. But first, let's take a look at some of the data that went into those rankings.

Coverage

It's always a good idea to search a map to see if the locations you care for are included. If you're a surfer living between Hawaii and California, there's no point in picking a carrier based on its "better coverage," which happens to be on the east coast.

The variations between these two maps are small. Both Verizon and AT&T would almost definitely protect you if you live in a metropolitan area. However, Verizon's signal would be stronger in some remote areas of the west and Appalachia.

In our testing of both plans, we discovered that AT&T offers more reliable service than Verizon in our region. If you're thinking of moving to Verizon or AT&T, find out what kind of coverage they get with each carrier from someone in your area. You don't want to sign up for a Verizon or AT&T plan just to learn that you live in a huge dead zone.

Speed

You may have excellent coverage, but it does not guarantee that your data will be delivered quickly. Slow data speeds will cause your Facetime call to be interrupted, your Instagram binge to crash, and your Fortnite Battle Royal winning streak to come to an end.

We surveyed tens of thousands of wireless customers and discovered that AT&T lags behind Verizon in wireless download and upload rates.

Verizon's download speeds average 32.2 Mbps and upload speeds average 12.89 Mbps, while AT&T's download speeds average 28.9 Mbps and upload speeds average 9.4.

Simply put, anything you do on the internet, such as downloading, updating Twitter, and sharing Instagram posts, would be a little quicker on Verizon's network than on AT&T's. However, since data rates are often affected by your venue, it's likely that your experience will be different.

Devices and Phones

AT&T and Verizon both have the most up-to-date smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Google, and other manufacturers.

When you're having a new line with a new carrier, it's the perfect time to get a new handset. So, before you decide to sign up for Verizon or AT&T, you should know which phones are available.

Here's a look at some of the most common phone models offered by these two firms.

Is it too much to give up your 256 GB iPhone XS Max that you purchased last year? You can carry your own unlocked smartphone to either AT&T or Verizon, so don't worry.

Conclusion:

Verizon and AT&T are both top-tier mobile phone companies with a wide variety of contracts, reliability, benefits, and the most up-to-date smartphones. However, there are several distinctions between the two brands.

Here's a short rundown of what separates each carrier.

Best Coverage: Verizon

Verizon is the company to choose if you want the best network in the country. Although every carrier's coverage map has shortcomings, Verizon makes a concerted effort to ensure that even the most isolated communities have a few bars of service.

Even though Verizon's data rates aren't quite as fast as AT&T's, they're respectable. The company has a large range of new devices to purchase (and it runs great deals, too)

Highest Data Caps, and slightly cheaper: AT&T

The AT&T network is the way to go if you want the best data rates in the industry. It has recently dominated speed tests, establishing itself as the best provider for players, streamers, and influencers of all types.

AT&T's top-tier unlimited plans also include a whopping 100 GB of high-speed data and a complimentary HBO subscription! America, eat your heart out.