Verizon Wireless was formed in 2000, as a merger between GTE Wireless and Bell Atlantic. It’s currently the second largest mobile service provider in the US, coming in just behind AT&T with over 98 million subscribers.
Verizon has a proud history of firsts in the US – it was the first US company to launch a wireless high-speed broadband 3G network, and this has extended to being the first to build a large-scale 4G LTE network, which was launched in late 2010.
Since its inception, Verizon has invested more than $80 billion to increase the coverage and capacity of its nationwide network, and it seems to be paying off; it’s widely claimed that the company have the best network in the US. There’s no arguing that Verizon’s network coverage is extensive (and reportedly fast). Its LTE network is undeniably its biggest asset; it’s currently available in over 250 more markets than closest rival AT&T’s 4G offerings and is America’s largest 4G LTE network, being accessible to around 89% of the US population. While AT&T uses combined LTE and HSPA+ with enhanced backhaul to layer its ‘4G’ network, Verizon’s 4G LTE outpaces HSPA+ significantly, so may be a favourable option for customers in major metropolitan areas looking to take advantage of their 4G capable devices.
Verizon also have a reputation for great coverage in rural areas, and have roaming agreements with other carriers for the few areas of the US that its network doesn’t reach.
What separates Verizon from the other major carriers in terms of plans, is the introduction of Share Everything Plans as its exclusive contract-based offer. While the company still offers prepaid and pay-as-you-go plans, they’ve switched their post-paid focus to data usage, and have begun to cater to customers, and in particular families, who own multiple devices. Share Everything Plans include unlimited phone calls and texting, and start at $90 per month for one smartphone and 1GB of data. Prices increase based on the number and type of devices included in the plan and the amount of data required. Verizon has provided plan options for people who own several devices (e.g. a smartphone and a tablet) or families looking to pool costs and save money rather than forking out for multiple plans. However, for customers who aren’t big talkers or texters, these plans will offer considerably less value.
Verizon is a CDMA carrier, but does offer dual CDMA/GSM handsets, meaning international coverage is an option if you have a dual phone, and Verizon offer voice and data services in more than 200 destinations globally. However, for frequent travellers, a GSM carrier may prove to be more economical and convenient.
The company also has a good reputation for customer service, although still lags behind T-Mobile’s glowing reviews. Verizon operates more than 1900 retail stores across the country, and has dedicated live chat and telephone support 24/7.
The main downside to Verizon is that the company’s plans are usually a little pricier than those of the other major carriers. However, some customers will feel that this is a worthwhile trade-off in order to access what has been awarded the best network in the US, with extensive coverage and impressive data speeds.
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