Verizon buyer’s guide: Internet plans and more

While it has its flaws, it remains true that Verizon is one of the best wireless carriers in the United States. Big Red has a massive base of subscribers, excellent devices, and a huge nationwide network. If you’re already a customer, you might be ready to see what else Verizon can do. Luckily for you, it has the power to bring whole-home internet to your front door. Here’s everything you need to know about Verizon internet plans.

See also: Our guide to Verizon’s plans, perks, and more

We’ll take you through the different internet options Verizon has to offer, as well as certain supported devices. After that, we can dive into a few competitors to make sure that Big Red is actually the right fit for your needs. Ready to get started?


Verizon internet at a glance

The carrier now known as Verizon Wireless has been around for decades in one form or another. It’s gone through a few name changes, but it launched Fios under the Verizon name back in 2005. Fios has since grown to support more than five million customers across nearly one-fifth of the United States. Once you factor in other Verizon broadband customers, the carrier has fluctuated between seven million and nine million subscribers in the last few years.

When we tried to track down Verizon Fios and the other internet options at the Better Business Bureau, it took us to the main Verizon Communications page. On the bright side, that page boasts an A-plus rating and a better business bureau accreditation. It only carries a one-star customer rating and has closed more than 7,000 complaints in the last three years, but that’s not unheard of for carriers.

The Verizon internet plans carry a different coverage map than you would find with Verizon’s mobile service. In fact, you won’t necessarily find 5G home internet and Fios available in the same locations. To learn more, check out the map right here.


What are your Verizon internet options?

  Mobile Hotspot Verizon Fios Fixed Wireless Internet (4G LTE/5G)
Price Essential – $20
Plus – $40
Pro – $60
Premium – $80
$39.99
$64.99
$89.99
All prices with Auto Pay
LTE – $40/$60
5G – $50/$70
Speeds 4G LTE/5G Nationwide for Essential
5G Ultra Wideband for Plus, Pro, and Premium
200Mbps
400Mbps
Gigabit
Up to 25Mbps down / 50Mbps (LTE)
300Mbps down, up to Gigabit speeds (5G)
Verizon plan requirement Yes Not required, but comes with a $20 discount Not required, but comes with a $20 discount
Perks Premium streaming quality AMC Plus for 12 months
Free Samsung tablet or Chromebook
Verizon cloud storage with select plans
Two months of Sling TV
Best use Verizon data on the go High-speed fiber internet where available High-speed Verizon data where available
Limitations Requires battery operated hotspot device Only available in parts of nine states Not available in all locations, incompatible with certain obstacles

Mobile hotspot

If you’re looking to tap into Verizon’s massive mobile network anywhere you go, a hotspot might be your best bet. It typically requires a standalone hotspot device, but you can choose from a few data caps ranging from 15GB per month up to 150GB. However, Verizon won’t cut you off entirely once you reach that threshold — you’ll just see your 4G LTE or 5G speeds drop to 600kpbs for the remainder of the billing cycle. This is slow but it is enough to check emails and other basic web browsing. 

Verizon’s most affordable Essentials plan with 15GB of data costs just $20 per line, while the Plus plan with 50GB jumps to $40. When you hit 100GB with the Pro plan, you can expect a $60 fee or get a Premium hotspot with 150GB of data for $80. Should you stick with the Essentials plan, you can tap into Verizon’s 4G LTE or 5G Nationwide networks. The other three plans rise to the faster but more limited 5G Ultra-Wideband network where available. 

You can enjoy media streaming to your heart’s content, though the quality depends on your plan. If you opt for the Essentials, you’ll get 720p HD streaming, while Plus, Pro, and Premium can handle 4K UHD quality when connected to the 5G Ultra-Wideband.

Prefer to go the prepaid route? While the data caps and pricing are a bit different, Verizon also offers a mobile hotspot plan, which you can learn more about here. 

Highlights:

  • Up to 150GB of 5G Ultra Wideband data
  • Flexible connection from anywhere

Verizon Fios

If you’re lucky enough to live in a supported area, Verizon Fios offers excellent fiber internet. It carries the best speeds that Verizon has to offer if you’re willing to pay for them, and each plan offers its own variety of perks.

Verizon Fios kicks off with a 200Mbps plan for $39.99 per month. If you already happen to be a Verizon customer, you can knock $30 per month off your bill to make it that much more enticing. As for perks, the entry-level Verizon Fios plan includes one year of AMC Plus at no extra charge.

For a total of $64.99 per month, you can double your connection speed to 400Mbps with a wired connection. The plan keeps the same $30 discount close at hand, as well as the AMC Plus account. However, the mid-tier plan also comes with a free Samsung Galaxy A7 tablet so you can experience Fios in a whole new way. After all, it’s better to stream The Walking Dead on something larger than your smartphone.

For you real speed demons, the Gigabit Fios plan is the only way to go. It offers the best speeds of the bunch at up to 940Mbps, though it’s also the most expensive at $89.99 per month. On the bright side, you can save slightly more with your Verizon account — $40 per month this time — and you’ll get a $100 gift card just for signing up. Verizon is currently offering a free Samsung Chromebook 4 and a router and Wi-Fi extender to keep your whole home covered. Last but not least, you get a year of AMC Plus and 2TB of Verizon Cloud Storage at no extra charge.

Highlights:

  • Great perks on select plans
  • Impressive speeds up to Gigabit

Fixed wireless internet

Verizon’s third option for home Wi-Fi is a fixed wireless internet plan. It’s somewhat similar to a hotspot in that it relies on 4G LTE and 5G data, but you’ll need some slightly different hardware. Specifically, you’ll need Verizon to install a compatible gateway and router to pull signal in from nearby towers.

Verizon’s 4G LTE fixed wireless internet is more readily available, and it will cost you just $40 per month provided you’re a Verizon customer. You’ll pay slightly more as a Verizon customer on the 5G side, namely $50 per month, but it’s not a bad increase for the faster speeds.

Learn more: What is fixed wireless internet?

There aren’t any exciting perks to go with Verizon’s 4G LTE plan, but the 5G option includes two months of Sling TV for free if you want a new way to cut the cord. You can also get a free Samsung Chromebook and a $100 gift card when you join. Of course, you’ll want to check out Verizon’s coverage map above before you sign up.

Although fixed wireless internet sounds like a great option for those in rural areas, it does come with some limitations. You will often find it unavailable if you live in a densely wooded area, as the trees interfere with the gateway signal. Still, if you do have the option, this is a great alternative to traditional home internet. For those that are in an area that won’t work, a hotspot could still be the answer. For example, our very own Andrew Grush lives in a wooded area and yet a traditional hotspot is able to work as a home internet option, even if they don’t officially offer fixed wireless in his area. 

Highlights:

  • Up to 5G Ultra Wideband speeds
  • $20 discounts for Verizon subscribers

What are the limitations of each plan?

Signal bars LG V60

As with any internet plan, there are some limits that you have to keep in mind. These vary from plan to plan, but they can be key in helping you to determine the right course of action.

Verizon’s hotspot plans, for example, rely on a standalone device to deliver signal. You’ll have coverage throughout Verizon’s massive network, though you have to keep an eye on battery life so you don’t wind up with a dead device. Planning to just use the hotspot at home mostly? You may want to shy away from a hotspot plan if Fios or fixed wireless is an option, as both tend to deliver solid speeds with hardware that you can set and forget.

Verizon Fios has one major limitation — it’s downright tough to find. You can only sign up in portions of nine US states, all of which lie in the northeast. Those states include New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington DC. To make matters even more complicated, Fios is only available within select major cities in each of those states.

If you’re leaning towards fixed wireless internet for Verizon’s vast network, you may want to take a moment to check your local availability. The special fixed wireless gateway requires a direct line of sight to one of Verizon’s base stations, something that’s often easier said than done. Dense tree coverage tends to get in the way, and weather phenomena like rain and fog can interfere with your coverage as well.


What is each Verizon internet plan best for?

Verizon Wireless logo stock image 1

As you might have guessed, each type of Verizon internet plan serves its own purpose. This is where you’ll want to think long and hard about your needs before you sign up.

For starters, the Verizon hotspot plans are the best if you want to take your connection on the go. If you’re away from a reliable Wi-Fi source, you can simply fire up your hotspot and work or stream your favorite shows. A hotspot plan is also great if you rely on an MVNO for mobile coverage but you don’t want to worry about deprioritization. The last thing you need in the middle of a workday is for your home internet dropping to a snail’s pace.

It’s easy to sit here and say that Verizon Fios is the best internet as long as you can get it, and in many ways this is true. The fiber cables won’t be interrupted by rain or other weather, and you can grab Gigabit speeds that will keep your entire family smiling. Fios is the most similar to a traditional Wi-Fi setup, right down to the need for a router and range extender. Just remember that it’s limited to a select few locations.

Finally, the Verizon fixed wireless internet plans are great for people who don’t have DSL or broadband as an option. It tends to be a favorite for rural customers in wide-open areas thanks to the gateway setup and the high data capacity. You also don’t have to be a Verizon customer in order to sign up, though you can qualify for a discount. As always, you’ll want to check on your local availability first, as tree coverage and weather can impact your speeds.


What are the alternatives to Verizon internet?

If you’ve read through all of Verizon’s options and you’re not sold on Big Red, don’t worry. It’s not the only fish in the sea, and there are plenty of other options for you to look into. We’ll tap into alternatives for each of Verizon’s home internet types, which should help you to find a compatible plan no matter your needs.

Mobile hotspot alternatives

Those of you hoping to take your internet on the go will be happy to know that there are more mobile hotspot plans than you can shake a stick at. If you’re a Verizon customer already, it makes perfect sense to stick with Big Red. However, AT&T, T-Mobile, and a whole host of MVNOs have plans of their own to meet your needs. You’ll mainly want to check out the prices for each carrier as well as the data options before you buy.

Once you settle on a plan, you may want to grab a hotspot device to go with it. Some carriers offer 4G-ready options while others have a few 5G models to try. You can also turn your phone into a mobile hotspot as needed, but a standalone hotspot device tends to be kinder on your phone’s battery.

Here’s what AT&T and T-Mobile have to offer instead:

AT&T: Right now, DataConnect is your best bet for an AT&T hotspot. You can choose from either 25GB or 40GB and pay $50 or $75, respectively. Overages cost $10 per every 2GB of data used. However, you might be better off with one of AT&T’s prepaid hotspot plans instead. They top out at an impressive $55 for 100GB of data, or you can save some cash with 20GB for $25 per month.

T-Mobile: The Magenta carrier keeps things simple with just one real hotspot plan to try. Instead of choosing between a prepaid or a postpaid plan, you just have to decide how much data tickles your fancy. Options kick off with 2GB for $10 and climb as high as 50GB for $50. It pays to go big, as you’ll pay far less per gig as you reach for a higher cap.

Check out our favorites: The best mobile hotspot plans

Verizon Fios alternatives

Verizon Fios is great, but it’s also very limited in its coverage. With that in mind, you may have to venture outside of Big Red for a comparable fiber or DSL plan. AT&T has a few options that you can try, but most people are better off looking to a dedicated ISP. Xfinity is one of the largest options in the US, with a presence in 41 states. Charter Spectrum and CenturyLink are two other popular choices with speeds and tiers similar to those of Verizon.

If you decide that you want to pursue a fiber or DSL connection, you’ll have to start considering routers and Wi-Fi extenders as well. These can have a major impact on your experience, as they offer a wide variety of speeds and device support can vary from a handful of devices up to nearly 100.

Here are a few other internet providers to try:

Google Fiber: Google made quite the splash when it launched its Fiber service a few years back. It’s available in select major cities nationwide, though notably absent from the northeast. You can choose from 1 Gigabit or 2 Gigabit speeds for $70 or $100 per month, so speed should never be an issue. Fiber also boasts 99.9% reliability according to Google, so it’s worth a look if it’s available near you.

Xfinity: We’ve already mentioned that Xfinity has a massive nationwide footprint, and has more plans than most other ISPs. You can go low with 100Mbps or 200Mbps speeds, but you’ll actually pay more than you would for the 400Mbps plan. Xfinity tops out at an impressive 2,000Mbps, but you’ll have to shell out a painful $300 per month.

Check out our favorites: The best internet providers in the US

Fixed wireless internet alternatives

The fixed wireless internet options remain about the same from carrier to carrier, and you can take a look at both AT&T and T-Mobile while you’re researching. No matter which way you go, you’ll need a gateway to connect to a base station as well as a router for your home.

One of the best alternatives for rural customers is actually to try satellite internet instead. Elon Musk’s Starlink is one of the best around, with an ever-increasing array of satellites that eventually plans to include 12,000 points. While the weather can once again impact your service, it tends to be easier to find a satellite as opposed to a point on the ground. Right now, the greatest issue with Starlink is the price. The starter kit costs $499 before your monthly bill, though it is a great option where you can get it.

Here are a few other fixed internet options to think about:

Rise Broadband: Rise is one of the more popular ISPs in the fixed wireless game, though it tops out at 50Mbps download speeds. It should meet most people’s needs quite well, and the base plans cost just $29 or $39 per month. You can also choose your data cap as needed, but most people stay under 100GB.

AT&T Fixed Wireless: Big Blue is back as a competitor once again, offering 350GB of fixed wireless data for $59 per month. You should have no problem making the cap last throughout the month, though the 25Mbps download speeds and 1Mbps upload speeds are far from the fastest around. If you want to save some money, you can always bundle your fixed wireless service with DirecTV from AT&T.

Learn more: Everything you need to know about Starlink

If you’re looking to make a switch away from Verizon, we have a guide to help with that too.


What devices support Verizon internet plans?

Verizon internet plans router

Credit: Verizon

Once you’ve settled on your Verizon internet plan of choice, it’s time to get connected. Since we covered mobile hotspot plans first, we’ll kick things off with Big Red’s device options. If you’re hoping to tap into 5G speeds, the Inseego MiFi M2100 is the only way to go for $16.66 per month. It costs quite a bit more per month than the other options, but it can blow them away on speed as well.

Verizon’s Orbic Speed hotspot is your best bet if you need to save some cash, as it costs just $3.33 per month. It claims that you can connect up to 10 devices at once, and the battery should keep you chugging along for a solid 12 hours. Just remember that it tops out at 4G LTE speeds.

One more Verizon hotspot to try is the Jetpack MiFi 8800L. It falls in the middle of the pack at $8.33 per month, but it offers significantly better battery life at 24 hours and brings privacy features like an automatic VPN. It packs an extra kick for up to 15 devices at any one time as well.

If you decide that Fios is your internet plan of choice, you have quite a few more options to choose from. Technically, you can choose any router you please, which is a good way to avoid an extra monthly charge. Verizon’s own Fios Router is shown above, featuring Wi-Fi 6 and Tri-band 4×4 antennas for an excellent blanket of coverage. It pairs nicely with the nearly identical Fios Extender, which offers the same Wi-Fi 6 support and antenna array.

Should you choose to venture outside of the Fios realm, the router world is your oyster. If you prefer a Google-powered home, Nest Wi-Fi is probably the way to go. Each little router and extender follows the same, smooth design language you expect from Google in a mesh system that’s a breeze to set up. Amazon is not to be outdone, either, with its eero system. It offers a few more designs and configurations, but the whole-home mesh approach is the same.

If you’re ready to grab a router, here are our favorite mesh options as well as the best gaming routers.

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