Prepaid Data SIM Card Wiki
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Us4

This page was formerly named "CDMA in the United States." On January 2, 2023, Verizon, the last major operator in the US to use CDMA, shut off what remained of their CDMA / EVDO network nationwide, which would put the final nail in the coffin for the long-standing problem of CDMA vs GSM in the country. Verizon and Sprint were the two major carriers that used CDMA out of the "big four." T-Mobile would shut down Sprint's CDMA network in June 2022.

While there are some small regional carriers that still operate a CDMA network in very rural areas, they are irrelevant especially when talking about prepaid.

Verizon[]

Verizon-0

Verizon is the largest cellular service provider in the US. They have about 143 million subscribers as of 2022, with almost 24 million being from prepaid services, thanks to their 2021 acquisition of TracFone, the largest MVNO in the country. They have a reputation for having the best coverage of any network in the country, with AT&T as a close second, but recently, AT&T seems to be getting the upper hand in coverage.

Network[]

As just mentioned, CDMA is shut down on Verizon, and they never operated any 2G GSM / 3G UMTS network.

Their main 4G/LTE coverage band is 700 MHz (B13), with supplemental coverage on 1700 MHz (B4, B66), 1900 MHz (B2), and 850MHz (B5), as well as 5200 MHz (B46) and 3500 MHz (B48) in select markets.

5G Nationwide, is their branding for their low-band 5G network. It is mainly on band n5, with n2 and n66 being available in the future. 5G "Ultra Wideband" is also available on prepaid, but restricted based on plan. It is on bands n77, n260, and n261.

It is worth noting that Verizon's 5G Nationwide network is controversial for being sub-par in many areas. If you experience poor speeds when on just 5G (not 5G UW) turning off 5G on your device may help relieve the problem.

Free trial[]

Notably, Verizon offers a free 30-day eSIM-only trial of their network with no commitment required. This gives you 100 GB of high-speed data, unlimited talk & text, and full network access.

You will need a free eSIM slot, a non-Verizon US phone number (including MVNOs), a compatible unlocked US device (eSIM iPhones, Pixel 4+, and late 2020+ Samsung S/Z series phones). Scan a QR code, download the My Verizon app, where you will be able to activate the trial. For more information visit their website.

BYOD[]

The idea is to bring your own device (BYOD) and register it on Verizon. The problem is, Verizon activation depending on model may be tricky. Even though they have opened up their network, and even though CDMA is gone, it may not be straight forward depending on your device.

Activation[]

Phones that Verizon's activation system recognizes as not originally intended for use on their network, won't be activated. You can check on their website. In order to get the phone to work you have a few options:

  • You need to activate the SIM in a Verizon phone first and put it in your phone after. Any recent US model iPhone or Android phone will work as long as it is Verizon locked or unlocked.
  • If you get a SIM from an authorized retailer with a prepaid plan, it will already be activated. No phone required, but they'll ask which phone it's for. Just name a supported phone similar to yours.[needs verification]

Verizon doesn't prohibit the use of non-Verizon phones on the network, but they don't recommend it and won't provide much support, if there is an issue with the phone on the network. You need to remember that:

  • Your phone needs to support Verizon's VoLTE to carry voice.
  • Some features may not work, such as Time Sync, Visual Voicemail and SMS.
  • You may experience gaps in coverage if your device does not support all bands.

Availability[]

The starter kit for BYOP 4G/LTE compatible phones is called 4G SIM Activation Kit and is sold for $49.99. It includes unlimited talk and text in the US and 2 GB of data. It can be ordered online to an US address (for device select a Verizon iPhone 13), or bought in branded Verizon stores (store locator) or retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy.

For activation go to this site or call (800) 294-6804 from another phone. Tech support should be able to do a SIM-only activation without a supported device.

Top-up[]

Verizon offers many ways to add funds to your prepaid account. PIN cards or codes from $15 to $150 are available at Verizon stores, most convenience stores, supermarkets, chain drugstores and retailers like Best Buy and Target.

They are valid 30-365 days, depending on their amount. Verizon SIMs are reusable, inactive SIMs can be reactivated.

Automatic payments using a credit or debit card can be set up online or by calling *611 from your mobile phone or (888) 294-6804 from another phone, and Verizon will give you a $5 discount starting from the second month with auto-pay. You can also make a one time payment with a credit or debit card online or by calling the numbers from above. Unfortunately some non-US cards are rejected, if not all.

Smartphone Plans[]

Verizon's monthly prepaid plans cover all allowed classes of devices, spanning basic/smartphones and include unlimited US voice, domestic/international (over 200+ countries covered) SMS/MMS, plus data with a set amount of high-speed data for 30 days:

Price Data Hotspot
$45 15 GB (after speed limited to 2G) Included
$60 unlimited (depriorization during network congestion) 5 GB
$70 unlimited (50 GB premium data, after deprioritization) 25 GB

All plans include access to 5G, but only $70 plan includes access to 5G Ultra Wide-Band coverage. Video streaming is limited to 480p (when you have 5G UWB covergage, video streaming is uncapped (4K video streaming)). After usage of hotspot data, your speed will be reduced to 600 Kb/s (or to 3 Mb/s when you have 5G UWB covergae).

The price will be lowered, depending how long you have stayed with the plan:

  • 4-9 months: - $5
  • over 10 months: - $10

All plans includes roaming in Canada and Mexico - up to 2 GB/day, after speed reduced to 3G. Verizon offers its prepaid subscribers an international roaming feature called TravelPass. For $5 per day, you can use your domestic talk, text and data allowances while you travel to Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. For $10 per day, you can use your domestic talk, text and data allowances in over 30+ countries. While a tempting option for North American trips, the price point for outside North America makes this option less appealing as opposed to getting a prepaid SIM for the next country you're visiting.

You can purchase more high speed data through My Verizon or the My Verizon app on your prepaid smartphone (prepaid unlimited plans excluded). More high-speed data can be added by using "Bridge" data packages available in three sizes (unconfirmed as of November 2018 if the data add-on prices are still current):

  • 500 MB for 30 days: $5
  • 1 GB for 90 days: $10
  • 3 GB for 90 days: $20

Take care that all Verizon prepaid plans (except most expensive up to 50 GB) are deprioritized (priority level lower than postpaid customers).

Data plans[]

These plans are aimed for tablets and mobile routers. When you have one of the smartphone plans (above $60), you'll get $30 discount for all plans below:

Price Data Streaming 5G UWB
$40 5 GB 1080p n/a
$60 25 GB
$80 100 GB 4K when 5G UWB, 1080p elsewhere yes
$100 150 GB

In these plans, you don't have tethering limit. Only exception is video streaming - on hotspot you can get only 720p. Take care that data can be depriorizated during network congestion.

When you use up your data, your speed will be limited to 3 Mb/s when you have 5G UWB coverange, elsewhere you'll have only 600 kbps. There are no data addons, but you can change your plan to higher.

Tethering[]

Verizon doesn't restrict tethering in non-unlimited Smartphone plans and Data plans. So it might be a good idea to purchase a MIFI or Mobile Hotspot to join Verizon's network and link it to your devices by WiFi. Basic Verizon-branded 4G/LTE hotspots which they call "Jetpacks" start at around $100. Third-party retailers such as Best Buy, Target, or Walmart sometimes discount them as low as $50.

Domestic roaming[]

Basically, don't expect to be allowed roaming on other networks (there are areas where postpaid customers roam on AT&T, for example.) But in very rural areas, Verizon's "extended network" will likely be available on even on most MVNOs.

More information[]

Visible[]

Visible Wireless is Verizon's flanker prepaid brand, like AT&T's Cricket and T-Mobile's Metro. They are a fairly new MVNO, only being launched in 2018. It is an MVNO with marketing geared towards millennials. They formerly operated some on strange cloud-based backend, which resulted in issues for users. However, they have recently switched to Verizon's normal network core, which notably improved ping times.

Availability[]

Physical SIM starter kits are available at Wal-Mart or Best Buy, while eSIMs can be activated by downloading the Visible app from Apple or Google app stores. Be aware that the Visible app will only allow eSIM activation while physically in the United States, and it does not always recognize you as being in the US if you are close to the border (within 1 mile or 1.6km).

Plans[]

Visible just offers two plans: Visible and Visible+. Their prices do include taxes and fees, however, so the price advertised is the price that will be paid.

Visible ($30/month)[]

  • Unlimited deprioritized data (up to 5G Nationwide)
  • Unlimited tethering up to 5 Mbps speed
  • Unlimited domestic calls & SMS
  • Unlimited voice & SMS to Mexico / Canada

Visible+ ($45/month)[]

  • 50 GB of premium data (same network priority as postpaid customers), unlimited deprioritized data after
  • Unlimited premium data on 5G UWB
  • Unlimited tethering up to 10 Mbps speed (deducts from premium data bucket)
  • Unlimited domestic calls & SMS
  • "Unlimited" roaming in Mexico / Canada (2 GB per day)
  • 1 day of Global Pass per month (after $10/day) (2 GB per day in 140+ destinations)
  • Included eSIM for Apple Watch
  • Unlimited voice & SMS to and from those countries
  • 500 minutes per month of international calling + unlimited international SMS

In all plans, streaming quality is limited to 480p.

More information[]

Red Pocket Mobile CDMA[]

Red pocket

Red Pocket Mobile is a MVNO operating on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks, but you have to decide which network to use and there is no roaming between them. They have branded Verizon network as Red Pocket CDMA.

Unlimited Data Plans[]

These plans include unlimited talk, text, and data and are slowed after the amount listed:

  • $20: 3 GB
  • $30: 10 GB
  • $40: 12 GB
  • $50: 50 GB

There is also a 1 year plan available on eBay available to use on all 3 networks, including Verizon's, but only includes 1 GB of data.

More info[]

  • For more info check Red Pocket Mobile in the AT&T and T-Mobile sections.
  • APN: Supposedly none, likely VZWINTERNET
  • Customer service: Online chat, SMS at +1 305 842-3314 or +1 888 993-3888

Straight Talk, Net10, Tracfone (on Verizon)[]

These three operators are owned by Verizon and follow the same policy. All the three brands can be activated on either Verizon, T-Mobile or AT&T network, but only on one of them. The SIM is available at stores and online. However, it is notable that TracFone brands will be moving to use only the Verizon network in the future.

Activation[]

Activation codes for Verizon devices are available from their website and vendors like Walmart.

Plans[]

TracFone, StraightTalk, Net10

Total by Verizon[]

Total Wireless, another TracFone brand that Verizon would acquire with its purchase, was rebranded to Total (by Verizon) in September 2022.

Activation[]

SIM kits can be purchased online or at a Wal-Mart, Target, or Best Buy store.

Plans[]

Price Data Tethering Notes
$30 5 GB 5 GB Unlimited data after 5 GB, but at "2G speeds"

Tethering does not seem to be a separate pool

Unlimited minutes & SMS, and to Canada / Mexico

(up to 21 unique intl. numbers. No roaming)

$40 15 GB 15 GB Same as above (but 15 GB)
$50 "Unlimited" 10 GB Disney+ for 6 months

Unlimited voice and SMS to "5 countries of your choice"

$60 "Unlimited+" 20 GB 5G UWB access

Disney+ included

Unlimited voice and SMS to "69 countries"

More information[]

  • APN: TRACFONE.VZWENTP
  • Customer service: Online chat, or +1 (866) 663-3633
  • Check balance by messaging 611611
  • Website: https://totalbyverizon.com/

US Mobile[]

US Logo

US Mobile operates on Verizon branded as "Warp 5G" or "Super LTE". Their SIM is available on their website or on Amazon. They also have a 10 day free trial for unlimited packages. They also operate on T-Mobile network.

Interestingly, US Mobile also offers "Premium Data", which has the same priority on the network as Verizon postpaid customers (which will be faster than prepaid in some cases.) However, this is only available when using a compatible 5G device. All plans include 5G C-Band (n77 band 5G UW) and mmWawe (n260, n261 bands) access.

Interesting feature is Teleport - you can switch between GSM 5G (T-Mobile) and Warp 5G (Verizon) network when you need (two teleports per phone no. are included for free, next costs $2 per request (if you have Unlimited Premium plan, you have free teleports)).

Plans[]

Shareable Plans (shared data with multiple SIMs, unlimited minutes & SMS):[]

  • 2 GB: $10
  • 10 GB: $20 (+ 10 GB per $15)

$8 per line (device)

"Unlimited" (with premium data, unlimited mins & SMS):[]

After high-speed data is used, your speed will be reduced to 1 Mbit/s, video is limited to 480p:

Unlimited Starter ($25 per month or $270 annually):

  • 35 GB of high-speed data
  • 10 GB hotspot data (not a separate data bucket)
  • unlimited international texts outside US (calls included for $3 extra per month or included in annual option)
  • 1 GB, 150 mins, 150 SMS in CAN/MEX (included in annual option only)

Unlimited Premium ($44 per month or $390 annually)

  • 100 GB of high-speed data
  • 50 GB hotspot data (not a separate data bucket)
  • unlimited international calls & texts outside US
  • 10 GB, 1000 mins, 1000 SMS in CAN/MEX
  • Included free teleports

More info[]

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