T-Mobile vs. Verizon Review 2021

The two wireless heavyweights step into the ring.

Best Coverage
Verizon Authorized Dealer
4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Check
    Most reliable coverage
  • X
    Pricier of the two
Best Speeds
T Mobile
4 out of 5 stars
  • Check
    Fast data speeds
  • X
    Worse coverage in rural areas
Tyler Abbott
Staff Writer, Mobile & Wireless
Read More
Published on July 20, 2021
6 min read

Verizon and T-Mobile both pack a punch when it comes to coverage, data speeds, and awesome perks. But, spoiler alert, neither company is going to deliver a knockout in this fight. Verizon has the best coverage in the country, but T-Mobile has faster data speeds.

So instead of declaring a winner between the two, we’ll go through T-Mobile's and Verizon’s plans, performance, and perks to highlight what they do well (and not so well). That way you can choose the plan that’s best for you.

The best cell phone deals right now

The Big Three mobile carriers—AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon—are all offering great trade-in deals right now. That means you can get $700 or more off select smartphones like the iPhone 12 when you trade in your old device.

Meanwhile, smaller MVNO carriers like Mint Mobile and Visible Wireless are offering $50 virtual gift cards or discounts on select phones to entice new customers interested in more budget-friendly smartphones like the iPhone SE (2020) or Google Pixel series.

Find these and other offers in our monthly roundup of the best cell phone deals.

A bird’s-eye view of T-Mobile and Verizon wireless plans

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, take a look at all the Verizon and T-Mobile plans available to you. There’s a lot of them, but don’t get overwhelmed: we’ll go over it all in this review.

Verizon and T-Mobile cell phone plans

You’ll notice that Verizon offers way more plans than T-Mobile overall. That’s because T-Mobile offers only one plan that’s not unlimited data.

Although unlimited data plans seem to be the future of wireless service, it may still be overkill for some users (like your kids or your parents). If you know you aren’t an unlimited-data kind of user, then you might want to go with Verizon or check out these cheaper plans.

Let’s dive deeper into these plans.

Verizon vs. T-Mobile pricing and plans

Verizon offers the biggest bang for your buck, but T-Mobile is the cheaper of the two.

Let’s start this comparison with the cheap stuff and work our way up.

If you’re looking for a no-data, no-frills talk and text plan, then T-Mobile has you covered for just $20 a month. But if you want a limited data plan, with anywhere from 500 MB to 5 GB of data, then Verizon has a few options starting at $30 a month.

Verizon vs. T-Mobile cheap plan comparison

But let’s move on to the main event, the star of the show, the feature picture: unlimited plans. Here’s a look at what Verizon and T-Mobile are serving up for all you data hogs.

How much data do I need?
Info Box

Unlimited talk and text come included with most cell phone plans—what you pay for your cell phone plan will largely depend on data. Check out our data guide and make sure you don’t pay for too much data (or too little).

Verizon vs. T-Mobile unlimited pricing

T-Mobile offers a cheaper unlimited plan, but is it better?

T-Mobile vs. Verizon unlimited data plan comparison

T-Mobile takes the prize for most affordable unlimited plan with its $60 Essentials plan. This plan offers a cheap(ish) way to get unlimited talk, text, and data from one of the country’s most robust wireless networks.

The biggest downside to this plan is that your data can be deprioritized during times of congestion. Basically, that means the company will slow down your speeds to give service to more important customers (i.e., people who give them more money).

If you want to be one of those people who give T-Mobile more money ($10 more) to get full speeds all the time, then you can get the Magenta plan.

T-Mobile Magenta plan

The $70 Magenta plan comes with some extra perks, like international texting, in-flight service, and 5G access (if you’ve got the right device). But before you jump on the T-Mobile bandwagon, check out Verizon’s unlimited plan that runs at the same price.

Start Unlimited Plan from Verizon

As with T-Mobile’s cheapest unlimited plan, Start Unlimited customers can experience data deprioritization when the network is busy. And for the record, we think that’s pretty bogus for a $70 plan.

But Verizon tries to make up for deprioritization with some perks, like free subscriptions to Disney+ and Apple Music. Not to mention that Verizon operates the best mobile network in the country (we’ll talk about that more in a minute).

When you start looking at the higher-tiered plans from Verizon and T-Mobile, the main benefits you find are increased high-speed data caps and better streaming quality.

Both Verizon’s Get More Unlmited and T-Mobile’s Magenta Plus plans will give you HD video streaming.

But Verizon is the clear winner when it comes to the high-speed data cap, offering an incredible 75 GB of data before throttling. Compare that to T-Mobile's 50 GB, and you’ll see why some people pay a few extra bucks for the Get More Unlimited Plan.

Verizon Get More Unlimited Plan

Verizon vs. T-Mobile data speeds

T-Mobile offers the fastest wireless upload and download speeds of any major network. We sampled tens of thousands of wireless users and T-Mobile averages a 32.7 Mbps download speed and 12.9 Mbps upload speed. Verizon, on the other hand, averages a 32.2 Mbps download speed and 10.0 Mbps upload speed.

Average Wireless Download Speeds
Wireless Upload Speeds

So what does all that mean? Basically, you can expect a faster internet experience in every sense of the word on T-Mobile. Faster download speeds allow you get Google results faster, refresh Twitter and Instagram more quickly, and stream more smoothly. Faster upload speeds means you can upload your Instagram stories, Tweets, and TikTok videos more quickly. All of these internet things we do should be faster on T-Mobile than on Verizon's network.

Data caps

Data caps refer to how much data you can use in a given month before your speeds start to slow down. (Maybe there’s no such thing as truly unlimited, except for maybe Visible Wireless.) Here’s how the data caps break down between the two providers:

  • T-Mobile plans have a 50 GB data cap.
  • Verizon plans range from 25 GB (Play More Unlimited Plan) to 75 GB (Get More Unlimited plan).

If you frequently stream on the go or obsessively play Hearthstone (like my fellow writer here at Reviews.org does), you’ll run through data pretty quickly. Having a higher data cap means you can expect the same speeds for a longer amount of time.

Verizon vs. T-Mobile coverage

Verizon rules supreme when it comes to coverage.

Coverage matters a ton, and Verizon leads the wireless pack. WhistleOut reports that Verizon’s 4G coverage has reached 70% of the nation, while T-Mobile comes second with 59% 4G coverage.1

Let’s compare the coverage maps for Verizon and T-Mobile to see just where the two differ.

Verizon coverage map

Source: WhistleOut

T-Mobile coverage map

Source: WhistleOut

Suddenly that 11% difference between Verizon's and T-Mobile's coverage areas makes a big difference, right? Especially for those of you living in Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, or Arizona.

If you happen to live in one of those states, you’ll enjoy much more reliable coverage with Verizon’s network than you would with T-Mobile’s network.

Verizon wins the coverage battle over T-Mobile’s network, but then again, Verizon wins the coverage battle against every provider. Expect reliable coverage with either carrier, but Verizon goes above and beyond, especially in rural areas.

Verizon vs. T-Mobile devices

Both companies can hook you up with the latest and greatest phones.

You’ll find the latest devices from Apple, Samsung, Google, and other brands with both Verizon and T-Mobile. The main differences you’ll see between these two are in the temporary deals they are running on new devices.

Here’s a list of some of the most popular phones that T-Mobile is currently selling.

And here’s a look at some phones that Verizon’s selling.

Seriously though, check out the deals that Verizon is running. Sometimes they offer wild, off-the-wall stuff like buy-one-get-one iPhones.

Verizon vs. T-Mobile perks

What do you care about more? Music or streaming?

Both Verizon and T-Mobile offer some extra features, like wireless hotspots. But they each have unique perks to sway you in one direction or the other. Here are some of our favorite perks:

T-Mobile perks

  • Netflix subscription included with a T-Mobile Magenta family plan
  • Promotions like coupons and vouchers through the T-Mobile Tuesdays app
  • An hour of in-flight Gogo® Wi-Fi on eligible flights (or unlimited with T-Mobile Magenta Plus)
  • Free in-flight texting
  • Unlimited texting and data in most countries
Woman using WiFi on flight

Some T-Mobile plans give you free in-flight Wi-Fi.

Verizon perks

  • One year of free Disney+
  • Six months of free Apple Music ($9.99 a month after that)
  • $10 autopay discount
  • Mix and match data family plan

We think the advantage goes to Verizon for perks, but it really comes down to what you prefer: The Mandalorian or The Witcher, Apple Music or in-flight service.

Recap: Should you choose Verizon or T-Mobile?

If you’ve been keeping track so far, you’ll know it’s basically a dead tie between T-Mobile and Verizon. The main thing you should take away from this is that both providers are excellent—you can’t go wrong.

But here are a few specific examples of when it might make sense to choose one provider over the other.

When should you pick Verizon or T-Mobile?

  • Budgeters: Pick T-Mobile. T-Mobile offers cheaper unlimited plans than Verizon at every tier of service. If you’re looking for a non-unlimited data plan, then Verizon is actually better (we would also recommend these plans).
  • Data hogs: Pick Verizon. Verizon has a whopping 75 GB data cap, which beats out T-Mobile’s 50 GB data cap. You can go nuts with data on Verizon.
  • Travelers: Pick T-Mobile. T-Mobile gives you unlimited text and data in most countries. You also get free in-flight texting and Wi-Fi.
  • Country dwellers: Pick Verizon. Verizon does a much better job covering rural areas across the country.
  • Speed lovers: Pick T-Mobile. T-Mobile currently offers faster download and upload speeds than Verizon.


Additional contributors

Mindy Woodall and Tyler Abbott

Tyler Abbott
Written by
Tyler Abbott
Tyler has been obsessed with watching sports as efficiently as possible since the creation of the DVR. He is always on the lookout for the best tech in TV and wireless so he can watch all the sports and still have enough time to hang out with his baby. He has written about streaming, wireless, and TV for over three years. He hopes the Lakers will eventually get better.

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  • Mary Dougherty

    I’m a Verizon customer considering switching to T-Mobile. One comment on the rates – T-Mobile says there are no additional fees/taxes (i.e. the rate they quote is the rate you pay). Verizon adds another $30 to my bill each month to cover taxes/fees ON TOP OF their rates. That adds up!

  • Jeff Stengel

    Yo it says they do in the article. Just not all of them.

  • https://plus.google.com/116828768777885302968 Tony Petreski

    This review has BRIBE from Verizon written all over it, common this is the USA not some third world country you have to write honestly and honestly I have to give the coverage to Verizon but only in the US they’re horrible outside of the US and cost way too much. This guy mentions the starting plan of Verizon but he doesn’t say that Verizon’s cheapest plan $30/month w/500MB of data is the same amount after taxes as the unlimited plan $60/month w/50GB and the rest of Verizon’s plans are way over $60/month. T-Mobile beats out Verizon in everything except coverage in the cornfields but let’s be honest how many people live and drive through cornfields, I have driven through a lot of cornfields and as long as you’re on a major highway T-Mobile has you covered now if you want to take your kids in some remote area I still recommend T-Mobile because they won’t be able to use their phones and enjoy nature :).

  • Brian Spero, Jr

    Many of the benefits at T-Mobile like free Netflix DO NOT APPLY TO SINGLE LINES. Meanwhile not mentioned here is the larger data plan (75GB) is not Apple Music free for 6 months…IT’S FOR GOOD (for the other plans that’s right though)

    And are they not gonna mention the year of Free Disney+ all Verizon users are getting? BUT ANYWAY HERE’S WHAT REALKY MATTERS:

    I’M A DATA HOG. The fact I’m a single user who can’t get the perks with T-Mobile but can with Verizon aside, there are two killers:

    I regularly use 45-65 gigs a month. So…better safe with Verizon than sorry with T-Mobile. Ironically, T-Mobile has a VERY SLIGHT coverage advantage at my home BUT Verizon is still useable…BUT LET’S GO SKIING UP NORTH!!!

    In the mountains of New Hampshire where I’ve shockingly only ever found 2 dead zones with Verizon, one of which is extremely small. And where it matters at the Ski Resorts and my Condo I HAVE NO ISSUES.

    BUT T-MOBILE ISN’T THERE. Not at my condo. And not at the Ski resort near my condo either. So…Having T-Mobile would mean no phine at my condo or while skiing. God forbid I should get hurt…I NEED MY PHONE TO WORK! Or if I want to relax with my phone after a hard day of skin g…SORRY T-MOBILE BUT UNTIL YOU CAN COVER MY CONDO AND THE SKI RESORTS IN NH I literally CANNOT switch to you!!!

    I’ll happily pay the extra 30 (40 after taxes) to have service at my condo…Where T-Mobileile won’t go.

  • Lara Fiona

    Verizon is run by thieves! Was given a 2 for 1 offer when we had two lines already. One on contract and one free and clear. Told we had to add another line. I wanted to drop the paid off line then add another. Salesman said just add one now, then drop a line when the remaing contract is paid.

    Three months later, paid it off and dropped it. Called to verify that I would still get 2 for 1 credit. Was told “yes”. Line dropped, then credit revoked and they won’t honor their agreement. NEVER AGAIN!!!!! I don’t care if it’s more expensive to leave, but I don’t deal with thieves!!!!!