Verizon and AT&T are two of the most prominent mobile carriers in the country, jockeying for position deploying 5G infrastructure across the country to try to win high marks with every speed test and customer satisfaction survey the world over. Fortunately, high-stakes competition between the two had led to greater plan variety and incentives to win new customers and retain existing ones.
We’ve compared Verizon to Sprint here, and Verizon with T-Mobile here – so now it’s time for Verizon to go toe-to-toe with the last remaining cell giant: AT&T. Let’s find out how they fare against each other.
Keep reading to learn more about how Verizon and AT&T individual and family plans compare, complete with pricing breakdowns, an analysis of 4G vs. 5G coverage/speed, perks/incentives, and customer service.
Verizon vs AT&T: Plans + Pricing
Pricewise, both Verizon and AT&T are the most expensive carriers of any we’ve reviewed on this site. Neither compete on price – and with the number of customers both hold onto, they don’t seem to have to. That said, let’s dive into how their unlimited and family plan options compare with each other’s.
|Verizon||5G Play More||
|Verizon||5G Do More||
|Verizon||5G Get More||
Unlimited plans - Unlimited &More vs Go Unlimited
Verizon gives us 4 unlimited plan options, while AT&T offers just three. And upfront costs aside, AT&T is just the cheaper of the two carriers. The only time that AT&T’s unlimited plans even come even Verizon’s is when you hit 4 lines with Unlimited Starter -- it’s the same prices as 5G Start - but that’s the only time.
All Verizon unlimited plans offer unlimited talk & text, unlimited Canada and Mexico talk/text/data, unlimited texting from the US to over 200 countries, a call filter spam blocker, and Verizon Up rewards program enrollment.
All AT&T unlimited plans include 5G access, hotspot data limits of 3 GB to 50 GB a month, unlimited talk/text/data in Mexico and Canada, and the choice of standard-definition or 4K UHD streaming. “Throw-ins” include a free subscription to AT&T ActiveArmor and a 6-month Stadia Pro gaming membership.
Unlimited Plans - Verizon's 5G Unlimited vs. AT&T's Unlimited Plans
Both Verizon and AT&T Unlimited plans offer plenty of bang for the buck. All starter plans come with unlimited 5G LTE talk, text, and data and mobile hotspot data allotments. The main difference between each carrier’s plans is with its pricing, with Verizon offering a higher cost per individual line than AT&T.
Additionally, Verizon offers many more third-party incentives with a free 6-month subscription to Disney +, Apple Carcade/Google Play Pass, discounts on select Verizon products, and 600 GB of Verizon Cloud storage. In turn, AT&T offers a free AT&T ActiveArmor subscription and six months of Stadia Pro, which are highly niche offerings most people are unlikely to use regularly.
For the fastest speeds available, go for Verizon’s 5G Get More and AT&T’s Unlimited Premium Plans. Both promise unlimited talk, text, and data with no data caps or slowdowns and 50 GB in hotspot data per line per month.
Family plans - AT&T
AT&T offers three family cell phone plans: Unlimited Starter, Extra, and Premium.
Each AT&T line offers unlimited data. For example, if one person uses 70% of the data and two or three family members use the rest, no one will experience any data throttling. All plans include 5G access and a discounted bill with auto pay and paperless billing.
If we could only use one AT&T family plan, it would be the Unlimited Extra plan. For only $40 per line, subscribers can enjoy 50GB of premium data per line, a minimum of 15GB of mobile hotspot data, and standard definition (SD) streaming.
Family plans - Verizon
Verizon offers three unlimited family plans: 5G Start, 5G Play More, and 5G Get More.
We highly recommend the 5G Get More plan between the three Verizon family plans. It offers unlimited data speeds and 50GB of mobile hotspot data with incremental savings as more lines are added (to a low of $50 per month per line on a 5-line plan). Our only knock on Verizon plans is its higher pricing on individual and two-line plans.
The 5G Start plan is more than enough if you are on a budget. However, don’t expect the fastest speeds with no 5G ultra-wideband or deducted mobile hotspot data. On the plus side, 5G ultra-wideband is unavailable in all regions, making this a moot point.
Do not forget all third-party throw-ins, such as 600GB of Verizon Cloud storage and one TravelPass day per month.
Lastly, one important concept to note is the idea of premium data. Most unlimited plans come with data deprioritization with throttled speeds upon consuming a data allotment each month. If heavy bandwidth is your concern, we are fans of AT&T’s Unlimited Premium plan, which offers the highest premium data allotment.
Verizon vs. AT&T: Coverage + Speed
Verizon, top; AT&T, bottom.
Both Verizon and AT&T are top carriers for coverage and speed, with great rural and city service. Of course, every carrier will have deadzones and the (hopefully) very occasional dropped calls. That said, we’ll take a look at how the two ranked in major national studies to make our determination.
Who has better coverage: AT&T or Verizon?
When it comes to speed, Verizon is the clear winner. It uses lower spectrum 5G and Ultra-Wideband 5G. Unlike 5G, which uses a hybrid of 4G LTE and lower spectrum 5G. Ultra-Wideband 5G is a “pure’ high-band, ultra-wide mmWave spectrum 5G for lag-less streaming and faster data transfers. Available in select locations, 5G Ultra Wideband switches to 5G Nationwide, depending on where you move.
Currently, 5G Nationwide is available in nearly 3,000 cities, a good mix of urban and rural areas.
While Verizon beats AT&T in speed, AT&T beats Verizon with 5G coverage, beating it by roughly seven percentage points in geographical distribution (18% versus 11%). However, 4G coverage is much more equal, with Verizon’s 4G LTE coverage hitting over 70% of the country versus 68% for AT&T.
With rural coverage, Verizon barely squeaks by AT&T, with 83.5% available in remote areas versus 75.5% for AT&T.
Verizon vs. AT&T: Devices
|Carrier||Sample phones||View phones|
|AT&T||Apple iPhone 13, Samsung Galaxy S22+, Google Pixel 6, Samsung Galaxy A32 5G, Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, Motorola Moto G Power (2022), Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, Kyocera DuraXE Epic, Nokia 6300 4G||View phones|
|Verizon||Apple iPhone 13, Samsung Galaxy S22+, Google Pixel 6, Samsung Galaxy A32 5G, Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, Motorola Moto G Power (2022), Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, TCL 10 5G UW, Kyocera DuraXV Extreme, Sunbeam F1||View phones|
Verizon and AT&T each offer more than 40 compatible phones, available at a discounted rate when bundled with select plans.
Verizon vs AT&T: Discounts
|AT&T||Unlimited Starter||AT&T ActiveArmor mobile security and 6-month Stadio Pro subscription|
|AT&T||Unlimited Extra||AT&T ActiveArmor mobile security and 6-month Stadio Pro subscription|
|AT&T||Unlimited Premium||AT&T ActiveArmor mobile security 6-month Stadio Pro subscription|
|Verizon||5G Start||6-month subscription (Disney+, Apple Arcade/Google Play Pass, and Apple Music)|
|Verizon||5G Play More||Up to 50% off home internet, Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ included. Free Arcade or Google Play Pass, 6 Months Free Apple Music|
|Verizon||5G Get More||Up to 50% off home internet, Up to 50% off watch, tablet, hotspot, or Hum in-car WiFi plan, 1 TravelPass day per month,Verizon Cloud 600 GB, Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ included. Free Arcade or Google Play Pass, 6 Months Free Apple Music|
Verizon and AT&T offer excellent discounts and perks. Namely, the biggest difference is proprietary versus third-party offerings. Verizon is heavy on free limited subscriptions to popular streaming services, and AT&T is better known for AT&T ActiveArmor and bundles.
For example, turning your car into a WiFi hotspot, data-only table plans, and smartwatch plans can be added to an unlimited plan for $10 to $20 per month.
Verizon vs. AT&T: Customer Service
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (2021), one of the country’s longest-running consumer surveys, AT&T and Verizon are virtually tied with 73/100 scores, barely falling behind T-Mobile with only one point higher.
Another industry leader, PCMag, awarded its 2022 Readers’ Choice and Fastest Mobile Networks awards to T-Mobile, beating AT&T and Verizon on phone choices satisfaction, 5G speed/coverage, and data network rating. Surprisingly, much smaller carriers like Mint Mobile and Consumer Cellular led the pack in what appears to be a massive preference for cheaper mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), which do not operate their own mobile networks.
Since both carriers have similar customer support contact methods - phone, chat, email, etc -, direct customer reviews can be mixed, and the wireless industry as a whole has a poor reputation, we’ll go with the numbers.
After all that, who’s the better carrier? Verizon or AT&T?
It’s a tit-for-tat, even matchup between Verizon and AT&T. Both have comparable customer satisfaction ratings, mobile hotspot data allotments, and plan variety for everyone from the single bachelor to the large family.
Look to Verizon if you are looking for the fastest speeds possible with 5G Ultra-Wideband, Disney bundles, and generous international roaming and mobile hotspot data packages at the expense of higher individual and two-line pricing.
In turn, look to AT&T if you are looking for slightly lower prices (especially with its higher-end unlimited plans) at the expense of perks, with AT&T ActiveArmor and a 6-month Stadia Pro subscription unlikely to please everyone.
Verizon vs. AT&T FAQs
What should I look for in a phone plan?
Phone plan preferences mainly boil down to need. Some of the most popular criteria for evaluating phone plans include pricing, data, coverage, and incentives.
When evaluating pricing, consider the number of lines. Do per-line rates decrease with more lines on a plan? Do those free streaming subscriptions offset the cost of purchasing all or some of them on your own? It's the same with data. Both AT&T and Verizon emphasized unlimited plans over by-the-gig plans. Unlimited plans are best for heavy data users who prefer not to pay overage fees for every gigabyte you go over.
Another important point is coverage. Are you a stickler for high speeds? If so, Verizon's Ultra-Wideband 5G offering may be in the cards. However, it is only available in select regions. On the other hand, if you are a frequent traveler, overall cell phone coverage throughout the country may be most important, with AT&T squeaking by Verizon. We recommend viewing each provider's coverage map to see if service is available in your area.
Lastly, incentives and perks are top of mind. If you are constantly on the move, you may rely more on mobile hotspots. Verizon's top unlimited plan, 5G Get More, offers 50 GB of mobile hotspot data followed by complete lower speed data. In contrast, AT&T offers 50 GB of hotspot data per line per month on its Unlimited Premium Plan, which costs $30 less per month.
How does international texting compare between Verizon & AT&T?
International texting between Verizon and AT&T is very similar. Verizon offers unlimited texting from the US to more than 200 countries. AT&T returns fire with unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico with no roaming charges and the ability to text from the US to 200+ countries.
Our only knock is each carrier's data caps. For example, expect Verizon to reduce speeds to 2G if you exceed 0.5GB a day of data use.
Who offers better incentives - Verizon or AT&T?
Verizon offers better incentives by a long shot. It provides a free 6-month subscription to Disney+, Apple Arcade/Google Play Pass, and Apple Music, whereas AT&T doesn't offer anything of value except ActiveArmor and a limited subscription to Stadia Pro.
In short, go with AT&T if you are fixed on price and Verizon for more bells and whistles at a slightly higher average cost per line.
Which Verizon family plan is best?
We highly recommend the 5G Get More package for families. It has unlimited high-speed data, a generous mobile hotspot allowance, and 600 GB of Verizon Cloud storage.
Which AT&T family plan is best?
Our favorite AT&T family plan is the Unlimited Your Way plan. It offers access to AT&T 5G network with unlimited talk, text, and data within the US, Canada, and Mexico.
However, arguably its biggest claim to fame is the ability to pick a different unlimited plan for every person under the plan, with costs per line decreasing the more lines you add to the plan.
One of the few knocks on AT&T's Unlimited Your Way plan is that it does not include premium data, so you can expect your data speeds to drop slightly with heavy usage.