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T-Mobile has faster 5G and more “premium” data than Verizon for a lower monthly cost.
However, Verizon tends to have better coverage, especially in rural areas. 
You’ll need a 5G phone to make the most of any of these plans.

T-Mobile and Verizon are often compared when picking a mobile carrier, as T-Mobile is more affordable than Verizon, and you might be wondering why.

Despite this price disparity, T-Mobile gives you more unthrottled, “premium” data in the basic and mid-range plans compared to Verizon’s comparable plans. Plus, T-Mobile has better international and travel perks than Verizon.

At the same time, Verizon generally has better coverage, especially in rural areas. Verizon also has better perks overall, especially if you subscribe to Hulu, Disney Plus, or ESPN Plus. You can also get 50% off a connected device plan for smartwatches, tablets, or hotspots.  

T-Mobile vs Verizon: coverage

Generally speaking, Verizon has more expansive coverage than T-Mobile, especially in rural areas. With that said, T-Mobile has improved its network to better cover highways, even boasting it has twice the 5G coverage on highways compared to Verizon. 

You can check out each carrier’s LTE and 5G coverage map below. Just note that these maps are taken from each carrier’s website, and have not been independently verified. 

In our experience, the general consensus that Verizon has better coverage, especially in rural areas, is true. However, the several T-Mobile users we know aren’t bothered when they don’t have signal in a rural area while a Verizon user does.

Verizon’s coverage map

Verizon has far-reaching coverage. The red dots represent where Verizon’s mmWave 5G Ultra Wideband networks are located.

You can get a closer look at Verizon’s coverage where you live and where you often go on the Verizon website. The map will also show you finer coverage detail for Verizon’s mmWave 5G Ultra Wideband network. 

T-Mobile’s coverage map

T-Mobile’s coverage is extensive, but it doesn’t extend as far as Verizon’s, especially in rural areas.

You can get a closer look at T-Mobile’s coverage where you live and where you often go on T-Mobile’s website. The map will also show you finer coverage detail for T-Mobile’s mmWave 5G Ultra Capacity network. 

5G coverage

T-Mobile claims to have better 5G coverage with faster-than-LTE speeds than Verizon, and that much appears true, according to PCMag’s annual Fastest Mobile Networks project.

T-Mobile vs Verizon: is network speed or network coverage more important?

Our experience shows that coverage is more important than speeds. 

While T-Mobile has a more expansive, faster 5G network than Verizon, just note that faster data speeds don’t matter if T-Mobile doesn’t reach your most frequented areas. Any coverage at all, even if it means slower data, is better than no coverage for phone calls or texting, especially around your home and home town, or in case of an emergency.  

T-Mobile vs Verizon: “premium” data vs normal data

A cell tower on a mountain ridge in the Appalachian Mountains.

T-Mobile and Verizon offer “premium” data, referring to full-speed, unthrottled data regardless of network traffic.

Normal, non-premium data can still deliver full speeds, but it’s “deprioritized”, which means data speeds can be throttled down when the carrier’s network is experiencing high traffic from heavy data use by lots of people at the same time.  

T-Mobile offers more premium data in its basic Essentials (50GB) and mid-range Magenta (100GB) plans than Verizon’s equivalent 5G Start (no premium data) and Play More/Do More plans (50GB). 

T-Mobile vs Verizon: 5G network types

First off, 5G is the next generation of cellular networks, and it’s designed to be a major upgrade over the 4G LTE we’ve been used to for years. T-Mobile and Verizon basically have two types of 5G networks.

T-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G and Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband networks are high-band and mid-band 5G networks. High-band 5G networks have short range, but deliver the fastest speeds. Mid-band 5G networks have medium range, but they can still carry faster speeds than LTE. 

T-Mobile’s Nationwide Extended Range 5G and Verizon’s 5G Nationwide networks are low-band 5G networks. Low-band 5G networks have the longest range of the three, but their speeds are only comparable to LTE.  Carriers are working to improve data speeds on their low-band 5G networks. 

As you might expect, you need a 5G-compatible phone to connect to a 5G network of any kind.

T-Mobile Essentials vs Verizon 5G Start plans

Plan detailsT-Mobile EssentialsVerizon 5G StartPrice per month with automatic payments discounts included. (Doesn’t include taxes and fees.)

One line: $60

Two to three lines: $90 

Four lines: $105

Five lines: $120

Contact T-Mobile for more than five lines.

One line: $70

Two lines: $120

Three lines: $135

Four lines: $140

Five or more lines: $150

Unlimited data

Up to 50GB of premium data per line. 

After 50GB, unlimited data speeds may be slower during high network traffic times and places.

Also, T-Mobile says “Essentials customers may notice speeds lower than other customers.”

Yes, but unlimited data speeds may be slower during high network traffic times and places.Unlimited data capsNoneNone5G network typeT-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G and Extended Range 5GVerizon’s 5G NationwideMobile hotspot

Unlimited 3G speeds hotspot. 

Optional high-speed hotspot available

NoMaximum video streaming quality480p480pInternational

Unlimited talk, text and 2G (128kbps) data in Mexico and Canada.

Call back to the U.S. from 210+ Simple Global countries and destinations for $0.25/minute. 

Free texting in 210+ Simple Global countries and destinations. 

Unlimited international texting from the U.S.

0.5GB data, talk, and text to/from Mexico and Canada. Slow 2G data after 0.5GB.

Unlimited texting from the U.S. to over 200 countries.

Other international/travel requirements need additional purchase of an international Verizon plan, or Verizon’s TravelPass.

Other perksParamount Plus free for one year.Either Disney Plus, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, or Google Play Pass free for six months.Best for

People who want fast data speeds at the best value, as long as they’re within T-Mobile’s network coverage area. 

Also good for those who travel often or have family abroad.

People who want the best coverage at the best value, but aren’t bothered by occasionally throttled data speeds.

T-Mobile Magenta vs Verizon 5G Play More and 5G Do More plans

Plan detailsT-Mobile MagentaVerizon 5G Play MoreVerizon 5G Do More

Price per month with automatic payments discounts included. 

Doesn’t include taxes and fees.

One line: $70

Two to three lines: $120 

Four lines: $140

Five lines: $160

Contact T-Mobile for more than five lines.

Taxes and fees included

One line: $80

Two lines: $140

Three lines: $165

Four lines: $180

Five or more lines: $200

One line: $80

Two lines: $140

Three lines: $165

Four lines: $180

Five or more lines: $200

Unlimited data

Up to 100GB of premium data per line.

After 100GB, unlimited data speeds may be slower during high network traffic times and places.

Up to 50GB of premium data per line.

After 50GB, unlimited data speeds may be slower during high network traffic times and places.

Up to 50GB of premium data per line.

After 50GB, unlimited data speeds may be slower during high network traffic times and places.

Unlimited data capsNoneNoneNone5G network typesT-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G and Extended Range 5GVerizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G NationwideVerizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G NationwideMobile hotspot

5GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data. 

Then unlimited slower 3G data.

25GB high-speed mobile hotspot data.

Then unlimited slower data.

25GB high-speed mobile hotspot data.

Then unlimited slower data.

Maximum video streaming quality480p, up to 4K with optional $15/line/month T-Mobile MaxUP data add-onUp to 4K in Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network areas. Otherwise 720p (needs to be activated by contacting Verizon)Up to 4K in Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network areas. Otherwise 720p (needs to be activated by contacting Verizon)International and travel perks

Unlimited talk, text and 5GB high-speed data in Mexico and Canada.

Call back to the U.S. from 210+ Simple Global countries and destinations for $0.25/minute. 

Free texting and 5GB of high-speed data in 210+ Simple Global countries and destinations. 

Unlimited international texting from the U.S.

Four full-flight streaming sessions a year, unlimited in-flight texting.

One-year AAA membership.

0.5GB data, talk, and text to/from Mexico and Canada. Slow 2G data after 0.5GB.

Unlimited texting from the U.S. to over 200 countries.

Other international/travel requirements need additional purchase of an international Verizon plan, or Verizon’s TravelPass.

0.5GB data, talk, and text to/from Mexico and Canada. Slow 2G data after 0.5GB.

Unlimited texting from the U.S. to over 200 countries.

Other international/travel requirements need additional purchase of an international Verizon plan, or Verizon’s TravelPass.

Other perks

Netflix Basic (SD, one screen).

Paramount Plus for one year.

Apple TV Plus for one year.

Hulu, Disney Plus, ESPN Plus.

Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass. 

Apple Music for six months.

Up to 50% off watch, tablet, hotspot, or connected-car Hum plans.

One TravelPass day per month (transferable up to 12 days each year).

600GB Verizon Cloud storage. 

Disney Plus, Apple Music for six months.

Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass for six months.

Best for

People who want fast data speeds and occasionally need mobile hotspot connectivity at the best value, as long as they’re within T-Mobile’s network coverage area. 

Also good for those who travel often or have family abroad.

People who want fast data speeds, need mobile hotspot connectivity, and the best coverage. 

Also good for people who have or want Hulu, Disney Plus, Apple Arcade of Google Play Pass, and ESPN Plus.

People who want fast data speeds, need mobile hotspot connectivity, and the best coverage.

Also good for people with data-connected devices, like smartwatches, tablets, or hotspots.

T-Mobile Magenta Max vs Verizon 5G Get More plans

Plan detailsT-Mobile Magenta MaxVerizon 5G Get More

Price per month with automatic payments discounts included. 

Doesn’t include taxes and fees unless specified otherwise.

One line: $85

Two to three lines: $140 

Four lines: $170

Five lines: $200

Contact T-Mobile for more than five lines.

Taxes and fees included

One line: $90

Two lines: $160

Three lines: $195

Four lines: $220

Five or more lines: $250

Unlimited dataUnlimited premium data per line.Unlimited premium data per line.Unlimited data capsNoneNone5G network typesT-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G and Extended Range 5GVerizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G NationwideMobile hotspot40GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data. Then unlimited slower 3G data.

50GB high-speed mobile hotspot data.

Then unlimited slower data.

Maximum video streaming qualityUp to 4K.Up to 4K in Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network areas. Otherwise 720p (needs to be activated by contacting Verizon)International and travel perks

Unlimited talk, text and 5GB of high-speed data in Mexico and Canada.

Call back to the U.S. from 210+ Simple Global countries and destinations for $0.25/minute. 

Free texting and 5G high-speed data in 210+ Simple Global countries and destinations. 

Unlimited international texting from the U.S.

Full-flight texting and WiFi streaming.

0.5GB data, talk, and text to/from Mexico and Canada. Slow 2G data after 0.5GB.

Unlimited texting from the U.S. to over 200 countries.

Other international/travel requirements need additional purchase of an international Verizon plan, or Verizon’s TravelPass.

Other perks

Netflix Standard (HD, two screens) Netflix.

Paramount Plus for one year.

Apple TV Plus for one year.

Hulu, Disney Plus, ESPN Plus.

Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass. 

Apple Music for six months.

Best for

People who use massive amounts of data who want fast data speeds and often need mobile hotspot connectivity at the best value, as long as they’re within T-Mobile’s network coverage area. 

Also good for those who travel often or have family abroad.

People who use massive amounts of data who want fast data speeds, the best coverage, and often need mobile hotspot connectivity.

Also good for people who have or want Hulu, Disney Plus, Apple Arcade of Google Play Pass, and ESPN Plus.

Also good for people with data-connected devices, like smartwatches, tablets, or hotspots.

Which is the best carrier for you: T-Mobile or Verizon?

T-Mobile offers the best value, most premium data, and fastest data speeds if you know for a fact that its networks cover your home region and the places you usually travel to. It’s also the best option if you often travel to Canada and/or Mexico, and the 210-plus Simple Global countries.

Verizon offers a decent amount of premium data in its Play More/Do More plans, but we don’t recommend the 5G Start plan. The lack of premium data and lack of access to Verizon’s fastest Ultra Wideband 5G network in the basic 5G Start plan is a red flag. Still, Verizon is the best option if you know T-Mobile’s coverage doesn’t reach certain areas you frequent, and Verizon has tempting media streaming subscription perks. 

You’ve picked a carrier, now here are the best phones

Most mid-range and premium phones come with 5G connectivity, and they’ll make the most out of these unlimited data plans from either T-Mobile or Verizon.

We recommend the iPhone 13 as the best phone overall for most people, and Android users should take a good look at the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus. Check out why and our other recommendation for the best phones you can buy in 2022.

Glossary of terms

4G LTE is often simply known as LTE, is a wireless network standard that carriers began introducing to the mainstream in 2010. It provides fast data speeds, but its limited capacity results in slower data speeds, especially in congested areas like major cities.

5G is the next generation of cellular networks, and it’s designed to be a major upgrade over 4G LTE. The main benefits of 5G include significantly higher capacity, faster data speeds, and lower latency.

Higher capacity means more devices can stream and load heavy-duty content without congestion.

Faster data speeds means you can stream and load higher quality photos, videos, and music. 

Low latency results in a snappier, more immediate experience when browsing the web, loading content in apps, or playing multiplayer games. 

Low-band 5G networks have the longest range of the three types, but their speeds are only comparable to LTE.

Mid-band 5G networks, also known as “C-band,” have medium range, but they can still carry faster speeds than LTE.

High-band 5G networks, also known as millimeter wave (mmWave), have short range, but deliver the fastest speeds that can be even quicker than the average home’s internet speed, which is about 224 megabits per second (Mbps), according to Ookla’s Speedtest.

Premium data: Both T-Mobile and Verizon have replaced the old “unlimited” data cap system with their “premium” data models. That means there’s no longer a data cap for unlimited data, where if you used a certain amount of data you would either get throttled to significantly slower speeds, or charged for extra data use. 

Rather, the current “premium” data model means you get full-speed, unthrottled data up to a certain data cap. After you’ve used up all your premium data, you still get full-speed data, but your connection gets “deprioritized” and speeds can be throttled down when the carrier’s network is congested with high-traffic use.

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