Photo representing the concept of "update"

Visible Updates

Last week, Verizon’s flanker brand, Visible, launched a major update. Previously, Visible offered only one plan. The plan included unlimited minutes, texts, and data. It had a base price of $40 per month, but the price dropped as low as $25 with Visible’s Party Pay program.

With Visible’s latest update, the carrier is retiring Party Pay and offering two plans:

  • Visible’s standard plan: $30 per month
  • Visible+ plan: $45 per month

Standard Plan

Visible’s standard plan includes unlimited minutes, texts, and data. As was the case with Visible’s old plan, data is low priority. Subscribers may experience slower speeds than other users on the network during periods of congestion.

With Visible’s standard plan, subscribers can access Verizon’s LTE and 5G Nationwide services. (5G Nationwide is Verizon’s term for it’s low-frequency 5G service. 5G Nationwide has extensive coverage, but the speeds may fall short of the hype around 5G.)

Visible+

The Visible+ plan has a $15 per month premium and comes with a few extra perks. The first 50GB of data each month is high priority. Additionally, subscribers can access Verizon’s Ultra Wideband service, which offers better performance in some places. Visible+ also includes international texting and calling to some destinations.

Network Improvements?

A common complaint about Visible is that latency with the service can be substantially worse than latency on a Verizon-branded plan. I don’t understand all the details, but Visible has historically had some underlying infrastructure that differs from Verizon’s typical infrastructure. A press release covering the recent changes suggests some improvements are on the way:

Existing members can move to these new plans at any time through their Visible account. A new SIM will be required, as Visible is also expanding coverage and upgrading the core network routing experience in conjunction with these plans, which should provide customers with improved speeds and latency.

Existing Customers

For the moment, existing customers can continue with the old plan and Party Pay rates as low as $25 per month. Here’s another bit from the press release:

Existing Visible members have the option to maintain their Party Pay discount while on their current plan and will have their Party Pay rates locked in based on their Party status as of October 18, 2022.

It looks like Visible will force all subscribers to transition to the new plans (and abandon Party Pay) around the start of 2023.

My Take

While service will increase from $25 to $30 for many users, I think most of these changes are great. Party Pay has always been a bit weird, and part of me is glad to see it going away. Perhaps its retirement will pave the way for Visible offering better options for family plans or combined billing.

While low-priority data is fine for many users, it can be a pain in some regions or for subscribers that want peak performance. I’m glad Visible is giving customers the option of paying up for a better experience.

While I’m unsure what the changes to Visible’s routing system entail, I’m hopefully that between (a) those upgrades, (b) high priority data, and (c) Ultra Wideband access, Visible+ will offer service on par with Verizon’s premium plans.

I’m somewhat surprised that the standard Visible plan doesn’t include access to Verizon’s Ultra Wideband. I expect that will change eventually. Dropping restrictions on who can access Ultra Wideband will lead to more efficient use of Verizon’s network capacity and spectrum. If Verizon wants different tiers of service quality, it can throttle or deprioritize Ultra Wideband service on low-cost plans.

For incoming subscribers wondering whether to choose Visible’s standard plan or Visible+, my advice at the moment is to start with the standard plan. You can always consider upgrading if you regularly find yourself with decent signal strength but lousy speeds.

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