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.

Hands shaking

Dish Amends Its Agreement With T-Mobile

While convincing regulators to approve a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, T-Mobile committed to allowing Dish to offload traffic to T-Mobile’s network for several years. Then, roughly a year ago, Dish announced that it formed a similar agreement allowing the company to piggyback on AT&T’s network.

On Tuesday, Dish announced that it renegotiated the arrangement with T-Mobile. Among other things, the amended agreement involves better pricing for Dish:

DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) signed an amendment to the 2020 Master Network Services Agreement…The amendment…incorporates financial and operational changes, including improved pricing and enhanced roaming solutions.

The new agreement will need to be approved by regulators. It’s expected to get a green light by the end of the summer.

Mike Dano at Light Reading wrote a more detailed article covering Dish’s announcement. While I don’t entirely trust the numbers, I found this excerpt especially interesting:

New Street analysts wrote in a note to investors Tuesday that Dish paid T-Mobile a little less than $2 billion in 2021 for access to its network, which equates to $17 per subscriber per month, or about $2 per GB. The analysts estimate that Dish’s deal with AT&T is closer to $1.50/GB, with a path to $1/GB over time. They said they believed Dish’s new agreement with T-Mobile is likely in line with its $1.50/GB deal with AT&T.
Paint roller being used to repaint

Visible’s “By Verizon” Rebrand

Visible, Verizon’s low-cost flanker brand, has been making its connection with Verizon more explicit. Here’s how the Visible logo used to appear on the header of its website:

Recently, the words “by Verizon” have been tacked on:

Visible logo showing the words "by Verizon"

The new branding suggests a change in strategy. Previously, Visible was coy about its relationship with Verizon. That was almost certainly by design. A major carrier doesn’t want its low-cost brands to cannibalize the higher-profit subscribers of the mainstream brand.

While it was never difficult to figure out that Verizon owned Visible, I expect a fair share of the carrier’s subscribers were unaware. With Visible’s relationship to Verizon now in the front and center, Visible may be more appealing to consumers. On the other hand, the rebranding may lead to pressures to create further discrepancies between the service quality received by Visible’s subscribers and Verizon’s direct subscribers.

Image of dollar melting, abstract representation of inflation

Mint Mobile Promo Pokes Fun At Price Increases

Mint Mobile’s latest promotion pokes fun at carriers raising prices in response to inflation. New Mint Mobile subscribers that take advantage of the promotion can get the first three months of service on any of Mint’s plans for $15 per month.

The promo is set to run through July 5th. Here’s Ryan Reynolds explaining the deal:

Terms for the promo:

Limited time, online only, new customer offer, avail. from 8:00 AM EST on June 15, 2022 through 11:59 PM EST on July 5, 2022, while supplies last & subject to change w/out notice. New subs. may purchase any 3-month data plan from mintmobile.com for equivalent to $15/mo. ($45 upfront payment req’d). Taxes & fees extra. Promotional rate for first 3 months only; discount has no cash value, is non-transferrable & may not be applied to any other purchase or plan length. Unlimited customers using >35GB/mo. will experience lower speeds. Videos stream at ~480p. Addt’l restriction apply.
USA Map Abstract Showing Concept Of Network Connections

Dish’s Project Genesis Expands To 128 Cities

Today, Project Genesis, Dish’s 5G service powered by the company’s new network, allegedly went live in over 120 cities. Previously, the service was only officially available in Las Vegas.

Here’s the tweet from Stephen Stokols, CEO of Boost Mobile (Boost is owned by Dish):

With service going live in the new cities, Dish is poised to meet a commitment it made with the FCC to cover 20% of the US population by mid-June.

The Project Genesis website has a list of cities where service is available. I don’t know how comprehensively Dish covers the included cities. As of today, service is available in 128 cities by Dish’s counting:

  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Altoona, IA
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Asheville, NC
  • Bay City, MI
  • Bellevue, NE
  • Bentonville, AR
  • Binghamton, NY
  • Boise, ID
  • Bowling Green, KY
  • Brooksville, FL
  • Brownsville, TX
  • Carson City, NV
  • Cary, NC
  • Casper, WY
  • Champaign, IL
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Chester, VA
  • Cheyenne, WY
  • Chicopee, MA
  • Clarksville, TN
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Cocoa Beach, FL
  • Columbus, OH
  • Concord, NC
  • Corpus Christi, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Davenport, IA
  • Daytona Beach, FL
  • Denton, TX
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Duluth, MN
  • Eagle, ID
  • Elmira, NY
  • El Paso, TX
  • Evansville, IN
  • Fayetteville, AR
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • Flint, MI
  • Fond du Lac, WI
  • Fort Smith, AR
  • Fresno, CA
  • Ft Worth, TX
  • Gadsden, AL
  • Grand Junction, CO
  • Greensboro, NC
  • Gulfport, MS
  • Harrisonburg, VA
  • Hartford, CT
  • Hattiesburg, MS
  • Henderson, NV
  • Hendersonville, TN
  • High Point, NC
  • Hot Springs, AR
  • Houston, TX
  • Huntsville, AL
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Ithaca, NY
  • Jackson, MI
  • Jackson, MS
  • Kansas City, KS
  • Johnson City, TN
  • Johnstown, PA
  • Kingsport, TN
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Lansing, MI
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Lawton, OK
  • Lexington, KY
  • Lincoln, NE
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Louisville, KY
  • McAllen,TX
  • Mechanicsville, VA
  • Merced, CA
  • Meridian, ID
  • Middletown, CT
  • Midland, MI
  • Midlothian, VA
  • Modesto, CA
  • Murfreesboro, TN
  • Nashville, TN
  • New Braunfels, TX
  • Norfolk, VA
  • Ocala, FL
  • Ogden, UT
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Omaha, NE
  • Orlando, FL
  • Palm Bay, FL
  • Petersburg, VA
  • Pine Bluff, AR
  • Prescott, AZ
  • Provo, UT
  • Pueblo, CO
  • Raleigh-Durham, NC
  • Rapid City, SD
  • Reno, NV
  • Richmond, VA
  • Rochester, MN
  • Rochester, NY
  • Saginaw, MI
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Sioux Falls, SD
  • Sparks, NV
  • Spokane, WA
  • Springfield, IL
  • Springfield, MA
  • Springfield, MO
  • St Joseph, MO
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Stockton, CA
  • Suffolk, VA
  • Superior, WI
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Texas City, TX
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Urbandale, IA
  • Utica, NY
  • Valdosta, GA
  • Victoria, TX
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Wildwood, FL
  • Williamsburg, VA
  • Winter Garden, FL
  • Yuma, AZ

US Mobile Adds Wi-Fi Calling

Last week, US Mobile added Wi-Fi calling to its Super LTE (i.e., Verizon) service. I thought the lack of Wi-Fi calling on Verizon’s network was one of US Mobile’s biggest limitations, so I’m glad to see the new feature coming online.

Subscribers on the Super LTE network with US Mobile’s Pooled Plans and Unlimited All Plans can access Wi-Fi calling immediately. Wi-Fi calling hasn’t been launched yet for US Mobile’s Bundled Plans or Custom Plans on the Super LTE network.

Here’s an excerpt from US Mobile’s announcement on Reddit:

WiFi Calling will be rolling out to all Unlimited All and Pooled Plan customers beginning today.

WiFi Calling has been the most requested feature by our customers bar none…Every US Mobile customer can now make & take calls and send & receive texts using WiFi, even if your phone has no cellular reception or bars. That dramatically changes how our customers should think about coverage.

WiFi Calling also transforms your traveling experience — you can now use WiFi Calling to call and text while abroad using your number with no extra charges, international roaming for free! And if you’re on a flight and need to log-in with 2FA to your bank (or to your US Mobile app), you can just use your in-flight WiFi to connect on the go…

As for our Bundled and Custom plan customers on our Warp 5G network, expect to see WiFi Calling come online soon.

Blocks showing the calendar date February 22

Visible 2For22 + $200 Gift Card Deal Is Back (Kinda)

Since February 2, Verizon’s prepaid brand Visible has been running a promotion where new subscribers can get their first two months of service for $22 ($11 per month). For the first few days of the promotion, customers porting in numbers were usually eligible for a $200 gift card.

While short-lived, Visible’s $200 gift card deal may have been the most aggressive promotion I’ve ever seen from a prepaid carrier. After the initial days of the promo, gift cards were still available, but their values dropped to either $50 or $100.

On February 22, Visible is re-offering its $200 gift card deal. The offer is only available for 24 hours. You can find more details here.

Note that while bring-your-own-device (BYOD) customers were eligible for the initial $200 gift card deal, it doesn’t look like BYOD customers are eligible at the time of writing. This is a surprise to me, and I wonder if Visible might change the promotion’s policies before the end of the day.

Terms

To be eligible for a promotional gift card, customers must port in a number from an eligible carrier and make three payments. All the major carriers and most big MVNOs count as eligible carriers. You can find a full list of eligible carriers here. Google Voice and US Mobile are notably absent from the list.

More details can be found in my original blog post about the 2For22 deal.

The word "update" spelled on blocks

Visible 2For22 Promo Update

With Visible’s 2For22 promo, new customers can get the first two months of service for $11 each. Customers who port in a number may also be eligible for a free gift card. Originally, Visible planned to offer a $200 gift card on February 2 only and a $100 gift card for the rest of the promotional period.

After experiencing technical issues that made it difficult for some users to signup, Visible has extended the availability of the $200 gift card through 11:59pm ET tonight. Skeptics might wonder whether Visible was planning this extension ahead of time. I don’t think so. People on Reddit reported signup issues. I also got an email yesterday afternoon asking me to temporarily take down my content about the promotion because of technical issues.

More details about the 2For22 promo can be found on Visible’s website or in my original post.

Image representing idea idea of February & the number 22

Visible Offers $100 Gift Card + 2 Months For $22

6:47pm update: The period of this promo where a $200 gift card is available may be extended slightly. I’ll share a more detailed update later.

Second update: As pointed out by a commenter, BYOP customers are now eligible for just a $50 gift card rather than a $100 gift card.


Until February 24, Verizon’s brand Visible is running what might be the biggest promotion in its history. New customers can purchase two months of service on the carrier’s unlimited plan for just $22 ($11 per month). Two months of service normally costs $80 at full price (or as low as $50 with Visible Party Pay).

Free Gift Card

New subscribers during the promotion may also be eligible for a $100 gift card if they port in a number and bring their own device or purchase a select device during signup. Today only (February 2), the gift card amount is doubled from $100 to $200.

If you’re considering Visible, now might be the best time to give the carrier a try. With the reduced rate on the first two months and $25 per month after that with Visible Party Pay, a $200 gift card essentially works out to nine months of free service. For customers that take advantage of the promo between February 3 and February 24, the $100 gift card is worth enough to cancel out the cost of the first five months of service.

Signup

Visible’s 2For22 deal is one of the best promotions I’ve seen from a prepaid carrier. You can find more details about the promo here. Use the promo code 2FOR22 at checkout.

Terms

The 2For22 promo is only available to new customers. Customers must port in a number from an eligible carrier and make at least three payments to be eligible for the promotional gift card. All the major carriers and most of the bigger MVNOs count as eligible carriers.

The gift card comes as a virtual gift card, and it looks like customers can opt for a card from one of several companies. Gift card options at the moment include Mastercard, Amazon, and several other large retailers.

Here are the full terms from Visible:

Offer disclosure: New members who (1) purchase a qualifying device or bring their own, (2) transfer their existing phone number from an Eligible Carrier within 14 days of transaction , [sic] (3) activate their Visible service, & (4) complete 3 full months’ service payments, are eligible to receive up to a $200 virtual gift card, redeemable via a promo code, which is valid for a select offering on https://www.visibleoffers.com.

Device & promo eligibility is subject to change. Specific gift card values are limited to a devices’ displayed gift card value at time of transaction, as found here. This promotion is fulfilled through a 3rd-party, Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc., and may be subject to additional policies and terms.

Limit 1 virtual gift card per member per device . [sic] The promo code is itself not a gift card and has no cash value. Promo code and redemption instructions will be emailed to the member after qualification. While supplies last. Limited time offer. Can only be combined with other Visible promos where indicated.

Visible reserves the right to change or terminate this offer at any time. If Visible, in its sole discretion, determines that a member has engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with this offer, or that the member intends to do so, Visible reserves the right to disqualify the member from this promotion.

Gift card vendor list is variable and subject to change. Gift Card redemption promotion code is valid for redemption with third-party for 30 days. Valid for up to 12 months; unused funds will forfeit after expiration date. Gift card to be fulfilled digitally; physical cards will not be issued. Gift card vendor-specific terms and conditions may apply; see gift card for additional details.

Eligible Carriers

Almost everyone porting into Visible will be coming from an eligible carrier. Exceptions include subscribers coming from Google Voice or US Mobile. Here’s the list of eligible carriers from Visible’s website:

  • AT&T
  • AT&T Prepaid
  • Boost Mobile
  • Consumer Cellular
  • Cricket Wireless
  • Google Fi
  • MetroPCS
  • Mint Mobile
  • Net10 Wireless
  • Page Plus Cellular
  • Republic Wireless
  • Spectrum Mobile
  • Sprint
  • Straight Talk
  • T-Mobile
  • T-Mobile Prepaid
  • Ting
  • Total Wireless
  • TracFone
  • US Cellular
  • Verizon
  • Virgin Mobile USA
  • Walmart Family Mobile
  • Xfinity Mobile