Up arrows indicating improvements

Visible Party Pay Improvements

Visible, a flanker brand of Verizon, offers just one plan: unlimited minutes, texts, and data for a base price of $40 per month. In 2019, Visible launched a feature called Party Pay. With Party Pay, customers can join together in parties to get lower rates:

  • 2-line party – $35 per line each month
  • 3-line party – $30 per line each month
  • 4-line party – $25 per line each month

Unlike conventional family plans, Visible bills each member of a party separately. Additionally, Visible doesn’t try to limit parties to family members. Visible subscribers are allowed to form parties with strangers and over the internet.

Previously, Visible capped parties at a maximum size of four people. Today, Visible dropped that cap. It’s a great change. Managing a Party Pay group used to be clunky. If one person dropped out of a full Party Pay group, the remaining members would have to either pay more or scramble to quickly re-fill the party. Now, large parties can be formed online. If someone drops out of a party, monthly prices for those left in the party won’t change as long as at least four lines remain.

I might start my own Party Pay group that’s open to anyone, but if you’re looking for a group now, consider joining this big one that’s actively seeking members.

Other changes at Visible

Visible recently released a handful of other updates:

  • e-SIM is now supported for subscribers with compatible iPhones.
  • Visible brought back a referral program. If you refer a friend, you get a month of service for only $5.
  • Calls from the U.S. to Mexico, Canada, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico are now free.
  • Visible launched a new community forum platform.
5G city image

Visible Rolling Out 5G For iPhones

Visible, a flanker brand of Verizon, has just started rolling out 5G service. Yesterday, a Reddit user posted a screenshot showing an iPhone running over Visible’s service with a 5G connection.

At this time, it looks like Visible’s 5G service is only available to customers with devices in the iPhone 12 line that are running iOS 14.3. Here’s an excerpt from a Q&A on Visible’s website:

You’ll need the most up-to-date iOS software and carrier bundle for your device before you can experience 5G. Remember, we only offer 5G on iPhone 12 at the moment, and you’ll need to be in a 5G area to experience 5G.

It looks like Visible has updated its coverage map to show areas where 5G is available. As expected, Visible’s 5G coverage looks essentially identical to Verizon’s 5G coverage.

Now that Visible’s 5G has launched for iPhones, I don’t think it will be long before the carrier launches 5G service for some Android devices.

Abstract

Visible’s First Month For $3 Promotion

Visible is running a promotion where new subscribers can get their first month of service for only $3. The promotion will run until December 21. No commitment or device purchase is required.

Those taking advantage of the deal need to enter “Tryfor3” as their promo code at checkout. While Visible isn’t mentioning the promotion on the most prominent parts of its website, you can find more details from Visible here.

I regularly encourage people on expensive phone plans to try out a low-cost, prepaid carrier for a month. In many cases, people have a great experience and decide to stick with their new carrier and benefit from big savings month after month. In the cases where people don’t have a great experience, they aren’t locked in and can switch back to a premium carrier.

With Visible, I especially encourage people to treat their first month of service as a trial. While many people find their experiences with Visible to be almost indistinguishable from their experiences with expensive plans offered directly by Verizon, a meaningful minority of people who try Visible encounter issues. With the current promotion, it’s easier than ever to give Visible a go on a trial basis.

Visible’s Plans For 5G

Visible, a flanker brand of Verizon, just shared details about its plans for 5G service (hat tip to Dennis Bournique who tweeted about the news).

Visible will soon offer 5G service for phones in the iPhone 12 line. 5G service for some Android phones will be available a bit later.

5G won’t cost extra, but Visible suggested it may impose a speed cap (emphasis mine):

We believe that people deserve a better phone service experience, which is why we’re including 5G, with speeds up to 200 Mbps, as part of our core plan at no additional cost. No hidden fees, no forcing you to upgrade into a different, secretly-more-expensive plan.

I’m not confident the 200Mbps cap will be enforced, at least initially. In the past, Visible mentioned a 5Mbps limit on hotspot speeds, but the company didn’t strictly enforce the limit.

It looks like Visible’s 5G service will include both Verizon’s sub-6 5G and Verizon’s millimeter wave 5G:

At launch, 5G will be available for Visible members where Verizon 5G coverage is available.

On Visible’s website, the carrier shares more information about its plans for 5G.

Visible’s Swap Program Now Offering Better Phones

I previously raved about Visible’s swap program. New customers used to be able to trade in almost any Android phone to get a free ZTE R2. In my case, I was able to trade in an old phone that was several years old for a much better device.

Visible recently made the swap program much better. The ZTE R2 has been dropped from the program, and customers now get to choose between the ZTE Blade A7 Prime and the Motorola Moto e6. I haven’t got my hands on either device yet, but from what I’ve read, both look like solid entry-level phones.

If you have an Android phone that powers on and isn’t already compatible with Visible, it should be eligible for the swap program. You can verify whether a device is compatible by entering its IMEI on Visible’s website. If you get a message that your device is incompatible, hit the “Next” button to continue with the swap program.

Visible Launches Party Pay

The Verizon flanker brand, Visible, just launched what it calls Party Pay. With Party Pay, groups of up to four people can get discounts on their service while still maintaining their own, separate billing.

Previously, Visible offered only one plan. For $40 per month, subscribers could get unlimited minutes, texts, and data over Verizon’s network. Visible has a few limitations: hotspot speeds are throttled, a limited set of devices are compatible, and subscribers have low priority during periods of network congestion. Still, at $40 per month, Visible was offering a good price for an unlimited plan that ran over Verizon’s network. Today, Visible’s pricing got a lot better. With Party Pay, subscribers now pay a per-line rate determined by how many people are in their party:

  • 1 person: $40 per month
  • 2 people: $35 per month
  • 3 people: $30 per month
  • 4 people: $25 per month

Party pay is not a traditional family plan. Visible doesn’t require that users be family members or even know each other in real life:1

If you’re already active on Visible, get a party link from a loved/liked/iffy-about one, or an internet stranger. Click the link, and ask to join the party.

If you want to, it’s possible to treat Party Pay like a family plan—though it might take a bit of work. Here’s what a Visible employee on Reddit suggests:

How can I pay for everyone in my party (like a family plan)?

Easiest way to do this is just adding the same payment info to all the accounts you want to pay for and turn on Autopay.

Parties don’t have a manager. Anyone in a party that is not full can invite others, approve requests from people wanting to join, or choose to leave a party. It is not possible to kick another member out of a party.

If a subscriber leaves a party, Visible’s rates for those still in the party will adjust accordingly. Here are excerpts from Visible’s FAQ explaining the process:

If one of my party members miss a payment or leaves the party, what happens?
When someone misses a payment or lapses service, pauses service without billing, cancels their account, ports out and leaves Visible, they are removed from the party. When that happens the party membership changes and Visible monthly service amount changes based on the number of members in the party.

If one of my party members leaves the party, what happens?
They are removed from the party. When that happens Visible monthly service amount changes for the remaining members based on the number of members still in the party at the time the next bill is created [or something to this effect].

At $25 per person for an unlimited plan over Verizon’s network, Visible’s Party Play is hard to beat in price. That said, it may not be for everyone. A fair number of subscribers have reported issues with aspects of Visible’s service (see my full review).

With the introduction of Party Play, Visible made a few other changes. New customers now get their first month of service for $25 regardless of their party size. Additionally, the Visible referral program is being phased out. Existing subscribers will keep their bill credits for past referrals, but Visible won’t continue to give referral codes to new customers.

Feel free to leave invitation links for your party in the comments (but check if another commenter has open spaces in their party first).

Visible Continues To Throttle Some Phones

When the wireless carrier Visible first launched, Visible throttled data speeds to a maximum of 5Mbps. In June, Visible announced a removal of the cap for new and existing customers:

Starting today, and for a limited time, we’re removing the 5 Mbps data speed cap for our current and new members at no added cost…everyone who gets to experience uncapped speeds will get to keep them — again, at no additional cost — as long as they are a member.

Last week, I started trialing Visible’s service. Speed tests I ran all found download speeds of about 5 or 6 Mbps. Whether I had a strong LTE connection or a weak one, I experienced about the same download speed.

Summary of several Visible speed test results showing download speeds around 5Mbps

Each of the tests showed a weird pattern. After initiating a test, speeds would briefly shoot up well beyond 5Mbps (red arrow) before stabilizing around 5Mbps (green arrows).

Speed test result showing speeds stabilize around 5Mbps

Shortly after experiencing these weird test results, I found a Reddit thread where other Visible subscribers mentioned similar problems. Here’s the original post by Reddit user n0ki:

I now have 2 phones moved over to Visible. Both phones max out at 5mbps. After spending an hour or so with chat support and going through all their troubleshooting, I finally convince her that even though my account shows its not capped, that is is acting like it is. She finally decides to “reset” the cap and that resolves the issue.

I reach out to support on my 2nd phone and explain I’m having the same problem and what the solution is. They want me to spend another hour going through all the same troubleshooting steps.

Frustrating that it’s currently advertised as unlimited but all these new accounts still seem to be capped at 5!

Most of the people experiencing the issue were using the Visible R2, the same phone I experienced an issue with.

I went ahead and reached out to Visible’s support. After a live chat conversation that took about 20 minutes, I was experiencing much faster download speeds:

Speed test result finding a download speed of 17Mbps

While it’s unimpressive that Visible seems to still be throttling some subscribers, I’m inclined to believe the issue is due to an honest mistake on Visible’s end.