Verizon completed its, and on Wednesday it will make its biggest move in space since then. Called Total by Verizon, the nation’s largest wireless carrier is adding a new prepaid brand to its stable that’s designed to take on T-Mobile’s Metro and AT&T’s Cricket Wireless.
“I will tell you that right now our competitors are Metro and Cricket. I mean, I have no problem saying that,” said Eduardo Diaz Corona, president and CEO of Tracfone Wireless. “And we believe that we bring much more value to the table and with the launch of our exclusive stores, we will enhance the experience that consumers will have.”
The carrier says the new Total brand will be available “in more than 50,000 retail locations, including Walmart, Target and Dollar General,” as well as specialty Total by Verizon stores and online. There will be four plan options, with the cheapest plan running $30 per month for a single line and including 5GB of high-speed data (after which you’ll be slowed down to “2G speeds,” though Verizon won’t confirm how slow those speeds are).
$40 per month will get you 15GB of high-speed data (again, throttled to “2G speeds” if you exceed this allotment), while $50 per month will move you to unlimited high-speed data, along with 10GB of special hotspot data, a six-month Disney promotion Plus and unlimited talk and text to “five countries of your choice” from a list of 69. All three of these plans include unlimited talk and text in the US and the ability to connect to Verizon’s 5G national network,.
For $60 a month, you can get 20GB of dedicated hotspot data, the ability to connect to Verizon’s fastest 5G Ultra Wideband networks, unlimited talk and text to 69 countries, and you’ll have Disney Plus included. Each plan will allow you to add up to four additional lines, though it will be expensive at $35 per line per month for each additional line you add.
Verizon clarified Thursday that the 5GB plan will be just $30 for each additional line per month.
Four lines of the cheapest 5GB per month option will cost $120 per month with Total from Verizon, while the most expensive $60 per month unlimited option will be $165 per month for four lines ($60 for the first line, $105 for two lines up to four).
Verizon says it will take “5% off all plans” if you set up an “auto-recharge” that automatically renews your service each month. Since this is a prepaid option, there are no contracts and you pay for the service in advance. Plans are also available with the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity program, which is a $30 monthly credit for eligible households that meet government requirements.
“What we want is the value-conscious consumer who wants a no-contract connection, but at the same time cares about family connectivity,” Diaz Corona said.
Crowded prepaid space
Competing prepaid options like T-Mobile’s Metro and AT&T’s Cricket operate their own stores nationwide. Both prepaid alternatives also offer unlimited data plans with full access to their respective 5G networks for $100 per month for four lines, as well as 5GB options for $30 per month for one line. Verizon’s Total joins Tracfone, Verizon Prepaid and Visible as smaller Verizon-owned wireless brands.
Metro’s top unlimited plan costs $120 per month for four lines and includes 15GB of hotspot data, an Amazon Prime subscription, 100GB of Google One storage and one year of Vix Plus (TelevisaUnivision’s Spanish-language streaming service). Cricket’s top unlimited plan costs $130 per month and similarly has 15GB of dedicated hotspot data, an ad-supported HBO Max subscription, and unlimited texts from the US to 37 countries.
In addition to Metro and Cricket, there are a number of other prepaid options that Verizon’s Total will have to compete with. If you don’t need unlimited data or family plans, Boost Mobile and Mint Mobileespecially if you are a new customer.
Update, September 22: Verizon will charge $30 for each additional line for those on the cheapest 5GB per month plan. Those on $40 per month (or higher plans) will pay $35 per month, per line for each additional line they add. The story has been updated to reflect this.