Anyone paying for mobile phone service for a smartphone knows that plans have become very expensive; only a couple lines can cost you well over $100 monthly. Verizon has quietly launched a new startup service called Visible that is a no contract,
Subscribing involves downloading the Visible app and registering your account, assuming you have an invite. For now, the only way to get in on the action is to be invited from someone who is already on the Visible service. You also must be using an iOS device, Android isn’t supported for now.
You will get a SIM card in the mail within one day after you download the app and complete registration. Visible uses the Verizon network for all services, you can pay using PayPal and Venmo, and your device must be unlocked. One key point for people who use lots of data is that Visible promises there will be no throttling of access speeds as you see with other services. However, we don’t think it would be fair to throttle customers anyway considering that download speeds are capped at 5Mbps and you’ll only get 480p streaming video.
It’s interesting to see a move like this from the largest cellular provider out there with 150 million subscribers; second place AT&T has 141.6 million subscribers. Why would the top dog offer a service that is cheaper than its direct offerings? The answer is likely to try and grab some of those users who would be leaving Verizon anyway.
Many mobile users are moving to pre-paid plans because devices and service tend to be much cheaper than traditional post-paid plans. The lack of a contract also means if you are unhappy, you move whenever you want. There is no indication when Visible might move out of the invite-only phase.