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One of the best cheap cell phone plans is somehow even cheaper now

Boost, Metro and Cricket, look out! Visible by Verizon now offers a new way to pay for your cell service - and it could be the most competitive plan on the market.
Written by Kyle Kucharski, Editor
TCL Nxtpaper phones
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Visible Wireless, Verizon's prepaid cell phone service, is offering a new way to pay for cell phone service that results in a steep discount.

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Visible is rolling out a new "annual plan" payment structure that lets consumers pay for the entire year upfront, and -- in turn -- save money on the overall rate. And it's a substantial saving.

Visible's simple plan structure consists of two tiers: a standard tier for $25 a month, and a Visible+ premium tier for $45 a month. Both plans offer unlimited talk, text, and data, but the Visible+ plan comes with prioritized service, eSIM support, hotspot capability, and international calling and texting.

The new annual plan, however, will cost only $395 for the Visible+ tier, amounting to an annual savings of $145. This works out to what is a $32/month phone bill for unlimited everything, 5G Verizon network coverage, and coverage in Canada and Mexico. Not a bad deal.

You can also prepay for the standard tier, although the savings aren't nearly as significant. One year's worth of standard service will cost you $275, which is only $25 off. Since Visible uses Verizon's cellular infrastructure, keep in mind that consumers on the standard tier may face de-prioritized service based on network traffic.

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Customers can bring their own phones over to Visible by determining their devices' compatibility on the Visible website. Once there, you can download an eSIM straight to your phone and activate it right away, or order a physical SIM card and have it sent to you in the mail. Also, you can buy a brand new phone from Visible's store.

Verizon's budget sub-brand competes against other carriers' brands with similar rates, including Dish's Boost Mobile, T-Mobile's Metro and AT&T's Cricket Wireless. But with the annual rate's prepaid discount, Visible by Verizon's prepaid annual rates are easily some of the cheapest.

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Paying for a year of service upfront may not appeal to everyone. One of the advantages of opting for a prepaid plan is the lack of a contract, and an upfront chunk of change more or less acts as a contract, just in a different form. But for consumers who want uncomplicated, reliable service and don't require a lot of customer support, this might be one of the best deals out there.

I must mention the customer service aspect, however, as this has been an issue with Visible and other competing prepaid budget brands. Customer service with these brands is typically less robust than what is found within the flagship companies; independent consumers who require little support likely will be most satisfied with a budget brand.

Visible by Verizon's new annual plans go into effect on April 17, and are available for new and current customers.

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