Editors' note: Because evaluating wireless coverage requires experience with the network in a wide variety of physical locations, CNET does not rate wireless carriers. We can, however, tell you everything you need to know about the major carriers. We invite your feedback and ratings in our user opinions section--the more input we get from around the U.S., the better our users can evaluate coverage at a national level. For more carrier information, please see CNET's Quick Guide.
After acquiring Alltel in January 2009, Verizon Wireless became the biggest wireless carrier in the United States. It was one of the first to offer a 3G network, a music store and GPS services, and it launched the first mobile TV network for a carrier. A joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone, Verizon Wireless was formed in 2000 through a merger between GTE Wireless and Bell Atlantic.
Things you should know:
- This carrier offers an unlimited calling plan.
- High-speed 3G networks are limited to urban areas.
- Uses BREW instead of Java for games and other applications, which can limit the number of choices available to consumers.
- Verizon claims it has the most reliable network nationwide, and the network quality has been rated highly in consumer and analyst studies. Tell us what you think in our
- Offers the widest selection of LG phones of the major carriers, and is the only major carrier to have offered Kyocera phones. Its smartphone selection is varied and includes Palm, Google Android, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry devices.
- Its Friends & Family option offers unlimited calling to a select group of numbers, even landlines.
- As a CDMA carrier, Verizon's international coverage is limited to a handful of countries but it offers dual-mode CDMA/GSM handsets.
- Subscribers: 78 million
- Coverage: Verizon Wireless has nationwide coverage with service in every state (though not all services are available in Alaska). Of course, actual reception will vary by location. CDMA international roaming using a Verizon phone is available in 40 countries and U.S. territories.
- Technology: CDMA, 1xRTT
- 3G network: Yes, EV-DO
- Streaming video service: Yes, Verizon V Cast and V Cast Mobile TV
- Music download service: Yes, V Cast Wireless Music
- Push-to-talk: Available, depending on phone model
- Prepaid plans: Yes
- Family plans: Yes