Verizon (the former owner of Engadget) is finally overhauling TracFone’s service following its 2020 acquisition, and the reborn service could pique your interest under the right circumstances. the Just Launched Total seems built to compete with the big prepaid carriers like AT&T’s Cricket and T-Mobile’s Metro. In addition to more competitive rates than Verizon’s own-brand option (more on that later), you’ll also get some new benefits. Each plan offers 5G and unlimited talk and text to Canada and Mexico, while unlimited plans now include a six-month Disney+ subscription for the $50 plan or indefinitely at the $60 level.
The service starts at $30 per month (you get a 5 percent discount with automatic top-ups) with 5 GB of fast data and 5 GB of hotspot data. A $0 plan provides 15 GB of fast data with corresponding hotspot support. The $50 unlimited plan limits you to 10GB of hotspot data, but the $60 deal bumps that up to 20GB and also provides 5G ultra-wideband. Additional lines are $35 each, and international roaming is available if you have two or more lines on at least the $40 plan.
Whether or not this is a good value depends on what you’re looking for. Total is a better overall offering than Verizon’s own-brand prepaid service. That doesn’t drop to $30 a month unless you’ve been with the carrier for three months ($25 after nine months), and Verizon is generally stingier on freebies. No plan includes Disney+ for more than six months, and you must spend at least $50 per month ($35 after nine months) to get unlimited talk and text with Canada and Mexico. The video stream is typically limited at 480p, but you can contact support to remove that ceiling.
Rival providers are another story. Total is often more tempting than Cricket, with higher benefits even at $30 per month. Cricket doesn’t even enable 480p video streaming until you get the $55 unlimited plan. Cricket’s $60 tier ($55 with autopay) bundle of HBO Max and 150GB of cloud storage might entice you. With Metro, it’s more complicated. While the $30 5GB package is easy, you only need to shell out $40 to get unlimited data and a year of ViX+ streaming in Spanish. Metro asks you to spend a minimum of $50 per month for hotspot data (and only 5GB), but that outlay also gets you a 100GB Google One subscription. Step up to $60 and you’ll also get an Amazon Prime membership that could easily pay for itself.
As a result, Total is not a surefire hit. However, it makes Verizon considerably more attractive than before to the no-contract crowd. It may also be attractive if you want Disney+ and don’t expect to switch providers any time soon, especially in light of upcoming price increases for standalone subscriptions.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at time of publication.