Visible—a new prepaid brand that is funded by Verizon, uses the company’s LTE network and is staffed by former Verizon executives—doesn’t appear to be very visible. At least not yet.
Visible “has no presence at Verizon stores, at national retail, or at independent prepaid dealer stores, based on checks and conversations. Wave7 Research is unaware of any impact as yet from the Denver-based carrier,” the research firm wrote in a recent note.
In response to FierceWireless questions on the topic, a Visible spokesperson explained that the MVNO is in “early access” right now.
“We've prioritized building out the platform for early access members,” the representative said. “In an effort to best serve their needs, we conducted a survey to ask members what features they most wanted to see, which resulted in the release of the mobile hotspot. The feature is now rolling out to early access members.”
A Visible executive, in response to this story, added on Twitter that the company doesn't need stores to be successful:
A brand doesn’t need to be in stores to have an impact, but yes we’re slow rolling things right now— Jeremy Bolton (@JeremyBolton18) June 27, 2018
Visible rose to prominence in May. As reported by TechCrunch, Visible wouldn’t disclose how much funding it received from Verizon to get its service launched, but Visible CEO Miguel Quiroga said the company has been working on the idea for a year or so.
Visible’s service, available through its website, requires users to have a compatible, unlocked iPhone. After signing up, the company mails a SIM card to the user that then activates the service. Visible boasts of attentive customer service, payments through PayPal and Venmo, and no contracts.
Since the company is owned by Verizon, Visible is more like Cricket or MetroPCS or Boost than it is an MVNO like TracFone or Consumer Cellular or Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile. AT&T owns Cricket and operates it as a separate prepaid brand, as T-Mobile does with MetroPCS and Sprint does with Boost. MVNOs, meantime, are companies that essentially piggyback on the networks of mobile network operators like Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile, but generally operate their own systems including handset sales, activations and billing.
Article updated June 27 to clarify the nature of the relationship between Visible and Verizon, as well as to add Jeremy Bolton's tweet.