Mint Mobile review: Tons of data with multi-month savings – Android Central

14 minutes, 19 seconds Read

Many of us in the U.S. have grown accustomed to the ballooning prices of cell phone plans offered by the big three carriers. These carriers — AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon — have continued to increase the value of their plans by bundling in extras such as security tools, hotspot data, subscription services, and cloud storage, with savings coming only when you add as many lines as possible. 

While these features can certainly be nice to have, there’s a lot of money to be saved if you strip away these unessential add-ons. This is where Mint Mobile shines, since it sticks to what’s most important in a cell phone plan by giving you unlimited calls and texts on all plans, unlimited data, and plenty of high-speed data for most people. In fact, T-Mobile (whose network infrastructure Mint Mobile uses) seems to have picked up on this advantage too, even more so as it now fully owns Mint Mobile.

Mint Mobile is also one of the only few prepaid carriers offering multi-month savings on all of its plans. This means that if you’ve got spare cash to pay for up to a year of service up front, you can save even more. Of course, the minimum three-month plan will be a bit too much for some people to get at once, but with the first three months following the 12-month rates, it’s definitely worth checking out Mint Mobile.

Also, there’s a limited time promotion for new customers that brings the rates of all plans at $15 a month, provided you sign up for at least three months. So, if you’re planning to switch to arguably the best Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), you can end up saving a lot of money by getting Mint Mobile.

Mint Mobile: Plans and availability

Mint Mobile

(Image credit: Mint Mobile)

At first glance, Mint Mobile’s plan structure may seem a bit confusing but once you get a hang of how its discounts work, it makes a lot of sense. Mint Mobile has a total of four plans, starting with 5GB of data and going all the way up to unlimited (albeit with a 40GB cap on high-speed data) usage. 

You can buy service for three, six, or 12 months, with the pricing broken down per month being cheaper for the long term. Luckily, if you want to try Mint Mobile, the first three months of service use the twelve-month price, so you can experience the carrier without committing to a full year. If you don’t want to pay anything at all, Mint Mobile also offers a free seven-day trial that lets you test drive the service and see if it meets all your needs. The trial runs alongside your current service provider’s plan and you get a new number for it.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Mint Mobile Plans
Header Cell – Column 0 5GB 15GB 20GB Unlimited
3 months (introductory price) $15/mo. ($45) $15/mo. ($45) $15/mo. ($45) $15/mo. ($45)
3 months $25/mo. ($75) $35/mo. ($105) $45/mo. ($135) $40/mo. ($120)
6 months $20/mo. ($120) $25/mo. ($150) $35/mo. ($210) $35/mo. ($210)
12 months $15/mo. ($180) $20/mo. ($240) $25/mo. ($300) $30/mo. ($360)

The most significant savings with Mint Mobile come from buying six or 12 months of service, but you may also be able to save by switching to a smaller plan. Although we have become accustomed to buying unlimited plans by default, most of us just don’t need that much data, especially if frequent access to Wi-Fi is available. 

You can check your last phone bill to see how much data you used or check the data usage in the settings of your Android phone to get a better idea. For example, if you use less than 20GB per month, you don’t need Mint Mobile’s unlimited plan. In fact, you might not even need the 15GB plan.

If you want to bring your whole family over to Mint Mobile, you can use Mint Family to make your upfront payments more palatable. With Mint Family, you only need to pay for three months at a time but can still get the low 12-month rates. If you want to get Mint Mobile’s best rates for your family members but can’t pay up for multiple 12-month plans at once, Mint Family can help.

Mint Mobile: What I like

Change plans close up on Mint Mobile app showing multi-month options

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

A cell phone plan is only as good as the network behind it and in Mint Mobile’s case, that means T-Mobile, which is now also its owner. During my testing, I used T-Mobile 4G LTE and 5G in Northern Florida. T-Mobile isn’t especially fast in my area, but I did have 5G coverage including T-Mobile’s fast band n41 most of the time. T-Mobile has been investing heavily in its network with a focus on 5G infrastructure, so if you have been unimpressed by its network in the past years, it may be worth another look. As such, overall network coverage of Mint Mobile is sure to become even better going forward. 

I tested my Mint Mobile SIM card in two phones, starting with an unlocked ASUS Zenfone 8 before moving on to a Samsung Galaxy S20+. The ASUS didn’t support band n41 and spent most of its time bouncing between 4G and 5G. On the other hand, the Samsung does support the vast majority of T-Mobile’s bands and provided a more consistent experience on the network. Band 41 connected without issues, even indoors, giving the Galaxy a serious advantage in network speeds.

While Mint Mobile is compatible with a wide variety of phones, devices like the latest Samsung Galaxy S24 series that put a bigger focus on the unlocked U.S. market will lead to a better overall experience. Luckily though, the Zenfone did work with more than enough speeds for most tasks. It was objectively slower in a speed test but in day-to-day use, I didn’t feel hampered.

For just about anything you need with your phone plan, Mint Mobile lets you do it from the app.

The fact of the matter is that T-Mobile’s widely compatible network means you can bring just about any of the best Android phones to Mint Mobile and be assured of having a good experience. Some phones, such as those designed for Verizon and AT&T, will have fewer supported relevant bands but if they’re unlocked, there’s a good chance you’ll still be able to get connected, even if it is just LTE. To be sure you can get 5G connectivity on Mint Mobile, you’ll want a smartphone that supports 5G band n71 and for faster speeds, band n41.

One thing Mint Mobile gets very right is its app experience. The Mint Mobile app can quickly show you how much data you’ve used while providing you simple options to upgrade or downgrade your plan as necessary. This is also where you can make payments and enable automatic renewal. It’s important to decide ahead of schedule if you want to upgrade to the 12-month plan before your renewal’s due because if you’ve started with three months, your plan will be set to renew at the higher three-month rates.

You can also find quick access to customer service with a chat system built into the app. You can call the support number from here to talk to a human if you prefer too. For just about anything you need with your phone plan, Mint Mobile lets you do it from the app. Also, comparing it to the app experience of bigger carriers like AT&T, the app is quick and responsive with a simple layout that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.

Mint Mobile calls the plan unlimited but after 40GB, your data speeds are reduced quite a lot.

As mentioned, I tested Mint Mobile’s unlimited plan and by the plan description, you get 40GB of data at full speed with 10GB of hotspot data. This plan also comes with unlimited talk and text including voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Wi-Fi calling and texting. Data speeds were consistent up to 40GB of usage and calls were reasonably clear. I had no trouble understanding the person on the other line and they also heard me loud and clear.

When it came to data usage, normally 40GB would be more than enough for me as I typically use between 15-25GB per month. Mint Mobile calls this plan unlimited but even after 40GB, your data isn’t cut off. However, the speeds are reduced quite a lot. I deliberately blew through the 35GB limit and found my download speeds cut to right around 500kbps. This was enough to send and receive messages including picture mail. This speed was also enough to stream music without many issues. If I had to live with this limitation, I could, but I wouldn’t have to.

Once you’ve used your data up, Mint Mobile gives you two options for more high-speed data. You can get 5GB more for $15 or 10GB for $20 in case of the unlimited plan. If you’re on one of the lower plans, you can get 1GB for $10 and 3GB for $20. Given that many carriers like Google Fi charge up to $10 per 1GB, this is a pretty decent deal and can help if you find you need the extra data in a pinch.

Mint Mobile: What could be better

Service mode on a Samsung Galaxy S20+ showing 5G NR band details

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Like any prepaid carrier, there are a few compromises that come with the financial benefits in case of Mint Mobile. For one thing, data will be a lower priority than on a T-Mobile postpaid or business account. That means in areas with a lot of network congestion, Mint Mobile users could see slower speeds. During my testing in my relatively small city, speeds felt consistent on 5G though, there isn’t a ton of congestion to worry about. This point is less of a con and more of something to keep in mind if you find your Mint Mobile speeds aren’t keeping up with expectations.

Now that Mint Mobile is owned by T-Mobile, some of the de-prioritization problems might go away eventually — but it’s too soon to say for certain. 

If you watch a lot of gaming streams, you might be disappointed by the 480p video streaming limit.

One thing that I don’t like is the video streaming limit. On the unlimited plan, Mint Mobile limits video stream playback to 480p. This means about 1.5Mbps of speed when using a video app like YouTube. While 480p looks fine on a small smartphone screen, it’s noticeably softer than a 720p video. It’s also noticeable that on YouTube, 60fps streams will only be available in 30fps at 480p. If you watch a lot of gaming streams as I do, it feels much too low.

I understand that limiting video quality can prevent excessive waste by those that stream hours upon hours of video on mobile data. However, I also understand that Mint Mobile calls this plan unlimited and it not only has a 40GB high-speed data limit but also a video quality limit in place at all times. No matter how reasonable the data limit, calling a plan unlimited before limiting both my high-speed data and my video quality doesn’t feel right. Perhaps that’s why Mint Mobile calls this plan Unlimited.

Mint Mobile: The Competition

Mint Mobile's SIM card sits atop competitors with the Mint Mobile app showing the help page

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Competition is fierce when it comes to prepaid carriers. Ultra Mobile is one of the first to come to mind and was in fact Mint Mobile’s parent company before T-Mobile came in and scooped up both Ultra and Mint. Ultra offers a wide range of data plans on the T-Mobile network starting at just 250MB with up to 40GB of data available. Ultra Mobile also has multi-month savings for up to 12 months. Depending on how much data you need, Ultra Mobile may end up being quicker.

Visible is a prepaid carrier owned by Verizon and thus, uses Verizon’s LTE and 5G networks for coverage. Visible only has two straightforward plans and while they are deprioritized compared to Verizon Wireless plans, you still have plenty of speeds for most of your needs. Visible is also cheap with its plans, with the basic plan available at $25 per month, that too with all taxes and fees included. Both plans also give you unlimited hotspot usage at 5/10Mbps.

Mint Mobile: Frequently asked questions

Does Mint Mobile support international service?

Calls and texts to Mexico and Canada are free on all plans. If you want to call other countries, you’ll need to add money to your Mint Mobile account and pay per minute or text.

Mint Mobile’s international roaming support is as simple as it gets, with flat rates of $0.05 per text, $0.25 per minute, and $0.20 per MB of data for most countries. Service in Mexico and Canada is reduced to $0.02 per text, S0.06 per minute, and $0.06 per MB of data.

Which Mint Mobile plan should you buy?

When it comes to how much time span of service you should go for between three, six, or 12 months, starting with just three makes the most sense. If you’re new to Mint Mobile, you can have the first three months of service for the same monthly cost as twelve months. Not only that, but this will also help you dial in how much data you’ll need before committing long-term.

Starting with three months, you can renew with twelve months and lock in the introductory rate. This will be the best course of action if you find that Mint Mobile works well for you. If it’s not working for you, you can let it run out without renewing.

Looking for a family plan? Well, Mint Mobile has Mint Family, a feature that allows one person to manage up to five plans under one account. There aren’t multi-line savings like some other carriers, but Mint Mobile gives Mint Family users 12-month rates with three-month renewals. This means that users won’t need to pay for all of the account’s full year of service at once.

Does Mint Mobile support 5G?

Yes, it uses T-Mobile’s 5G network, which means that if your phone supports 5G access, you should see the 5G signal on the top-right of your phone. Here are Mint Mobile’s current supported wireless bands:

  • Band 2 – 1900MHz
  • Bands 4/66 – 1700/2100MHz
  • Band 5 – 850MHz
  • Band 12 – 700MHz
  • Band 71 – 600MHz
  • Band n71 – 600MHz (5G sub-6)
  • Band n41 – 2.5GHz (5G sub-6)
  • Band n258 – 24GHz (5G mmWave)
  • Band n260 – 39GHz (5G mmWave)
  • Band n261 – 28GHz (5G mmWave)

What phones does Mint Mobile support?

Can you bring your own device?

Surprisingly for a smaller MVNO, Mint Mobile has a pretty great selection of phones you can buy directly from it. You have the option of paying the full price of the phone outright or month-to-month with 0% financing through Affirm.

Most of the best phones for Mint Mobile are also some of the best Android phones you can get. Alternatively, if you already have a phone you want to use with Mint Mobile, you can do that too.

Mint Mobile works with any GSM-unlocked phone, and if you aren’t sure what that means, you can use a compatibility checker on Mint Mobile’s website to confirm your device will work by entering its IMEI number. The SIM card itself is free, so you’ll just need to purchase one of the above plans to get going with your service.

Don’t forget that you can bring your current phone number to Mint Mobile as well.

Mint Mobile: Should you sign up?

An unused Mint Mobile SIM card with multiple sizes supported

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

You should sign up if…

  • You have good T-Mobile coverage
  • You can afford to pay for multiple months upfront
  • You have an unlocked phone that works on T-Mobile’s network

You shouldn’t sign up if…

  • You need more than 40GB of high-speed data
  • You want to pay for one month at a time
  • You need priority data
  • You need to add multiple lines

Mint Mobile makes a lot of sense for a lot of people, thanks to its wide range of data plans that work for most. Whether you need something small like the 5GB plan or need more than 20GB, Mint Mobile’s plans are priced competitively. If you can afford to pay for a year of Mint Mobile’s service, your monthly prices will be one of the best in the business.

Mint Mobile is also a better fit for many people, thanks to the great compatibility of the T-Mobile network. Just about any unlocked phone works on this network, including 5G phones, so if you’ve been thinking about trying out T-Mobile’s network, Mint Mobile is a great choice.

This post was originally published on the 3rd party mentioned in the title ofthis site

Similar Posts