Having examined many different no-contract carriers up close for the last few months, I am most excited about this match-up: Mint Mobile vs Cricket.
For this guide, I performed research primarily from customer reviews, carrier websites, and conversations with sales representatives. Personally, I currently use T-Mobile but have used a wide array of MVNO carriers in the last year (Cricket being one of them).
Mint Mobile vs Cricket: An overview
But thanks to savvy marketing and well-built, affordable plans, Mint and Cricket may be the two leading MVNO carriers at present. Before we dive into specifics, here is a quick overview of these two carriers in a side-by-side comparison.
|Cheapest Plan||$15/mo (for 12-month bundle) for 3GB of data and unlimited talk/text||$25/mo (auto-pay) with 2GB of data and unlimited talk/text|
|Most Expensive Plan||$25/mo (first three months prepaid, $40/mo thereafter) for 12GB of data and unlimited talk/text||$55/mo (auto-pay) for unlimited LTE (speeds throttled at 22GB) and 15GB of mobile hotspot|
|Most Popular Plan||$20/mo (first three months prepaid, $35/mo thereafter) for 8GB of data and unlimited talk/text||$35/mo (auto-pay) for unlimited LTE when you bring your own device (speeds throttled at 22GB)|
|Monthly or Bulk?||Bulk (minimum three months prepaid bundle)||Monthly|
|International Coverage?||Canada and Mexico||Canada and Mexico|
|Unlimited Data?||No||Yes (speeds throttled at 22GB)|
|Hotspot?||Yes||Available for add-on or with $60/mo plan|
A quick word on pricing
The main difference between Cricket and Mint is their billing frequency.
Cricket charges monthly and offers a $5 discount when customers enroll in autopay. Mint, on the other hand, offers 3, 6, or 12-month billing cycles. The more months you bundle into a Mint pay period, the more you save.
Comparing coverage quality
Having used both AT&T and T-Mobile coverage, I have a difficult time knowing who is better. For a long time, AT&T was second only to Verizon. Now, experts say that T-Mobile is number two and closing the gap on Verizon.
As a current T-Mobile user splitting time between Lake Tahoe and the Bay Area, CA, I can tell you that T-Mobile is undergoing substantial infrastructural upgrades in the West. T-Mobile technicians anticipate completing these upgrades by the end of March 2020.
Additionally, both AT&T and T-Mobile are expanding their 5G networks. While neither Mint nor Cricket offers 5G LTE (yet), 4G LTE will become less congested as more AT&T and T-Mobile customers take advantage of 5G speeds in their area.
Mint Mobile coverage
If an area has T-Mobile coverage, then it also has Mint Mobile coverage. Examining the map below, you won’t find too much difference in coverage from Mint and other premium carriers (Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile).
That said, I recommend checking your zip code for more accurate coverage quality. Also, keep in mind that MVNO carrier coverage may diminish if the primary carrier – T-Mobile in this case – is congested.
Mint coverage in Mexico and Canada
Mint supports international calls, texts, and data in scores of countries. But if you want to roam in Mexico or Canada, you pay cheaper international rates.
As the menu below demonstrates, a text is 2 cents; a minute is 6 cents; each megabyte of data is 6 cents.
Mint customers initiate international roaming by texting the word “UPROAM” to the number 6700. From there, they can pay for international text/call/data credit in increments of $10 (or just $5 to get started).
AT&T’s coverage has been around longer than T-Mobile. Thus, the Cricket coverage map looks a little more extensive than does Mint’s coverage map.
However, you can’t really know how good coverage is in your area until you enter your address or zip code in the search bar above the map.
Cricket is also subject to slower LTE speeds during periods of high congestion on the AT&T network.
Cricket coverage in Mexico and Canada
Whereas you pay extra for international roaming with Mint, Cricket unlimited plans already include it. In fact, you can receive calls and texts from anywhere in the world. However, you will only be able to initiate calls or send texts to numbers in North America.
Those that frequent Mexico and Canada will do better with Cricket’s unlimited plans.
Canada travelers should note that “usage in Canada needs to stay under 50% of your total usage in a 3-month period or you risk service being suspended.” This caveat applies to calls, texts, and data.
Mint Mobile 7-day trial (Mint SIM starter kit)
After replacing the SIM card in your phone, you have one week to use 100 call minutes, 100 texts, and 100 MB of LTE.
If after the trial you don’t like it, then you’ve lost nothing but $5. That said, Mint has a pretty high conversion rate on customers that start with a trial. Cricket does not offer any free trial at this time.
Cricket’s unlimited data plans
Cricket’s unlimited plans start at $35/month (with auto-pay) if you bring your own compatible device. If you purchase a new smartphone from Cricket, the unlimited plan is $50/month (with auto-pay). The most elite unlimited plan includes 15GB of hotspot for $55/month (with auto-pay).
As with most carriers, unlimited is never 100% unlimited. Cricket, for example, throttles their LTE after 22GB. Compared to Mint’s largest LTE plan of 12GB, Cricket’s unlimited plans soundly defeat Mint Mobile.
Phone selection and compatibility
Both Mint and Cricket work from the GSM wireless network. As such, your phone should qualify for either carrier’s BYOD program (bring your own device) if it is compatible with a GSM network and unlocked.
If your smartphone is less than ten years old, you will probably qualify. Here are directions for confirming whether or not your phone will work with Mint or Cricket.
How to find out if your phone is compatible with Mint Mobile (Mint BYOD)
From Mint Mobile’s BYOP page, you can access its “check your phone compatibility” feature.
If you do not know how to access your IMEI in Settings, you can dial *#06#. This option will instantly display your IMEI and MEID number. Simply enter the number where instructed (see below) and select “check phone.”
How to find out if your phone is compatible with Cricket (Cricket BYOD)
Since you have your IMEI number already up on your phone, you can enter the number on Cricket’s BYOD page and select “check my phone” (see below).
New Phone Selection: Mint Mobile vs Cricket
In all, Cricket has 31 phones for sale in the following brands:
With Cricket, you can purchase some of the latest models, including the iPhone 11 and Galaxy S10. If you want to finance your new phone, Cricket partners with Progressive Leasing for phone payment plans.
For phone selection, Mint is the clear winner. With 70 phones to choose from, the Mint store has all the leading models from Cricket’s list above, plus smartphones from:
If you’d like to finance your new smartphone, Mint partners with Affirm for payment plans. Unfortunately, not all phones qualify for a payment plan.
Mint hotspot vs Cricket hotspot
For Mint Mobile, you can use your available LTE data to supply mobile hotspot to your other devices. While there is no extra charge to use your hotspot, it does burn through your available data.
At Cricket, you pay $10/month for 10GB of hotspot. That said, you can access 15 GB of included hotspot with Cricket’s $55/month (with auto-pay) unlimited plan.
Who has better customer support?
Both Cricket and Mint have 800 customer service numbers and live chat. Each has unique customer service hours as follows:
- Cricket: 7 AM -Midnight (Monday-Saturday) and 10 AM-10 PM (Sunday) Eastern Time
- Mint Mobile: 5 AM-7 PM (Monday-Friday), 8 AM-5 PM (Saturday), and 9 AM-6 PM (Sunday) Pacific Time
Both companies also provide online forums and blogs to help you with simple troubleshooting.
Unfortunately, Cricket’s customer service has quite a bit of negative feedback from customers. Mint, on the other hand, appears adequate since there are neither many complaints nor praises for its customer service.
The two main questions you should ask yourself are:
- Do I like buying in bulk at a low rate? If your answer is yes, Mint is probably the better option.
- Do I want more LTE and hotspot? If your answer to this question is yes, you should switch to Cricket.
These two competitors have advantages and disadvantages that offset one another. But it is hard to go wrong either way, since both provide reliable coverage at affordable rates.
In this Mint Mobile vs Cricket side-by-side comparison, we hope you feel more confident in your buying decision. Both are great, but each packs exclusive goodies unique to different lifestyle preferences.