Do your eyes start to glaze over when you hear phrases like “download speed” and “network coverage”. Yeah, me too.
That said, how does Mint Mobile coverage really measure up to the competition?
An Overview of Mint Mobile
Mint Mobile is a prepaid wireless carrier that was founded by Ultra Mobile in 2016. What makes Mint different from other carriers is the fact that they offer a wholesale cell service by selling their plans in bulk.
Mint Mobile plans are available in three, six, and twelve-month packages. Yes, just like Costco, the more months you sign up for upfront, the more you can save.
Costs range from just $45 for three months of unlimited talk/text with 3 GB of data ($15/month) to $240 for 12 months of unlimited talk/text with 12 GB of data ($20/month).
What network does Mint Mobile use?
As a rising MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), the Mint Mobile network runs overtop T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network, which has more than 2000 towers nationwide.
To access Mint Mobile’s service, you will need a GSM-compatible device, which is a fancy way of saying it needs to work with T-Mobile.
If you already have a phone, Mint makes it easy to find out if your device is compatible with the Mint Mobile network using Mint’s compatibility check. Or, if you need a device, you can shop compatible Mint Mobile phones on their website.
Mint Mobile coverage
Subscribers on a Mint Mobile plan get access to the same great coverage that T-Mobile offers.
Mint can offer the same quality of coverage because Mint Mobile bands are the same frequency that T-Mobile’s bands use, which supports 5G, 4G LTE, 4G, 3G, and 2G technology.
T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network (which applies to most phones today) currently covers 59% of the United States and is rapidly expanding, especially in 5G.
Mint Mobile coverage map
The good news is, if you live in most major cities in the United States, you’ll be able to access the Mint Mobile network.
Finding out if the Mint Mobile network reaches your area is simple. Head over to the Mint Mobile coverage map and enter your city, state, or zip code. Then zoom in and out to see the coverage in different areas of your town.
What if I live in a poor coverage area?
Mobile communication in weak coverage areas is always a challenge. Mint Mobile, however, will still be able to provide its users with high-quality network services.
In areas with low coverage or conditions that reduce 4G LTE availability, Mint Mobile coverage will seamlessly switch to the 3G network. This means you always have the fastest possible data speeds.
The same applies when you exhaust your 4G LTE data limits. If you run through your data plan, you will still have access to the 3G network, with speeds throttled to 128 kbps.
Mint Mobile also allows for unlimited Mint Mobile WiFi calling and messaging if you have a WiFi-compatible phone. So in areas of lower Mint Mobile coverage, you can use an Internet connection to fill possible gaps in their network.
Does Mint Mobile support 5G?
If you recently purchased a 5G compatible device you might be eager to try out the new network. Minty users will be happy to learn that Mint Mobile coverage does support T-Mobile’s 5G frequency in areas that it is enabled.
Built on the low-band spectrum 600 MHz, T-Mobile says that no 5G network goes further or is more reliable. Already, their 5G is available in 5,000 cities and rural areas with expectations to reach 200 million Americans this coming year.
It’s not clear yet if/when Mint Mobile plans will come out with a 5G option. For now, your device will automatically connect to the fastest speeds available for your device.
Does Mint Mobile support 2G and 3G?
For now, Mint Mobile coverage supports 2G and 3G networks. However, it’s likely with the introduction of 5G that T-Mobile will follow in the footsteps of other carriers and remove 2G altogether.
As noted above, a portion of the T-Mobile network uses 600 MHz frequency, which older devices can’t access. You only have to worry about this if your phone only operates on the 2G or 3G network.
If you have a 4G, 4G LTE, or 5G device, you’ll have Mint Mobile coverage across all of T-Mobile’s frequencies.
Is Mint Mobile good?
Of course, Mint Mobile coverage doesn’t mean much unless it’s good – right?
No one enjoys dropped calls, inaudible conversations, or not being able to check their email when they’re away from home.
How does Mint Mobile and its operator, T-Mobile, measure up to the competition?
Mint Mobile’s network provider ranks second-best in the nation.
Mint Mobile’s network provider, T-Mobile, ranks second in the best coverage in the country in a neck to neck analysis.
Seriously, the only thing separating T-Mobile and Verizon is a sheer .2% difference.
Both operators earned a score of 94% and higher, meaning they have superb 4G LTE reach.
This is good news if you live in rural America and have previously struggled with finding high-quality and affordable cell service.
Here are the coverage rankings:
- Verizon: 70% 4G coverage
- T-Mobile: 59% 4G coverage
- AT&T: 58% 4G coverage
- Sprint: 27% 4G coverage
How does Mint Mobile compare to T-Mobile?
When it comes to excellence and core consistent quality, Mint Mobile users can expect the same great coverage that T-Mobile offers.
Tutela’s annual MVNO report reveals the relationship between MVNOs and their operators in things like 1080p and SD streaming, uploads, downloads, and latency.
If you take a look at the chart above, notice Mint and T-Mobile’s position. They both fall in the upper right quadrant for high excellence and core consistent quality. Other MVNOs didn’t rank as close to their primary operators.
In fact, Mint’s core quality is only separated from T-Mobile by 1% and excellent, consistent quality by less than 5%!
This small separation means that if you are a subscriber on a Mint Mobile plan, you will receive close to if not the same coverage as T-Mobile.
Mint Mobile vs. other MVNOs
Tutela’s report is the result of monitoring more than 4 million actual MVNO customers in the US!
The results are in, and compared to other MVNOs, Mint Mobile ranked closely behind some of the most established prepaid carriers in the market.
In common coverage areas, Mint Mobile came in 3rd in upload speed. At 7.1 MBps, Mint followed behind parent company Ultra Mobile, as well as Metro.
In download speeds, Mint Mobile came in 5th behind Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum, Google Fi, and CC Network. Mint’s median download speed came in at 10.0 MBps.
This means that compared to other pricier MVNOs, Mint Mobile still offers its users consistently fast download and upload speeds at a more affordable price.
Are there any downsides to Mint Mobile coverage?
Like other MVNOs, Mint Mobile may experience lower prioritization in areas of extreme congestion.
Prioritization is something that carriers like T-Mobile may use to identify what users are connecting through an MVNO to prioritize their direct consumers.
Have you ever noticed slower network speeds when you were in a crowd of people? That’s because cell phone towers can’t connect an unlimited number of devices at one time. When there’s a lot of people in a small area using their devices, we have to wait our turn.
T-Mobile doesn’t have clear documentation on whether or not they prioritize their direct customers. But, according to some Mint Mobile reviews, it is certainly possible.
These are extreme cases, but 99% of the year Mint Mobile users say they never have to worry about lower prioritization.
As tower upgrades improve, technology advances, and the widespread adoption of the 5G network, this is likely to become less of a concern in the future.
What’s the consensus on Mint Mobile coverage?
If you don’t mind the possibility of occasional slower speeds in areas of high congestion, Mint Mobile coverage is reasonably good.
Subscribers on the Mint Mobile network generally report that they get the same great experience as T-Mobile customers.
It’s true, T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network is one of the best in the nation. Plus, as T-Mobile’s already expansive 5G network continues to grow, so will the strength of their 4G LTE reach.
Of course, Mint Mobile’s $5 starter kit is the best way to see if Mint Mobile coverage will work for you. Or, if you are ready to get started simply subscribe to a Mint Mobile plan, which comes as low as $15/month.
If you already have Mint Mobile we’d love to know; how is the coverage in your area?