What if I told you there’s a wireless service you could sign up for that could give you 12GB of 4G LTE data monthly . . . for only $25 a month?
That price is a reality with Mint Mobile if you are willing to pay multiple months in advance.
My Mint Mobile review taught me two things:
- I’ve been paying way too much for wireless.
- Mint Mobile coverage uses T-Mobile’s towers, and it’s actually pretty good.
After using Mint Mobile for the last three months, I’m prepared to tell you everything you need to know about the bargain-wireless carrier in my Mint Mobile review, and how to decide if Mint Mobile is right for you.
What is Mint Mobile?
Mint Mobile is a pre-paid MVNO launched by Ultra Mobile in 2016. Like other mobile virtual network operators, the Costa-Mesa based startup runs overtop of T-Mobile’s network – giving subscribers access to the same great coverage.
Aside from their signature green spokes-fox up there, Mint’s claim to fame is premium wireless service packaged in affordable bundles, which you can purchase in 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month increments.
But is Mint Mobile worth your money? Let’s take a closer look.
My Mint Mobile review
The Bottom Line: Mint Mobile plans offer the cheapest premium cell service on the planet right now. If you want or need to save some money, it just might be worth it for you to make the switch.
For me, deciding to try out the bargain-wireless service wasn’t difficult.
Plans as low as $15 a month are available – which meant I could test drive the Mint Mobile network for less than the price of my monthly coffee budget.
When I discovered the carrier’s risk-free Mint Mobile starter kit and a 7-day money-back guarantee on any Mint Mobile plan, I couldn’t think of a reason not to try it on for size.
As of today, I’ve been with the Mint Mobile network since August of 2019. I tested out the service with the Mint Mobile starter kit before moving up to a 3GB introductory package. Last month, I renewed my service with a 12GB/12-month bundle.
I’ve used the Mint Mobile network across Colorado and on some parts of the east coast with an unlocked iPhone X and iPhone XS Max.
What network does Mint Mobile use?
As I mentioned earlier, Mint Mobile is an MVNO, meaning there are no Mint Mobile towers. MVNO’s are mobile carriers that lease network access for their subscribers from larger wireless companies.
The biggest misconception with MVNO’s is that the service is somehow different. I have good news for Mint Mobile subscribers – it isn’t.
Mint Mobile network enjoys T-Mobile coverage
Mint Mobile runs overtop of T-Mobile’s towers. If you’ve had T-Mobile in the past or haven’t used the service in a while, I’m here to tell you – things have changed.
T-Mobile once had the reputation of having the least reliable major network. But several years of expansion and new infrastructure has changed all of that.
In a neck to neck analysis, OpenSignal pinned T-Mobile just .2% behind Verizon in nationwide LTE coverage. However, T-Mobile made up for this small difference by coming first in download speed and beating out AT&T in rural 4G availability.
Mint Mobile bands use the same frequencies as T-Mobile, so subscribers get access to the same service that T-Mobile provides its users. Pretty cool, right?
Now let’s dig into what Mint Mobile has to offer in my Mint Mobile review.
Mint Mobile plans
|Plans||3GB 4G LTE||8GB 4G LTE||12GB 4G LTE|
|3-Month Plan||$25/mo ($75 total)||$35/mo ($105 total)||$45/mo ($135 total)|
|6-Month Plan||$20/mo ($120 total)||$25/mo ($150 total)||$35/mo ($210 total)|
|12-Month Plan||$15/mo ($180 total)||$20/mo ($240 total)||$25/mo ($300 total)|
Mint Mobile plans range in price from $15 a month to $45 a month, depending on your data bucket and plan of choice.
Why don’t Mint Mobile plans have unlimited?
According to Mint Mobile VP Aron North, we don’t need all of that data. In fact, North says the average person uses less than 5GB of data a month.
After looking at my most recent wireless bill, I discovered that North was right. I only use around 4.5GB of data a month – compared to the 50GB “unlimited” plan I pay for.
According to Mint Mobile’s savings calculator, I could save $70 a month – or a total of $840 a year – by switching to Mint Mobile’s 8GB plan in a 12-month bundle (highlighted above)!
$20 a month is a good deal, but most people don’t want to commit to a year of wireless service with a carrier they’ve never tried before.
Fortunately, Mint makes it easy to discover if their service is right for you. Keep reading to find out how I got started with Mint Mobile and how I tested out the network.
Learn more about Mint Mobile plans, promotions, and offers.
Mint Mobile starter kit
Before committing to the bulk plan that Mint recommended, I decided to purchase a $5 Mint Mobile starter kit. The kit comes with a free Mint Mobile 7-day trial SIM card loaded with 100 MB of data and 100 minutes/texts so you can try out the service risk-free.
Once I received my Mint Mobile starter kit, setting up my service was easy. I simply put the Mint Mobile SIM card into my device, downloaded the app, and followed the activation instructions. Mint’s step-by-step activation video was especially helpful; I ported my number and activated my service in about 20 minutes.
Mint Mobile phones
I liked that I was able to keep my device and my phone number with the Mint Mobile network. Again, keep in mind that Mint runs overtop of T-Mobile, which only supports unlocked GSM devices.
You can find out if your device will work with Mint’s handy compatibility checker. Or, if you need a device, you can shop Mint Mobile phones on the website. Although Mint doesn’t offer in-house financing, you can purchase your device outright on the site or apply for financing with Affirm.
Mint Mobile introductory pricing
As if Mint Mobile plans weren’t cheap enough already, they’ve made trying out the network even sweeter. If you are a new user or are coming off a Mint Mobile trial kit, then you have access to Mint Mobile’s 3-month introductory pricing.
Mint’s intro plan gives you the cost-savings of their 12-month bulk pricing without the commitment. This option is perfect for those who didn’t get enough time to try out the service during the 7-day trial, without running up the costs.
Mint Mobile Review Highlights – What I liked
- Mint Mobile plans saved me a ton of money.
- Mint Mobile coverage was good in my area.
- I got to keep my device and phone number.
- The Mint Mobile starter kit lets you “try before you buy.”
First and foremost, Mint Mobile plans are dirt cheap. The amount of money that I’ve saved with my Mint Mobile plan has helped me reduce my cost of living expenses and put more into my savings.
I also liked that Mint offered a 7-day trial option. I live near the mountains where service can be hit or miss, and the Mint Mobile starter kit was only $5. Fortunately, the T-Mobile service is decent in my area. All of my calls were crisp and clear, and I didn’t have any issues with dropped calls or poor coverage. Although I haven’t needed it, Mint Mobile also allows free calls to Canada and Mexico.
For me, the billing was just easier. After my 3-month intro plan was up, I renewed with a 12-month bundle, which means I don’t need to worry about my cell service for an entire year. When I renewed with a full plan, I even earned a $5 credit to my account!
Mint Mobile Review Lowlights – What I didn’t like
- Mint Mobile is only as good as the T-Mobile service in your area.
- T-Mobile prioritizes its customers.
- There aren’t any Mint Mobile stores.
Your experience with Mint Mobile is going to depend on the T-Mobile service in your area. If T-Mobile has gaps in coverage, then Mint Mobile will too.
One thing to keep in mind – but I didn’t experience personally – is T-Mobile prioritization. Prioritization is something networks can use to identify those accessing their towers and give priority to their customers if the network is congested – think slower speeds during large events like festivals and concerts.
There also aren’t any Mint Mobile stores. This didn’t bother me too much because customer service was easy to get a hold of, and there were a ton of self-service tools. But if you like to do things in person, Mint might not be the best choice for you.
A deeper dive into Mint Mobile’s performance
Mint Mobile coverage
Mint Mobile network speeds
Mint Mobile’s data speeds aren’t the fastest I’ve experienced, but they were fast enough. According to annual data collected by Tutela on MVNO and operator speeds, MVNO’s generally trend slightly slower. This didn’t bother me as I was still able to load websites, stream music, and watch videos without any disruptions.
One thing I really like about the Mint Mobile network is that it always connects me to the fastest service available. So, if I’m traveling through the mountains or an area with poor LTE service, I can still get unlimited reception with the 2G and 3G network where it’s available.
Find out the coverage in your area with the Mint Mobile coverage map.
Mint Mobile hotspot
I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that Mint Mobile allowed for mobile hotspot. Tethering isn’t a function offered by all prepaid carriers, so Mint Mobile is an exception. And, unlike larger carriers that build mobile hotspot allowance into their data plans, Mint Mobile doesn’t put a cap on the amount of hotspot you can use.
I like that I can use my data my way, even if that means running up 12GB in one day on a laptop connection. (Kidding – don’t do that!). That said, when I tested the hotspot functionality, I was able to watch a YouTube video without any buffering or pausing.
Mint Mobile customer service
Mint Mobile has a lot of self-service tools. I was able to find answers to everything I needed about porting my number, setting up, and activating my device from Mint Mobile’s detailed instructional videos and FAQ.
If needed, you can reach a live representative at the Mint Mobile customer service phone number – (213) 372-7777. When I called Mint Mobile customer service, I was able to get through quickly with only one or two selections from the menu.
If you don’t want to pick up the phone, there’s also a chat on the website and email support. The email address is [email protected].
Mint Mobile vs. the competition
|Carriers||3GB 4G LTE||12GB 4G LTE|
|$15/month (12-month bundle)||$25/month (12-month bundle)*|
|$30/month 2GB||$35/month 10GB|
There’s no way around it; Mint Mobile is changing the way we do wireless.
Mint Mobile stands out from its competitors with low-cost bulk pricing and flexible terms. In fact, Mint Mobile remains 50% cheaper than its closest competitor at its smallest data bucket – 3GB.
Mint’s most extensive 12GB plan, which comes for as little as $25 a month, can’t even be compared to other carriers. TracFone doesn’t offer anything larger than 3GB, while Straight Talk jumps to 25GB and Boost Mobile to unlimited.
Cricket’s 10GB plan came closest to Mint’s 12GB option, but costs were still $10 over Mint Mobile’s plan, with fewer data GB.
The fact remains that other prepaid carriers don’t offer wholesale savings on bulk pricing, while Mint Mobile plan prices beat out the competition for every option.
Mint Mobile Reviews
Mint Mobile reports that 90% of their subscribers would recommend the Mint Mobile network to a friend.
When other people are asked what they love about Mint Mobile, you’ll hear phrases like “astronomical savings” and references to switching to Mint Mobile from “ridiculously high” plans.
One user who reviewed Mint Mobile said, “The best part about switching was calling [carrier] to cancel; they tried to talk me out of it but couldn’t get anywhere near the price so they had no leg to stand on.” (Ken Berchem)
Reports from unbiased, investigative business publishers ConsumerReports and Forbes agree. Forbes is quoted as saying, “Our research found that Mint . . . offers the best cellular plans of all other nationwide providers.”
Is Mint Mobile right for you?
There’s no denying that Mint Mobile plans are some of the most affordable in the market, but is it worth it?
Well, it depends. Mint Mobile might be a good option if you . . .
- Want to save money on your wireless service.
- Know that the T-Mobile service in your area is good.
- Already own or are willing to buy a GSM device.
- Don’t mind paying several months in advance.
- Have tried the Mint Mobile starter kit and liked it.
If you’re like me and you want to be “extra-sure” that the world won’t end if you join the Mint Mobile network, then go ahead and buy the Mint Mobile starter kit. $5 is a small price to pay for your peace of mind, after all.
Final thoughts on my Mint Mobile review
Overall, Mint Mobile plans are cheap, and in my Mint Mobile review experience, they don’t compromise on coverage.
If you want or need to save money and you don’t mind piggybacking off of the T-Mobile network to do so, Mint Mobile is a great option.
That said, don’t be afraid to see what Mint Mobile coverage has to offer. Mint Mobile believes in their network, so they make it easy for you to test it out with your own Mint Mobile review.
From the Mint Mobile $5 starter kit to low-cost, 3-month introductory pricing and a slew of affordable Mint Mobile plan options, you can be sure of one thing – it won’t cost you much to do so.