How can Mint Mobile be so good? Many of you probably saw Mint’s Super Bowl commercial (if you haven’t seen it, just scroll down a little bit), and besides thinking uncomfortably memorable chunky milk is (*shivers*), you’re probably thinking, wow, $20/month on cell service? That sounds pretty good.
And it is pretty good. I’ve been using Mint as my personal provider for the past few months now, and the service has been fantastic. And it also seems almost too good to be true.
In this article I’ll be doing mini-review of Mint Mobile, talking about the service, any drawbacks it may have, and my experience using their network, as well as going over the five biggest ways Mint is able to offer such affordable rates. First, a mini review of Mint.
How is the service? you ask. You would think not that great, right? It’s prepaid. It’s super cheap. Probably has dropped calls and slow data speeds, right?
Not the case at all! Mint has been working great for me since I signed up way back during their Black Friday promotion in November, 2018. Since then I’ve been using Mint full-time as my personal carrier, so I have a healthy taste of what the service is like, and it turns out the service is surprisingly good.
Call quality is excellent. Mint recently added support for both WiFi calling and VoLTE on iPhone, making audio quality are crystal clear. Visual voicemail is fully supported. You can see transcriptions of your voicemails and call the person back from the phone application.
The other feature I was extremely surprised to see was the personal hotspot feature. Normally the personal hotspot costs extra or isn’t supported at all. But with Mint, they included it for free with all their plans. You can just toggle your hotspot on, connect your devices, and use your data as you normally would. Which is how it should be for all carriers and plans. I love that Mint Mobile supports this feature, and it has helped me out on more than one occasion.
Now of course, how good your personal hotspot is depends on your cellular data speeds, and Mint’s gotta have slow data speeds or something right? Like, there’s gotta be a catch?
Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network for coverage, and, I kid you not, I get some of the fastest data speeds I’ve ever tested in my area. Mint used to be capped at 20Mbps for download speeds, but that data restriction is now gone and they offer full speed LTE data on the T-Mobile network.
Coverage has been great for me too. T-Mobile has been building their network out and adding support for Band 12, a lower frequency band helpful for getting coverage indoors and in more areas. If your phone supports Band 12, like an iPhone 6S or newer does, your coverage will likely be better than it previously was with T-Mobile.
Mint also offers a mobile application for managing your account and usage, as well as a nice online account experience. Oh, and you can also add minutes for making international calls as well.
So for $20/month, Mint offers damn good service with all the features you’d expect from a premium wireless provider at a much more affordable price. The biggest drawbacks are that you can’t have multiple lines on one account, and that the customer support could honestly be a bit better, but these drawbacks tend to be true for a lot of prepaid carriers (often with more expensive plans and fewer features than Mint). I’m still signed up with Mint Mobile today, so clearly I think their service is good. With their full-featured service and affordable plans, it’s a no-brainer for me to recommend them as a carrier.
Okay, so how can Mint afford to offer such cheap plans? Seriously, these plans are almost too good to be true. 8GB for $20/month? That’s crazy. Mint can afford to offer these prices for a few key reasons:
1. They offer their plans in bulk
2. They are an online only carrier
3. They make strategic financial investments
4. No unlimited plans
5. They have great self-service tools
Let’s take a moment to dive briefly into each of these.
First, they offer their plans in bulk. This is a lot like Costco. The more you buy, the more you save. And this plays a key role in Mint’s customer acquisition strategy. You see, when people like you sign up for Mint, they’re not just there for a month with a risk of leaving next month like they are with other carriers. No, they’re committed for either 3-, 6-, or 12-months.
People sign up for Mint with either their $5 trial kit or a 3-month promotion (where Mint offers 3 months of service for 20 bucks), and when they discover they like Mint and it works for them, they are likely to sign up for a 6-month or 12-month plan, turning them into long-term customers.
Second, Mint is an online only carrier. This means they have HUGE savings by not having retail storefront locations. No rent, no electrical bills, no staff. Being online-only allows Mint to slim down a lot of their costs. Obviously they still have offices for their corporate headquarters, but still, the cost savings are huge. (I was actually just at the mall this past weekend, and in the same mall within 300 feet of each other were two Sprint stores. Who even needs two Sprint stores in one mall?!)
Mint is able to pass on their savings to their customers in the form of aggressively affordable plans. And this is their strategy. Win people over with affordable plans no one else can offer, and then turn them in to long-time customers.
Third: Mint makes very strategic investments. The biggest ones are of course, their website, their customer care team, engineering, and strategic advertising. Without physical store locations, Mint is relying heavily on strategic advertising plans to grow their user base. They want to keep customer acquisition costs as low as possible while still getting the word out about Mint Mobile. This is why they chose the Super Bowl Ad spot with an audience size of 112 million people, and why they include a free “Share the Love kit” when you sign up for a plan. They want you to try the plan and recommend it to other people and be able to give them a SIM card so they can try the plan for themselves.
Forth, Mint has no unlimited plans. This is disappointing to some, and I know a lot of people are looking into unlimited plans these days, however having fixed data plans with unlimited 2G data allows Mint to have tight control of their costs. They know exactly how much data their users will consume, which allows them to negotiate better rates for using T-Mobile’s network for coverage.
And fifth, they provide great self-help tools. This means if you have a question about Mint, you can find the answer in one of their easy-to-follow YouTube videos, in their detailed FAQ section, or on their online moderated community. These resources are long-lasting, help answer common questions, and mean you’re less likely to contact support. This helps reduce the stress of the customer care team and means they can focus on other issues.
All of these reasons combined are how Mint Mobile is able to save on their expenses and pass on their savings to consumers with unbelievably affordable plans. And to be honest, I think it’s what the wireless industry was looking for. Cell service has been astronomically expensive. It is refreshing to see a carrier offering such affordable plans that can help keep more people connected.
If you’re interested in signing up and getting activated on Mint Mobile, watch my detailed activation videos below. I even cover how you can keep your current phone number :)