Super Bowl commercials run around $5M per 30 second ad spot. Mint knows this because they ran their infamous chunky milk commercial last year. (Way to go Mint, your brand is now associated with chunky style milk. That’s disgusting.)
Anyway their marketing team was running the numbers this year, and they realized instead of spending $5M on a Super Bowl commercial, they could literally give away 3 months of free cell service to 100,000 people and still have money left over.
So that’s exactly what they decided to do. You can check out Mint Mobile’s free service deal here for yourself.
Now why is Mint doing this, what even is Mint Mobile, how can they be so cheap, and what is the experience like using their network? Let’s answer these questions.
First, who is Mint Mobile?
Mint Mobile is a cell phone carrier that launched in 2016 as a subsidiary of Ultra Mobile originally branded as “Mint SIM.” Their idea was to sell cell phone service online, provide great discounts with bulk 3-, 6-, or 12-month pricing, and try to convince people this was the future of wireless.
In May, 2018, Mint SIM rebranded to Mint Mobile, and in October 2019 they split off from Ultra Mobile and became their own, independent company. Most recently, Ryan Renolds announced he purchased an ownership stake in Mint Mobile on November 25th, 2019.
Why is Mint doing this?
Mint is doing this because ultimately they realized the barrier to entry for their plan was not the price. It’s literally the cheapest cell phone plan out there. I’ve run the numbers, I have a spreadsheet. You can check this out for yourself in the video description. Mint is simply one of the cheapest, best deals out there.
No, the barrier to entry was not the price.
Instead, the barrier to entry is the perceived quality of their service.
People associate price with quality. High price, high quality. Cheap price, cheap quality. Mint’s plans are so cheap, that people don’t think they can be any good!
By literally offering their service for free, Mint is hoping more people will give them a shot, enjoy their service, and become customers.
Okay, so how can Mint’s plans be so cheap?
I answered this question with a dedicated article on how Mint Mobile can be so cheap, but I’ll save you a click. Mint is able to be so cheap for 5 reasons:
- First, they are an online only carrier. They have no costs for physical store locations, including heat, electricity, leasing building space, or having pushy sales people. Instead their website and their social media channels are their pushy sales people. Way cheaper.
- Second, Mint offers their plans in bulk. This has been a key strategy from the beginning. Think of a Costco. When you go and you buy items in bulk, you get a volume discount. Same thing with cell service. When you commit to 3, 6, or 12 months of service, Mint knows you will be a customer for longer, and can offer you a better deal the longer you commit to their service.
- Third, Mint does not offer unlimited plans. They offer plans with 3GB, 8GB, or 12GB of high speed data. By having plans with set high speed data amounts, Mint knows exactly how much cellular data each customer will use. This lets them have tighter control of their data usage and negotiate better rates for leasing access to T-Mobile’s network. Oh yeah, by the way Mint uses the T-Mobile network for coverage.
- Fourth, Mint makes strategic financial investments. Their main goal right now is customer acquisition. Last year they did pay the $5M for a super bowl commercial to get instant exposure to 319 million people watching the game. Now that people know about Mint, this year they are reducing the barrier to entry by literally eliminating it. You can sign up for Mint for free, and Mint hopes you will like the service enough to stick around and become a long-time customer.
- And fifth, Mint created many self-help video tutorials, articles, and guides to answer the most common questions and potential problems that people encounter. These self-help resources free up the load on their support team, allow them to hopefully provide better support to fewer people.
Okay, so how is the Mint Mobile service?
Honestly, better than I expected. I used Mint Mobile as my personal provider all throughout 2019 after I signed up for their service during their 2018 Black Friday promotion.
I was skeptical too given Mint’s cheap price, but the truth is the service was great. Mint cuts costs in the areas I mentioned, but chose to continue offering the same premium service you would expect from a major carrier.
Mint offers full LTE speeds on T-Mobile’s network, which in my area is fast. You also get full support for VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling for exceptional call quality, and support for the personal hotspot so you can share your cellular data with your tablet or computer.
These are features typically not supported on other plans to cut costs, but Mint chose a different approach, and as a result is full-feature service at a great price.
Should you sign up for Mint?
Considering they are literally giving away their service for free, I think you should absolutely try them out.
What are the caveats and “gotchas” of this promotion?
This is a simple, straight-forward promotion, so no big “gotchas.” Here’s what you need to know:
What am I getting?
- You are getting a SIM starter kit pre-loaded with 3 months of service with Mint’s 3GB plan.
Will this plan / promotion work with my current phone?
- Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network for coverage and will work with all unlocked, GSM compatible phones. Odds are, your current phone is compatible.
Can I keep my current phone number?
- Yes. You can choose to either get a new number or keep your existing number and bring it over (called “porting”) to Mint Mobile. Check out our guide on how to port your number to Mint Mobile here.
Am I charged for this plan?
- Mint will charge your credit card $0.01, that’s one cent, temporarily, just to verify the card on your account. Your $0.01 will be refunded within 7 days.
When do I need to activate my free plan?
- Great news! Mint Mobile is giving you 45 days to activate your SIM kit pre-loaded with 3 months of service. So if you need to get your device unlocked, finish making payments, or just want to get your last month of value out of your plan, you can get the SIM kit for free and then activate it later.
More questions? Check out the Q&A on the bottom of Mint’s landing page.
Who is Mint Mobile great for?
Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network for coverage, so their plans work with all T-Mobile compatible phones, and their affordable prices make Mint great for a lot of people.
- Mint is great if you have an unlocked phone compatible with the T-Mobile network
- Mint is great for people with good T-Mobile coverage in their area
- Mint is great for individuals
- Mint is great for people who will be living in the same area for the next 3 months to a year
Who is Mint Mobile not great for?
The lack of unlimited data plans, the necessity to purchase your phone unlocked at full price form the manufacturer (which I actually am a huge supporter of), and T-Mobile coverage could be reasons why you would consider an alternative carrier to Mint Mobile.
- If you like going into a store to get help, do not sign up for Mint. They do not have any stores.
- If you need to finance your phone, do not sign up with Mint. In fact, don’t purchase a phone from Mint at all. They sell service, not phones, so they partnered with another company called [find the name of the company] to sell phones, and it has been an absolute mess. Odds are your current phone works with Mint, so finish paying that off and then give mint a try. Or buy your phone unlocked directly from the manufacturer. Or check out a site like Swappa, where you can buy gently used unlocked phones at cheap prices.
- If you need to have all of your lines managed under one account, do not sign up for Mint. Mint requires each line to have it’s own account.
Why I believe you should try Mint Mobile
All that said, I wrote this article because I tried Mint for myself, I believe they are offering a great plan, and I believe they can help you save money on your cell phone bill, which is my goal.
If you are interested in trying Mint out, literally for FREE, you can see their free cell phone plan promotion here.
I am a Mint Mobile affiliate partner, so normally if people sign up using my link I receive commission. However, because they are giving away cell service for FREE, my understanding is I am not eligible to receive commission on this sale even if you do choose to use my link.
That said, I still want you to sign up. It’s a free plan. It’s a great opportunity to try Mint Mobile. And it’s a great opportunity to try the T-Mobile network. Heck, if Mint doesn’t work for you, you could at least see how T-Mobile coverage is in your area, and then get a $40 unlimited plan from a carrier like Teltik, or even switch to T-Mobile’s premium Magenta Plus plan for $85 per month.
If you really wanted to support my website and YouTube channel, then you could sign up, try the free promotion with a new phone number, and then come back and sign up through my link and actually pay for a new SIM kit.
But that’s ridiculous. So don’t do that. Just enjoy your free service, and sign up for a longer-term plan if it works for you. :)