Mint Mobile Review
What is Mint Mobile?
Mint Mobile is a prepaid cell phone carrier, also known as an MVNO. They offer affordable cell phone plans that use the T-Mobile network for coverage.
Mint Mobile was first launched in 2015 as “Mint SIM.” They rebranded to Mint Mobile in 2018.
What makes Mint Mobile different from other prepaid carriers is that they offer their plans in bulk. When you go to sign up for Mint Mobile, you purchase a plan in either a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month package.
Offering plans in bulk allows Mint Mobile to undercut the competition in terms of pricing. Mint’s plans are some of the most affordable in the industry. You can think of them like the Costco of prepaid carriers. The more you buy, or in this case the longer you sign up for, the better overall price you get on your cell service.
What are Mint Mobile’s cell phone plans?
Mint Mobile currently offers four plans to choose from:
Keep in mind that these prices are displayed in the monthly breakdown to make Mint’s plans easier to compare to the rest of the industry. In reality, you are paying upfront for either 3-, 6-, or 12-months of service with Mint Mobile.
New customers are given an introductory offer where they get the 3-month plan, which is usually a little bit more expensive, at the 12-month rate, which is the most affordable rate Mint offers.
Here is the full breakdown of all of Mint’s pricing:
- 4GB for $25/month ($75 upfront)
- 10GB for $35/month ($105 upfront)
- 15GB for $45/month ($135 upfront)
- Unlimited for $40/month ($120 upfront)
- 4GB for $20/month ($120 upfront)
- 10GB for $25/month ($150 upfront)
- 15GB for $35/month ($210 upfront)
- Unlimited for $35/month ($210 upfront)
- 4GB for $15/month ($180 upfront)
- 10GB for $20/month ($240 upfront)
- 15GB for $25/month ($300 upfront)
- Unlimited for $30/month ($360 upfront)
As you can tell, the most affordable option is to go with the 12-month plans.
And don’t worry, even though you pay for 3, 6, or 12-months of service at a time, your data still renews on a monthly basis. If you get the 4GB plan, you’ll get 4GB of fresh data each month.
Is Mint Mobile’s unlimited plan truly unlimited?
No, Mint Mobile’s unlimited plan is not truly unlimited. It includes 35GB of high-speed data before your speeds are slowed to 2G speeds (128Kbps).
Unfortunately, it is common practice in the wireless industry for MVNOs to market certain plans as “unlimited” when in reality they are not.
Instead, these “almost-but-not-quite” unlimited plans offer large enough amounts of high-speed data so that they effectively feel like unlimited plans for average consumers.
Cisco’s annual internet report shows that 82% of users consume less than 20GB of data per month.
That means plans with 20GB-35GB, like Mint Mobile’s plan, would effectively feel like an unlimited plan for most average consumers. You could use your phone as much as you normally would and would never notice your speeds slowed down.
So for at least 82% of you reading this right now, Mint Mobile’s unlimited plan could actually be a great option for you. It would meet your needs for a price that’s under half the cost of T-Mobile’s $70 Magenta plan. You’d save over $400 per year.
What happens if you go over the high-speed data allowance on Mint Mobile’s plans?
If you go over your high-speed data allowance on Mint Mobile, you aren’t charged anything extra.
Instead, you will simply get unlimited data at slow speeds. Mint says your speed will be limited ot 2G speeds, or 128Kbps.
And don’t worry, your phone isn’t actually switching to the 2G networks (which you may have heard are shutting down). Instead, your phone remains connected to the 4G LTE or 5G network and an artificial speed limit (referred to as a speed cap) is put in place.
You can still use your phone at 128Kbps speeds, but things load slowly.
Check out this video below to see what it’s like music streaming, web browsing, or otherwise using your phone at different 2G speed caps:
Does Mint Mobile offer family plans or family discounts?
No, Mint Mobile doesn’t offer any special family plans or family discounts at this time. Instead, they offer something called Mint Family, which is where you can manage multiple individual Mint Mobile plans from a single account.
This is a nice feature for families because it lets you simplify your billing. Instead of having to login to multiple Mint Mobile accounts (which is what you initially will need to do to get everyone signed up and activated), you can manage all of your family’s plans right from a single Mint Mobile account.
Here’s my full video on it for more information and how to set it up:
What are the data speeds like on Mint Mobile?
Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network to provide service, so the data speeds are basically whatever T-Mobile offers in your area.
In my location here in Longmont, Colorado, I’m getting outstanding speeds. Mint Mobile supports T-Mobile’s UC 5G (aka T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G network), so I’m able to get up to 600Mbps down in my apartment and around town. Yes, it’s awesome.
The one thing to note about Mint Mobile’s data speeds is that the data is deprioritized.
This means in areas like stadiums, concerts, airports, or other crowded environments where the cell network may be congested, you may have slower speeds on Mint Mobile than you would get from T-Mobile Magenta or Magenta MAX.
I personally haven’t noticed any slowdowns with my plan, but that’s also because I am mostly out and about around Longmont, which has plenty of capacity to deliver the speeds I need.
Still, I doubt you will notice being deprioritized on Mint. It really is only a factor in crowded environments when the network is busy. It is something to keep in mind though, and for a small group of people it may be worth paying the premium price to get priority data with a plan from T-Mobile.
What is the coverage like on Mint Mobile?
Mint uses T-Mobile’s 4G LTE and 5G networks for coverage. You get the exact same coverage as regular T-Mobile customers on the native T-Mobile network.
There is one difference though: domestic roaming.
Domestic roaming is when your phone switches to a partner network to provide coverage in an area where your native network doesn’t have service.
For example, T-Mobile customers will sometimes roam on the AT&T network in areas where the T-Mobile network doesn’t have coverage.
Mint Mobile does not support domestic roaming at this time. This means if you’re in an area without T-Mobile coverage, you won’t get service.
Thankfully, T-Mobile has been expanding their network like crazy, so you should get service in most locations. The areas with roaming agreements are select parts of upstate New York, parts of Vermont and upstate New Hampshire, areas in northern Maine, and a few other regions across the United States.
To make sure you’ll get coverage, simply check Mint Mobile’s coverage map. This is the same as T-Mobile’s coverage map, but without any of the roaming areas shown.
And if you’re curious about the roaming agreements, you can check out T-Mobile’s coverage map directly. Any area filled with zebra stripes is a domestic roaming agreement.
You may also consider checking a third party’s coverage map, like RootMetrics, to see what reported data speeds are and what reported service is like.
What features does Mint Mobile support?
When I tested Mint Mobile, I got full support for VoLTE, Wi-Fi calling, visual voicemail, mobile hotspot, 5G, and even eSIM on my iPhone 13 Pro.
These are the same features you get with the major carriers, so it is awesome to see Mint Mobile supporting them as well.
Video also streamed at up to 4K quality on my 4GB plan. However, the unlimited (aka 35GB) plan restricts video quality to 480p. This is a bit of a bummer, but it does allow your cellular data to last much longer than if you were streaming videos at 4K quality.
In fact, if you are on one of the lower data bucket plans, even though you can stream video at higher resolutions, I wouldn’t recommend it. You would eat through your high speed data allotment in just a few hours.
Two additional things to note:
- eSIM is currently only supported on iPhones and select Google Pixel phones (thankfully you can still use a physical SIM card for all other phones)
- Hotspot data counts against your high-speed allotment. For the 4GB, 10GB, and 15GB plans, you can use up to all of your data as hotspot data. For the 35GB plan, you are limited to just 5GB of hotspot data.
What phones work on Mint Mobile?
Any phone that is compatible with the T-Mobile network will work with Mint Mobile.
This includes most phones from the past couple of years.
To get specific, you want your phone to support T-Mobile’s LTE and 5G bands. The more antenna bands your phone has, the better your data speeds and signal strength will generally be.
Here are T-Mobile’s 4G LTE bands and 5G bands, with the primary bands in bold:
- T-Mobile LTE bands: 2, 4, 12, 25, 26, 41, 66, 71
- T-Mobile 5G bands: n41, n71, n260, n261
How do you sign up for Mint Mobile?
To sign up for Mint Mobile, you order a SIM starter kit from their website. The starter kit comes pre-loaded with 3 months of service of whichever plan you select: the 4GB, 10GB, 15GB, or unlimited plan.
As I mentioned in the pricing section, new customers get the 3-month plan discounted to the 12-month rate. So here’s what your upfront cost would be:
- 4GB plan: $45 for 3 months
- 10GB plan: $60 for 3 months
- 15GB plan: $75 for 3 months
- Unlimited (35GB) plan: $90 for 3 months
Your SIM kit ships out with free 2-3 day shipping. You have 45 days to activate your kit after you place your order.
This is perfect because it lets you enjoy your final days with your current provider before switching to Mint Mobile. You want to switch to Mint Mobile about 5 days before your current plan ends.
When you receive your SIM kit, download the Mint Mobile application and follow the steps to get your service activated.
You can also check out my detailed video below on how to activate your service and transfer your phone number to Mint Mobile: