I tried Mint Mobile for a month, and I’m seriously questioning why I’m spending twice as much for my ‘premium’ wireless carrier

 

mint mobile

Summary List Placement

  • Mint Mobile is essentially a cheaper version of T-Mobile, and it even offers an unlimited data plan.
  • If you know that T-Mobile’s network has the coverage you need, Mint could be a money-saving option. 
  • While using Mint Mobile, I haven’t noticed much of a difference from my own “premium” carrier, Verizon.

Here’s Mint Mobile, in one sentence: it’s a cheaper version of T-Mobile that’s perfect for anyone who knows that T-Mobile’s coverage works for them.

The T-Mobile part is perhaps the most important thing you need to consider when considering Mint — it runs on T-Mobile’s network, and you need to figure out whether that coverage is going to be good enough for you. If Mint (or T-Mobile) doesn’t have good coverage in the areas you frequent, Mint may not be for you. 

Verizon and AT&T are often touted to have better coverage, at least in rural areas, and my own experience with various carriers generally correlates with that consensus. With that said, Verizon and AT&T are significantly more expensive, and Mint’s coverage should be good for a decent majority of people. Your best bet to figuring out whether Mint works in the areas you’ll be frequenting is asking friends and family who use T-Mobile, or even Mint itself if they’re already on the service. Or you can ask locals in neighborhood forums like Nextdoor.com.

If you know that Mint’s coverage is good enough for you, Mint is a very tempting and less expensive choice. For significantly less than what you pay on T-Mobile and other premium carriers, Mint gives you a strong set of core essentials for a robust budget mobile experience.

What it’s like to use Mint

Overall, using Mint is no different than using any other carrier, including the full-fat premium carriers like Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile. I was doing everything I’d normally do with my own “premium” carrier, including streaming videos, music, checking things on the web, lurking on social media, sending photos, using Google Maps and other apps that use up a little data, and so on. 

Mint’s online account dashboard and app also makes it easy to track how much data you’ve used up, and it’s all clear and well laid out. You can manage your plan from the dashboard, including switching to different plans without much of a fuss.

mint online dashboard

What you get with Mint

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • 5G connectivity on 5G-capable phones
  • 4G LTE and/or 5G mobile hotspot that’s tied with your monthly data (limited to 5GB for unlimited data plans)
  • Wi-Fi calling 
  • Unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada
  • Visual voicemail — if you can get it to work. I couldn’t get it to work with a OnePlus 8 Pro, and a call to Mint’s customer support suggested that some Android devices, especially those which may be tied or locked to another carrier, may have issues with visual voicemail. iPhone users shouldn’t have a problem.

The main variable is data, where you get the choice between 4GB for $15/month, 10GB for $20/month, 15GB for $25/month, and unlimited data for $30/month. 

A quick note about the finer details for the unlimited plan: like many carriers, Mint caps its unlimited data plan. You get 35GB of data until Mint will slow down your data speeds. As for video resolution, Mint’s unlimited data plan streams at 480p resolution, which isn’t great, but it’s serviceable and generally offers a fine experience on phone screens.

What you don’t get with Mint compared to T-Mobile

  • Unlimited calls and texting abroad. For international travelling, you need to purchase Mint’s UpRoam roaming credit, which is fine because you can buy it when you need it, and it’s not baked into the price. It’s $0.25/minute for calls, $0.05 per text, and $0.20 per megabyte of data when you’re abroad
  • Separate data plans for wearables like a smartwatch aren’t available through Mint

Would I switch to Mint?

I am earnestly asking myself why I’m paying twice as much on my current carrier when the overall experience with Mint has been so similar.

With that said, I have some concerns with coverage. I’ve had enough experiences where I have cell and data signal, but friends on T-Mobile’s network (which Mint operates on) don’t. To be clear, those experiences are mostly in rural parts of the country, usually during an annual trip. And, to be even clearer, those friends I mentioned who don’t have cell signal when I do still love T-Mobile and don’t regret using it at all.

The bottom line: should you switch to Mint?

Again, Mint is ideal for those who know that T-Mobile’s coverage is good enough for them.

There is one caveat for those with smartwatches or tablets that can connect to mobile data — the carrier doesn’t offer separate plans for those kinds of devices. Mint is a phone-only service for now, and your wearables or tablets would be limited to Wi-Fi connectivity.. 

Another thing to note: it depends on the carrier, but premium carriers might offer better value than Mint when you have a certain number of lines on your account — usually about four lines or more. 

If you’re on a premium carrier paying more than what Mint is offering, I would seriously look into Mint to shave off a nice chunk of change from your typical wireless bill.

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