Mint Mobile or Google Fi, Which Service Has Better Phone Plans and Data Speed?

As a user, you want a great cell phone service that you can rely on for your everyday communications. In this article, we’re going to compare Mint Mobile vs Google Fi to see which is more worthwhile to have as your next provider.

Needless to say, we did have a comprehensive talk on Visible vs Mint just the other day. So, you already know what to expect from the Ultra Mobile provider in terms of pricing and plan features. But since I didn’t get to mention the kind of 5G speeds to expect, we’ll cover it today alongside those of Google Fi.

Mint Mobile vs Google Fi: An Overview on the Prepaid Cell Phone Providers

FeatureMint MobileGoogle Fi
Founded20152015
Parent CompanyUltra Mobile  Google
Carrier NetworkT-MobileT-Mobile, US Cellular
TechnologiesGSMGSM CDMA
Free 5GYESYES
Lowest Phone Plan$15$20
Unlimited MinutesYESYES
Unlimited dataYES (with caps)YES (with caps)
Carry-OverNONO
Family PlansNOYES
Free Mexico/ Canada CallYESYES
Extra Mobile Hotspot dataYES  NO
Video StreamingYES [Up to HD]YES [up to HD]
Extra PerksN/A100GB of Cloud Storage  
Type of ServiceOnline OnlyOnline Only
   

In the table, you’ll notice Mint Mobile and Google Fi share quite a number of things. If it’s the carrier network, they both use T-Mobile cellular towers. So, you should be able to swap SIM cards with most of the unlocked cell phones and branded T-Mobile devices.

Even so, Google Fi has also partnered with US Cellular, which usually operates on CDMA technology. So, you have a guarantee of a stable signal in a place like Oregon, where T-Mobile and Mint can be a bit spotty.

Another thing, Google Fi does have the option to register multiple phone lines under your account. Then, there’s also a retail section, whereby you can even use the buy now pay later program to upgrade to your desired Google smartphone.

But again, even Mint Mobile has the device financing program through Affirm from as low as $10/month at 0% APR. Of course, the catalog available isn’t as extensive as Walmart or Amazon, but you can get a decent latest device with 5G support.

Better yet, Mint mobile tends to have limited-time offers, which are available to both the devices and rate plans. For instance, the operator has recently been offering a 3-month free service when you purchase any of the 3-month plans.

More on that, continue reading the detailed review below.

Mint Mobile vs Google Fi: Comparing the Rate plans, Features, and Data Speeds of the Phone Providers

CDMA and GSM

As was mentioned, both Google Fi and Mint Mobile are T-Mobile’s MVNO. So, they utilize GSM technologies, in which case they can even share devices that are carrier unlocked. If you have a branded T-Mobile smartphone, you should be able to use it with the two services as well, even before you unlock it.

However, Fi can also work with US Cellular network, which you should know relies on CDMA technology. Thus, you could also use a branded US Cellular or Verizon phone in the event of an emergency.

Network Coverage

When you compare Google Fi vs Mint Mobile on coverage, the former is available in a wider area from the use of both T-Mobile and US Cellular network spectrum. That included even the Midwestern and Northwestern regions where many carriers usually have spotty signals.

In the Google Fi coverage map, you’ll also notice it shows the various areas you may expect 5G connection. However, theMint Mobile Coverage Map doesn’t display the specific areas that you can expect LTE and 5G. So, you’ll have to rely on a hunch or use the T-Mobiles map in case you really needed to confirm before switching.

Free 5G Access and Speeds

If you have a 5G-capable phone, you should be able to access the ultrafast service from the two operators at no extra cost. The providers also support the high-band (mmWave) and the low-band (600MHz) 5G spectrum. So,  you’ll get varying data speeds in different places and times.

Speaking of speed, Mint Mobile 5G mmWave can register 560+Mbps on average days when there’s no congestion. In times of congestion or when using multiple devices on the same spectrum, you can expect reduced speeds of about 200-300Mbps.

If you live on the edge of the town, you may be lucky to access Mint Mobile 5G 600MHz spectrum. And in that case, you can expect 200+Mbps download speeds or no lesser than 100Mbps.

Meanwhile, Google Fi is also part of the T-Mobile MVNOs, thereby delivering 560+Mbps download speeds on good days. However, a handful of people has claimed to be getting 100+Mbps speeds, which isn’t the best but good enough for most consumer application.

Phone Plans and Pricing

When it comes to cost, the two providers are both worthwhile to cut down your monthly phone bill. However, Mint Mobile takes the points on the overall pricing and even plan structure as shown below.

Features4GB Plan10GB Plan15GB PlanUnlimited Plan
3-Month Subscription$45 ($15/ mo.)$60 ($20/ mo.)$75 ($25/ mo.)$75 ($30/ mo.)
6-Month Subscription$120 ($20/ mo.)$150 ($25/ mo.)$210 ($35/ mo.)$210 ($35/ mo.)
12-Month Subscription$180 ($15/ mo.)$240 ($20/ mo.)$300 ($25/ mo.)$360 ($30/ mo.)
4G LTE & 5GYESYESYESYES
Call MinutesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Text MessagesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
High-Speed Data4GB10GB15GBUnlimited
Priority DataN/AN/AN/A35GB
128kbps DataUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Free Mobile Hotspot DataNoneNoneNone5GB
Extra PerksN/AN/AN/AN/A
     

Well, unlike many carriers, Mint Mobile usually sells its cell phone plans in bulk over three, six, and twelve months. In our table above, you’ll notice the 3-month plan is cheaper than the 6-Month package, but that’s only a one-time thing.

Typically, Mint has designed the first three months as a trial period to give you a tip of what to expect. Once the set finishes, you can continue with the same deal by paying the yearly package or top-up between $10-$25 to continue with the quarterly plan.

Note, the Mint Mobile unlimited plan will start you with 35GB of high-speed data. In case you finish the allowance before the end of your billing cycle, your speeds will be slowed down to 128kbps for the rest of the month. The same applies to the 4GB, 10GB, and 15GB plans.

Google Fi Isn’t Any Better

That’s, indeed, the truth. For one, the only way you can save a few bucks with the Google Fi phone plan is when you add multiple lines to your account. However, some of us live by ourselves, thereby you might find the unlimited plans for single lines a bit pricey.

Here’s an outline of the single and some of the multiple line packages.

FeaturesFlexible Phone PlanSimply Unlimited Phone PlanUnlimited Plus Phone Plan
Single Line$20/ month$60/ month$70/ month
Three Lines$51 ($17/ mo.)$90 ($30/ mo.)$150 (50/ mo.)
Six Lines$96 ($16/ mo.)$180 ($30/ mo.)$270 ($45 mo.)
4G LTE & 5GYESYESYES
Call MinutesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Text MessagesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
High-Speed Data15GBUnlimitedUnlimited
Priority DataN/A22GB22GB
256kbps DataUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Free Mobile Hotspot DataNONONO
Extra PerksN/AN/A100GB of Google One,  
    
    

On top of the extra pricing, Google Fi unlimited data plans are still capped at 22GB. After you use up this allowance, the provider will throttle down the speed to 256kbps speeds until the next cycle.

But note, Google Fi does give free international texting and calls to 50+ countries at no extra charges on the Unlimited Plus. The plan also includes free international roaming data. So, you’ll get to keep in touch with your loved ones whenever and wherever you’re traveling.

Free Mobile Hotspot Data

Many phone carriers offer mobile hotspot tethering nowadays, and our two guys here are no different. However, Google Fi has limited the feature to only the Flexible and Unlimited Plus cell phone plans. Worst of all, they’re yet to provide extra hotspot data allowance. So, you’ll have to rely on your regular monthly data allotment if you want to share with your other wireless devices.

Meanwhile, Mint Mobile will also use your regular data allowance when using hotspot tethering with the 4GB, 10GB, and 15GB plans. But the unlimited rate plan does include separate 5GB of hotspot data, which your connected devices with use- not the regular allotment.

Video Streaming Quality

When you now compare Mint vs Google Fi on video streaming, the two are pretty similar. They have set 480p resolution as the standard definition for video streams, just like other carriers. However, you could also stream in HD quality if you won’t mind sucking up all your high-speed data fast. Why I’m saying this?

For one, all the operators optimize video streaming at 480p when using the unlimited plans. Secondly, Mint and Fi will let you stream in HD quality or any other rate preferred when using the limited high-speed data plans.

Therefore, despite enjoying vibrant videos with your phone, you risk depleting the regular data allotments before time. This will then force you to purchase an add-on allowance in time of need, thereby defeating the purpose to lower your monthly phone bill.

 Free Phone Deals When You Switch

Last but not least, Mint and Google Fi should have shared the point here as neither has the offer for a free phone. However, the Google brand has a wider selection of devices on offer. It also much better discounts, whereby you can even save up to $200 in cash and $300 in bill credit.

On the other hand, Mint phone deals are mostly in form of bill credits. For instance, the current offers have a free 12-month service when you purchase an iPhone SE (2020) or Samsung Galaxy A32 5G + 12-month plan.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, both Mint Mobile and Google Fi are excellent cell phone services. But like many things in life, the perfect choice for you depends on your preferences and the needs at hand. For instance, Fi could be a great alternative if you travel a lot, both locally and outside the States.

But again, even Mint Mobile does offer international roaming at a small charge. It’s also relatively cheaper to buy for individual lines. Then, the unlimited plan has an extra Hotspot allowance and 13GB more of what Google Fi is offering to browse more. So, it’s a perfect choice for heavy-data users and since I’m one of them, it’s (Mint) my favorite pick.