Are you looking for an affordable cell phone service? And with decent browsing data speeds? When you go through the Mint Mobile reviews online, you’ll notice these are the top-selling features of the mobile virtual network operator. But is the phone service still worth it?
Yeah, well, the effectiveness of any cell phone service usually varies from one user to another, and Mint is no different. It will work for some people, but not so much for others since it depends on what you’re after.
In this review, I’ve tried to put together everything that matters you should know on Mint Mobile before joining. It covers things like coverage, monthly allowances, plus browsing data speeds.
The prepaid carrier is also one of the few you can get free cell phone service without paying anything. And even though limited, this plan offers a glimpse of what to expect when you finally join.
But like any other company, Mint Mobile has a few drawbacks. And I’ve listed them down too to help you make a wise decision when joining.
Mint Mobile Reviews: A Summary of the Prepaid Phone Provider
|Type of Service||Prepaid|
|5G Download Speeds||600+Mbps|
|LTE Download Speeds||110+Mbps|
|Lowest Phone Plan||$15/ month|
|Unlimited data||YES (with cap)|
|Free calls to Mexico/ Canada Call||YES|
|Extra Perks||6-Month Free Service|
Even before we dive into the full Mint Mobile review, you can see above the prepaid carrier has quite many lovable features. One of these features is affordability, whereby you get to pay only $15 per month.
Of course, when comparing Tello vs Mint we saw the former is relatively much cheaper- starting from as low as $9/ month. But Mint takes the point on value since its $15 plan has twice the high-speed data of Tello.
You should also know Mint Mobile is a brand of Ultra Mobile, another prepaid carrier that runs off T-Mobile towers. I tried comparing Ultra Mobile and Mint Mobile some time back as well, and we saw the former cheaper (has a $10 plan). Then again, Mint still won on value as the $15/ month bundle has 4GB of data, whereas Ultra has 2GB.
Anyway, besides the decent pricing, Mint Mobile is one of the most aggressive mobile virtual network operators (or MVNOs) in marketing. Mr. Deadpool (actor Ryan Reynolds), who is part of the owners, has actually helped a lot here through his humorous and viral ads.
Mint Mobile Reviews: What To Know Before Signing Up
Below, we’ll now have an in-depth review of Mint Mobile phone service, including its performance and reliability:
Different from the lifeline providers with free government phones, Mint Mobile is available to everyone. And as a prepaid service, there are no restrictions or deposits required as opposed to T Mobile or Verizon postpaid.
Unlike these Main Carriers and most other MVNOs, Mint does have a limited-time drive test to try their service offerings. The free test offers a full-service experience, with 250 allotments of everything (250MB data, 250 talk minutes, and 250 texts).
Even better, you can use the free allowances to communicate domestically, plus make calls to Canada and Mexico. If everything works out for you within the limited-time (7 days) trial, you can now proceed and get your preferred subscription.
Overall, the activation process for a Mint Mobile service is straightforward and fast. The carrier handles everything online, which is one of their secrets to the low pricing.
To start, you need to visit the official Mint Mobile website and select your service plan of choice. You’ll get a prompt to check the compatibility of your phone with the service. And once they approve the device IMEI, you’ll just need to enter your ZIP Code in the appropriate box for shipping of your SIM card.
Meanwhile, Mint Mobile supports eSIM activation. And this means you not only get to save the $15 requested for Next-Day shipping (3-5 day shipping is free). But eSIM activations are also instant, as long you have a phone with the feature.
More on that, Mint Mobile is one of the few MVNOs that has had eSIM support for quite a long time. You can activate your service on many Android or Apple devices. Thus, besting the likes of Cricket and Metro that have launched the feature recently to accommodate iPhone 14 fans.
Anyhow, back to completing the activation with a Physical SIM card, you’ll need to:
- Insert the SIM card into your phone
- Scan the QR code embedded in the SIM package to download the Mint Mobile app
- After downloading the app, tap on the “Activate your SIM” tab
- Next, enter the unique 11-digit code printed on the back of your Mint SIM card
- Then, enter your phone IMEI to confirm compatibility with the service
- Finally, choose whether you want to have a “new number” or “keep your current number”. follow the onscreen instructions to complete setting up the service.
If the Mint Mobile SIM activation is successful, you’ll notice the signal bars load and data access. The signal bars your device will have depends on how strong the coverage is in your location.
T-Mobile is the network Mint Mobile use, and this means you’ll have native coverage in most parts of the country. However, if you compare Mint Mobile vs Verizon coverage map side by side, the former has more spotty areas.
In particular, many areas in the Midwestern and Northwestern regions have weak to no signals. A good example is when you start driving farther from the cities of Oregon and Idaho cities or downtown Madison.
Even worse, T-Mobile doesn’t share its domestic roaming privileges with its MVNOs, including our witty fox. The only roaming benefit with Mint is when travelling outside the country, albeit you need the $5, $10, or $20 international UpRoam Credit.
Well, the poor Mint coverage in rural areas and absent domestic roaming can really compromise your communication if you frequently travel upcountry. But the subcarrier does support WiFi calling on both Android and iPhone if where you’re visiting has wireless internet.
Note: You can input your area address on the Mint coverage map online. But the results are not 100% accurate, which is why you should take advantage of the free drive test before joining.
Browsing Data Speeds
Typically, the data speeds you get when browsing depend on the phone at hand and the signal in your area. The stronger the T-Mobile signal and your phone’s modem, the great your data speeds will be.
I’ve not been able to run a Mint speed test this year as I’m trying a different operator at the moment. But a test in the last quarter of 2022 with an iPhone peaked at 510 – 630Mbps on 5G and 50 – 110Mbps for LTE.
However, the deal Mint Mobile made with T-Mobile to use their towers includes deprioritized data. This means the Mint phone will suffer a drop in data speed (up to a 60+% drop) during network congestion. Hence, the reason some people claim to get 130 – 200Mbps on 5G and as low as 5 – 10Mbps on LTE.
If you’re getting these low data speeds all the time and on different phones, the area coverage is possibly the problem. But T-Mobile has been a busy bee with 5G expansion lately- apparently, it has better coverage than AT&T and Verizon here.
Plans and Pricing
Mint Mobile has four main cell phone services to choose from for your needs. The 4GB plan is the lowest tier, with a price tag of $15 per month.
Nonetheless, none of the Mint Mobile plans include a one-month subscription. You’ll have to choose your tier of choice with a quarterly, semi-annually, or annual payment plan:
|Features||4GB Plan||10GB Plan||15GB Plan||Unlimited Plan|
|3-Month Introductory Pack||$45 ($15/ mo.)||$60 ($20/ mo.)||$75 ($25/ mo.)||$75 ($30/ mo.)|
|3-Month Regular Subscription||$75 ($25/ mo.)||$105 ($35/ mo.)||$135 ($45/ mo.)||$120 ($40/ 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.)|
|Mobile Hotspot||YES||YES||YES||YES (capped at 5GB)|
|Video Streaming||4K Ultra-HD Quality||4K Ultra-HD Quality||4K Ultra-HD Quality||4K Ultra-HD Quality|
The 3-month introductory plans pack is what you pay when joining for the first time. We could say the company designed it to bring you a taste of the yearly subscription, which has similar rates.
So, after the introductory period, you can continue paying a similar monthly rate with the annual bundle. Or else get the 3-month regular subscription or the 6-month package.
You should know the price here doesn’t include the taxes and surcharge fees that Mint charges for every subscription. The fees usually vary with the location and the exact plan you choose to apply.
For instance, here in California, the additional fees are $21.94 to $31.69 for the yearly plan and $12.87 to $17.86 with the semi-annual pack. (You can see all these fees when checking out the Mint plan you’d like to have).
Another thing worth mentioning is Mint Mobile doesn’t have the best multi-line discount. If you opt for the newly-released family plan, the rates are like those of the introductory or yearly bundle.
Data Throttling & Hotspot
All the plans with Mint Mobile bring you unlimited talk minutes and texting, plus high-speed data to browse, stream, or hotspot.
In the 4GB, 10GB, and 15GB plans, the hotspot feature is open to all the available high-speed allowances. After reaching the monthly cap and Mint throttles your data to the 128kbps speeds, you can’t tether your devices again. The speeds are barely enough for browsing, anyways.
Sadly, the Mint Mobile “unlimited plan” is also not exactly the “truly” unlimited with MVNOs Cricket and Visible. If you use your data beyond 35GB, Mint throttles your data to lower speeds (128kbps) for the remainder of the month.
Also, the subcarrier has capped the hotspot for the Unlimited plan at only 5GB, which, in my opinion, is inconvenient.
Free Phone Deals
Unluckily, Mint Mobile isn’t part of the phone companies that give free phones when you switch or add a line. Its phone deals revolve around “buy one get free service”. The free service is for up to six months, valued at about $180.
While $180 is a pretty decent saving, it’s incomparable to where you get a free iPhone when you switch to T-Mobile or Verizon. Why so?
To get the free service with the Mint Mobile phone deals, you must port in an eligible cell phone number. And this leaves the deal to only the new customers or existing users that add a new line to their account.
If you want to upgrade your device, Mint Mobile has the shop now and pay later option. Then there’s also the option to purchase your phone elsewhere with a great deal and bring it to the service.
But when you bring your own phone to Mint Mobile, make sure it’s compatible with both cellular and network technology. Cellular compatibility is where the device must be either fully unlocked or locked to Mint Mobile. Network compatibility is where the device must have the necessary T-Mobile frequencies to get a signal.
The “necessary T-Mobile frequencies” are the same as we listed for the phones compatible with Google Fi Service: Bands 2, 4*, 5, 12*, 66, & 71* for LTE, and n71, n41, n258, n258, n260, & n261 for 5G.
Note: T-Mobile and its MVNOs often have the friendliest device compatibility. But for the best results, I’d recommend getting US-Version of phones instead of the “international” models. Many U.S. carriers are blacklisting international-version phones, making it impossible to activate or access all available service functions.
“*” marks the primary network bands for extensive range coverage. Your device must have at least one for the best experience.
As mentioned earlier, Mint Mobile is an online-only company, with no physical stores to visit. In case of an issue with your service, you can only get customer care by phone, email, or online chat.
The online chat support team tends to respond quickly, as you can get in touch with a representative within a minute. But the on-call support at 1 (800) 683-7392 resolves issues faster and more thoroughly.
However, when you call the Customer care number, expect to be on hold for a couple of minutes (1 – 4 minutes). Once you get hold of an agent, she/ he may also be unable to address your issue immediately and will have to wait again to connect with someone more experienced. But again, this is something with other carriers too.
Mint Mobile Reviews: The Drawbacks You Should Know Before Joining
As I conclude, here’s a summary of the drawbacks you can expect with Mint Mobile at the moment.
- Mint Mobile (or T-Mobile) has weak signal in rural areas
- Mint doesn’t offer a domestic roaming feature yet
- Mint Mobile has no option for a single-month phone plan
- Mint Mobile gets deprioritized when T-Mobile towers are congested
- Mint Mobile throttles data on all rate plans, including the Unlimited plan
- Mint Mobile doesn’t have smartwatch plans, which is inconvenient, especially for Apple users
- Mint Mobile uses a third-party (Affirm) on its device financing program. So, the interest rate for your upgrade phone will be high
Mint Mobile FAQ
How do I get Mint Mobile cell phone service?
It’s pretty easy to get Mint Mobile cell phone service. You just need to visit the official Mint Mobile website and choose your desired phone plan. Then check out the shopping cart and fill out the form displayed to have the company ship your SIM kit.
As a prepaid operator, Mint Mobile doesn’t perform credit checks or request deposits to apply for service.
Does Mint Mobile offer a trial period?
Unlike most, Mint does offer a trial period to help determine if the service will be good for you or not. The test plan has free 250MB data, 250 talk minutes, and 250 texts that last seven days. You can use the allowance to even make long-distance calls to Canada and Mexico.
How do I cancel my Mint Mobile cell phone service?
Unlike postpaid services, prepaid carriers have no restrictions and you can leave at any time desired. For instance, you can cancel your Mint Mobile cell phone service by simply porting out to another operator or failing to renew your subscription. In the latter, just log in to your Mint account (via app or website), then turn off the auto-renewal tab and remove your payment method under “billing information”.
Why is mint cheaper than T-Mobile?
The first reason Mint is cheaper than T-Mobile is the fact it’s an online-only service, thereby with lower running costs. It offers the plans in 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month bulk instead of one month. Then your service has access to fewer perks, in which case you miss features like domestic roaming, priority data, and unlimited data with no cap.
Mint also doesn’t have free entertainment subscriptions, such as Netflix, Apple TV, and Music on T-Mobile.
Is Mint Mobile safe to use?
A dedicated hacker can always find a way to get to you online. But under normal conditions, Mint Mobile is safe to use. The company promises to keep all your personal information private and use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol to encrypt all personal information you enter on the site for transactions.
Is Mint Mobile Worth it?
Are you looking for a way to save on your monthly phone bill? Mint Mobile is worthwhile if your area has perfect or at least decent T-Mobile coverage.
At $15, you get a cellular service with 4GB of high-speed data, unlimited talk & text, plus free calls to Canada/ Mexico. Your subscription will also have free access to ultra-fast 5G speeds, WiFi calling, a mobile hotspot, and the option to stream movies online.
Speaking of 5G, I’d recommend you get a device compatible with these signals instead of just LTE. This helps make sure you will have usable service even when the T-Mobile towers are too busy and they deprioritize your data.