As you may know, T-Mobile is one of the best phone services in terms of coverage and plan perks. The carrier tends to share some of these features with its mobile virtual network operators (MVNO). And in this article, we’re going to compare Ultra Mobile vs Mint Mobile to see which of the two would be more worthwhile to have.
Regardless, the decision on the two isn’t an easy one as the pair not only share the underlying network but also the founding father. In fact, Mind Mobile is a brand of the Ultra Mobile, similar to TracFone and Straight Talk, where TracFone is the parent yet still an MVNO.
Regardless, Mint Mobile and Ultra Mobile are still different companies. The former, actually, now has celebrity Ryan Reynolds- Yes, the Free Guy, as an owner. So, the experience you’ll get with either phone service totally differs.
Ultra Mobile Vs Mint Mobile: A Peek on the Cell Phone Providers
|Feature||Ultra Mobile||Mint Mobile|
|Parent Company||Ultra Mobile||Ultra Mobile|
|Lowest Phone Plan||$10||$15|
|Carry-Over||YES [Ultra Flex plans]||NO|
|Free Mexico/ Canada Call||YES [80+ INTL destinations]||YES|
|Video Streaming||YES [up to HD]||YES [Up to HD]|
|Phone Unlock Period||After 12 Months||After 12 Months|
|Type of Service||Online and in-store||Online Only|
Is Ultra Mobile Any Good?
As we all know, MVNOs are usually relatively cheaper than their carrier networks. So, for one, Ultra Mobile is a great choice if you’re looking to cut down your monthly phone bill. It’s, indeed, far much cheaper than almost all other providers as you can get a plan from as low as $3.
Moreover, Ultra Mobile does have unlimited everything plans, which can come in handy if you’re a heavy data user. The plans even include up to 20GB of data for tethering. Then, there’s free unlimited calling and texting to over eighty international destinations.
As a GSM service, Ultra Mobile is compatible with most unlocked cell phones. And considering they also have BYOD (bring your own device) program, that’s a pretty good win as you can replace or upgrade whenever.
Is Mint Mobile Any Good?
Yes, indeed, Mint Mobile is totally worth it if you’re within a strong T-Mobile coverage zone. it not only offers affordable phone service, but also includes both limited and unlimited rate plans in case you browse a lot. It’s also one of the few brands that tend to offer deals on the rate plans.
In fact, Mint Mobile made the news during the Super Bowl LIV after offering a straight-up freebie to the new customers. According to Ryan Reynolds, it was more sensible to “give away over 300000 months of free service” than spend $5 million on a 30-second ad. All you needed to join was an unlocked mobile phone that can work on the T-Mobile network.
When looking at Mint Mobile vs Verizon, we also concluded the GSM operator not only offers free 5G access. But also superb brosing rates, with an average download speed of over 500Mbps when on the high-band (mmWave) spectrum.
More on that, let us break down all the key features of a good cell phone service and compare Mint Mobile vs Ultra Mobile side by side. That includes in terms of coverage, download speeds, deprioritization, and video streaming quality.
Ultra Mobile vs Mint Mobile: Comparing the features and Perks of the Mobile Phone Services
Typically, there’s no winner here as both carriers are MVNOs of T-Mobile. Thus, they operate on a GSM network technology. The good thing, though, is that you can comfortably use a branded (carrier-locked) T-Mobile phone with either service. It’s also theoretically possible to use a locked Ultra Mobile phone with a Mint Mobile SIM card, just like TracFone phone works with its daughter brand, Straight Talk.
However, a branded Mint Mobile phone might not work with an Ultra Mobile SIM card until you unlock it. The same goes for phones compatible with Simple Mobile and other MVNOs on the T-Mobile network.
Therefore, Ultra Mobile and Mint Mobile share the point on network technology.
Similarly, the battle here will settle at a draw as the two MVNOs are both using the T-Mobile towers to operate. That means the kind of signal you’ve been getting at your Chicago home with T-Mobile will be the same for both Ultra and Mint services.
However, the carrier network has mostly focused on the metros in the Midwestern and Northwestern states. So, you’re likely to experience spotty coverage when in rural areas like Grant and Harney County.
**A network that might be better in such areas is US Cellular, which has only focused on the midwestern and northwestern regions.
Regardless, both Ultra Mobile and Mint Mobile do have a free 7-day trial plan if you wanted to test how the service works in your area. You just need an unlocked compatible cell phone and you’re good to go.
Free 5G Access and Speeds
Yet again, Mint and Ultra Mobile will be sharing the point for the new 5G connection. They not only offer access to the service on all the plans at no cost, but also the coverage is the same with T-Mobile.
As for the performance, Mint Mobile has an average of 560Mbps download and 32Mbps upload speeds on the high-band/ Ultra Capacity 5G spectrum. Some users have claimed to get up to 783Mbps download and 109Mbps upload. But, sadly, a lot of people have access to the low-band spectrum since it travels farther, including into the buildings. And in that case, you can expect download speeds of between 100-200+Mbps.
As for the Ultra Mobile, I haven’t been able to gather conclusive details on the network speeds. But considering Mint and T-Mobile have the same speeds when tested individually, it should be the same for the Ultra Mobile. After all, all the three networks are using the same surface to bring you the service.
Phone Plans and Pricing
Well, this one now is where Ultra vs Mint mostly differs, but not in a very significant way. The providers still share some aspects, including the availability of unlimited everything and multi-month plan bundles.
Even so, Ultra Mobile has a relatively more flexible plan structure, including pay-as-you-go from as low as $3. The chart below shows a summary of the various plans and pricing.
|Features||2GB Plan||3GB Plan||6GB Plan||15GB Plan||Unlimited Plan||Unlimited+ Plan|
|1-Month Subscription||$19/ mo.||$24/ mo.||$29/ mo.||$39/ mo.||$49/ mo.||$59/ mo.|
|3-Month Subscription||$48 ($16/ mo.)||$66 ($22/ mo.)||$84 ($28/ mo.)||$108 ($36/ mo.)||$138 ($46/ mo.)||$168 ($56/ mo.)|
|6-Month Subscription||$90 ($15/ mo.)||$126 ($21/ mo.)||$162 ($27/ mo.)||$210 ($35/ mo.)||$270 ($45/ mo.)||$330 ($55/ mo.)|
|12-Month Subscription||$168 ($14/ mo.)||$240 ($20/ mo.)||$300 ($25/ mo.)||$360 ($30/ mo.)||$480 ($40/ mo.)||$600 ($50/ mo.)|
|4G LTE & 5G||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
In the table, you can see why I concluded Ultra Mobile is more flexible. Note, there’s still the 250MB basic phone plan, PayGo, and Tourist plans, which aren’t in the chart. Then, you could opt for the Flex Family plan if you’d like to build your prepaid account with multiple lines. In other words, we could say Ultra has something for every user out there.
It’s also worth mentioning that all Ultra phone plans do include unlimited global texting and talking to 80+ international destinations. If the country you’d want to route your call isn’t on that list, the phone plans also come with a bonus of $1.50-$10 monthly international long-distance credits.
Meanwhile, Mint Mobile doesn’t have any free allowance for calling international destinations, except Canada and Mexico. If you want to push your call further than that, you’ll need to purchase international call credits.
Moreover, Mint hasn’t been able to offer family plans, for now. However, you can still save hundreds of bucks throughout the year using their multi-month plan structure. Here’s an overview of the pricing and perks include:
|Features||4GB Plan||10GB Plan||15GB Plan||Unlimited 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 & 5G||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Extra Mobile Hotspot Data||None||None||None||5GB|
|Unlimited 600kbp hotspot data||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Apparently, I should have mentioned under the Ultra Mobile rate plan that the 250MB package’s available in all the billing frequencies. That’s the single-month, 3-Month, 6-Month, and 12-Month. The plan is seemingly attractive on the pricing as you can get the yearly deal at only $10/ mo.
But then, when you do the month for the price and what you’re getting between Ultra Mobile vs Mint Mobile, the latter wins. For instance, Mint has the 4GB plan going for $20 in the 6-month package or $15/ yearly.
On the other hand, Ultra has the 3GB plan going for $21 on the 6-month subscription or $20 for the yearly deal. So, you get 1GB of data less yet still will have to add five dollars of what you’d have paid Mint Mobile.
Remember the free 7-day trial I mentioned earlier? Well, Mint Mobile also happens to offer a better sample dessert with 250 minutes, 250 texts, and 250MB of high-speed data. Ultra gives you a hundred of each.
Deprioritization and Throttling
Similar to other MVNOs, Ultra Mobile and Mint Mobile both experiences deprioritization when the T-Mobile network is busy. The data speeds on the Mint 5G ultra capacity will drop to around 242Mbps downloads and 12.5Mbps uploads. So, you should expect even slower speeds (less than 100Mbps or 75Mbps) when on the low-band spectrum.
More on that, you can experience deprioritization on your Mint service after exhausting your monthly data allotment. That’s the company reduces your network speed to 128kbps for the remaining days until your next bill cycle. The same applies to all prepaid Ultra Mobile except the 250MB rate.
In the 250MB Ultra Mobile plan, the carrier completely throttles (cut off) your data until the next bill cycle.
Video Streaming Quality
Last but not least, both Mint and Ultra Mobile have the standard video streaming resolution at DVD quality (480p). You can also stream in HD resolution, which is perfect when with a larger display, but it can end up too costly. Why?
To stream in HD quality with either Mint Mobile or Ultra Mobile, you’ll need to be on the finite rate plans. But streaming videos in high-definition usually takes up around 41.7MB/ minute. Thus, a 90-minute movie will eat up 2.5GB of your data. After streaming like three movies, you should be getting alerts that your data is almost depleted.
So, you’ll be better off sticking with the standard-definition video streaming, which uses about 700MB/ hour. Thus, the Unlimited+ plan on Ultra Mobile can give you over eighty hours of continuous streaming.
Speaking of Ultra Mobile, the operator has a data optimizer feature (Data My Way), whereby you can set the browsing rate between 1.0Mbps to the maximum speed. Thus, helping keep the consumption to the minimum and stretching your high-speed data plans further to the end of the month.
In truth, comparing Ultra Mobile vs Mint Mobile is just like speaking about the same thing. In all the six key features we’ve looked at, about 85% of them is a draw as the two operators share the underlying network and the owner, in a way.
Even so, Ultra service has seemingly more data allowance for the unlimited plans, but it will cost you more. For me, I usually like it when you give me exactly what I’m paying for in a service. So, Mint Mobile is my favorite pick. It’s not only cheaper than Ultra Mobile by a few bucks but also usually offers more data allowance for the same plan price.
As a subscriber, though, it would be nice if Mint has another unlimited plan with more high-speed data allotment and a mobile hotspot cap. Those two are the most concerning limitations right now. So, hopefully, Reynolds can look into that and give us a reason to look forward to jumping to 2022.