Best answer: Mint Mobile's unlimited plan has a similar amount or more high-speed data than most other prepaid unlimited plans. It makes up ground with multi-month savings and a 5GB hotspot.
- 35GB of high-speed data: Mint Mobile Unlimited (opens in new tab) (From $30/mo. at Mint Mobile
- Unlimited data with deprioritization: Visible (opens in new tab) ($40/mo. at Visible)
Go unlimited with prepaid
Mint Mobile's unlimited data plan comes with 35GB of high-speed data on T-Mobile's LTE or 5G network. It also comes with 5GB of hotspot data to share with another device. Once you've exceeded 35GB of usage in a month, data speeds are reduced until the end of the month. Even if you've purchased six or 12 months of service from Mint, your data is counted monthly. Video streams are also limited to 480p regardless of your current usage.
Compared to Mint Mobile's unlimited plan, something like Visible is much more straightforward with unlimited LTE data on Verizon's network. Data is deprioritized compared to Verizon's own customers so if a tower is crowded, Verizon customers will have higher performance. Still, Visible has been upfront about its slower speeds telling customers to expect 5-12Mbps most of the time. In reality, you'll see speeds both faster and slower than this depending on your location and the load on your tower. Visible's hotspot data is unlimited in amount but maxes out at 5Mbps.
While these plans are both labeled as unlimited, the way they treat usage varies quite a bit. Visible's approach seems more sensible since it will take off the leash if the network can handle it. Neither plan will charge you any sort of overage or completely cut you off but if you are a truly heavy user, you'll be more restricted with Mint's approach.
Even other T-Mobile MVNOs can take a different approach. Metro by T-Mobile reduces speed during congestions after 35GB similar to Visible. Boost Mobile's unlimited plan advertises itself as unlimited with 35GB of 4G LTE data. Speeds are slowed to 2G speeds after that 35GB much like Mint's plan.
If you buy three months of Mint Mobile's unlimited plan, the prices are nothing special compared to some of the best MVNOs. It's not until you buy six or 12 months that it stands apart. Even if you consider it a 35GB plan, it's still one of the best values you can get.
How does Mint compare to postpaid carriers?
When it comes to postpaid carriers like T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, they all have two tiers of data. T-Mobile's cheapest Essentials plan has unlimited data that is always susceptible to lower speeds during congestion. Both of the more expensive Magenta plans won't be slowed until the customer users 50GB of data. Even T-Mobile's Essentials customers will have priority over an MVNO like Metro. T-Mobile also includes unlimited 3G speed hotspots on all of its unlimited plans with 3GB and 20GB of LTE data on the two Magenta plans.
Verizon and AT&T take a similar approach with a basic unlimited plan that gets no premium data and no hotspot data. AT&T at least includes 5G access on all of its plans. Beyond that, both AT&T and Verizon offer premium data on the larger plans which is data that is prioritized over all other data during congestion.
In performance, Mint Mobiles plans will fall behind the postpaid carriers unless it's on an uncongested tower. When it comes to price, no postpaid carrier has an unlimited plan that even comes close to Mint Mobile without multiple lines.
Plenty of data
Mint Mobile Unlimited
Plenty of data for more people
Mint Mobile Unlimited offers more data than most heavy users will ever use with savings if you can buy six or 12 months upfront.
Slow and steady wins the race
Visible isn't the fastest prepaid carrier but it has enough speed for most people with a handy 5Mbps unlimited hotspot.
When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.
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