Mint Mobile appSource: Android Central

The wireless carrier space is a never-ending battle between T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T. However, underneath the three big dogs is a collection of smaller brands tapping into their networks to deliver excellent wireless coverage at a fraction of the price.

One such company is Mint Mobile (formally known as Mint SIM), and if you've been searching for a new way to buy phone service that can help you save a heap of money, it may be worth a look.

Buy in bulk

Mint Mobile

A unique take on affordable wireless service

Use T-Mobile's massive data network while saving money thanks to Mint Mobile's great data plans and multi-month savings.

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Mint Mobile Check out our full review

We'll get into all the fine details of Mint Mobile soon enough, but before we do that, we recommend reading our full review of the service if you haven't already.

The review analyzes Mint Mobile's data performance, network coverage, and a lot of fine details you can only really experience when testing a carrier or MVNO in the real world.

Here's a preview:

Mint Mobile is one of the most compelling prepaid wireless options on the market. The idea of paying for months of service upfront in bulk is a unique concept that allows you to get pretty fantastic value. We also love the expansive phone support, solid download speeds, and included mobile hotspot.

Mint Mobile How much does Mint Mobile cost?

Mint Mobile website showing available plansSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

One of the biggest reasons to get your phone service from a smaller MVNO is because they usually cost less than the Big 3. With Mint Mobile, that's absolutely the case.

All Mint Mobile plans come with unlimited talk and text and are available with either 3GB, 8GB, 12GB, or 35GB (Unlimited) of high-speed data. However, rather than paying month-to-month for your plans, you can choose to pay upfront for three months, six months, or 12 months of service. This means your upfront cost is more expensive, but in the long run, your technical monthly cost will be quite low.

Here's how everything breaks down:

3GB 8GB 12GB Unlimited
3 months $15 per month ($45 total)
$25 per month renewal ($75 total)
$20 per month ($60 total)
$35 per month renewal ($105 total)
$25 per month ($75)
$45 per month renewal ($135 total)
$30 per month ($90)
$40 per month renewal ($120)
6 months $20 per month ($120) $25 per month ($150) $35 per month ($210) $35 per month ($210)
12 months $15 per month ($180) $20 per month ($240) $25 per month ($300) $30 per month ($360)

A quick note here — the prices above are part of an introductory offer and only available for your first three months. After that, the 3GB plan costs $25/month, 8GB goes for $35/month, and 12GB will set you back $45/month. The Unlimited plan is slightly cheaper than the 12GB plan at three months coming in at $40 per month.

Unlike some carriers, Mint Mobile's pricing does not include taxes and fees. In addition to the above figures, you'll also need to account for a regulatory recovery fee, telecom tax, an MTS surcharge if you live in California, and a PSCS fee for New York residents.

Mint Mobile Does Mint Mobile support international service?

Calls and texts to Mexico and Canada are free on all plans. If you want to call other countries you'll need to add money to your Mint Mobile account and pay per minute or text. Find the current rates at Mint Mobile.

Mint Mobile's international roaming support is as simple as it gets with a flat rate of $0.05 per text, $0.25 per minute, and $0.20 per MB for countries on the supported list. Service in Mexico and Canada is reduced to $0.02 per text, S0.06 per minute, and $0.06 per MB.

Mint Mobile How to pick your Mint Mobile plan

Mint Mobile app start screenSource: Samuel Contreras / Android Central

When it comes to how much time you should buy between three, six, and 12 months, it makes the most sense to start with just three. If you are new to Mint Mobile, you can have the first three months of service for the same monthly cost as 12 months.

Starting with three months, you can renew with 12 months and lock in the introductory rate. This will be the best course of action if you find that Mint Mobile works well for you. If it's not working for you, you can simply let it run out without renewing.

Looking for a family plan? Mint Mobile has a feature called Mint Family that allows one person to manage up to five plans under one account. Mint Family isn't a family plan so don't expect to get any additional savings by joining one. This feature simply allows one person to manage and pay for all of the plans. Each line can have its own plan so you can make sure each member has what they need without overbuying.

Mint Mobile How much data do you need with your plan?

When it comes to data sizes, you probably don't need as much as you think. A great place to start is by checking how much you currently use. This amount should be stated on the bill of your current provider. You can also check your usage history on your phone by finding the data usage option in the settings.

If you're using slightly more than one of Mint Mobile's packages, you can try to find ways to reduce your usage. A little effort can go a long way to preserve data such as automatically connecting to Wi-Fi whenever possible.

It makes the most sense to start with less data than you think you need and gauge your actual usage. Mint Mobile allows you to upgrade your data package mid-cycle by paying the difference in cost. You cannot, however, downgrade so you want to start low and work your way up.

Most people will find the 8GB three-month package to be a great fit and with the current promotion, you can try it out for the same price as the 3GB option and decide if you want to downgrade when it comes time to renew.

If you still think you need the unlimited plan there are a couple of extra things to keep in mind. First of all, unlimited in this case really means 35GB of high-speed data each month with the speed being limited to 128Kbps if you exceed that amount. You also only get to use 5GB of mobile hotspot data. Finally, video streaming is limited to 480p quality. If you're still using a smaller phone, this will likely be sufficient. If you've got a big screen or great eyesight, you could download you videos for offline viewing in apps like Netflix or Disney Plus to make sure you have a higher quality.

Mint Mobile What's Mint Mobile's coverage like?

Mint Mobile Coverage Map May 2020Source: Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile's network for its coverage, so if you have reliable T-Mobile service in your area, Mint Mobile will work great.

Check your coverage on Mint Mobile's website or download the Mint Mobile app (also available on iOS) to check from your phone.

Of course, a more modern phone that supports all of T-Mobile's bands will get the best coverage so it may be worth getting a newer phone that will support the entire network.

  • Band 2 - 1900Mhz
  • Bands 4/66 - 1700/2100 Mhz
  • Band 5 - 850Mhz
  • Band 12 - 700Mhz
  • Band 71 - 600Mhz
  • Band n71 - 600MHz (5G sub-6)
  • Band n41 - 2.5GHz (5G sub-6)
  • Band n260 - 39GHz (5G mmWave)
  • Band n261 - 28GHz (5G mmWave)

You should be able to find this information on your manufacturer's website or by checking your IMEI online or in the app.

Mint Mobile How to get 5G

As of mid-2020, Mint Mobile supports T-Mobile's 5G network and does not cost extra to get that faster service.

Of course, you'll need a 5G phone to get that 5G upgrade, and it's only available in markets where T-Mobile offers 5G, which is, thankfully, a lot of cities around the U.S.

You can find more about Mint Mobile's 5G service if you're interested in learning more about how to get started.

Mint Mobile Can you use your phone as a mobile hotspot?

A lot of MVNOs offer low monthly prices for their service but then nickel and dime you for features you come to expect from larger carriers — one being a mobile hotspot.

Thankfully, Mint Mobile is a wonderful exception to that rule.

All Mint Mobile plans come with mobile hotspot usage for free, meaning you can turn your phone into a portable Wi-Fi router and connect other devices to it whenever you'd like. For the 3, 8, and 12GB plans, you share your primary data pool with your hotspot devices but with the unlimited plan, you only get 5GB for hotspot usage.

Mint Mobile How does Mint stack up against the competition?

Mint Mobile app on woodSource: Samuel Contreras / Android Central

There's no denying that Mint Mobile is one of the best deals in wireless, but it's far from existing in a bubble. Take a look around you, and you'll find a ton of competitors trying to one-up Mint in any way they can.

We think most people will be quite happy with Mint, but that said, we also encourage you to be aware of what else is out there to ensure you're getting the service that's the best fit for you.

Below, you'll find comparisons between Mint and its closest competition.

Which phones are available?

Surprisingly for a smaller MVNO, Mint Mobile has a pretty great selection of phones you can buy directly from it. You have the option of paying the full price of the phone outright or month-to-month with 0% financing from Affirm.

On the Android side of things, you can get the entire Galaxy S20 family, the Galaxy Z Flip, Google's Pixel 4/4 XL, and more. If you prefer iPhones, Mint sells the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, the new iPhone SE, and a couple of older models.

Can you bring your own phone?

Mint Mobile websiteSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

Alternatively, if you already have a phone you want to use with Mint Mobile, you can do that, too.

Mint Mobile works with any GSM unlocked phone, and if you aren't sure what that means, you can use a compatibility checker on Mint Mobile's website to confirm your device will work by entering its IMEI number. The SIM card itself is free, so you'll just need to purchase one of the above plans to get going with your service.

Don't forget that you can bring your current phone number to Mint Mobile as well.

Best Phones to use with Mint Mobile

Buy in bulk

Mint Mobile

A unique take on affordable wireless service

Use T-Mobile's massive data network while saving money thanks to Mint Mobile's great data plans and multi-month savings.

Does Mint Mobile offer any deals?

With plans starting as low as $15 per month, Mint Mobile's service is already a great deal. Not only do you get unlimited talk and text with nationwide coverage for that cost, but Mint Mobile now also includes 5G service with all plans at no additional cost.

With all of that being said, Mint Mobile still offers some limited-time deals that can save you a bit extra when signing up; a recent offer includes the iPhone SE and two years of service for $30 per month. We have an entire guide to Mint Mobile deals if you want to discover more about the current ways to save while shopping there.

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