Mint Mobile is known for providing great value if you are willing to buy three or more months of service at a time. All data plans come with data access, unlimited talk and text, and the ability to use your data as a hotspot. The unlimited plan comes with 5GB of hotspot data. Mint Mobile is a great fit for most smartphone users.
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Consumer Cellular lets you tailor a plan to your data usage without needing to buy any more than you need. With plans ranging from calling only up to 35GB of data, Consumer Cellular can be a good fit for smartphones and basic phones alike. You can also save money with an AARP membership and family plan options for up to three lines.
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Mint Mobile has a straightforward approach to buying phone service. If you have a good idea of how much data you need, you can save a lot with one of Mint's smaller data tiers. Mint's unlimited plan is a good fit for someone that needs a ton of data or doesn't know how much they'll need. Consumer Cellular is very straightforward with simple multi-line savings and five standard data plans to choose from. Consumer Cellular also keeps around talk and text only plans for those that want something simple.
Mint Mobile vs. Consumer Cellular: You can start small
Saving money isn't the only goal when it comes to choosing a phone plan. Dozens of other factors, from phone compatibility to network quality, can greatly impact that decision. As average mobile data usage continues to increase every year, your phone plan should enable you to get the most out of your device. Luckily both Mint Mobile and Consumer Cellular allow you to upgrade your plan at any time to meet your needs, so you don't need to worry about buying too little data.
|Mint Mobile||Consumer Cellular|
|Minimum price||$15 per month||$15 per month|
|Minimum term||3 months||1 month|
|Maximum term||12 months||1 month|
|Calling to Mexico and Canada||Included||Pay per minute|
Mint Mobile takes the crown when it comes to data and price, with its smallest 4GB plan priced comparably to Consumer Cellular's 500MB plan. Consumer Cellular makes a lot more sense if you need two or three lines on your account, bringing the cost per line much closer to Mint's.
Mint Mobile vs. Consumer Cellular: Get the right coverage
A few years ago, AT&T's network would have been an easy recommendation over T-Mobile. Thanks to T-Mobile's continued efforts in improving its network, both networks will more than likely provide solid coverage for the vast majority of Americans. Mint Mobile offers 5G coverage on T-Mobile's network for no additional cost on all plans. If you were looking for a cheap plan to try out 5G, Mint Mobile is a great option. Make sure you get a phone that supports 5G bands n71 and n41 for the best coverage.
Both carriers offer international roaming though you will need to pay a fee per minute, text, and MB of data used. These prices will vary by country, but most of the time, it's less than $0.20 per minute. If you need to travel often, it would be a better idea to use a messenger service over data and a carrier like Google Fi for traveling.
Mint Mobile vs. Consumer Cellular: Mint's Menu
Mint Mobile has three limited data plans and one unlimited plan. All Mint Mobile plans come with unlimited talk and text, including calls and texts to Mexico and Canada.
The Data plans start at a fairly generous 4GB, a great fit for a ton of people who don't need much data or can use Wi-Fi for most of their usage. You can also get 10GB or 15GB. You can use your full data plan as a hotspot as well. If you go over your data allotment, your speeds will slow down to 2G-like speeds. There are no overages.
The unlimited plan comes with 35GB of uninterrupted high-speed data. If you use this much data in a single month, you will experience slower speeds until the end of the month. This is more data than most people will use on their phone, but if you know you need more, you should consider one of the other best cell phone plans with unlimited data. One nice thing about the unlimited plan is a feature called unliMINTed, which helps you choose a more appropriate data plan if you don't actually need unlimited data.
Mint Mobile does have an introductory rate for three months of service, so you can try out the service at a 12-month rate without committing to the entire year. Keep in mind; renewals will be at the standard rate unless you change to the 12-month plan.
|3 months (introductory price)||$15/mo. ($45)||$20/mo. ($60)||$25/mo. ($75)||$30/mo. ($90)|
|3 months||$25/mo. ($75)||$35/mo. ($105)||$45/mo. ($135)||$40/mo. ($120)|
|6 months||$20/mo. ($120)||$25/mo. ($150)||$35/mo. ($210)||$35/mo. ($210)|
|12 months||$15/mo. ($180)||$20/mo. ($240)||$25/mo. ($300)||$30/mo. ($360)|
You can add more high-speed data at a rate of $10 for 1GB or $20 for 3GB if you run out on all but the unlimited plan. You can also upgrade to the next plan if you feel you'll need more every month in the middle of your billing cycle.
Mint Mobile vs. Consumer Cellular: Consumer Cellular's buffet
Consumer Cellular lets you pick one of six plans that fits your needs more precisely than Mint Mobile. The data plans come with unlimited talk by default though you can save $5 per month if you drop down to 250 minutes. With so many people switching to VoIP services like Telegram and Messenger for calls, this is a nice way to save.
Consumer's plans are some of the cheapest around though they still can't beat Mint's six and 12-month values. That is unless you need up to three lines. Consumer Cellular allows you to share your data with one or two additional lines with a discount per line. This can be a great value for a family but keep in mind, like Mint's unlimited plan, you only actually get 35GB of high-speed data, but you'll have to share it with the others on your plan.
Both Consumer Cellular and Mint Mobile offer a plan that works for just about anyone, including heavier users.
Mint Mobile vs. Consumer Cellular: Find the right phone
Both Mint Mobile and Consumer Cellular support a wide range of phones thanks to T-Mobile and AT&T, both using GSM networks. As always, if you intend to bring a phone to either carrier, you should check the IMEI. You can check on Mint Mobile's website before signing up, but you will need to contact Consumer Cellular's customer service to check on that network. However, nearly any unlocked GSM compatible phone should work on either service.
Of course, Mint Mobile is happy to sell you a new phone if you're ready to upgrade. Mint Mobile carries a good range of Android phones, including Google's Pixel phones and the newest Samsung Galaxy phones. Most modern iPhones can also be purchased.
Consumer Cellular offers a good range of phones and has a much more limited Android selection, including modern Samsung Galaxy 21 devices and some mid-range devices from Motorola and ZTE. If you're looking for a flip phone, Consumer Cellular has them, and Mint Mobile does not.
Mint Mobile vs. Consumer Cellular: Which one fits you?
Consumer Cellular offers a wide range of plans that make sense to many people, whether you need only talk and text or a lot of data. With an AARP discount and savings for up to three lines. Consumer Cellular can be a great option. Still, even with these savings, Mint Mobile will be cheaper if you're willing to pay for the whole year upfront. If you think you'll like Mint but don't want to commit to a year right at first, you can get your first three months for the 12-month rate before deciding to renew.
Bought in bulk
Plenty of data savings in bulk
Mint Mobile keeps prices low by selling data plans in 3, 6, or 12-month terms with enough data options for most smartphone users.
Pick a plan with the perfect fit
Consumer Cellular lets you pick the exact amount of data you need from none to unlimited with up to three lines.
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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