Cricket has an advantage when it comes to multi-line discounts, and the AT&T LTE network is one of the strongest available. But the T-Mobile 5G network that supports Mint has been one of the fastest-growing networks, and if it's available in your area, it will also serve you well. Always be sure to check coverage to be sure each network will work for you.
Mint Mobile vs. Cricket Wireless: What is the prepaid advantage?
Mint Mobile and Cricket Wireless are both MVNOs, which means that they don't build and operate their own networks and instead utilize other carriers' networks. Mint uses T-Mobile's network while Cricket uses AT&T. This can be a great option for someone that wants to get connected on a network with great coverage but doesn't want a contract.
Prepaid carriers are also able to offer a more streamlined experience, which keeps costs down. For example, Mint Mobile does not need to maintain storefronts, and neither need to worry about investing in the network as time goes on. T-Mobile and AT&T, on the contrary, will continue to develop and expand their networks to keep up with demand.
|Minimum||3 months||1 month|
|5G access||All plans||Top unlimited plan only|
|International texting||Not included||Included with unlimited plans|
|Mobile hotspot||5GB (unlimited plan)||15GB (unlimited plan)|
|Mexico and Canada||Calling to countries only||Service in countries (unlimited plans)|
|Multi-line discounts||None||Up to 5 lines|
The best network is going to vary depending on where you live and which device you have. So make sure to check Mint Mobile or Cricket's coverage map to be sure before checkout. T-Mobile's 5G network is still quite a bit larger than AT&T at this point, however. To access 5G, you'll need a 5G capable phone with support for sub-6 5G. Nevertheless, both carriers should work with the best Android phones you can buy, thanks to excellent network compatibility.
Keep in mind that Cricket's coverage will be more robust in rural areas, but either carrier should have coverage for most people.
Mint Mobile vs. Cricket Wireless: Mint Mobile's plans
Mint Mobile doesn't operate with traditional contracts. Instead, you pay upfront for your term, which can be three, six, or 12 months. Buying in bulk will save you more money in the long run, with the greatest savings at 12 months. All plans include unlimited nationwide talk, text, and data, though you only get so much LTE and 5G per month. Unlimited international texting is included in all plans.
If you go with the unlimited plan, your data is slowed after 35GB of usage, and you get 5GB of hotspot data.
|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 data at a rate of $10 for 1GB or $20 for 3GB if you need more. You can also upgrade to the next plan if you feel you'll need more every month in the middle of your billing cycle.
Since you have to commit to a longer-term with Mint Mobile, you should keep the seven-day money-back guarantee in mind. If you prefer, you can also get a free Mint Mobile SIM card for your phone by signing up for a free trial. If not, an introductory rate will get you your first three months at the 12-month rate. If you find the network doesn't work for you, you're not out of the whole year's cost.
Mint Mobile vs. Cricket Wireless: Cricket's plans
Cricket offers fairly straightforward unlimited talk and text plans with varying allotments of 4G LTE data. All plan prices are flat fees, with taxes and fees included. So you will only pay $30 per month if you opt for the $30 plan, for example. All plans come with unlimited talk, text, and data. Pricing varies depending on how much 4G LTE data you opt for.
One thing to keep in mind with Cricket is the speed caps. The two data plans are limited to 8Mbps on LTE and 4Mbps on its older network. For the most part, this will be fast enough for anything you do on your phone, but when it comes to downloading files or trying to watch HD video, you'll see some buffering.
The Unlimited More plan removes the speed cap and comes with a 15GB hotspot. This is the only plan that makes sense for heavy users, and with four or five lines, the price isn't far off.
|2GB||10GB||Unlimited (Core)||Unlimited + 15 GB Mobile Hotspot (More)|
|International text||None||None||37 countries||37 countries|
|Max data speed||8Mbps||8Mbps||8Mbps||No limit|
|5G access||None||None||None||Nationwide 5G|
|Entertainment perks||None||None||None||HBO Max with Ads|
With Cricket, you can save money with more lines on unlimited plans. Four lines on the top unlimited plan bring the cost down to $33 per line. Cricket also has a few data-only plans with up to 100GB available if you want to skip calling and texting features altogether.
Mint Mobile vs. Cricket Wireless: International coverage
You can add calling to international landline numbers in 35 countries for $5 per month on Cricket. You can also add 1,000 minutes to a mobile number and unlimited MMS texting for $15 per month. You can even add individual countries for $10-$15 per month.
If you plan on traveling to Canada and Mexico with your Cricket plan, you can roam as long as your usage is less than 50% of your overall usage. Keep in mind that roaming is only included with the unlimited plans, which also come with texting to 37 countries.
Mint does things a little differently but perhaps more directly when it comes to international coverage. While roaming, you pay by the minute, text, or MB. The rates are $0.05 per text sent, $0.25 per minute, and $0.20 per MB. These rates come down to $0.02 per text, $0.06 per minute, and $0.06 per megabyte for Canada and Mexico.
On Mint Mobile, calls to Canada and Mexico are included with every plan, however. The cost per minute for international calls depends on the country. China, for example, is a reasonable $0.01 per minute on landline or mobile, while France comes in at $0.01 for landlines and $0.18 for mobile.
If you plan to call a lot internationally, Cricket can be less expensive ultimately, but you'll likely pay more upfront. On the other hand, Mint is a lot more flexible and makes more sense for those that don't call abroad frequently.
Mint Mobile vs. Cricket Wireless: Which is better for you?
Cricket's plans tend to be more expensive than what you can get from Mint, but the price comes down quite a bit with multiple lines on unlimited. It's hard to recommend the slower Unlimited plan for most people, but Cricket can be a great value even on the top plan if you need to get an entire family connected. It's worth keeping in mind that Cricket does have better coverage outside of cities.
From a purely price-conscious perspective, Mint Mobile is the better option, especially if you have an unlocked phone of your own. T-Mobile's network is solid, and Mint Mobile's plans are straightforward. So long as you are willing to sign up for three months or longer at a time, you get a lot more data for your money.
Save in bundles
Buy more to save more
Mint Mobile saves you money by offering plans in a bundle. Buy a large chunk to increase your savings with plenty of data on T-Mobile's LTE and 5G network.
Tons of data
More network for more data
Starting as low as talk, text, and 2GB of data and going all the way up to unlimited, Cricket has a plan that works for you. You can even save more with more lines.
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