Mint Mobile and Google Fi are two of the best MVNO carriers you can get. For people that spend most of their time in the U.S. in an area with T-Mobile coverage, Mint Mobile can save you some serious money. However, Google Fi will have slightly better coverage thanks to using T-Mobile and US Cellular towers. Google Fi also makes a lot of sense for people who travel internationally with no change in data cost in more than 200 countries worldwide. Still, with Google Fi charging $10 per gigabyte of data on its least expensive plan, the costs can add up quickly.
Mint Mobile vs. Google Fi: Mint trims the fat
Mint Mobile keeps its costs low by trimming the fat in several areas where Google Fi excels. One thing you'll notice is that Mint Mobile wants you to commit to up to a year for maximum savings. Mint Mobile also doesn't have much plan flexibility with three different data amounts and an unlimited plan.
Finally, even in the U.S., only having access to one network means that you'll see your service drop to zero more often than Fi. However, it's worth mentioning that T-Mobile's network, which Mint Mobile uses, covers most people and makes up most of Google Fi's coverage.
|Mint Mobile||Google Fi|
|Family savings||None||Up to 6 lines|
|Data throttling||At data cap or 35GB (unlimited plan)||Flexible plan: 15GB
Simply Unlimited and Unlimited Plus plan: 22GB
|Minimum term||3 months||1 month|
|Maximum term||12 months||1 month|
Mint Mobile is designed around what most people need from a phone service. Most people are covered by the T-Mobile network, and most people will fit into one of its 4GB, 10GB, or 15GB data tiers with an unlimited option for those that don't want to risk it. Google Fi is aimed more at potentially heavy users and travelers that may need more flexibility in their phone plan. While you may pay more for it in the end, Google Fi makes sure you will have coverage almost anywhere you go, and you'll have plenty of data if you need it.
Mint Mobile vs. Google Fi: Mint Mobile's Plans
Mint Mobile has a dozen different options for its customer, but you only need to decide how much data you need and how many months you are willing to pay for. Of course, your price per month is lower if you commit to a full year of service, but you will have to pay the full amount upfront. So if you are interested in Mint, it makes sense to try out three months at the introductory rate before opting for the full year.
To find out how much data you need, you can look at your previous phone bill or check your usage in the settings menu on your phone. It's also possible to reduce your usage if you take advantage of Wi-Fi for downloading music and videos to your phone. If you find you still need more data than the plan you chose, you can either upgrade to a bigger plan or add data by the gigabyte.
Talk and text are included and unlimited with Mint Mobile, so you only need to consider how much data you need. You can also use your data as a hotspot to get another device connected, like a laptop or tablet. The Unlimited plan only comes with 5GB of hotspot data, however.
|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. Even if you don't, your data won't get cut off, just slowed down.
Mint Mobile vs. Google Fi: Google Fi's plans
Google Fi offers an Unlimited Plus plan, Simply Unlimited plan, and a Flexible plan. Each plan comes with unlimited calling and texting to numbers in the United States, free calling to Mexico and Canada (or 50 countries with Unlimited Plus), and data in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. In addition, with each plan, you can save money by bringing additional lines, with the cost per line coming down per line with up to four lines.
The Unlimited Plus and Simply Unlimited plans come with data up to unlimited data, though your data speed will be slashed if you use more than 22GB in a period. This is more than most people will use but worth considering if you are a heavy user. Only the Unlimited Plus plan comes with 100GB of Google One cloud storage, though it is the most expensive. This plan starts at $70 per month for one line, and after that, it comes down as you add more lines.
The Flexible plan grows with you and will make more sense for most people unless you use more than 6GB per month. This plan starts at $20 per month with one line, and data costs $10 for 1GB. Google Fi actually only charges you for the data you use, so no rounding to the nearest gigabyte here. At 6GB of usage, Google stops charging for additional data used, but if you use more than 15GB, your speeds will be throttled.
What sets Google Fi's Simply Unlimited plan apart from the other two is that it offers fewer perks and a price that's somewhere between the two. This plan doesn't include any hotspot data, meaning that you won't be able to tether your laptop or tablet when Wi-Fi isn't available. The plan doesn't offer a data-only SIM like the other two, nor does it offer unlimited texting, calling, or data when traveling abroad—whereas, with the Unlimited Plus plan, you're able to roam for free. With the Flexible plan, you'll pay the same rate as you would for data domestically. The Simply Unlimited plan is a great choice if you need a lot of data and not much of anything else.
Mint Mobile vs. Google Fi: Which phones work best?
Mint Mobile operates on T-Mobile's network and works with any phone compatible with that network, including most GSM phones. You can check your phone on Mint Mobile's website to be sure. You can also check with the Mint Mobile app. If you're ready for something new, you can purchase or finance a phone directly from Mint Mobile online when you sign up. The online store sells a wide variety of phones, including Android devices and iPhones, and quite a few Mint Mobile compatible phones are available unlocked.
Google Fi's phone compatibility is a bit more complex. Nearly any unlocked device can utilize the T-Mobile portion of Google Fi's service, but if you want to take full advantage of the service, you'll need one of the Designed for Fi-approved devices. These phones will be able to dynamically switch between all available towers to ensure the best possible coverage.
Google's own Pixel series of phones is one of the best ways to get the most out of Google Fi, although there are a few other options like Samsung's Galaxy S21 series. You can buy an unlocked Google Pixel phone like the mid-range Pixel 5a, and it will activate with Google Fi's full LTE and 5G capabilities. You can also buy or finance phones directly from Google's store. These are some of the best phones for Google Fi.
Mint Mobile vs. Google Fi: Google Fi has the edge on coverage
Mint Mobile utilizes T-Mobile's network, including full LTE and 5G, which covers most Americans. Of course, it's always important to check your coverage before signing up for a new phone plan, but if you live in an urban or suburban area, Mint Mobile more than likely has you covered but will have a few more dead spots away from cities if you travel often. Even so, T-Mobile's network includes much of Sprint's coverage, so most people should have great coverage.
Google Fi merges towers from T-Mobile (including Sprint) and US Cellular to form its coverage area. If you have a phone that's fully compatible with this network, you should have service in most of the United States, though you still might see 3G speeds between cities. For the most part, coverage and network performance should be very similar.
Both carriers support 5G on T-Mobile's network, though you will need an unlocked 5G capable device that works with T-Mobile's network. Again, look for support for bands n71 and n41 for the best results. Luckily, most of the best Android phones support T-Mobile's full network, and any of the 5G Designed for Fi phones will support this network, including the Pixel 5a and Pixel 6 as well as the Galaxy S21 series.
Mint Mobile vs. Google Fi: Google Fi works almost anywhere
Mint Mobile users get free calls to Mexico and Canada and have variable rates for other countries. Mint Mobile's international data must be paid for individually at different rates depending on the country. Mint Mobile's rates are $0.05 per text, $0.25 per minute, and $0.20 per MB of data in the countries with service. Mexico and Canada have reduced rates at $0.02 per text, $0.06 per minute, and $0.05 per MB of data.
On the other hand, Google Fi is well known for its robust roaming options, and if you travel outside the U.S. regularly, it can keep you connected without forcing you to change SIM cards or worry about absurd costs. Calling will cost $0.20 per minute, but your data rates will stay the same unless you're on the Simply Unlimited plan. With the Unlimited Plus and Flexible plans, Google Fi's international roaming is available in more than 200 countries.
If you are just looking to make calls to other countries, Google Fi's Unlimited Plus plan has free calling to 50 locations. If you're on the Flexible or Simply Unlimited plan, calls vary by country, though Canada and Mexico are notably free. These rates also apply to the Unlimited Plus plan for countries that aren't included.
Mint Mobile vs. Google Fi: Which is better for you?
Mint Mobile and Google Fi are two of the best cell phone plans you can get today. Google Fi is a great phone service for many people, especially if you use a Pixel phone and travel outside the country frequently. Google Fi has also continued to improve its coverage with sub-6 5G support. Still, as we saw in our Mint Mobile review, Mint has more than enough coverage and data for most people. Mint Mobile also has great device compatibility and doesn't require a special device to use its entire network. If you can work within one of Mint's plans, you will be able to save a lot of money.
Buy data in bulk to save
Mint Mobile saves money selling data in several months at once on T-Mobile's network with unlimited calling and texting.
A plan that grows and travels with you
Legendary roaming and a strong network that works with many devices make Google Fi great for people who need plenty of data.
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