Mint Mobile vs. Metro by T-Mobile: Which carrier should you get?

Both networks run on the same T-Mobile network, so you can expect very similar levels of performance, meaning that the best fit for you really comes down to price and features. Both carriers also support 5G if you have a capable phone. For only one line, Mint Mobile is undoubtedly the better value. However, the key features that keep Metro by T-Mobile out front are the savings for multiple lines, that you don't have to buy in bulk, and the extras bundled in with the unlimited plans.

Metro by T-Mobile vs. Mint Mobile: Buying in bulk saves money

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There really is no getting around how much money you can save with Mint if you are willing to buy six or 12 months. If you only need service on one line, Mint stays ahead, although Metro by T-Mobile makes a comeback with its discounts for multiple lines. Both carriers offer an unlimited plan with 35GB of data before interruption. However, while Mint Mobile throttles your data, Metro deprioritizes it meaning you can still get very fast speeds during off-peak hours.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Metro by T-MobileMint Mobile
NetworkT-MobileT-Mobile
Minimum period1 month3 months
Maximum period1 month12 months

Mint Mobile's best value comes out when you buy six months or a year of service upfront. Metro on the other hand makes the most sense with several lines thanks to great multi-line discounts. But both carriers offer plenty of data for most people with solid discount options.

Metro by T-Mobile vs. Mint Mobile: Mint Mobile's plans

Mint Mobile review

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Since you buy Mint Mobile service for three or more months at a time, your cost will be higher right off the bat. Even so, broken down monthly, the cost will be lower than most other cell providers. The more time you are willing to buy at once, the more you stand to save. Just be sure to take advantage of the seven-day money-back guarantee in case you find that Mint Mobile doesn't meet your needs.

Mint's Unlimited plan is a good fit for heavy users but keep in mind that it only comes with 35GB of high-speed data. While this is plenty for most people, if you go over, you'll see your download speeds plummet. The unlimited plan also only comes with 5GB of hotspot data and limits video streams to SD quality. Still, this can be a great fit for a lot of people.

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Mint's plans
Header Cell - Column 0 4GB10GB15GBUnlimited
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. You can also upgrade to the next plan up if you feel you'll need more every month in the middle of your billing cycle.

If you want to bring multiple people to Mint Mobile, Mint Family can make payments easier. Mint Family gives you access to the 12-month rates but only paid for three months at a time. Mint Mobile's best value comes from paying for the year upfront but that can add up quickly with two to five lines. This is why Mint Family makes the payments smaller without making your pay higher rates.

Metro by T-Mobile vs. Mint Mobile: Metro's plans

Metro's plans are more traditional in design. You can save money by adding more lines to your account where each additional line costs less than the previous up to five lines. The 5GB plan is the most barebones and doesn't offer any extras like a hotspot. You also can't add international calling features. Most smartphone users will want to step up to one of the unlimited plans.

There are three unlimited plans starting with a fairly basic $40 option with no hotspot or cloud storage bundled in. This is a good pick for someone that only wants unlimited data and nothing more. You still get T-Mobile ScamShield to block unwanted incoming calls and you can even access T-Mobile Tuesday promotions. If you need hotspot data or Google One storage you can upgrade to either of the larger unlimited plans. The largest plan also come with international texting.

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Metro's plans
High-speed data5GBUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Line 1$30/mo.$40/mo.$50/mo.$60/mo.
Lines 2-5NA$80, $90, $100, $125$80, $110, $140, $170$90, $120, $150, $180
International addonsNAAvailableAvailableAvailable
ExtrasNAScamShield, Vix (1-year subscription)ScamShield, Vix (1-year subscription), 5GB high-speed hotspot, 100GB Google One storageScamShield, Vix (1-year subscription), 20GB high-speed hotspot, 100GB Google One storage, free texting to 210+ countrie

Metro by T-Mobile vs. Mint Mobile: International options

If you're calling outside of the country both Mint Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile have you covered. Conveniently, Mint Mobile offers free calling to Mexico and Canada and supports calling to 160 other countries paid by the minute. The rates vary by country and you'll need to add money to your Mint account before calling, but it's nice to have the option available.

Galaxy S20+ 5G network with SIM cards

(Image credit: Source: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Metro by T-Mobile loses the edge here but there are still options. You can add a package to get these features. Mexico and Canada calling can be added for $5 each but you'll need to check other countries individually to see which plan you'll need. The Mexico and Canada packages also come with 5GB of roaming data making it a good option for someone that travels to one of these countries frequently. Metro's largest plan, however, offers unlimited texting to 210+ countries and destinations on its largest unlimited plan.

If you're traveling, Mint Mobile has some options for you while Metro by T-Mobile only really has good support for Mexico and Canada. If you bought one of the best Android phones unlocked, you could easily get a travel SIM or a carrier with better international support if you have the need down the road.

Mint Mobile has reduced rates for Mexico and Canada at $.02 per text, $.06 per minute, and $.06 per MB. The other supported countries are more expensive at $.05 per text, $.25 per minute, and $.20 per MB. If you're traveling for an extended period of time it may be worth it to grab a travel SIM card when you get there.

Metro by T-Mobile vs. Mint Mobile: The T-Mobile Network

Mint Mobile Speed Test

(Image credit: Source: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Both Metro by T-Mobile and Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network so that you can expect the same level of performance from the two with some possible slight speed differences based on de-prioritization. Still, both LTE and 5G support are here for either carrier and T-Mobile has been adding speed and coverage to its network consistently for years.

If you are going to use the T-Mobile network at all, it's a good idea to have a phone that supports T-Mobile's band 71, which has a better coverage range than their older LTE bands. Getting a phone with sub-6 5G on T-Mobile's network will give you the best coverage and speed options, especially as T-Mobile continues to add capacity and coverage with standalone 5G. Look for support for bands n71 (600MHz) and n41 (2.5GHz). Luckily, that's most 5G phones from 2020 or later.

Metro by T-Mobile vs. Mint Mobile: Device compatibility

Mint Mobile review

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central (Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Both of these carriers can accept GSM unlocked phones. If you want to buy a phone from Metro by T-Mobile, you can find a selection on its website. Mint Mobile is also happy to sell you one from its website since it doesn't have any storefronts.

Both carriers have a good selection of phones from the new Samsung Galaxy phones and Google Pixel phones to the newest iPhones. There are also plenty of options for mid and low-end devices, which are a great way to save some money on a secondary line or if you don't think an expensive phone is a worthwhile investment.

There are many phones that work with Mint Mobile, and pretty much all of them will work with Metro by T-Mobile as well. If you want to get in on 5G, you're going to pay a bit more upfront but unlocked 5G phones are getting more affordable all the time. Just make sure they work with at least bands n71 and n41 for the best possible results on the new T-Mobile network.

Metro by T-Mobile vs. Mint Mobile: Which should you pick?

Mint Mobile is a great option for those looking for ways to save on data especially if they only use a few gigabytes every month. While Mint's unlimited plan goes a long way to narrowing the gap for heavy users, Metro by T-Mobile is still the better choice for those that need 35GB of data or more thanks to using deprioritization as opposed to throttling for the heaviest users. Metro holds onto the edge thanks to its steep family discounts and the included Amazon Prime subscription.

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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