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

Comparing Mint Mobile vs. Metro by T-Mobile isn't a simple task. Both these prepaid wireless service providers run on the same T-Mobile network, so you can expect very similar levels of performance, essentially meaning that the best fit for you will really come down to price and features. Both also offer 5G if you have a compatible phone. For a single line, Mint Mobile is undoubtedly the better value. However, some key features that keep Metro by T-Mobile out front are the savings for multiple lines, the fact that you don't have to buy in bulk, and the extras bundled in with the unlimited plans.

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

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There really is no getting around how much money you can save with Mint Mobile if you are willing to buy 6 or 12 months of service. If you need a single line, Mint stays ahead, although Metro by T-Mobile takes a leap with its discounts for multiple lines.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Mint MobileMetro by T-Mobile
Minimum period3 months1 month
Maximum period12 months1 month

Mint's solid value for money becomes evident when you buy six or twelve months of service upfront. Metro, on the other hand, makes the most sense if you have to get several lines, thanks to its awesome multi-line discounts. Also, both prepaid carriers offer plenty of data for most people with great discount options.

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

Mint Mobile

(Image credit: Mint Mobile)

Since you buy the Mint Mobile service for three or more months at a time, your cost will be higher right off the bat. That being said, when broken down monthly, this 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 make 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 if you're a heavy user, but keep in mind that it only comes with 40GB 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 comes with only 10GB of hotspot data and limits video streams to SD (480p) quality. Still, this can be a great fit for a lot of people.

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Mint Mobile's plans
Header Cell - Column 0 5GB15GB20GBUnlimited (40GB)
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 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 12-month rates but they're only paid for three months (with three extra bonus months) at a time. Mint's best value comes from paying for a whole year upfront, but that can add up quickly with 2-5 lines. This is the reason why Mint Family makes payments smaller without making you pay higher rates.

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

Metro's plans are comparatively more traditional in design. You can save money by adding more lines to your account, as each additional line brings down the per-line cost (up to five lines). The 5GB plan is the most barebones one and doesn't offer any extras like hotspot usage. You also can't add international calling features to it. Most smartphone users will want to step up to one of the unlimited plans.

There are three unlimited plans starting with a basic $40 option with no hotspot use or cloud storage bundled. This is a good pick for users who only want unlimited data and nothing more. You still get T-Mobile's 'ScamShield' to block unwanted incoming calls and can even access T-Mobile Tuesday promotions. If you need hotspot data or Google One's cloud storage, you can upgrade to either of the larger unlimited plans. The largest plan also comes with international texting.

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Metro by T-Mobile'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), 8GB high-speed hotspot, 100GB Google One storageScamShield, Vix (1-year subscription), 25GB high-speed hotspot, 100GB Google One storage, free texting to 210+ countries

Mint Mobile vs. Metro by T-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, all paid by the minute. The calling 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: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Metro by T-Mobile loses the edge here but still, there are options. You can add a package to get these features. Mexico and Canada calling and texting functionality can be added for $5 a month, 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 them 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 unlimited offering.

If you're traveling, Mint Mobile has some options for you whereas 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 $0.02 per text, $0.06 per minute, and $0.06 per MB of data. Other supported countries are more expensive at $0.05 per text, $0.25 per minute, and $0.20 per MB of data. 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.

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

Mint Mobile Speed Test

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Both Mint Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile use T-Mobile's network, so you can expect the same level of performance from them, with some 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, most 5G smartphones from 2020 or later have that.

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

Mint Mobile review

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

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

The two prepaid carriers have a good selection of phones, ranging from the newest Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel smartphones to Apple iPhones. There are also a lot 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 smartphone 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 too. If you want to get 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.

Mint Mobile vs. Metro by T-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 GBs 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 option for those who need 35GB (or more) of data, thanks to using deprioritization as opposed to throttling for the heaviest users.

Samuel Contreras

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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