Data focused

Mint Mobile

Max flexibility

Republic Wireless

Mint Mobile makes a lot of sense for most smartphone users with good T-Mobile coverage thanks to three data sizes that work for most people. With 3, 6, and 12-month options available, you save money the more you're willing to buy in advance. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, including free calls to Mexico and Canada

From $15/month at Mint Mobile

Pros

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • 5G support
  • Unlimited 2G data
  • Hotspot included
  • Free calls to Mexico, Canada

Cons

  • Only uses T-Mobile
  • All plans require data

Republic Wireless has a plan that can grow with you without the risk of buying more than you need. Data can be added to plans at $5 per 1GB with base plans starting at 1GB, 2GB, or with no data. You can also save money on the base plans by paying for the year. Your service will most likely activate on the T-Mobile's network but the Sprint network is also used by some Republic Wireless customers.

From $12.50/month at Republic Wireless

Pros

  • Sprint or T-Mobile network
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Hotspot included
  • Plan flexibility

Cons

  • Data can get expensive
  • No international calling
  • Can't choose your network
  • No 5G

Republic Wireless is going to be a good fit for a lot of people and if you only need to use a lot of data a few times a year, such as on a vacation. you can save a lot of money. Mint Mobile's plans make sense for pretty much any smartphone user with consistent month to month usage. With packages that will work for light, average, and heavy users with no risk of data overages or ever being completely cut off, Mint Mobile makes more sense for more people.

Mint Mobile vs. Republic Wireless How much data do you use?

Mint Mobile app on woodSource: Samuel Contreras / Android Central

Wi-Fi is virtually everywhere now, so a lot of people will be able to stay connected for the vast majority of their day thanks to having Wi-Fi available at work, home, and even in their car. If this is the case, you might not need Mint Mobile's smallest 3GB allotment of data. Republic Wireless is the perfect fit for this type of user and even though the price of data can add up if they're away from Wi-Fi, it might still even out over the year.

With Mint Mobile, you want to have a solid idea of how much data you'll be needing in the next few months as the minimum term is three months. While you can upgrade your plan in the middle of your cycle, it's much easier to overbuy with Mint Mobile. It might be worth it for someone that isn't sure of their data needs to start with the smallest plan and work up as needed.

Mint Mobile Republic Wireless
Network T-Mobile T-Mobile
Sprint
5G support Yes (5G device required) No
Data amounts 3GB
8GB
12GB
None
1GB
2GB
Additional data $10 - 1GB
$20 - 3GB
$5 - 1GB (up to 15GB)
Hotspot Shared with data Shared with data
Talk and Text Unlimited Unlimited
International calling Yes
Free to Mexico and Canada
None

Coverage: T-Mobile and Sprint

Mint Mobile app BYOPSource: Samuel Contreras / Android Central

Mint Mobile only uses the T-Mobile network but these days, that means most people will have great coverage. Of course, you should check out Mint's coverage map to be sure. If you have coverage and a fairly modern phone, you should have a great LTE or 5G connection. Speaking of 5G, Mint Mobile treats 5G data the same as LTE and with T-Mobile's 5G network expansion moving quickly, Mint Mobile can be a great 5G option.

Republic Wireless makes use of both the Sprint and T-Mobile network but unlike a carrier like Google Fi, you will only be connected to one network and won't be able to switch. Republic Wireless determines which network will work best for you when you sign up. Check out Republic's coverage to see if you're covered. To have access to Republic's CDMA and GSM network, you'll need a Republic Wireless 3.0 phone.

What you need to know about Mint Mobile plans

Mint Mobile only sells data in multi-month packages, with the smallest starting at three months. You get the best monthly price by buying a full 12 months at once, but you can get your first three months at the 12-month price in case you're not sure if Mint will work for you.

3GB 8GB 12GB
3 months $15 per month ($45 total)
$25 per month renewal ($75 total)
$20 per month ($60 total)
$35 per month renewal ($105 total)
$25 per month ($75)
$45 per month renewal ($135 total)
6 months $20 per month ($120) $25 per month ($150) $35 per month ($210)
12 months $15 per month ($180) $20 per month ($240) $25 per month ($300)

You can add additional data at $10 for 1GB or $20 for 3GB if you find you are using more than usual. If your normal usage is higher than your plan allows, you can upgrade to a larger plan in the middle of your cycle.

Mint Mobile appSource: Android Central

Mint does offer international calling at an additional rate but Mexico and Canada are free. You can also roam internationally though you will be paying by the minute, text, and megabyte so its best to make use of Wi-Fi as much as you can if you travel. You can also grab a VPN service if you are concerned about security.

What you need to know about Republic WIreless plans

Republic Wireless PlansSource: Republic Wireless

On Republic Wireless you start with unlimited talk and text and add data as needed. You can save by buying a year's worth of service up to the first 2GB of data. Beyond that data comes in at $5 per 1GB and you can buy up to 15GB. This does not automatically happen though and you will need to add more in the Republic Wireless app so there's no risk of overages.

Republic Wireless does not offer international calling or international roaming support but does work with Wi-Fi calling so you're not completely out of options if you want to travel. You'll just need to pick up a travel hotspot or find public Wi-Fi.

What phones are compatible with Mint Mobile?

Mint Mobile works with most GSM-compatible phones including Android and iPhone. You can buy one of the newest devices directly from Mint Mobile with financing available through Affirm. These phones include new devices like the Galaxy S20 series, Pixel 4 series, and even iPhone 11 series of phones.

For the best 5G experience, you should get a phone that works with as many T-Mobile 5G bands as possible. Look for supprot for band n71 (600MHz) and n41 (2.5GHz) as a minimum with bands n260 (39GHz) and n261 (28GHz) providing some improved capacity in a few urban areas.

You can bring nearly any compatible phone to Mint Mobile by ordering a SIM card kit when you sign up. You can check your phone's compatibility online with the IMEI number.

What phones are compatible with Republic Wireless?

Republic Wireless works with a ton of Android phones including Samsung and Google Pixel. You can buy the newest phones from Republic Wireless or bring your own compatible phone. If your phone only supports GSM service, you'll be stuck with the T-Mobile network.

One important thing to note is that Republic Wireless does not support iPhones so if you have someone on your plan that demands one of Apple's smartphones, it's going to be a hard sell. That being said, there is an iPhone beta program but it requires quite a few extra steps to get going. You should approach any beta features with caution especially if you're signing up for an entire year.

Mint Mobile vs. Republic Wireless Which makes sense for you?

Which carrier works best for you is going to come down mostly to how much data you use and whether you use it consistently. For lighter or more infrequent data users, Republic Wireless offers a lot of saving with great coverage. For most people, Mint Mobile is going to fit in with their uses much more especially if they use a lot of data. Mint Mobile's iPhone support, as well as international features, is also going to be a big deal to many people. Mint Mobiles comes out as the strongest option for the vast majority of users as long as they're willing to buy multiple months.

Data focused

Mint Mobile

Plenty of data for smartphone users

Mint Mobile keeps its prices low by offering plans in three, six, and 12-month terms. All plans come with unlimited talk and text and a choice of 3GB, 8GB, or 12GB of data.

Max flexibility

Republic Wireless

Only pay for what you need

Republic Wireless lets you start small with unlimited talk and text in the United States. Add data at $5 per 1GB up to 15GB and save money by paying for the entire year up to 2GB.

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