Mint Mobile vs. Tello: Which should you get?
The battle of the T-Mobile carriers has begun!
Now owned by T-Mobile, Mint Mobile offers plenty of data for most people, with a set of four plans targeted squarely at smartphone users with up to 40GB of high-speed data. Full 5G support and hotspot data are included with every plan, alongside unlimited talk and text.
- T-Mobile network with 5G
- Unlimited talk and text on all plans
- Hotspot included
- Family plan savings
- Must buy in bulk
- Unlimited plan only has 40GB at full speed
Tello has a plan that works for just about anyone, whether they only want talk and text, or need enough data for heavy smartphone usage. Tello has moved its network to T-Mobile, allowing for improved coverage and 5G support. Tello also includes hotspot data with all of its plans.
- T-Mobile network with 5G
- Low cost to get started
- Flexible plans can work for most people
- Hotspot included
- No multi-line savings
- Unlimited plan only has 25GB at full speed
Since switching to T-Mobile's network for coverage, Tello's plan stands up much more favorably compared to Mint. Tello lets you build a completely custom plan, so if you know exactly what you need, you can avoid over-buying data. Still, even with its fewer plans, Mint Mobile comes with more for less if you're willing to renew for six months or more. You can also bring your renewals down to three months with more than one line for maximum savings. Tello and Mint both work with a wide range of unlocked phones that work on T-Mobile's network.
Mint Mobile vs. Tello: Plenty of data either way
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Mint Mobile keeps things simple with unlimited talk and text on all of its plans, and data comes in four sizes that should work for most people. Tello lets you customize a plan to fit your needs precisely, so you only need to pay for what you use. Mint's data plans will make more sense for most people, but if you only need basic service, Tello is a great low-cost option. Tello is also one of the few carriers to offer a talk and text-only plan for those that want to stick to a basic phone.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Mint Mobile||Tello|
|Minimum term||3 months||1 month|
|Maximum term||12 months||1 month|
|Maximum data||Unlimited (40GB)||Unlimited (25GB)|
Mint Mobile vs. Tello: Get enough coverage
Until recently, Tello was only based on Sprint's network, but like many other Sprint MVNOs, it has moved to the larger and more compatible T-Mobile network. This provides better support for unlocked phones, as well as 5G support. However, Tello still has less phone compatibility than Mint due to its full reliance on VoLTE. Still, many modern phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S23 series should work without issue, even when purchased completely unlocked.
Although they were once an MVNO, Mint Mobile is now wholly owned and operated by T-Mobile. This puts Mint in a particularly competitive position in the prepaid carrier landscape. You should check your coverage on Mint Mobile to be sure, but there's likely coverage where you live. Mint Mobile also supports 5G on T-Mobile's network, and with 305 million people covered, it's a great way to try out 5G.
For international coverage, you can stay connected with Mint Mobile for a flat rate. Service costs $.02 per minute, $.06 per minute, and $.06 per megabyte in Mexico and Canada. In the other supported countries, the rates are $.05 per text, $.25 per minute, and $.20 per megabyte.
Tello does not offer support for international roaming, but the Tello app could be used on Wi-Fi to make calls.
Mint Mobile vs. Tello: Mint Mobile's plans
Mint Mobile has a much smaller number of plans on the menu than most other carriers, and has focused those plans on most smartphone users with 5GB, 15GB, and 20GB. There's also an unlimited plan for heavier users, with 40GB of high-speed data and 10GB of hotspot data. The major question with Mint Mobile is how much service you are able or willing to buy at once. With Mint Mobile, you start with three months at the lowest rate, but you'll need to opt for 12 months to get the same price when it comes to renewal.
Mint Mobile has free calling to Mexico and Canada included with every plan. You can also call over 160 other countries at rates that vary by country.
If you check your current phone usage, you will probably fall into one of Mint Mobile's plans. If you want to save some money, you can reduce your usage by taking advantage of Wi-Fi more and downloading videos, music, or podcasts before you disconnect. If you didn't get enough data on Mint Mobile, you could upgrade to the next plan up at any time by paying the difference.
Mint Mobile also offers the Mint Family plan. This allows you to join up to five lines together, so one person can pay for all of the Mint Mobile plans from one place. This also gives all plans the lowest 12-month rate for plans, however, they are renewed at three months. This is nice because, while Mint's pricing works out in the long run, paying for a year's worth of service for five lines is a pretty big check.
|Header Cell - Column 0||5GB||15GB||20GB||Unlimited (40GB)|
|3 months (introductory price)||$15/mo. ($45)||$20/mo. ($60)||$25/mo. ($75)||$30/mo. ($90)|
|3 months (renewal)||$25/mo. ($75)||$35/mo. ($105)||$45/mo. ($135)||$40/mo. ($120)|
|6 months (renewal)||$20/mo. ($120)||$25/mo. ($150)||$35/mo. ($210)||$35/mo. ($210)|
|12 months (renewal)||$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 doesn't cut off completely. It just slows down.
Mint Mobile vs. Tello: Tello's choices
With Tello, you can build your plan starting at just $5 per month, with 100 minutes and unlimited texts. You can also stick to just data, starting at 500MB at $5, up to $25 for 8GB. Data speeds are reduced to 2G if you go over. You can also go up to the unlimited plan for $39, reducing speed to 2G at 25GB.
You can set up a family plan to easily manage up to four lines with one account, but no special discounts exist. You will be able to share your data with your family members if they run out, however. You can get your first six months for 25% off, however, so if you've been thinking about switching to Tello, it's a good time to check it out.
You get hotspot functionality on every data plan, but it does use your data allotment, so you'll need to keep an eye on usage. You also get free calling to Mexico, Canada, and China, which is a great addition for people that want to keep connected. You can also call other countries, but the rates will vary by country.
Mint Mobile vs. Tello: Which phones will work?
Tello used to rely on Sprint's network exclusively, though it recently switched to the proper T-Mobile network, including 5G. Tello requires that these phones support VoLTE, and while that's most recently released phones, you should still check to make sure Tello supports it in the Bring Your Own Phone Compatibility Tool on its website. Both an unlocked Galaxy S20+, a Zenfone 8, and an unlocked AT&T version V60 showed up as compatible.
If you're unsure and are ready for a new phone, you can buy one from Tello. Tello sticks more towards affordable models, with used and new devices like the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G. Tello also has a flip phone if you or someone in your family desires that level of simplicity.
Mint Mobile works with nearly any unlocked phone, including most of the best Android phones that you want to bring to the network. The same test phones as before, the S20+, Zenfone 8, and V60, all show compatibility with Mint. Mint sells a wide range of Android devices and iPhones, from cheaper models to high-end 5G phones. Though Mint Mobile's great phone support helps make switching that much easier if you're looking to buy a flip phone, it's not the best fit.
One thing to keep in mind about unlocked phones, especially those designed more for international markets, may not be able to access all of T-Mobile's 5G bands. For the most part, something with band n71 and n41 support should work well on the network.
Mint Mobile vs. Tello: Which carrier is the best fit for you?
With Tello switching to the T-Mobile network, it's a solid competitor in coverage, and its wide range of plans also lets you find a good fit for just about anyone. Tello also offers good options for basic phones, including selling flip phones. Whether you're looking for just the basics, or need up to 25GB of data, Tello can still be a good and cheap option.
Mint Mobile's plans are the right fit for most smartphone users, with great support for just about any unlocked device. If you're looking to make a switch, Mint Mobile makes it as easy as possible with plenty of data, and you can probably even use the phone you already own. Mint Family tips the scale even further in Mint's favor, making it easier for families with up to five lines to save with Mint's best rates.
A great balance of features
Mint Mobile offers data choices that work for most people, without giving up on features. Save more by buying a few months at once.
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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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