Mint Mobile vs. Consumer Cellular: Which should you subscribe to?

Recently purchased by T-Mobile, Mint Mobile has a straightforward approach to buying phone service. If you have a good idea of how much data you need, you can save a lot with one of Mint's smaller data tiers. Mint's unlimited plan is a good fit for someone that needs a ton of data or doesn't know how much they'll need. Consumer Cellular is very straightforward with simple multi-line savings and five standard data plans to choose from.

Mint Mobile vs. Consumer Cellular: You can start small

Saving money isn't the only goal when it comes to choosing a phone plan. Dozens of other factors, from phone compatibility to network quality, can greatly impact that decision. As average mobile data usage continues to increase every year, your phone plan should enable you to get the most out of your device. Luckily both Mint Mobile and Consumer Cellular allow you to upgrade your plan at any time to meet your needs, so you don't need to worry about buying too little data.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Mint MobileConsumer Cellular
Minimum price$15 per month$20 per month
Minimum term3 months1 month
Maximum term12 months1 month
Calling to Mexico and CanadaIncludedPay per minute

Mint Mobile takes the crown when it comes to data and price, with its smallest 5GB plan priced comparably to Consumer Cellular's 1GB plan. Consumer Cellular makes a lot more sense if you need two or three lines on your account, bringing the cost per line much closer to Mint's.

Mint Mobile vs. Consumer Cellular: Get the right coverage

A few years ago, AT&T's network would have been an easy recommendation over T-Mobile. Thanks to T-Mobile's continued efforts in improving its network, both networks will more than likely provide solid coverage for the vast majority of Americans. Mint Mobile offers 5G coverage on T-Mobile's network for no additional cost on all plans. If you were looking for a cheap plan to try out 5G, Mint Mobile is a great option. Make sure you get a phone that supports 5G bands n71 and n41 for the best coverage.

Both carriers offer international roaming though you will need to pay a fee per minute, text, and MB of data used. These prices will vary by country, but most of the time, it's less than $0.20 per minute. If you need to travel often, it would be a better idea to use a messenger service over data and a carrier like Google Fi for traveling.

Mint Mobile vs. Consumer Cellular: Mint's Menu

Mint Mobile has three limited data plans and one unlimited plan. All Mint Mobile plans come with unlimited talk and text, including calls and texts to Mexico and Canada.

The Data plans start at a fairly generous 5GB, a great fit for a ton of people who don't need much data or can use Wi-Fi for most of their usage. You can also get 15GB or 20GB. You can use your full data plan as a hotspot as well. If you go over your data allotment, your speeds will slow down but there are no overages.

The unlimited plan comes with 40GB of uninterrupted high-speed data. If you use this much data in a single month, you will experience slower speeds until the end of the month. This is more data than most people will use on their phone, but if you know you need more, you should consider one of the other best cell phone plans with unlimited data. One nice thing about the unlimited plan is a feature called unliMINTed, which helps you choose a more appropriate data plan if you don't actually need unlimited data.

Mint Mobile home page on Pixel 6 screen

(Image credit: Android Central)

Mint Mobile does have an introductory rate for three months of service, so you can try out the service at a 12-month rate without committing to the entire year. Keep in mind; renewals will be at the standard rate unless you change to the 12-month plan.

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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 on all but the unlimited plan. You can also upgrade to the next plan if you feel you'll need more every month in the middle of your billing cycle.

Mint Mobile vs. Consumer Cellular: Consumer Cellular's buffet

Consumer Cellular lets you pick one of three plans that you pay for by the month. All data plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus 5G access provided by AT&T and AutoPay discounts. 

Consumer Celllular plans

(Image credit: Consumer Cellular)

No matter how you look at it, Mint's plans are cheaper, but Consumer has an advantage if you'd prefer to pay by the month. Consumer Cellular allows you to share your data with one or two additional lines with a discount per line. This can be a great value for a family but keep in mind, like Mint's unlimited plan, you only actually get 35GB of high-speed data, but you'll have to share it with the others on your plan.

Both Consumer Cellular and Mint Mobile offer a plan that works for just about anyone, including heavier users.

Mint Mobile vs. Consumer Cellular: Find the right phone

Mint Mobile SIM Galaxy S20

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Both Mint Mobile and Consumer Cellular support a wide range of phones thanks to T-Mobile and AT&T, both using GSM networks. As always, if you intend to bring a phone to either carrier, you should check the IMEI. You can check on Mint Mobile's website before signing up, but you will need to contact Consumer Cellular's customer service to check on that network. However, nearly any unlocked GSM compatible phone should work on either service.

Of course, Mint Mobile is happy to sell you a new phone if you're ready to upgrade. Mint Mobile carries a good range of Android phones, including Google's Pixel phones and the newest Samsung Galaxy phones. Most modern iPhones can also be purchased.

Consumer Cellular offers a good range of phones and has a much more limited Android selection, including modern Samsung Galaxy 23 devices and some mid-range devices from Motorola and ZTE. If you're looking for a flip phone, Consumer Cellular has them, and Mint Mobile does not.

Mint Mobile vs. Consumer Cellular: Which one fits you?

Mint Mobile home page on Pixel 6 screen

(Image credit: Android Central)

Consumer Cellular offers a wide range of plans that make sense to many people, whether you need only talk and text or a lot of data. With an AARP discount and savings for up to three lines. Consumer Cellular can be a great option. Still, even with these savings, Mint Mobile will be cheaper if you're willing to pay for the whole year upfront. If you think you'll like Mint but don't want to commit to a year right at first, you can get your first three months for the 12-month rate before deciding to renew.

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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