Mint Mobile review: The cheapest phone plans around


Nov 3, 2020 — 8 min read

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  • Runs on the T-Mobile network
  • Plans start at $15/mo. for 3GB, and $30/mo. for unlimited data
  • Cheaper prices when you prepay a year in advance
  • 5G access included with all plans
  • Switch to Mint and keep your current phone

In today’s world, nearly everyone needs a cellphone plan. That doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on one, though. There are a number of discount prepaid mobile carriers out there, but Mint Mobile is clearly one of the best.

Like most discount phone carriers, Mint is considered a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). These companies use the infrastructure of a major carrier to deliver their service. Mint uses the T-Mobile network. 

Mint offers several levels of service to match customer needs, but unlike the major carriers, Mint has subscribers bring their own phone. It only offers prepaid plans, too, with customers paying upfront for three, six, or 12 months of service.

Mint was already pretty well known, but received even more buzz after actor Ryan Reynolds bought a stake in the company in November 2019. Obviously he feels pretty good about the future of Mint Mobile, and for good reason. The combination of a reliable network and really inexpensive unlimited wireless plans are a winning combination. Read the rest of our Mint Mobile review to find out what they offer..

Mint Mobile phones

Mint has an excellent selection of reasonably priced phones, and the ability to finance at 0% APR for up to 24 months.

Mint doesn’t always have the best prices on the phones they offer for sale, but in some cases, they are quite competitive with the major carriers. Plus, they will allow you to bring your own phone, so you can always buy a phone somewhere else and bring it with you to Mint Mobile.

Unlike other carriers, Mint doesn’t run specials on their phones. The price you see is the cheapest they have to offer. However, they do offer 0% financing on phones through a partnership with Affirm. And in some instances, they will run a special that bundles a phone with their premium wireless service at a discount. This type of special can be very attractive if the phone and the plan meet your needs. Below are some details regarding current specials and financing at Mint Mobile.

iPhone SE + Premium Wireless

Mint is calling this their “Seeing Double” sale since they are offering the iPhone SE + Premium wireless service for $15 + $15. That’s $30/mo. (24 months) for a new 64GB iPhone SE ($399 retail price). The deal also includes one year of Apple TV+. You can also pay for the entire deal upfront for $720.

Affirm 0% APR financing

Mint offers 0% APR financing through Affirm on all its phones. Payment plans can be for 12, 18 or 24 months, and since there’s no interest, you aren’t paying more than the phone is worth. Note that the 0% rate isn’t for everyone. You do need to apply and the actual rate is subject to eligibility and approval. But, you can find out in real-time on their website if you are eligible. In some cases a down payment could be necessary.

Bring your own phone

Mint lets you bring your 4G LTE phone to their network as long as it is VoLTE friendly. Phones must also be unlocked to work on the Mint network. To check if your phone is compatible simply Dial *#06# on your phone to get your phones IMEI and then enter it in the form on the Mint website here. If your phone is compatible bring it with you to Mint and save yourself a wad of cash on the purchase of a new phone.

Mint Mobile plans

Mint keeps things simple and affordable with four plans and three prepaid durations.

Mint keeps things simple with four plan levels, and three prepaid plan durations. First choose from 3GB, 8GB, 12GB or unlimited monthly data. Then decide if you want to prepay for three months, six months or 12 months. The longer the duration, the lower the per month charge. Plus all of the Mint mobile plans come with unlimited talk and text. Unfortunately with the prices already so low on the Mint plans, there are no additional discounts for multiple lines.

That means there are no family plans available from Mint, but they do have the Mint Family dashboard that allows you to manage up to five accounts through one convenient dashboard. One member becomes the primary and can invite others to join the Mint Family. Once added, the primary is able to pay for all member’s plans, make changes to their member’s plan, view monthly data usage and add or approve requests for data, international roaming and wallet funds. There’s no savings involved, but it is convenient. 

How do Mint Mobile’s prices compare?

Mint’s pricing is the lowest of any wireless carrier for both limited and unlimited data plans.

As you can see from the table above Mint Mobile has the cheapest price per GB of any carrier. In some cases the Mint prices are half or even a quarter of the competition price. Its unlimited data plan is also the cheapest option by far.

Mint Mobile deals

Mint Mobile already offers the lowest pricing in the industry, so additional deals are few and far between.

With rock-bottom pricing there aren’t many other discounts offered by Mint Mobile. The most obvious one is the introductory discount they offer on their three month plans. Usually the three month plan is $25 for 3GB, $35 for 8GB, $45 for 12GB and $40 for unlimited. However, the introductory plan lets users try out the Mint Mobile service for three months at just $15 for 3GB, $20 for 8GB, $25 for 12GB and $30 for unlimited. These are actually the prices for 12 month prepaid plans, so if you want to keep these prices after the first three months you can by renewing for 12 months.

There’s also a refer-a-friend program that gives anyone who refers five friends to Mint Mobile one free year of service. It’s actually a $240 credit, but that’s enough to pay for a full year of 8GB/mo. service. In addition, each of the five friends also receives a $15 renewal credit to use after their first subscription period.

Mint Mobile coverage

Mint uses the T-Mobile network, so its scores on performance, coverage, data and reception follow T-Mobile’s scores.

With Mint Mobile you can expect the same coverage you’d get with T-Mobile or Metro. And that’s not a bad thing since T-Mobile is the only major carrier with nationwide 5G coverage. With that kind of coverage, the reception and data delivery for Mint is quite good.

And since Mint uses the T-Mobile network you also get to enjoy the fastest download speeds of any major network.

How is Mint Mobile’s 5G network?

Remember Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network, and that also applies to 5G. Data has shown the T-Mobile network has better 5G download speed than its own 4G download speeds, but the 5G speeds are slow when compared with other major carriers. T-Mobile (and Mint) download speeds are 47.0 Mbps, but Verizon boasts speeds of 506.1 Mbps. There is one caveat to that however. The T-Mobile network also sees its users connected to 5G far more frequently than other carriers.

In a nutshell this means users are able to take advantage of the 5G download speeds a far greater percentage of the time. In fact, based on Open Signal data T-Mobile users will connect to 5G 22.5% of the time, compared with Verizon, where users are only connected 0.4% of the time.

And T-Mobile is the first and only carrier to offer nationwide 5G coverage. The network covers all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and is available to 225 million users in over 6,000 cities.

How does Mint Mobile compare to other prepaid phone companies?

On a cost basis, other prepaid phone companies simply can’t compare with Mint Mobile. Its $15/mo. 3GB plan is only matched by one competitor: Unreal Mobile. Every other prepaid carrier’s costs are higher — in some cases by double, triple or more. Its unlimited data plan is also the cheapest around.

In terms of coverage and speed Mint Mobile benefits from being on the nationwide T-Mobile network, which boasts coverage across the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico, while also delivering excellent 4G LTE speeds and the best 5G connectivity of any network.

In short, it’s hard to see how you could do much better with any of the competitors.

Mint Mobile customer service

One way Mint Mobile is able to deliver such low prices is by being a virtual company. That means no physical stores, but customer service is available 24/7 to help with any issues.

Mint Mobile FAQs

Who owns Mint Mobile?

Mint Mobile was launched in 2016, but was later bought by another MVNO called Ultra Mobile. Interestingly, in November 2019 actor Ryan Reynolds also became a part owner of the privately held company.

How do you unlock a Mint Mobile phone?

As a prepaid carrier Mint does not sell locked phones. Any phone you purchase from Mint Mobile with a Mint SIM will already be unlocked. If you’re bringing your phone from another carrier you can contact the carrier to find out if the phone is unlocked. You’ll probably have to provide them with your account password (if you have one) and the IMEI of the phone, which can be found by dialing *#06# on your keypad.

What network is Mint Mobile on?

Mint operates on the T-Mobile network.

Should you switch to Mint Mobile?

With such low rates, and the use of the T-Mobile network, there are few reasons not to switch to Mint Mobile. You’ll probably save yourself a ton of money, especially if you don’t use much data. And if you bring your own phone, you’ll save even more by not needing to purchase a new phone when you switch.

The only potential downside to switching is something known as deprioritization. This happens when the parent network, in this case T-Mobile, slows speeds for MVNOs (like Mint Mobile) and prioritizes its own customers. It’s a common occurrence for prepaid services, and it depends on where you are if you will experience it.

At the end of the day, if you’re looking for the cheapest cellphone service, you’ve found it in Mint Mobile. If you give them a three-month trial you’ll only be out $45, but you might find a new mobile provider and end up saving hundreds in the long-run.

By Steven Walters