When Mint Mobile got its start as a subsidiary of Ultra Mobile, it was just another plucky off-brand cellular provider. Since then, Mint has run some splashy ads, rebranded from its original “Mint SIM” moniker, and added the ever-charming Ryan Reynolds as an owner/spokesperson. It’s a quick come-up for a small, relatively young wireless provider that has plenty of people reconsidering their cell phone service. If you’re here, then chances are you’re a member of this group of curious consumers. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place, because we’ve compiled all the latest information on Mint Mobile to help you decide if it’s time to make a cellular switch.
From its disarming lingo to its hipster fox mascot, Mint brands itself as the simple, common-sense wireless provider. As an MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator, it piggybacks off T-Mobile’s network to provide high-dollar coverage at bargain basement prices. At Mint, the price is the perk. Plenty of savings with (almost) all the data and service you may need is their basic promise. And this streamlined, no-frills approach has been turning plenty of heads since Mint arrived on the cellular scene.
All of Mint’s plans offer some basic features including:
+Unlimited Talk and Text
+Free international calls to Mexico and Canada
+WiFi calling and text
To know if Mint meets your specific needs, though, it’s best to understand the specifics of each class of plans.
Mint Unlimited Plan
Mint’s best and, frankly, market-setting value rests in its unlimited plan. For an introductory price of just $30/month (fees not included), customers receive unlimited 5G and 4G LTE mobile data up to 35GB every billing cycle. Considering that the average American uses around 7GB of data per month, 35GB is usually plenty even for the most technologically engaged. As long as you aren’t streaming Youtube on long car trips, or some other data-eating activity, you should be ok.
That being said, there are some data drawbacks. The Unlimited Plan only offers 5GB of mobile hotspot data, and once you get past that 35GB data threshold, speeds are reduced dramatically. Also, the unlimited plan only supports standard definition video quality. This will keep you from burning through your data, but if you need that HD access, then it might be best to go a different route.
Mint Tiered Plans
Mint features 4GB, 10GB, and 15GB data plans at introductory offers of $15, $20, and $25 per month respectively. Along with the previously outlined perks, these plans support HD video streaming and allow you to use your full data allotment for mobile hotspot. Mint gives consumers who aren’t sure about their data usage some help by offering to log your data use. Mint will keep track of your data month-to-month, so you can see if you need to make a change when it’s time to renew your contract. If you need more data fast, however, Mint will still sell you 1GB for $10 and 3GB for $20. When it comes to adding data, there are cheaper deals—like Republic’s 1GB for $5 system—but at least Mint offers an option in a pinch.
Mint Family Plan
Mint is unusual in that it doesn’t give discounts on extra lines within the same family or social group, a la Visible and the major carriers. This isn’t particularly surprising considering that its plans are already heavily discounted. For those seeking an efficient family plan situation, Mint does provide the Mint Family option. This allows the Primary User to monitor and control data use on up to four extra plans, and to make payments and changes to those plans. It may not be a money-saver, but it does save families plenty of time.
Mint’s Pay Structure
Mint is a little unusual and convoluted in how they handle monthly payments, so listen closely. The values up to this point have all related to their introductory offers. These prices lock in for a 3-month period, at the end of which you’ll have to make a commitment. The longer the commitment, the better the deal.
If you want to maintain that introductory price, you can, but you’ll have to commit to 12 months with the service. That’s a lot for some customers to accept, so there are three and six-month options at higher monthly prices. Here’s a breakdown of the post-introductory monthly pricing based on the length of commitment you make.
|3-month contract||6-month contract||12-month contract|
As you can see, it pays to commit. Even for the three-month contract the Unlimited option is still highly competitive at $40/month, but the other plans offer considerably less value on shorter contracts.
If you’re considering a commitment, Mint Mobile makes the transition to its service relatively simple.
Switching to Mint Mobile
Mint’s BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) Policy
Mint is enthusiastic about letting you transfer your working phone to their network. That being said, there are a few factors that could make the transition complicated. T-Mobile’s network is GSM-based, which means that phones geared toward a CSMA network (think Verizon and Sprint), aren’t going to perform well with Mint’s network. This isn’t an issue with most newer devices, which almost always have CDMA, GSM, and LTE capabilities. However, if you’re transferring an older device there’s a chance Mint’s network can’t support it. Mint’s “Phone Compatibility” feature makes it easy to find out if this is the case. Also, be sure your cell phone is unlocked or you’ll remain bound to your old carrier.
If you are looking to upgrade to a new phone, Mint recently started selling an impressive selection of devices on its own website. All the latest phones from the top brands are available, like the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, the Google Pixel 4a 5G. There are even plenty of under-the-radar options from brands like Motorola, LG, and Nokia.
Activating your phone can be accomplished through two easy avenues. Either go through the website or download the Mint Mobile app and enter the eleven digit code on your SIM card. Most customers find this process easy and instinctive to follow.
7-Day Trial Run
Mint offers a “See For Yourself” starter kit that allows you to test the carrier before you fully commit to a plan. This gives you the chance to check data speeds and to see if that T-Mobile coverage (which can be spotty in rural areas) does the job for you. If you want to perform a preliminary check of your coverage, use Mint’s coverage checker that tracks the service down to the zip code. If you do decide to go with the trial, the kit’s 500 MB of 5G data, 250 texts, and 250 minutes of talk should give you the chance to fully experience the carrier. By the way, the kit costs $5, but you get that back on your first monthly payment when you get yourself a plan.
Even if you don’t choose the kit, Mint gives full refunds (minus shipping and handling) on all plans cancelled within seven days of starting service.
Mint’s Refer-A-Friend Program
Perhaps Mint’s most robust money-saving option is its cutting-edge referral program. Every Mint customer receives a referral code that’s unique to their account. When they convince someone to try out Mint Mobile—and that person uses that referral code—they receive a credit toward their own future bill.
The first referral gets you a $25 credit, and that value rises incrementally until the fifth referral worth $110. The total for five referrals is $240, enough to pay the majority of your yearly bill on the unlimited plan. After the fifth referral the compensation cycle resets, and after the tenth referral there are no more credits given. Still, the potential to save around $500 on future cell phone bills is attractive, especially when $500 at Mint goes a long way.
So Before You Make the Switch, Does Mint Actually Work?
If you have simple cellular needs in a non-rural area, there’s a good chance that Mint could be an ideal fit. Most customers find the initial SIM card set-up to be surprisingly quick and easy. From there, the majority are pleased with their cellular experience for the price. Still, with Mint you’ll have to be patient with a few inconveniences. Most customers don’t report especially slow data speeds, but Mint’s users are subject to deprioritization during peak times. This means their customers take a backseat to T-Mobile’s when it comes to network access. As we said, normally this isn’t a problem, but if your life requires impeccable responsiveness then you might find the Mint experience frustrating.
Mint’s customer service is also a sticking point for some. Since it has no brick-and-mortar stores, every interaction is mediated by some form of technology, whether it be email, phone, or chatting on the app. Most of these interactions are positive. The app gets high overall marks, and the smooth set-up process limits customer complaints and complications. However, it takes some tech savvy on your part to navigate the set-up process, and Mint’s customer service isn’t winning any industry awards for response time. The service is definitely designed for the self-starting, independent mobile user who doesn’t need hand-holding.
Most other customer complaints are legitimate, but hardly Mint’s fault. Mint’s coverage is T-Mobile’s coverage, so it’s important to have a strong sense of The Uncarrier’s network before you make the switch. Also, don’t be surprised when your monthly price rises after that 3-month introductory period expires. Mint’s very clear that it will save you money, but that the most savings comes with the largest commitment.
Ultimately, Mint offers a competent, no-frills wireless option for those willing to sacrifice some perks and speed for big savings. Based on Mint’s growing base of satisfied customers, this is a tradeoff that plenty of people are happy to make.