Mint Mobile, formerly known as Mint SIM, is a cell phone carrier that offers plans starting at $15 a month.
The mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) relies on T-Mobile’s towers to provide customers with the same coverage at a very low price, but is it worth the savings?
Everything You Need to Know About Mint Mobile
I put Mint’s prepaid service to the test for 30 days. In this review, I’ll detail my experience with factors like call quality, text performance and data speeds.
For some context, this was the first time that I’ve ever had service on T-Mobile’s network. Read on for the full review!
Table of Contents:
- Plans and Pricing
- Activation Process
- Phone Selection
- Call and Text Performance
- Mobile Hotspot
- Data Speeds
- Customer Service
- Pros and Cons
Plans and Pricing
Mint Mobile added an unlimited data plan option in September 2020. Previously, Mint only offered plans with high-speed data caps.
Mint Mobile doesn’t have a monthly payment option. Its plans are either for three months, six months or 12 months.
Here’s an example: The regular price for a 3-month introductory plan starts at $45, which works out to $15 a month. That will get you 4GB of high-speed data per month and then unlimited data at lower speeds.
If you like the service, you can lock in the introductory pricing by signing up for a 12-month plan.
Other data options do exist, including 10GB, 15GB and unlimited. The unlimited plan is $30 a month when you pay for three months in advance. That’s a total cost of $90.
When I tested Mint Mobile, I took advantage of a limited-time deal. See the latest offers at MintMobile.com.
I signed up for Mint Mobile online and my activation kit arrived a few days later. It took about 15 minutes for me to get up and running. The kit includes user-friendly instructions.
Here are the basic steps that I followed:
- Inserted Mint SIM card into a compatible device
- Went to MintMobile.com/activation from my computer
- Entered activation number from the back of the SIM card holder
- Chose whether to get a new phone number or keep the existing one
- Entered billing information and created an account
- Configured data settings from the phone’s settings menu
- Restarted phone before using with Mint Mobile’s service
For my test, I used an unlocked Moto G6 smartphone. Most unlocked GSM phones (not CDMA) will work on Mint Mobile. You can check compatibility on Mint Mobile’s website.
If you don’t want to bring your own phone, here are some of the devices available for purchase (updated as of February 2021):
- Apple iPhone 12
- Apple iPhone SE
- Samsung Galaxy S21
- Google Pixel 5
- LG Q70
- Motorola G Power
When I last checked Mint Mobile’s phone store, I didn’t see too many great deals. The best offer bundled an Apple iPhone SE with a service plan for $30 a month.
If you need a new phone, you may be better off buying a compatible device elsewhere and bringing it to Mint.
Call and Text Performance
If T-Mobile has good coverage in your area, you shouldn’t have trouble with Mint Mobile because it uses the same towers.
As I mentioned at the top of my review, I never had T-Mobile or a T-Mobile MVNO before I signed up for Mint. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.
I had only one dropped call and zero missing text messages throughout the 30-day testing period.
Whenever I test cell phone services, I ask my family and friends to rate the call quality. There were no complaints with Mint Mobile. Everyone could hear me loud and clear.
To see if Mint Mobile works in your area, follow this link to its coverage checker.
Note: Mint Mobile supports Wi-Fi Calling on select devices. If you’re in an area with unreliable coverage, you can connect to Wi-Fi and use your phone to call or text over that connection.
Mobile hotspot is a feature that isn’t offered by all prepaid carriers, but tethering is allowed with Mint Mobile.
I tested out the mobile hotspot function with Mint and had no issues. I was able to watch a YouTube video without buffering or pausing after using a mobile hotspot with my laptop.
Keep in mind that any high-speed data that you use when the mobile hotspot is turned on will count toward your monthly limit.
If you sign up for Mint Mobile’s unlimited data plan, 5GB of mobile hotspot data is allowed per month.
Mint Mobile offers 5G and 4G LTE data nationwide. I tested Mint Mobile before 5G began rolling out in cities across the country, but I never had issues with slow data.
I was able to watch videos, stream music, use maps for navigation and load websites without disruptions.
To get a better sense of the data speeds with Mint Mobile, I downloaded the Speedtest by Ookla app and ran a series of tests. Here are the results:
I also used the Speedtest app to see if there was a major difference between Mint Mobile and T-Mobile’s data speeds. Although separate test devices were used, the download speeds were nearly the same.
From my experience, a download speed of 5-10 Mbps is perfectly fine for streaming video. Most of the download speed tests that I conducted with Mint Mobile were in the 20-25 Mbps range.
Upload speeds were less consistent with Mint, but that only matters if you regularly use your phone’s data to share files.
My 30-day trial of Mint Mobile was problem-free, so I never had to call customer service. However, you can reach a customer service representative by dialing 213-372-7777.
If you don’t want to pick up the phone, there’s also chat and email support. The address is [email protected]
Although I found it easy to get started with this provider, you need to consider that there are no Mint Mobile stores. You can’t walk inside a retail location to get support.
If that’s a priority for you, take a look at T-Mobile’s Metro brand for cheap wireless plans.
Pros and Cons: Mint Moble
|Inexpensive data plans on T-Mobile’s network||No monthly payment option|
|Mobile hotspot is allowed||Limited phone deals|
|Phone and email customer support|
Over the past few years, I’ve tested more than a dozen low-cost cell phone service providers. Mint Mobile remains one of my favorites.
Mint Mobile may be worth switching to if this sounds like you:
- You know that T-Mobile’s coverage is good in your area
- You have a GSM device or are willing to buy a new one
- You’re willing to prepay for three, six or 12 months in advance
The price is right for Mint Mobile, but it’s not the only affordable wireless carrier around. Learn about more of your options in Clark’s guide to the best cell phone plans and deals!
This article was originally written by Michael Timmermann and published on February 4, 2019.