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Mint Mobile: what is it, and is it worth it?

Mint mobile what is it is it worth it
(Image credit: Future)

Mint Mobile is the new cool kid on the block when it comes to talking about cheap cell phone carriers. No doubt the service's fairly recent association with part-owner Ryan Reynolds has helped it gain some notoriety in the usually cut-and-dried world of cheap phone plans. If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, or are perhaps researching Mint Mobile for a potential switch, this page should be a fantastic starting point. We've summarized everything you need to know about this carrier in an easy-to-read 101 guide. 

Simply put, you don't need any prior knowledge of Mint Mobile to make use of this page. We're breaking down what Mint Mobile is exactly, how this company operates, and how much you'll be looking to pay per month - should you sign up. We're also including links to the free trial, information on Mint Mobile's coverage and network, and also a couple of worthy competitors to check out because Mint Mobile isn't the only cheap prepaid carrier in town right now...

Mint Mobile 101

What is Mint Mobile?

  • Mint Mobile is a prepaid cellular provider
  • It operates under the larger T-Mobile network
  • With Mint Mobile plans, you pay upfront for a set amount of months
  • Three month, six month, and yearly plans are available
  • The longer the service plan, the cheaper the cost per month on average
  • There are no service contracts with Mint Mobile
  • Mint Mobile plans offer 5G, mobile hotspotting, and competitive data allowances
  • Yes, it's partly owned by Ryan Reynolds...

How much does Mint Mobile cost?

Mint Mobile plans range in price from $15 to $30 per month, depending on how much data you plan to use and how fast you plan to chew through it. Here's a detailed breakdown of what the company's four price package have to offer: 

Mint Mobile: 4GB data | Unl. talk & text | $15/month ($180/year) (opens in new tab)
Mint Mobile plans start with the 4GB data allowance option - the most restrictive, but also overall cheapest plan on the service. With unlimited talk and text, plus mobile hotspotting, this is a really great value plan but remember - you'll burn through that 4GB of 5G data in no time if you're using your phone for more than the basics.
Intro: $15/mo ($45) (opens in new tab) |  12-months: $15/mo ($180) (opens in new tab) | 6-months: $20/mo ($120) (opens in new tab) | 3-months: $25/mo ($75) (opens in new tab)

Mint Mobile: 10GB data | Unl. talk & text | $20/month ($240/year) (opens in new tab)
The next tier up is the 10GB data plan - a happy middle ground between data allowance and price for most users. At just $5 more than the basic 4GB plan, we'd definitely recommend upgrading to this one for most users since it's a lot more flexible. That said, 10GB still doesn't go that far if you're planning on streaming a lot of video on your cellular connection.
Intro: $20/mo ($60) (opens in new tab) | 12-months: $20/mo ($240) (opens in new tab) | 6-months: $25/mo ($150) (opens in new tab) | 3-months: $35/mo ($105) (opens in new tab)

Mint Mobile: 15GB data | Unl. talk & text | $25/month ($300/year) (opens in new tab)
Even more generous still is the 15GB data allowance tier, which is the largest amount you can get at Mint Mobile without committing to the unlimited data plan. 15GB is a healthy amount for most people but if you're a really heavy user you may want to consider upgrading to the unlimited plan.
Intro: $25/mo ($75) (opens in new tab) | 12-months: $25/mo ($300) (opens in new tab) | 6-months: $35/mo ($210) (opens in new tab) | 3-months: $45/mo ($135) (opens in new tab)

Mint Mobile: Unlimited data from $30/month ($360/year) (opens in new tab)
Mint Mobile's final plan is the unlimited plan - which is fantastic value and about half the price of the plans offered at most of the bigger carriers. Note, however, that you do only get 35GB of data at 5G speeds with this plan though, which might bother some. Still, you have to admit, that's a lot of high-speed data for the price...
Intro: $30/mo ($90) (opens in new tab) | 12-months: $30/mo ($360) (opens in new tab) | 6-months: $35/mo ($210) (opens in new tab) | 3-months: $40/mo ($135) (opens in new tab)

Is Mint Mobile any good?

Value
Mint Mobile really stands out from the crowd when it comes to value. To put it bluntly, Mint Mobile's plans offer a ton of data for the money - way more than some pay-per-month competitors. To give you some idea of what we're talking about, Mint's unlimited data plan comes in at $10 a month cheaper than Visible Wireless (probably its main competitor), and about half the cost of a postpaid plan at AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon. Add in free mobile hot-spotting and 5G data speeds and you're getting a lot for your money at Mint Mobile.

No contracts and simple pricing
Like most prepaid carriers, Mint Mobile has a fairly what-you-see is what-you-get way of operating. All you basically need to do is order a SIM card, activate it in your phone, and you're essentially good to go. There are no contracts to sign, no hidden fees, and if you want out all you have to do is stop paying for the service. Of course, the multi-month payment scheme will mean you'll lose a bit of that initial investment if you decide to jump ship before your months are up - but it's still a much more consumer-friendly set up than having to pay off the huge fee that's often incurred at one of the bigger carriers.

What are the drawbacks to Mint Mobile?

Have to pay upfront for multi-month
Paying upfront for a multi-month plan can be a significant investment, especially if you're looking at signing up for a whole year. For example, sign up for a year of the Mint Mobile unlimited data plan and you'll be looking at paying $360 upfront. Of course, you won't be billed again for the duration of your plan, but that's not exactly chump change for most people. Still, if you do have the cash to pay for a year upfront, we strongly recommend doing so as it'll work out as the cheapest option in the long run should you stick with Mint.

Deprioritization
As with all smaller prepaid carriers (MVNOs, short for mobile virtual network operators), Mint Mobile is subject to something called 'deprioritization'. Put simply, the parent network that Mint Mobile uses - T-Mobile in this case, will slow down smaller network users data speeds when traffic is heavy in favor of their own customer's speeds. This isn't unique to Mint Mobile, in fact nearly all smaller companies have this caveat, but it's worth bearing in mind overall. Your mileage is going to vary wildly based on your local network traffic also.

Mint Mobile: FAQ

Mint mobile plans best cheap

(Image credit: Mint Mobile)

What network does Mint Mobile use?

Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network but operates independently as its own company. Mint Mobile is what's commonly referred to as an 'MVNO', which is a company that provides cellular service but doesn't actually own the infrastructure itself. Simply put, if you happen to get good T-Mobile coverage (opens in new tab) then you'll be good-to-go with Mint Mobile (also see Mint Mobile's coverage page (opens in new tab)).

All phones compatible with the GSM networks (AT&T, T-Mobile) should be fully compatible with Mint Mobile, granted they're unlocked. If you'd like to see whether your phone is compatible, then you can use this handy page (opens in new tab) over at the Mint site.

How is Mint Mobile so cheap?

Unlike traditional carriers, Mint Mobile doesn't operate out of any physical stores nationwide - which probably ensures they can keep those running costs down to a bare minimum. Mint also probably doesn't have to pay upkeep for physical maintenance on the network they use, being essentially a renter on the larger T-Mobile network. The business also historically hasn't paid much to run ads through traditional means - although we know this is of course changing now, with various high-profile TV ads being aired recently.

It's likely the Mint Mobile pricing system is a contributing factor to overall price as well. Selling cell phone plans in increments of three, six, or twelve months probably keeps subscribers retained at a higher rate in comparison to the traditional prepaid pay-monthly model, and allows them to have a more consistent revenue stream. If that's the case, then it could just be high time we saw this sort of pricing system being implemented at other carriers soon.

How can I try Mint Mobile?

The Mint Mobile free trial! Unlike most prepaid carriers, Mint Mobile will allow you to sign up for a free 7-day trial (opens in new tab) to see whether the service is for you. Of course, being only 7-days and with an allowance of 250MB data, 250 minutes, and 250 texts doesn't exactly make it the longest of trials, but hey - it's free and a great way to try your luck.

Note - you will need to provide your credit card details to be eligible for the Mint Mobile free trial, but you won't be charged unless you decide to carry on your trial after your 7-days are up.

Mint Mobile: 7-day free trial now available (opens in new tab)
Get yourself 250MB of 5G data, 250 minutes, and 250 texts free of charge with the new Mint Mobile free trial. With cell phone plans as little as $15 a month, plus excellent coverage on the T-Mobile network makes Mint Mobile an extremely competitive choice for those on a budget. Previously you had to pay $5 upfront to get yourself a starter kit so this is a great way to try out this excellent prepaid carrier for less this week.

What do customers say about Mint Mobile?

Luckily for us, customers across the internet are pretty eager to leave their own Mint Mobile review on a number of sites - especially Trust Pilot, where the service maintains an overall score of 4.7 stars out of 5. All in all, that's a pretty stellar score overall - particularly when compared to other carriers like Visible (1.6 stars), Verizon (1.3 stars), T-Mobile (1.6 stars), and AT&T (1 star). We read quite a few of these Mint Mobile reviews when compiling this article, and so far it seems that, as expected, the overall value is the standout area of praise with the service.

That said, we did find a few examples where customers left a negative Mint Mobile review. Trust Pilot examples like this and this singled out the service as being patchy and fairly slow, and we also found another good example over at the Mint Mobile subreddit. The good news is, however, that with all examples we found the Mint Mobile customer service was proactive in responding to any negative feedback left via Mint Mobile reviews. 

What alternatives to Mint Mobile should I consider?

We'd single out Visible Wireless as the main competitor to Mint Mobile right now when it comes to great value prepaid plans. Visible only offers one plan - an unlimited data plan - but what it lacks in options it makes up in the fact it's completely unlimited, uses the Verizon 5G network, and has options to get the price as low as just $25 per month (opens in new tab). While normally priced at $40 a month, if you bundle your plan together with three other Visible customers via the Party Pay (opens in new tab) system (like a pseudo 'family plan') you'll pay just $25 a month. That's quite frankly outstanding value but it's worth noting that being under the Verizon network (while Mint operates under T-Mobile) means that not all devices will be compatible with both services. 

For a straight-up alternative to Mint Mobile that uses the same T-Mobile infrastructure for its service, you'll want to check out Metro. This prepaid carrier is a direct subsidiary of T-Mobile and offers a few more options all around for those on a budget - starting with the 10GB plan for $40 a month. In general, Metro's plans are a little more 'premium' than Mint's with things like free streaming service subscriptions and such. Unlike Mint Mobile, Metro's unlimited data plan doesn't feature any soft data caps, although coming in at $60 a month makes it a much costlier option. 

If you're looking for another 'buy-in-bulk' prepaid carrier, you could also consider AT&T's prepaid service. That starts at just $25 a month (opens in new tab) for the 8GB plan if you pay for the 12-month plan although you will have to forgo things like 5G access here. That's a real bummer in our eyes, but if you do happen to get the best service with AT&T in your area, it's definitely a stronger option if you're on a budget than the traditional postpaid plans.

If you're looking for even more options, we recommend checking out our main best prepaid phone plans page. 

Verdict: Is Mint Mobile worth it?

Mint mobile phones best

(Image credit: Mint Mobile)

Verdict: Is Mint Mobile worth it?

If you're looking for an inexpensive, no-frills prepaid cell phone plan then the answer is definitely yes - Mint Mobile is absolutely worth it. As a service, it's definitely not the most feature-laden - especially when compared to rival carriers - but for sheer value, it definitely takes some beating.

Mint Mobile is, in our opinion, particularly good value on the set data allowance plans - especially the 10GB/mo (opens in new tab) and 15GB/mo (opens in new tab) plans, which should sit in that Goldilocks zone for most people. If you don't need tons of data, both of these are good options since they generally come in cheaper than the competition and Mint's own unlimited plan. 

Speaking of which, the Mint Mobile unlimited plan is also great value coming in at, on average, $10 a month cheaper than the completion. Strict data speed caps after 35GB and limited mobile hotspot allowance (just 5GB) will be a big drawback for some, however, and it's hard to recommend it as a 'true' unlimited data plan like Visible, for example. Still, with a relatively low barrier of entry thanks to the starter kit being so cheap, Mint Mobile is an easy recommendation.

More pages on Mint Mobile to check out

Here at TechRadar, we've got a page covering every aspect of this great prepaid carrier. Our guide to this month's best Mint Mobile plans (opens in new tab) is here to help you decide how much data you need, and also cover basic queries about what's exactly in the fine print. Our page on this month's Mint Mobile deals (opens in new tab) is great if you're all set with Mint and want to check out the best ways to save some cash on a new device. And finally, our guide to the best Mint Mobile phones (opens in new tab) is perfect if you're wanting some handy recommendations on what device to pair up with Mint to make the most of that speedy 5G connection.

Alex Whitelock
Alex Whitelock

Alex is deals editor at Future PLC and an all-around expert at one thing - saving readers as much cash as possible while scoring them the best products for their needs. With content that's always packed full of helpful information, no-nonsense expertise, and of course deals, Alex has also written for other leading sites such as T3 and GamesRadar. At work, you'll find him mostly covering computing, gaming, and advising people on how to save on their cell phone plans. Outside of work, you'll find him playing guitar, indulging his love for music, or down at the local climbing gym mostly hanging off boulders far too difficult for his abilities.