Mint Mobile Review: Now $15 a Month for 4 GB, $20 a Month for 10 GB 5G/LTE Data

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Update 2021: I just renewed with Mint Mobile again. I’m still happy with the service, including the new faster 5G speeds and increased data limits (added automatically without raising the price). I now pay $20/month for 10 GB 5G/LTE data (up from 8 GB). I also consolidated all the important info from my previous Mint Mobile posts into the full review below.

Full review:

Mint Mobile is a prepaid cellular MVNO which runs on the T-Mobile network. They offer very competitive pricing on 5G/LTE data plans, as long as you “buy in bulk”. To switch, they will send you a SIM card to place in your existing phone. New customers can get the lowest price for the first 3 months for a lower upfront commitment. After that, you’ll need to renew for 12 months. Here are the current plan options:

  • 4 GB 5G/LTE Data + Unlimited Talk/Text for $15/month
  • 10 GB 5G/LTE Data + Unlimited Talk/Text for $20/month
  • 15 GB 5G/LTE Data + Unlimited Talk/Text for $25/month
  • Unlimited* 5G/LTE Data + Unlimited Talk/Text for $30/month (*Throttled after 35 GB)

I like that Mint Mobile acts like Vanguard in that I keep automatically getting more for my money without me having to be a new customer. $15 a month used to get me 2 GB of data, then 3 GB, and now 4 GB. $20 a month used to get me 5 GB of data, then 8 GB, and now 10 GB.

After you run out of 5G/LTE high-speed data, Mint Mobile plans still include “unlimited” slow data at 2G speeds (128kbps). This is nice to keep your messages and e-mail even if you accidentally binge-watch something on Netflix over cellular. All plans also include free international calls to Mexico and Canada.

Bring your own phone. You can bring your own unlocked GSM phone including both Android and Apple iPhones. Input your zip code first and then they will help you check your phone compatibilty. The most reliable way is to look up your IMEI number in your phone settings. Alternatively, they are offering the new iPhone SE for $15 a month, which means you can get a new phone + service for $30 a month total.

eSim now available. If have an iPhone that supports eSim (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR to the current iPhone 12 line-up), you can now switch to Mint without even waiting for a physical SIM card. Look for the eSim option during the sign-up process. Android support is supposed to come mid-2021, but unfortunately there are currently no plans to support the Apple Watch.

Number porting tip. Don’t forget to collect the following info from your existing carrier before starting the transfer process: Account number, Account PIN/password, and zip code on bill. Other than that, I was able to swap SIM cards and activate everything in under 10 minutes.

Upgrade to a higher data plan later and only pay the difference. During the pandemic, I found myself eating through a lot more cellular data. After I bumped into my data cap (3 GB at the time for $15/month) for the second time, I contacted Mint to upgrade to their next tier (8 GB at the time for $20/month). They allowed me to upgrade to the higher data plan for the rest of my 12-month term by only paying for the future difference. I did not have to retroactively pay to upgrade the entire term, or even renew for a new term.

What’s the catch? Any drawbacks? I did not experience any “catch”. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have kept renewing with Mint for three years in a row. If I’m being picky, here are potential drawbacks:

  • As with all MVNOs, you don’t get the roaming that you get when you pay full price from the Big 3 carriers of Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile. However, I never noticed any ongoing issues with cell coverage. The only time that I remember lacking service was during a large public event (remember those?) – a music concert in a stadium.
  • As with any time you switch carriers, the porting process can sometimes be a hassle. You’ll need to call your existing carrier and get a secret passphrase, which might involve a phone call and some hold time. Mint tries to do everything online, but does have a phone number and human reps if needed.

How’s the 5G data speed? If you have a 5G-capable phone and 5G towers around, you can get download speeds that rival or perhaps exceed your home internet connection. I did various tests with the SpeedTest app and sometimes had blazing 5G speeds (200 Mbps+), while sometimes the 5G with only one bar was slower than normal LTE (50 Mbps). Supposedly, Mint will automatically allow to connect to whichever is faster, 5G or LTE.

Can I use my phone as a WiFi hotspot? All Mint plans include free hotspot tethering up to your data allotment (5 GB hotspot on unlimited plan).

7-day money back guarantee details. It is important to note that their “7-Day Money Back Guarantee” starts at activation, not order date or ship date. So activate, and make sure the coverage works for you within those 7 days. If not, you can request a full refund online (minus shipping if any). You don’t even need to ship back your SIM card.

Bottom line. Mint Mobile works best for my needs, as I get unlimited talk, text, and 10 GB of 5G/LTE data for $20 a month. Other recs? If you want to unlimited talk and text only, you can find from Tello for only $8 a month (now a T-Mobile MVNO). If you want unlimited data on Verizon towers, look into Visible Wireless at $25 to $40 a month.

Also see:

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Comments

  1. Too bad T-Mobile around my home area is weak and unreliable. Verizon works much better for me. If T-Mobile signal is strong in your areas, it is indeed a great deal with Mint Mobile.

  2. Very awesome, been a happy user for a couple years.

  3. Mint Mobile indeed has a good offer with $15 a Month for 4 GB, $20 a Month for 10 GB 5G/LTE Data, but US Mobile’s deal is even better: $15 a Month for 5 GB, $20 a Month for 12 GB 5G/LTE Data. In addition, you don’t have to pay in advance for a whole year to get that price. You pay monthly. They also offer unlimited plans with music, video, and gaming perks. See: https://www.usmobile.com/plans

    • US Mobile definitely has competitive pricing, but they do have a couple of hidden fees to be aware of.

      – US Mobile tacks on a mandatory $2/month “carrier access fee” to every plan, on top of the usual $1-$5 in regulatory fees. This makes their $15 really a $17 a month plan, and the $20 plan is really a $22 a month plan.
      – Hotspot tethering is not included. It costs an additional $5 a month to upgrade.
      – They have a unique system of capping their data speeds. “Standard” is 1 Mbps max. “Fast” is 5 Mbps max (this is not fast enough for HD streaming). “Ludicrous” is basically uncapped. It’s hard to tell exactly what speed is included with each of their plans, but it’s something to look out for so that you are comparing apples to apples, especially with their Unlimited plans. Even on regular LTE with Mint, I can normally get 50 Mbps download speeds. You’ll have to pay $5/month extra to upgrade from “Fast” to uncapped “Ludicrous” data speeds on their Unlimited plans.

  4. David-in-Florida says

    They also offer esim on new accounts. I have two lines on my iPhone 12. One is 4gb Mint Mobile and the other is 22gb AT&T

  5. I am in Austin and hit with no wifi nternet (Spectrum) for 7 days already and no sign it will be on soon.

    Will mint unlimited allow to set phone as Hotspot for PC to connect unlimited ?
    Or if there is a limit for Hotspot and how mint distinguishes the hotspot usage ?

    TIA

    • On mint site,
      “Also known as tethering (not tetherball), it allows you to use your data on other phones or devices. Pretty handy when there’s no WiFi. All our plans come with free mobile hotspot (5GB cap on unlimited plan).

      • Sorry to hear that, hope that your electricity, water, and internet get restored very soon.

        But yes, as noted in the review, Mint lets you use your purchased data via the hotspot feature of your phone at no extra cost (5 GB on the unlimited plan).

        • Thanks Jonathan, the worst weather in Austin area is over and now in recovery.

          What happens when 5GB is reached ?

          • Nice gesture from Mint that may be useful:

            Due to the severe weather in Texas Mint Mobile will refund you in full for any data bolt-ons purchased 2/14 – 2/28. Refunds will be processed within 3-4 days of purchase though your bank may take longer to process the refund.

            Any data boltons purchased between 2/14 and 2/28 for subscribers with a Texas area code or a Texas billing address will be refunded.

            Assuming you don’t have the unlimited plan, you could just buy unlimited add-on data and use it via hotspot as needed. Not sure how it works if you have the unlimited plan regarding hotspot.

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