Do you love having unlimited texts and calls, but hate paying insane prices for your phone bill? I feel you. That’s why I switched to Mint Mobile and never looked back. Actually, I did look back, but only to make sure I didn’t drop any of the money I’ve saved along the way.
Mint Mobile Review Update: I extended my Mint contract for another year for $15 per month! It’s ridiculous how cheap it is, especially compared to what I used to pay. All in, I pay $180 per year for my phone service while most people pay that in just a few months…
Mint Mobile Review
Name: Mint Mobile
Description: is a low-cost cell phone company or mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses T-Mobile towers.
- Network Coverage
- Customer Service
- Ease of Setup
I use Mint Mobile because of the low prices and good network coverage in my area. If you are hoping to lower your phone, Mint Mobile is a solid option as long as you get good reception in your area.
- Low-Cost Plans
- Easy Set-up
- Can Use Existing Phone
- Can Keep Existing Number
- All Plans Are Pre-Paid
- No Unlimited Data Plans
- Need Unlocked Phone
Today I’m sharing my Mint Mobile Review with you to explain why I decided to switch to Mint from Cricket Wireless. Mint Mobile is a low-cost phone plan provider that is helping people save money with less expensive mobile phone plans.
Mint Mobile At A Glance
|Plan Cost||Plans start as low as low as $25/month|
|Plan Types||Prepaid Carrier|
|Sign Up Now|
You might remember that I wrote an article last year about how I had saved thousands of dollars over the years by switching to Cricket Wireless from the main cell phone companies like AT&T, Verizon, & T-Mobile.
I loved Cricket (I still do!), but when I started to hear murmurs about a less expensive option, I knew I had to look into it.
For the record, I have to say that I was truly happy with Cricket Wireless and only switched due to cost. I have a couple hundred thousand dollars of student loans so every penny counts.
I recommend both Cricket and Mint Mobile very highly and ultimately, so you should go with whichever service gives you the best reception. If you live in a place where AT&T and T-Mobile both have solid service, just go with the less costly option.
What Is Mint Mobile?
Mint Mobile is a low-cost cell phone service provider that offers plans with unlimited talk and text, and LTE data.
Mint is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses T-Mobile towers. MVNO is a fancy term for a mobile phone network that doesn’t own the actual cell phone towers themselves and essentially rents the bandwidth.
From a user perspective, you would have no idea if your phone is serviced by an MVNO or a standard carrier. So you’re just paying less for what you’re used to getting, including the same 4G LTE and 5G networks.
Because Mint Mobile doesn’t own or build the cell phone towers themselves, they can operate at a much lower cost than the major cell phone networks. They pass these savings to customers like you and me via more fair prices.
Just like the way Cricket Wireless uses AT&T towers and bandwidth, Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile towers. This means that as long as you’re in an area with reliable T-Mobile service, you should get dependable Mint Mobile service. That means you get the same mobile internet for a much better price.
How Does Mint Mobile Offer Cheaper Prices?
Unlike Cricket Wireless (and most other cell phone companies) who charge you a monthly price as you go, Mint Mobile plans are prepaid every 3, 6, or 12 months.
This pricing model allows Mint Mobile to offer super competitive rates since they know precisely how much bandwidth to purchase from T-Mobile. They pass these savings onto customers by rewarding customers who agree to longer contracts.
You still get 4G LTE data with wireless service so you can stream and watch your favorite content.
As you’ll see in the pricing table below, the real savings happen when you purchase a more extended plan.
What Are The Different Mint Mobile Pricing Plans?
You can see the plans on the Mint Mobile website.
Their introductory 3-month pricing levels are the same as their 12-month plans. In essence, they are hoping you’ll love the service and price so much that you’ll opt for the 12-month plan… which is exactly what I did!
Which Phones Can Be Used On The Mint Mobile Network?
Any unlocked GSM phone should work on the Mint Mobile network. You can bring your own unlocked phone just like I did. I just popped out the old sim card from my iPhone and popped in my Mint sim and that was it.
It’s important to note that you can still keep your existing phone number when you switch to Mint. Moving your phone number (porting) to the new network is simple.
This means you’ll save a bunch of time and hassle not needing to notify everyone you know that you got a new phone number or worry about missing calls and messages.
If you want a completely new number and start clean, that’s no problem at all.
Why Switch To Mint If You Are Happy with Cricket?
Look, I had zero problems with Cricket’s service. I loved it and have recommended it to anyone who asked us about it.
But ultimately, when you are trying to pay off over $200,000 in student loans, it all came down to the money saved. If you’ve seen our posts on financial freedom or budgeting, you’ll know how vital living within our means is.
Remember, the lower your expenses are each month, the more aggressive you can invest and save.
I want to be able to retire earlier than when we turn 65 years old, so I am hyper-focused on saving as much as possible and earning as much as possible.
Does this mean I will stop working when I am 50? Probably not, but it will mean I will be able to if that’s what I want to do.
So let’s take a look at how Mint compares to Cricket so you can see whether the savings made sense.
If you are on a major carrier, you’re likely paying much more than either Cricket or Mint Mobile!
Comparison: Cricket Wireless vs Mint Mobile Plan Prices
|Cricket Wireless ($/month)||Cricket Wireless w/ Auto Pay Credit ($/month)||Mint Mobile – 3 Month ($/month)||Mint Mobile – 6 Month ($/month)||Mint Mobile – 12 Month ($/month)|
|2GB – $30||2GB – $30**||3GB – $25||3GB – $20||3GB – $15|
|10GB – $40||10GB – $35||8GB – $35||8GB – $25||8GB – $20|
|Unlimited – $55||Unlimited – $50||12GB – $45||12GB – $35||12GB – $25|
*Prices accurate as of Aug. 2020
**2GB plan not eligible for Auto Pay Credit
Are the savings worth switching?
In short, YES!
This question comes down to two factors. The savings and the hassle involved.
To start, you are essentially getting the same service you pay for now, but at a fraction of the price. You still get unlimited text and talk, hotspot and tether functionality, high speed data, strong cell service, and you get to keep your existing number and compatible device.
Let’s address the hassle of switching before I break down the numbers.
The switch was quite simple, and there was a minimal hassle.
The process of switching took me 15 minutes plus the wait for the sim card to arrive since I already had an unlocked phone (I used the same phone I was using on Cricket Wireless).
Now let’s break down my savings!
Let’s compare the 10GB/month Cricket Wireless plan with the 8GB/month Mint Mobile plans since that was the same change that I made initially.
How Does Cricket Wireless Pricing Compare To Mint Mobile?
When it comes to finding a budget phone plan, these are the two clear leaders in the game. Both companies offer unlimited talk and text on all of their plans.
One company uses AT&T towers while the other uses T-Mobile towers. Also, Mint offers prepaid plans to offer additional savings, while Cricket offers the traditional monthly cell phone plans.
Let’s take a look to see how the costs between the two platforms compare.
Cricket 10GB vs. 8GB Mint Plan (3 Month Pricing)
|Cricket 10GB||Mint 8GB||Savings (month)||Savings (year)|
At this level, the plans are the same price but you get 2 extra GBs of monthly data with Cricket.
Cricket 10GB vs. 8GB Mint Plan (6 Month Pricing)
|Cricket 10GB||Mint 8GB||Savings (month)||Savings (year)|
With the 6 month plan, you are starting to save money compared to Cricket. Again, a modest $10 savings each month. Over the full year, you are looking at $120 in savings. Over five years, you are talking $600.
One critical thing you have to remember is that these savings are only for a single phone line. If you have a family with multiple lines, the savings become huge. That means more money in your pocket so that you can live your best life without stressing out at the end of the month.
Cricket 10GB vs. 8GB Mint Plan (12 Month Pricing)
|Cricket 10GB||Mint 8GB||Savings (month)||Savings (year)|
At this level, the savings over a full year are HUGE!! Like I mentioned earlier, if you have multiple phones in your family, then the savings can make a massive difference.
Nearly $200 in yearly savings! The catch is that Mint is a prepaid service, but the savings can be enormous.
Again, this assumes you get the AutoPay Credit with Cricket. If not, the savings you would get by switching would be even more significant!
One thing to note is that Cricket’s pricing drops as you add more lines, while Mint Mobile doesn’t offer family plans. Since Mint is still less expensive for the 12 month plans you will still likely still come out ahead, but you’ll want to compare to make sure. For example, for 5 lines on Cricket with 10GBs, their price is $130. The price for 5 lines on Mint would be $100.
The Downsides To Mint Mobile
If you live paycheck to paycheck and struggle with paying all of your bills on time, then having to come up with the extra cash upfront will be a challenge. However, this is also a benefit because once you pay your phone bill, you won’t have to worry about your service being disconnected every month.
For example, with Cricket, you pay your $35 every month (if you have AutoPay set up), but with Mint’s 3-month pricing, you would pay $105 upfront for three months. On the flip side, the other two months you wouldn’t have to pay anything.
If you decide to maximize your savings and go with the 12-month plan, you would pay $240 once and then not have a payment due the other 11 months.
What About The Time Value Of Money?
First, it’s fantastic that you think about the time value or opportunity cost of your money. Compound interest is a real thing!
Second, it’s a great question. After all, isn’t there a chance that you’d be better off keeping Cricket so that your money isn’t locked up for 3, 6, or 12 months! That’s money that you could be investing!
Let’s take a look and see.
For example, let’s assume you opt for the annual plan since that is the plan that would require the most amount of money to be paid upfront. Let’s focus on the 8GB plan that I selected.
This plan is $20 per month and is prepaid. With Cricket, you’d be paying roughly $35 for a similar plan every month. That means that during the first month, you’d have $205 extra dollars to invest. With a standard phone plan, you’d be paying even more.
Assuming you make 6% per year on your investments, that’s 0.5% per month. That means that you’d make $1.03 in investment gains from investing the extra $205. Let’s stop right there. You already saw that over the year, you would save $180, so clearly, this more than makes up for the ~$12 per year of investment gains you miss out on by paying upfront.
If you were to compare this to a standard phone plan you would save even more money.
Any way you slice it, saving money on your phone bill is one of the best things you can do to have more money on a regular basis.
I have now been using Mint Mobile for over 18 months and I have had absolutely no coverage issues. I was on Cricket Wireless for several years and also had no issues. In short, these low-cost plans are the real deal.
Like all phone companies, Mint Mobile has stronger signal in certain areas and weaker reception in others.
Before you sign up, spend 2 minutes to check the wireless coverage in your area with their coverage checker. For the vast majority of you, this shouldn’t be a problem at all.
If you live in an area that’s borderline with regards to coverage, Mint Mobile offers a 7-day money-back guarantee, which is pretty sweet.
No Phone Upgrades
Mint Mobile will sell you a new phone at retail prices, so there are no savings if you are looking to trade in your phone or upgrade.
If you want to use the money saved on the plan to get a new phone, you’re better off thinking twice about it.
“I am going to save money by switching to Mint Mobile, so that means I can upgrade my phone, right?”
Apple and Samsung have some of the best marketing teams in the world. We get it. Every time we see one of their commercials, our brains also start to rationalize why we need the latest Apple or Samsung phone.
But that’s the thing: We don’t NEED a new phone.
One of us had the same phone for nearly five years. Was it annoying to type in the passcode each time when our friends could unlock their phones with their fingerprints? Definitely. Did we survive? No doubt.
Based on our personal savings rate, I’d say we did a lot more than merely survive!
So next time you feel like upgrading something that works perfectly fine, remember one thing: you can’t miss what you’ve never had.
If you really can’t make it more than a year or two with the same phone at least do the two following things:
- Sell your phone (or give it away to someone in need)
- Put the money you are saving on your cell phone plan into an account each month specifically for your phone (this is called a sinking fund)
By doing those two things, you will never go deeper into debt and can pay cash.
If you can’t pay with cash, then you can’t afford it (this doesn’t apply to large purchases such as a mortgage).
This doesn’t mean actually paying with cash. I use credit cards to get points/cash back but pay them off in full right away. I do this to avoid ever having to pay interest charges on my credit card.
You Should Know That There’s No Unlimited Data Plans!
You’ll also notice that while all Mint plans include unlimited talk and text, they don’t offer an unlimited data plan. For most people, it doesn’t matter since you probably have access to WiFi at home, work, or school.
But if you are the person who has no access to WiFi and uses insane amounts of data monthly, then Mint Mobile is NOT for you.
For everyone else, it’s the real deal.
Switching To Mint Mobile – My Overall Review
When it comes to our phones and plans, a few things are most important to us.
Price, call & FaceTime quality, data speeds, unlimited text and unlimited calling.
For me, there has been absolutely no difference in call or FaceTime quality. I haven’t noticed dropped calls, audio problems, or any loss in data download speeds. Texts and emails have always been coming through on time and rapidly.
However, there has been one BIG change I’ve seen: more money in the bank from saving on my phone bill.
As mentioned earlier, switching was super simple. I kept the same phone number and the same phone (protip: only upgrade your phone once your current phone dies AKA every 3-5 years to maximize savings).
I haven’t noticed any difference in quality from Cricket (which wasn’t any different from AT&T before that).
Initially, I was on the 8GB plan for six months, but I am now on a 12-month 3GB plan. I went from paying $150 for six months to $180 for the full year! Before making the switch to a plan with less data, I checked my account to make sure I didn’t need more than that. I couldn’t be happier.
Well, what are you waiting for? Sign up now!
Francisco Maldonado, MD is a personal finance expert who was raised in poverty by a single mother and had to learn everything about personal finance on his own. In addition to running his personal finance site, The Finance Twins, with his twin brother, his site has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC, US News, The Simple Dollar, and other top publications. Francisco is a physician who borrowed over $200,000 to pay for his medical training and understands debt payoff strategies and frugal living. He received his M.D. from the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, the most selective medical school in the country, and a Bachelor’s degree in physiology from the University of Minnesota. He is currently a radiology resident at Northwestern University.