I’ve never been one to settle for high cell phone bills. Over the years I have been on Verizon, Straight Talk, AT&T, T-Mobile, Republic Wireless, and Cricket Wireless (who I was on before switching). In a recent effort to reduce my monthly costs, I decided to try out Mint Mobile. Here is my experience and review.
TLDR – My Mint Mobile experience only lasted for 10 days and here is why…
What is Mint Mobile?
Mint mobile has been around for some time. I’m going to refer to it as just “Mint” going forward, but it’s a MVNO of T-Mobile. Basically they use T-Mobile’s cell towers and allow people to pre-pay for service per month. That’s what makes it much cheaper than normal T-Mobile plans.
Mint was made popular after Ryan Reynolds bought into it and is part owner now. You have probably seen several of their TV commercials such as one below.
It wasn’t until he got into the business that it really took off (this is my opinion at least).
They pride themselves on low costs, but one thing they don’t tell you in these commercials is you get the deals because you pay upfront for month blocks. 3, 6, or 12 month blocks. You get the cheapest rate when you are paying for 12 months upfront.
Here are their current rates (as of September 2022).
Why I Switched from Cricket
I really had no issues with Cricket at all. My wife and I both have plans and paid $80/month for unlimited data. We are usually around WiFi so having unlimited data was really unnecessary. In fact, even when we travel, we only use about 4-5GB of data. So I would have been able to drop my monthly payment in half if we both got on the $20/month plan with Mint for 10GB of data. I wouldn’t complain with saving 50%.
Since I like to test things out before I push my wife over to them, I bought the $20/month plan for 3 months. I paid $60 and got the Sim card for free. They have to ship it, so you will wait a few days.
Switching from Cricket to Mint was a pure money saving play. There was no other reason.
In order to save the most, I would have to commit to paying 12 months at a time. If it worked for the test, then I would be OK doing that. Here is how they break it down.
How Well Did Mint Mobile Perform?
This is going to be pretty subjective for anyone reading this and the main reason is coverage.
I checked how well the coverage would be where we live and I do have a 5G phone (Samsung A52 5G), so I knew I would get that. Where I live, the coverage looked to be excellent, so I was happy.
Make sure to check Mint’s coverage map here.
Getting the SIM card and then setting it up was pretty painless until I had to add all the carrier data in to get data service. That was a huge pain because Mint has outdated guidelines for Android phones.
My phone knew exactly what the correct settings where, but I was following the Mint setup and it just wouldn’t work. I finally jumped on Reddit and found that everyone was complaining about this. In about 5 minutes, I removed the original carrier settings and let my phone pick it. Then I was getting data!
But that’s where the fun stopped to be honest.
The Data Coverage Sucked!
Yep, the 5G data coverage in my area with T-Mobile was just plain horrible. It wouldn’t work in my house, so if I got off WiFi, I would be out of luck.
I do a lot of walking around my area and when I would be away from the house, it would take 10 minutes to connect to the cell network. So when I’m streaming Pandora on my phone, once I got away from my WiFi, it just couldn’t connect. I often had to restart my phone to kick it in.
That is not something I wanted to do.
Since the main reason I wanted to switch was cost savings, I wanted this to work. I stuck it out and tested different settings on my phone for 10 days, but even customer service at Mint couldn’t help.
So my Mint Mobile experience only lasted for 10 days. I ported my number back to Cricket Wireless and the 5G works so well on it and AT&T (who owns Cricket). The 5G is strong with Cricket where I live and did really well as I traveled down in Florida for a conference.
My Overall Mint Mobile Impression
They have a great pricing strategy, but remember you are paying upfront for at least 3 months. You get the best pricing when you pay for 12 months upfront. I did the shortest since it was a test.
Due to me trying the service for 10 days, I lost out on the opportunity to get a refund. They only refund your money if you leave or ask for a refund within 7 days. I didn’t have that choice because I was waiting for a new Cricket Wireless SIM to ship to me.
When I did contact customer service, they were extremely nice and their live chat feature is great. Their mobile app is pretty basic that just shows your data usage and you can pay for more months if you need to, but that’s about it.
The mobile app can be used to setup the service as well if you go that route.
All in all, I would give Mint Mobile a 2 out of 5 just because the 5G service was just so bad where I live. I can’t really blame Mint too much for that since they use T-Mobile towers, but that is their only option so that is what they get.
I downgraded them because of the refund decline I got (I asked anyway) and the poor connection to 5G.
Can they save you money though? That is a big yes. They certainly can and will save you money over most carriers when you pay for 12 months up front. They won’t save you much compared to Cricket when you just do 3 months at a time. Cricket gives bigger discounts when you have more than one phone on the plan.