You may have noticed a lot of adverts for Mint Mobile (opens in new tab) in recent times. That's even more the case if you happen to follow a famous actor by the name of Ryan Reynolds. Now the public face of the company and part-owner, the cell phone network has become a much more prominent feature in the cell phone provider line up in the US but is it actually worth paying attention to? And what network does it even use? Is there a Mint Mobile network?! We answer all these questions and more so that you know exactly what to expect before signing up.
Mint Mobile is a prepaid cell phone network (opens in new tab) that's been around since 2015. Since 2019, Ryan Reynolds acquired an ownership stake in the firm which has made it far more prominent. Like many prepaid carriers, it's considered to be an MVNO, otherwise known as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator. That means instead of having its own network, it uses an existing carrier to piggyback off its signal.
Instead of charging a monthly rate like some operators, Mint relies on its users to sign up in bulk with the option to pay in advance for anywhere from three to 12 months at a time. the longer you sign up for, the cheaper the deal gets. This is one of the reasons it makes our list of the best cell phone providers (opens in new tab).
What network does Mint Mobile use?
Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile's infrastructure for signal. That's not a bad choice at all with T-Mobile coming in second in our rankings. A more comprehensive T-Mobile review (opens in new tab) explains all you need to know but simply put, T-Mobile has some of the best 5G coverage across America right now.
Of course, you'll want to check T-Mobile and therefore Mint Mobile's coverage to be sure the service will work well for you.
What benefits come with Mint Mobile?
Mint Mobile is fairly basic compared to other network options but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It focuses on offering a series of plans with varying amounts of data (and unlimited calls and texts), and not much else. You can always choose to increase your data allocation any time you want, plus you can make calls to Mexico and Canada for free.
Otherwise, expect basic features like the ability to use mobile hotspots for free, visual voicemail, and Wi-Fi calls or texts. You can at least take any device you want over to Mint Mobile providing it's compatible (which should be any GSM-based phone that already works with T-Mobile) but Mint won't help you unlock it so you may need to plan for that beforehand. Check out our look at the best smartphones (opens in new tab) or best smartphones for seniors (opens in new tab) for some guidance.
As T-Mobile offers nationwide 5G service, so does Mint Mobile. Providing you have a 5G phone, you can use the T-Mobile 5G infrastructure without any problem. There are no additional costs either. The only downside here is that you won't get the fastest 5G coverage like you would via T-Mobile but that's only going to be a problem if you live in a metropolitan area that supports T-Mobile's millimeter-wave deployment.
Do you need to sign up to a contract to use Mint Mobile?
Not exactly. Mint requires you to make a long-term commitment but it's not a contract. Instead, you choose to subscribe for between 3 and 12 months with the longer you commit yourself to, the lower the overall price becomes. That means there's still a decent amount of flexibility here compared to committing to a traditional contract but it may be an issue for those users that prefer true no strings attached cell phone use.
Mint Mobile doesn't have any significant catches but there are a few things to bear in mind. Crucially, its customer service isn't meant to be great. With fewer resources and no physical store presence, this is hardly surprising but you may find yourself frustrated if you need to get in touch. It also suffers from T-Mobile deprioritizing Mint customers in favor of its own. This is often an issue for prepaid users but it can mean that speeds are lower during peak times.
Is Mint Mobile worth it?
Mint Mobile can be a very inexpensive option if you're keen to sign up to T-Mobile for less. While you'll suffer from lower speeds at times which can be irritating, Mint's cheap prices help balance things out far more so.
Of course, you'll have to commit to a number of months to get the best deals but most users won't have a problem doing this. It makes sense that bulk buying is where the biggest discounts are and you're still never tied into a contract.