Mint Mobile: 7 Things to Know Before You Sign Up for $15 per Month
Mint Moible’s ads for $15 per month wireless service might sound tempting, but there are a few catches you should be aware of before switching. Yes, you can save money over the long run with Mint, but you won’t actually pay $15 each and every month.
Actor Ryan Reynolds heavily promotes Mint Moible’s services, pushing savings compared to ‘big wireless.’ While it’s true that Mint Mobile can save you money compared to popular plans from bigger carriers, its plans are more complex than you might think.
Here are a few things to know about Mint Mobile before signing up:
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Mint Mobile: Buying in Bulk
Is Mint Mobile really just $15 per month? Yes… sort of.
The main reason Mint Mobile can undercut other wireless carriers is that it requires that you pre-pay for service in bulk. Just like when you’re buying any other goods by the case, you get a big discount when you buy wireless service for 3, 6, or 12 months upfront. Note the small print at the bottom of the above pricing table.
Since the company already has subscribers’ cash, Mint Mobile doesn’t have to worry about users not paying their bills or switching to another service during their agreements.
Of course, the problem with buying in bulk is that it can be tough to prepay for up to 12 months of service in advance. This is a big turn-off for many would-be Mint Mobile subscribers who prefer paying their wireless bills month-to-month.
Mint Mobile is on T-Mobile’s Network
Mint Mobile is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), which means it doesn’t actually run its own wireless network, but piggybacks on a bigger company’s network. In this case, Mint Mobile customers actually use T-Mobile’s mobile services.
T-Mobile is one of the three major wireless carriers in the United States and is generally fast and reliable. However, you should research how T-Mobile performs where you live and work. You can start by looking at Mint Mobile’s coverage map and asking others about any complaints about T-Mobile or Mint Mobile in your area.
T-Mobile recently announced plans to purchase Mint Mobile.
Mint Mobile Renewal Rates are Higher
The first time you pay for Mint Mobile will likely be the cheapest. That’s because new customers are given one-time discounts.
For example, if you want to pay $15 per month for 5GB of data indefinitely, you’ll need to first sign up for three months and pre-pay $45. After your first three months are up, you can pre-pay $75 for three months. Pre-paying $120 for six months knocks the monthly price down to $20 per month. If you want that $15 per month pricepoint, you’ll need to prepay $180 for 12 months of service.
Yes, technically, you can get Mint Mobile service for $15 per month, but you can imagine why some wireless shoppers don’t like having to pay a year at a time to continue getting the advertised price.
Mint Mobile: No Apple Watch with Cellular
If you have an Apple Watch with Cellular or plan to buy one anytime soon, you should avoid Mint Mobile. Your Apple Watch can work via WiFi and Bluetooth with an iPhone on Mint Mobile. However, Mint Mobile doesn’t offer an Apple Watch plan that would allow you to use your Apple Watch on the go independently of your iPhone.
Extra Charges for Extra Data
You must keep a close eye on your data usage if you’re on a Mint Mobile plan with a low data limit. An extra 1GB of data is $10, or you can opt for 3GB for $20. Either way, it’s more economical to make sure you’re on the right plan.
Thankfully, Mint Mobile allows you to upgrade to a plan that better fits your data use than continuing to pay for overages. For example, you can get 10GB of extra data for $5 by switching from the 5GB to 15GB plan if you’re near your plan’s limit.
Mint Mobile Unlimited is Limited
As with all wireless carriers, Mint Mobile’s “Unlimited Plan” is indeed limited. However, its limits are pretty reasonable.
The first limit is that high-speed data is capped at 40GB. After that, you can still use data as much as you like, but it will be slowed down.
Mobile hotspot usage is limited to 10GB per month, which is more than enough for most people. However, it could be a dealbreaker if you often use your phone’s mobile hotspot to download large files or stream video.
Another limitation is that video streaming is limited to 420p on Mint Mobile’s unlimited plan once you go over 40GB. This isn’t entirely uncommon, even with some of the ‘big wireless’ plans.
Mint Mobile Has No Stores
One way Mint Mobile can undercut other wireless carriers is by NOT having any physical stores. You can imagine how expensive it is to maintain stores to sell phones and help customers.
This doesn’t mean much for many wireless customers, but others want in-person help with things like setting up their phones and billing issues. Mint has a chatbot that does its best to help customers get started with its services. Mint Mobile also offers a customer service phone line and live chat to help solve issues.
Some Mint Mobile customers loudly voice their frustrations with Mint Mobile customer service on Twitter and other social media platforms. Some of those complaints sound like they would be best served with in-person service.