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Mint Mobile vs. T-Mobile Prepaid: Which carrier is better?

By
Allison Radziwon
July 20, 2023

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Mint Mobile and T-Mobile Prepaid are popular prepaid carriers with some of the best coverage in the country. Each carrier has its positives and negatives, but which offers better phone plans? Let’s compare them and see which is better.

In this article, we plan to discuss the details of both carriers and what they offer. We’ll also cover:

  • What the coverage of both carriers looks like
  • How prices of their plans compare to how much data you get
  • The features each carrier offers for their plans 

Coverage & Reception

Mint Mobile is on the T-Mobile network, while T-Mobile Prepaid is a part of the big three networks. 

Mint Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO. This means that they purchase service access wholesale from one of the three major networks that own infrastructure across the country – AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile – giving customers service at a much cheaper price. Mint Mobile is an MVNO of T-Mobile, while T-Mobile Prepaid is a specific section of T-Mobile’s own plans. 

Often, the quality of coverage comes down to your area. One carrier’s coverage may be better in New York, while another’s coverage may be better in California. It’s important to compare between providers on a coverage map of your specific city. Ookla’s coverage map allows you to see where cellular towers are located and which company owns them. This coverage map provides information about coverage from 2G to 5G for several providers.

However, T-Mobile’s 5G coverage and access is hailed as the best coverage overall. 

Plan Options

Mint Mobile offers several limited data plans, while T-Mobile Prepaid offers premium data. 

Both carriers give you unlimited talk and texting options with any plan you choose. Each offers a variety of plans to choose from to meet your needs. Both companies deprioritize data, meaning you’ll have slower connection speeds in high traffic areas like concerts venues and shopping centers. T-Mobile Prepaid also offers premium data, which is data that doesn’t slow down due to network traffic congestion.

Mint Mobile Plans

Mint Mobile offers 4 plans, each with multiple options for lengths of service.

Mint Mobile offers plans ranging from 5GB to Unlimited (40GB) data, giving customers more options to meet their needs. Mint Mobile only offers 3, 6, or 12 month plans to sign up for. However, your data is reset every month. Their current New Customer Offer allows you to purchase a 3 month plan at the best deal. Mint Mobile also offers a deal where you can get 6 months of free service if you purchase a phone and a 6 month plan. Mint Mobile allows up to 5 lines on one account, each with their own customizable plan data to draw from.

As a T-Mobile MVNO, Mint Mobile is on tier 7 of 9 Quality of Service Class Identifiers (QCIs).

This indicates the priority level of the carrier on T-Mobile’s network compared to T-Mobile specific plans. This means they’re at a higher priority compared to MVNOs on Verizon or AT&T’s networks. As such, you may experience higher speeds while being deprioritized than other MVNOs.

Image courtesy of Mint Mobile’s website

Mint Mobile keeps your phone locked for the first year after purchase. After, you must request to have your phone unlocked. Taxes and fees are not included with the advertised price. 

5GB

5GB of full speed data is included before you get unlimited data at slow speeds. 

This plan gives you 5GB of data and mobile hotspot access. The plan is again deprioritized, then slows down to 2G speeds after the 5GB allotment. With 2G speeds, users can expect to send text messages and emails or scroll the internet, but streaming video or playing games will be difficult. Hotspot data comes from the 5GB and stops after hitting that amount. The plan costs $15 per month and $45 for the first 3 months. To get the same deal afterwards, you need to purchase 12 months of service. At this rate, you get 5GB for $3 per GB.

15GB 

You get 15GB of full speed data, then unlimited slow data. 

This plan gets you 15GB of full speed data and mobile hotspot data. This plan is also deprioritized and slowed down to 2G speeds after 15GB. Your hotspot data comes from the 15GB allotment and stops after 15GB. The plan costs $20 per month and $80 for the first 3 months. To get the same deal afterwards, you need to purchase 12 months of service. At this rate, you get 15GB at $1.33 per GB. 

20GB

This plan also gives you unlimited slow data after 20GB. 

As it says in the name, you get 20GB of full speed data. This plan is deprioritized, however, and it slows down to 2G speeds after you reach the 20GB cap. The plan also includes mobile hotspot capabilities. Data comes from the 20GB allotment and stops after hitting that amount. The plan costs $25 per month and $75 for the first 3 months. To get the same deal afterwards, you need to purchase 12 months of service. At this rate, you get 20GB at $1.25 per GB. 

Unlimited

Mint Mobile’s Unlimited plan gives you 40GB before slowing down speeds. 

With Mint Mobile’s Unlimited plan, you get 40GB of data. Your data is deprioritized, and it slows down to 3G speeds (512 kbps) after 40GB. At 3G, you can still send texts, send emails, and scroll through social media without too many issues. Streaming video might be a bit slower. While this may be a negative for those who use large amounts of data, most users use about 20GB of data per month or less, according to Ericsson Mobility. This plan also gives you 10GB of mobile hotspot data, allowing your phone to become a WiFi connection for other devices. Data stops after 10GB. 

The plan costs $30 per month, or $90 for the first 3 months. After that, the price is $40 per month. To get the same $30 per month deal, you need to buy 12 months worth of service. At this rate, you get 50GB at $0.60 per GB. 

T-Mobile Prepaid Plans

T-Mobile Prepaid plans offer premium data. 

T-Mobile Prepaid offers 3 different plans, one being limited data and the other two unlimited. You can have up to 5 lines on these plans. The QCI value of these plans is 6, which is the highest tier.

Image courtesy of T-Mobile’s website

You can purchase If you purchase your phone from T-Mobile Prepaid, your device will be locked for 12 months after activation. The plans they offer renew monthly, and taxes and fees are not included with the advertised price. 

Prepaid 10GB 

This plan gives you 10GB of premium data.

T-Mobile Prepaid’s only limited plan has 10GB of premium data. After you use 10GB, your access to data stops. The plan also includes mobile hotspot access that uses the 10GB and again stops once you use this amount. 

The plan costs $40 per month. At this rate, you get 10GB at $4 per GB. 

Prepaid Unlimited 

This plan gives you unlimited mobile hotspot data, but at slower speeds. 

This plan gives you access to 50GB of premium data, which then becomes unlimited but deprioritized. You also get mobile hotspot access, which is limited to 3G speeds at all times. 3G speeds allow you to scroll social media and send texts or emails, but streaming video or playing games will be slower. 

The plan costs $50 per month. At this rate, you get 50GB at $1 per GB. 

Prepaid Unlimited Plus

This plan gives you 10GB premium mobile hotspot data included. 

This plan, like their other unlimited prepaid plan, gives you 50GB of premium data. Data becomes deprioritized after the 50GB. You also get 10GB of extra premium data dedicated to mobile hotspot access. After you use the 10GB, data slows to 3G speeds. 

The plan costs $60 per month. At this rate, you get 60GB at $1 per GB. 

Features

Mint Mobile offers international capabilities included, while T-Mobile Prepaid offers other perks such as call filtering. 

If you’re looking for a plan with more included features, such as international connection or domestic roaming data, it’s best to compare carriers with what they offer. Mint Mobile offers more included international access, while T-Mobile Prepaid offers other features with their plans. 

Domestic Roaming Data

Mint Mobile does not include this feature. All T-Mobile Prepaid plans offer domestic roaming capabilities. 

Mexico & Canada Connection

Mint Mobile offers talk and text in Mexico and Canada included and roaming data at $0.06 per MB. T-Mobile does not offer talk, text, or data included for Mexico and Canada, but they offer an add-on for access at an additional $5 per month. 

International Connection

Mint Mobile gives you international text included, while international talk and data are pay-per-use. International talk is $0.25 per minute, while international data is $0.20 per MB. T-Mobile Prepaid does not offer international text and data, but an add-on is available for international talk (when you’re in the United States) for $15 per month. 

Video Streaming Quality

Mint Mobile’s Unlimited plan streams at 480p Standard Definition, while their limited data plans stream at 4k Ultra High Definition. Both of T-Mobile Prepaid’s unlimited plans stream at 720p High Definition, and their 10GB plan streams up to 4k Ultra High Definition. 

Streaming Services

Mint Mobile and T-Mobile Prepaid do not offer this feature. 

Music Services

Mint Mobile does not offer this feature. T-Mobile Prepaid offers a subscription to Music Unlimited with all three of their prepaid plans. 

Cloud Storage

Mint Mobile and T-Mobile Prepaid do not offer this feature. 

Device Financing

If you buy a phone from either carrier, they allow you to pay for your device in installments over time. 

WiFi Calling

Both carriers offer WiFi calling, which allows you to send and receive phone calls over a WiFi connection rather than cellular reception. 

Spam Protection

T-Mobile Prepaid offers scam protection on all three of their plans, which filters calls and blocks spam callers. Mint Mobile does not offer this feature.  

Free Trial

Mint Mobile offers a 7 day free trial. T-Mobile Prepaid does not offer this feature. 

Customer Service 

Mint Mobile does not have physical stores, leaving all of their customer service to online support. T-Mobile has stores across the country. 

Mint Mobile is a digital-only carrier, meaning they only offer customer support online and over the phone. Mint Mobile offers chat support 24/7 and support over the phone at (800)-683-7392 from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST every day of the week. T-Mobile offers several stores across the country, and users can find the closest one with their store locator. They also offer customer support online with their website live chat, their support website for common questions, and over the phone at 1-800-937-8997. 

The Verdict

Mint Mobile offers better deals, but T-Mobile Prepaid’s unlimited plans offer great deals as well.  

When it comes to price per GB, Mint Mobile offers better deals than T-Mobile Prepaid. However, if you’re looking for more data or a guarantee that you won’t experience deprioritization, T-Mobile Prepaid is also a solid choice.

We’d recommend checking your data usage before committing to a plan.

Want to compare other carriers?

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Are you still unsure which carrier to choose, or which phone plan to pick? Use really.com to compare your top choices and find the best deal to fit your needs. Really allows you to compare and sort between most phone plans on the market without the hassle!

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Mint Mobile 5GB Plan

5GB
data
5GB full-speed data
Hotspot access
All plan data (stops at 5GB)
Best for:
Light data users, those who mostly use WiFi
More Details

Mint Mobile 15GB Plan

15GB
data
15GB full-speed data
Hotspot access
All plan data (stops at 15GB)
Best for:
Light-average data users
More Details

Mint Mobile 20GB Plan

20GB
data
20GB full-speed data
Hotspot access
All plan data (stops at 20GB)
Best for:
Average data users
More Details

Mint Mobile Unlimited Plan

Unlimited
data
40GB high-speed data, unlimited data at 512 kbps (3G speeds)
Hotspot access
10GB mobile hotspot data
Best for:
Heavy data users
More Details

T-Mobile Prepaid 10GB

Prepaid 10GB
data
10GB
Hotspot access
All plan data (access stops at 10GB)
Best for:
Light data users
More Details

T-Mobile Prepaid Unlimited

Prepaid Unlimited
data
50GB premium, deprioritized after
Hotspot access
Unlimited data at 3G speeds
Best for:
Heavy data users
More Details

T-Mobile Prepaid Unlimited Plus

Prepaid Unlimited Plus
data
50GB premium, deprioritized after
Hotspot access
10GB full speed, then unlimited at 3G speeds
Best for:
Heaviest data users and those who travel
More Details

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your questions,
answered

does this phone service work everywhere?

Yep, we offer premium wireless service on the nation’s largest and fastest 5G network. If you are in our dewi coverage areas, you’ll also get access to our decentralized phone network powered by the people which will give you even faster speeds and better coverage.

is there a contract?

Nope, it’s pay as you go.

is this prepaid?

yep! You put your card on file and prepay each month so that you never experience any disruption.

does my phone need to be unlocked?

Yep, but it’s super easy to unlock your device as long as it’s paid off. Chat with us and a real human can help you here.

what if I want a new phone?

We have some recommendations on what we think you should get, from iPhones to Droids. Check out our list here which includes affordable places online to get a good deal.

what does decentralized wireless (dewi) mean?

It means we are building a phone network that is powered by the people. Your neighbors put small radios on their roof and help extend the phone network to cover deadzones™ and get even faster speeds. Right now our DeWi network is available in Austin, but we’ll be expanding to other cities REALLY soon. Learn more about DeWi here.

can I keep my phone number?

yup! you can port your current number in a snap. need help? hit up your VIP concierge.