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Mint Mobile vs. Tracfone: Which carrier is better?

By
Allison Radziwon
October 5, 2023

compare phone plans and save up to 80%

Mint Mobile and Tracfone are popular prepaid carriers that offer great deals on limited plan data. 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

Unsure of what you need out of a plan? Check out our guide on how to choose the best phone plan.  

Coverage & Reception

Mint Mobile is on the T-Mobile network, while Tracfone uses all three big networks.

Mint Mobile and Tracfone are both mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs. 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 Tracfone uses all three big networks. If you choose Tracfone, you can pick which network you want to use.

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 and Tracfone both offer multi-month plan options.

Both carriers give you unlimited talk and texting options, but Tracfone also offers limited talk and text options. Mint Mobile and Tracfone also both offer 3 month and 12 month plan options to take advantage of. Both companies deprioritize data, meaning you’ll have slower connection speeds in high traffic areas like concerts venues and shopping centers.

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. 

Tracfone Plans

Tracfone doesn’t offer unlimited plans. 

Tracfone offers 12 different limited plans with varying amounts of minutes, texts, and data. Some plans offer multiple months of service, ranging from 2 to 12 months. All Tracfone plans include rollover capabilities, so any unused minutes, texts, and data will roll over to the next month of service. Their service is on QCI tier 9 on Verizon, tier 8 on AT&T, and tier 7 on T-Mobile.

Image courtesy of Tracfone’s website

It’s important to note that the Autopay discount with any plan you choose only lasts for the first 2 months of service. Afterwards, service will be at full price. 

You can get up to 5 lines on a Tracfone plan. If you purchase your phone from Tracfone, your device will be locked for 60 days on the Verizon Network and 12 months on T-Mobile or AT&T after activation. The plans they offer renew at varying times, and taxes and fees are not included with the advertised price. 

No Data

This plan gives you unlimited talk and text. 

Like the title suggests, this plan doesn’t offer any data. You do, however, get unlimited talk and text each month without any limits. 

The plan costs $15 per month, and $10 with the 2 month Autopay discount. 

500MB Monthly 

This plan offers limited talk, text, and data. 

This is the smallest plan Tracfone offers because you get 500 minutes, 500 texts, and 500MB of full speed data each month. Access stops at the cap, and the plan doesn’t include hotspot access.  

The plan costs $15 per month, and $14.25 with Autopay. At full price, you get 500MB at $30 per GB. 

500MB 2 Months 

This plan gives you half a gigabyte each month. 

This plan offers 500 minutes, 1000 texts, and 500MB of full speed data each month. Access stops once you reach your monthly cap. You pay once every 2 months, but access renews each month. 

The plan costs $25 per 2 months and $12.50 per month. It costs $23.75 with Autopay. At this rate, you get 2GB at $6.25 per GB. 

1GB 2 Months

This plan gives you limited talk, text, and data. 

This plan gives you 750 minutes, 1000 texts, and 1GB of full speed data each month. Your access for these stops at the cap. You pay once every 2 months, but access renews each month. 

The plan costs $35 per 2 months, and $17.50 per month. It costs $33.25 with Autopay. 

1.5GB 3 Months 

This plan does not give you an Autopay discount.

This plan gives you 750 minutes, 1000 texts, and 1.5GB of full speed data each month. Access stops once you hit these caps. You pay once every 3 months and access renews each month. 

The plan costs $45 per 3 months and $15 per month. At this rate, you get 1.5GB per month at $10 per GB. 

1.5GB Annual

This plan does not give you an Autopay discount.

This version of the plan gives you 1500 minutes and 1500 texts. You also get 1.5GB per month. Once you hit the caps, access stops until the next month. You pay once per year and access renews each month. 

The plan costs $125 per year, and $10.42 per month. You get 1.5GB per month at $6.95 per GB. 

2GB Monthly

You pay monthly with this version. 

This plan includes unlimited talk and text and 2GB of data. Data stops at the cap, and it does not offer hotspot access. 

The plan costs $20 per month at full price, and $15 with the Autopay discount. At full price, you pay $10 per GB. 

2GB 3 Months 

This plan does not give you an Autopay discount.

Unlike the other version of this plan, you get 750 minutes and 1500 texts each month. You also get 2GB of data. However, all of your access stops at these limits.

The plan costs $50 per 3 months, and $16.67 per month. At this rate, you get 2GB at $8.33 per GB. 

3GB 

This plan doesn’t give you hotspot access.

The 3GB plan gives you 3GB of full speeds, but no hotspot access. Again, you get unlimited talk and text.

The plan costs $25 per month, and $20 with Autopay. At full price, you pay $8.33 per GB. 

5GB 

This plan gives you full speeds. 

The 5GB plan gives you 5GB of full speed data as well as unlimited talk and text. 

The plan costs $30 per month, and $25 with Autopay. At full price, you pay $6 per GB. 

10GB 

This plan gives you unlimited talk and text. 

This plan gives you 10GB at full speeds and unlimited talk and text each month. You don’t get hotspot access, and data stops at the cap. 

The plan costs $40 per month at full price, and $35 with the 2 month Autopay discount. At full price, you pay $4 per GB. 

24GB Annual 

This plan does not give you an Autopay discount.

With Tracfone’s biggest plan, you get 24GB per month at full speeds with unlimited talk and text. Data stops once you hit the cap.

The plan costs $199 per month, and $16.58 per month. At this rate, you pay $0.69 per GB. 

Features

Mint Mobile offers more features with their plans than Tracfone.

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.

Domestic Roaming Data

Mint Mobile and Tracfone do not include this feature.

Mexico & Canada Connection

Mint Mobile offers talk and text in Mexico and Canada included and roaming data at $0.06 per MB. Tracfone offers an add-on for calling capabilities in Mexico and Canada.

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. Tracfone offers an add-on for international calling capabilities.

Video Streaming Quality

Mint Mobile’s Unlimited plan streams at 480p Standard Definition, while their limited data plans stream at 4k Ultra High Definition. All Tracfone plans stream at 480p Standard Definition resolution.

Streaming Services

Mint Mobile and Tracfone do not include this feature.

Music Services

Tracfone includes a 3 month subscription to Pandora Premium when you sign up with any plan. Mint Mobile does not offer this feature.

Cloud Storage

Mint Mobile and Tracfone do not include this feature.

Device Financing

If you buy a phone from Mint Mobile, the carrier allows you to pay for your device in installments over time. Tracfone does not offer this feature.

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

Tracfone offers spam protection and call filtering on Android phones only. Mint Mobile does not offer this feature.

Free Trial

Mint Mobile offers a 7 day free trial. Tracfone does not offer this feature. 

Customer Service 

Mint Mobile and Tracfone do not have physical stores, leaving all of their customer service to online support. 

Mint Mobile and Tracfone are digital-only carriers, 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. Tracfone offers support over the phone at 1 (800) 867-7183, or you can text BUY to 611611.

The Verdict

Mint Mobile offers better deals. 

With the price per GB and included features, Mint Mobile offers much better deals on their plans. As such, you would save more money and get more data with these plans over Tracfone.

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

Want to compare other carriers?

Really.com helps users compare between features, coverage, price, reviews, and more!

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!

compare phone plans and save up to 80%

compare phone plans and save up to 80%

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Select your area of interest

your questions,
answered

does this phone service work everywhere?

Yep, we offer premium wireless service on the 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?

Yeah! 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.