Every once in a while, I will be doing reviews on software, products, and anything else I try on my way to F.I.R.E.(Financial Independence Retire Early). My primary goal for these blogs is to provide “no BS” reviews to help others make well-informed decisions on things recommended in the financial independence community.
Personally, I don’t fully trust most reviews I find online. So many personalities from YouTube, lifestyle blogs, etc., are getting paid to provide a “good review that muddy the waters for us consumers. I appreciate their hustle; however, a monetary-driven review has little utility for me.
These blogs will not be influenced by money. They will be an honest take on my experiences with whatever I am writing about—hopefully, better serving you readers.
Now that the stage is set, time for the first review, the Mint Mobile phone service.
As of this writing, I have had my Mint Mobile phone plan since July 2020, about ten months. I would like to think I have put it through its paces with trips to the mountains, national parks, cities, and my neighborhood. The only thing I would like to see is how it works out of the country. That last box will be checked soon, and I will provide an update (if I remember).
I first heard about this plan from the ever-famous Mr.Money Mustache in two of his blogs, “Introducing Coverage Critic: Time to Kill the $80 Mobile Phone Bill Forever” and “Best Cell Phone Plans For Frugal People.” This was back when I was working my way through his backlog of archived blogs—tons of gold in there, by the way. Not every blog was for me, but I do enjoy his writing style. I highly recommend that journey to anyone just getting started with F.I.R.E..
Anyways, back on topic. After reading the blogs, more googling, and more blogging. I decided to dig further into the phone plan.
For me, a lower phone bill would be outstanding, but I was more concerned about coverage. I needed to make sure the signal was adequate. Most of these “cheap” plans ride on the spare bandwidth of the more prominent brands. This means that your conversation and data never have priority. This then means you could be using the same tower as your friend who is on a Verizon plan and have one bar compared to their four. Yea, this has happened to me, but I am jumping ahead a little.
About Mint Mobile
Their site has a great way to check coverage, and in my area of Charleston, SC, I have an “excellent” signal. A look at the coverage map also shows high 5G and 4G density in my area. So far, so good.
Next, I wanted to understand the process of switching from my carrier to Mint. The “how it works page” explains that you can use your current phone, and they just send you a sim card. Sweet. No extra costs to use this plan.
I was actually worried I couldn’t use my phone. At one point, I was considering Google Fi but the fact that I had to spend hundreds of dollars to get a new phone killed the idea.
Next, I looked at their plans. Their plans range from three months up to a year, for as little as $15 per month with their six-month intro pricing package.
I am not going to lie; these prices made me drool a bit. For two months of my Verizon plan, I got one year of Mint Mobile.
But they do have a caveat. The intro prices go up once renewal comes around. Honestly, they don’t go up by much, just $5 or $10 per month, depending on the number of months you choose. However, they will let you keep the low rate if you renew for one year.
For instance, if you sign up for the intro three-month 4GB plan for $20, which I did, the price goes up to $25 for a three-month renewal. However, if you choose to renew for twelve months, the price drops to $15, which I also did. Just take a look at the pricing and see what works for you.
Honestly, the three-month plan was a perfect timeframe to see if I liked the service. I took some trips and was able to see the coverage in action.
Quality of Signal
Now time for the review. Did the low-cost Mint Mobile perform well? It gets a “meh.” For service compared to my old Verizon plan, I give it 2 out of 5 stars.
Maybe I should use a different icon instead of stars. How about fires? Yea, let’s go with that.
Quality of Phone Service 🔥🔥
I found that almost all the time, my service is worse than my friends across all the major carriers: T-mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. There is no exaggeration here. But not only that, often on the outskirts of the city I am at one bar, and I can’t do anything. Zilch. It gets very annoying, to say the least.
You may be thinking, but that’s normal on the outskirts. Nope. My Verizon friends are getting four bars.
But, lucky for me, most of the time, I am on Wi-Fi, and thus Wi-Fi calling saves me.
To compensate for the inconsistent service, I make sure to download songs and audiobooks for my trips.
On the plus side, I did find that my signal on the interstate was fine.
Another weird issue I have noticed with my phone service is that random calls don’t come through and ring. They will go straight to voicemail, even on Wi-Fi or with a good signal. I have no idea why this is and haven’t dug too deep. But I did not have this issue with Verizon unless reception was terrible.
Based on the quality of the phone signal, if you are always away from a Wi-Fi source or heavily rely on your phone for a living, I would not use Mint Mobile.
Ease of Use
Even though the signal is a little shoddy, they have done a fantastic job making the switch-over process easy. I think it took me about ten minutes, and my service was switched. No dealing with salespeople. No sitting in an office. They just sent me the sim, a little tool to open the sim compartment, and a link to a how-to video. Super easy to set up.
Paying is just as easy. The user portal is intuitively designed and a breeze to navigate. Just set up your payment with your chosen plan and let it roll.
For the website and setup, I would definitely give them perfect scores. I haven’t seen it done better anywhere else.
Ease of Setup 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Customer Portal 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
For most people in a city, I think Mint Mobile would work fine, especially for those who don’t use their phones much. For business owners who require their mobile phones to receive business calls all day, probably not.
Mint Mobile is dirt cheap and works well for what they charge. At no point during this ten-month time frame have I been so frustrated with the service that I felt the need to switch back immediately. But I am also not one of those people who are always on it, everywhere I go. I use it to listen to music in the car and to navigate. Neither of them has issues I haven’t resolved permanently. For calls, I just wait to get on a major road before calling back.
If you are still considering Mint Mobile, just give it a try. The worst-case scenario is you save money while you use them and can just switch back to your old service afterward.
Final Rating 🔥🔥🔥