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Prepaid Operator Profile: Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile Logo
This is one of Prepaid Phone News' series of comprehensive US prepaid mobile operator profiles. These profiles cover all the major US mobile operators' prepaid plans as well as MVNOs which offer a good value.

Overview: Mint Mobile is a brand of the T-Mobile MVNO Ultra Mobile. Like Ultra, Mint operates in the T-Mobile native network. Mint Mobile launched as Mint SIM in August 2016 and was re-branded as Mint Mobile in May, 2018.  Mint Mobile specializes in low cost three, six or twelve months plans.

Technology: GSM on the 1900 Mhz band with GPRS and Edge data support. 3G UMTS, HSPA amd HSPA+ data on one of either 1700 or 1900 Mhz depending on market. LTE service uses bands 2, 4, 12, 66 and 71.

Plans: Mint Mobile offers three, six and 12 month prepaid plans. Mint's month is 30 days. All plans include unlimited voice, messaging and data with varying amounts of high speed data as listed below.

Regular pricing:
  • 2 GB high speed data: $60/3 months ($20/month), $108/6 months ($18/month), $180/12 months ($15/month)
  • 5 GB high speed data: $90/3 months ($30/month), $144/6 months ($24/month), $240/12 months ($20/month)
  • 10 GB high speed data: $114/3 months ($38/month), $180/6 months ($30/month), $300/12 months ($25/month)
New user promotional pricing: New Mint Mobile customers are eligible for 3 month plans at special promotional pricing of:
  • 2 GB high speed data: $45/3 months ($15/month)
  • 5 GB high speed data: $60/3 months ($20/month)
  • 10 GB high speed data: $75/3 months ($25/month)
After the first 3 months, the regular prices apply.

Taxes and fees: Mint adds government point of sale taxes, including state and local sales and e911 taxes and the California MTS fee and plus a 1 to 3 percent Regulatory Recovery Fee to all plan purchases.

Data: Mint plans include varying amounts of 4G LTE data followed by unlimited data at 2G speeds of 128 Kbps or less for the rest of the plan month. Additional high speed data is available at $10 for 1 GB or $20 for 3 GB. Data Add-ons  expire at the end of your current 30-day plan month.

VoLTE: Mint supports VoLTE (Voice over LTE) on compatible phones. VoLTE delivers faster call connection and higher quality voice calls than legacy cellular audio.

WiFi Calling is available on supported phones.

Tethering: Mint Mobile's terms of service prohibit tethering or using your phone as a WiFi hotspot. However, a Mint press contact has confirmed to me that Mint allows hotspot use, if it works on your phone. Hotspot should work on most factory unlocked, non-carrier branded Android phones.

International Rates: All plans include unlimited international text messaging plus unlimited calling to Mexico and Canada, Calling to other countries is available with pay per minute pricing. Click here for international calling rates. Before you can make international calls to countries other than Mexico and Canada you must add money to your Mint Wallet at  my.mintmobile.com. Mint Wallet balances do not expire.

Sample rates for calling mobile phones are:
  • Canada 0¢ (unlimited calls are included with all plans)
  • China 1¢
  • France 2.5¢
  • India 1¢ 
  • Mexico 0¢ (unlimited calls are included with all plans)
  • Philippines 9¢
  • United Kingdom 1.5¢
Before you can make international calls to countries other than Mexico and Canada you must add money to your Mint Wallet at  my.mintmobile.com. Mint Wallet balances do not expire.

Mint Mobile has international direct dialing (no access code required)

Mint Mobile International Messaging: no extra charge, unlimited messaging is included with all plans

International roaming: Mint offers roaming voice, SMS and data roaming in over 100 countries. Calls cost 6¢/minute in Canada and Mexico and 25¢/minute in the rest of the world. Outbound texts are 2¢/each from Canada and Mexico and 5¢/each elsewhere. Incoming texts are free in all covered countries. Data is 6¢/MB in Canada and Mexico and 20¢/MB elsewhere. Roaming credit can be purchased in $5 increments at my.mintmobile.com or by texting UPROAM to 6700.

Coverage: Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile native network, which is larger than Sprint's but much smaller than AT&T or Verizon's networks. There is no off-network roaming. Coverage is available in cities and larger towns and along most interstates, but is lacking in many rural and resort areas. You can use Mint Mobile's coverage map to see detailed block by block coverage.

Trial Plan: Mint Mobile offers a $5 Trial Kit to help potential customers evaluate Mint coverage and performance. The kit comes with two SIMs. One SIM includes a trial plan with 100 minutes, 100 texts and 100 MB of data for testing. If the customer is satisfied with the service they can activate the second SIM and port their current non-Mint number to it

Devices: You can also use any T-Mobile USA or unlocked GSM device that supports the 1900 Mhz band. For LTE, AWS (LTE band 4) support is required and bands 2 and 12 are recommended for best LTE speed and coverage.

SIMs: are free with plan purchase on the Mint Mobile site.

Mint Mobile GSM data settings:
APN - wholesale (no user id, password or proxy needed.)
MMSC URL - http://wholesale.mmsmvno.com/mms/wapenc
MMS proxy: leave blank
MMS port: leave blank
MMS Max Message Size: 1048576 (iOS only)
MMS UA Prof URL: http://www.apple.com/mms/uaprof.rdf  1048576 (iOS only)
Authentication Type: (leave blank) (Android only)
APN Type: default,supl,mms (Android only)

The Mint site has detailed data setup instructions for Android and iOS. You can also Text ‘SETUP’ to 6700 to have settings sent to your phone.

How to Activate: Activate online or by calling (213) 372-7777. Activation is free. If you have a number from another operator that you want to port to Mint there's a porting option on the online activation form. To port a number you will need your account number and passcode from the operator you are porting from. See Porting Your Number? How to Find Your Account Number and Password.

Auto Renewal: When you purchase a Mint plan or activate a SIM you are automatically enrolled in auto renewal unless you uncheck a box on the purchase or activation screen. You can view or cancel your auto renewal or change your credit or debit card at my.mintmobile.com

Payment Options: If you aren't enrolled in auto renewal, you can manually renew your plan with credit or debit card at my.mintmobile.com.

If you create an account at my.mintmobile.com you can use the web site to set up auto pay, check your balance and plan expiration, switch plans, add money to your Mint Wallet for international calls and data add-ons and top up with a credit or debit card.

Account expiration: Plans renew every 90, 180 or 360 days. If you payment fails your service will be suspended. If you do not renew within 30 days after your account is suspended you may lose your phone number.

Account Management: You can check monthly usage of minutes, texts and data, change plans, and purchase data add-ons, international calling or roaming credit using a credit or debit card at my.mintmobile.com.

You can also check your Mint Wallet balance and expiration date of your current plan for free by sending a text to 6700 with the word BALANCE in the body of the message.  You can check your data usage by testing DATA to 6700

Call Records: Records of text messages and calls are not available.

Call Forwarding, Call Waiting and 3-Way Calling

To forward all calls to another number: Press **21*, the 10-digit number to which you wish to forward your calls, and # and SEND. For example: **21*1234567890# SEND, forwards your calls to the phone number 123-456-7890.  You will receive a confirmation message. Unless you are on an unlimited plan, you will be charged for forwarded calls.
To cancel call forwarding: Press #21# SEND. You will receive a confirmation message.

To forward unanswered calls only (conditional call forwarding): Press **004* followed by the number you want calls forwarded to and # and SEND (**004*1234567890# SEND) and wait for a confirmation tone or message. Unless you are on an unlimited plan, you will be charged for forwarded calls.
To cancel conditional call forwarding: Press #004# SEND and wait for a confirmation tone or message.

Call waiting: Call waiting is enabled by default. It lets you place one call on hold while you take another call. When you are on a call and have another incoming call, you will hear a short tone. You'll have approximately 30 seconds to answer before the second caller hears a standard message or is forwarded to voicemail. See your phone manual for specific instructions on using call waiting. The following generic instructions work on many phones:

To answer Call Waiting: To put the first call on hold, press "SEND." You'll automatically be connected with the second call. To return to the first call, press "SEND" again. To switch between the two calls, press "SEND."

3-Way Calling: 3-Way calling is supported . It lets you create a conference call between yourself and two or more other people. See your phone manual for specific instructions on using 3-way calling. The following generic instructions work on many phones:
  • While on the first call, dial the 10-digit number of the second person and press "SEND." The first person is automatically put on hold while the call is made.
  • When the 2nd person answers, press "SEND" to create the conference call.
Mint Mobile "Secret" Codes:
*#06# displays the phone's IMEI (serial number)

Mint Mobile SMS commands:
Text HELP or MENU to 6700 to get a list of available commands
Text BALANCE to 6700 to get your MINT Wallet balance
Text UPDATE to 6700 to purchase more high-speed data.
Text DATA to 6700 to see your remaining and used data
Text SETUP to 6700 to get data and MMS settings sent to your phone

Free information services calls
611 - Mint Mobile customer care
711 - Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) for the hearing and speech impaired
911 - Emergency services

Customer Service: Available M-F 5 AM - 7 PM PT, SAT 8 AM - 5 PM PT,  SUN 9 AM - 6 PM PT.

Phone support: Call 611 from your Mint Mobile phone or 800-683-0446 from another phone

Email support: [email protected]

Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, InstagramMint Mobile User Forum

Phone Sales and General Information Web Sitewww.mintmobile.com

Mint Mobile Pros: Very competitive pricing, international direct dialing, no extra charge international texting, unlimited international calls to Canada and Mexico included with all plans, low international rates, BYOD, call forwarding.

Mint Mobile Cons: Must purchase a year's worth of of service for the best rates, limited T-Mobile native coverage, data add-ons expire with plan month, taxes and fees, tethering not allowed, no call records.

17 comments:

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  1. I tried them but the coverage was spotty at best and very slow during certain days and times. Overall it was ok but did not meet my needs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tethering's prohibited. That's news to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, went back, looked it up and it isn't true. See this page, for example: https://www.mintmobile.com/product/12-month-10gb-plan-sim-kit/

      "Mobile HotSpot: turn your device into a WiFi hotspot"

      Delete
    2. On the other hand Terms & Conditions | Mint Mobile says:

      "Other uses, including for example, using your Device as a modem or tethering your Device to a personal computer or other hardware, are not permitted."

      Which is true? Mint Mobile needs to make up its mind

      Delete
    3. Ah, I see. Well, FWIW I've been a customer since September and have used my phone to create a hotspot before with no apparent issues. Haven't used a ton of data though when using hotspot; 50-100MB at most.

      Also, a person supposedly the COO of Mint posts in r/mintmobile on Reddit. He has replied in regards to a question with an answer other than "hotspot is not permitted." See here: https://www.reddit.com/r/mintmobile/comments/8hh9eu/having_trouble_testing_hotspot_and_wifi_calling/

      Delete
  3. Just read your profile on Mint Mobile . Very informative. It would be helpful if you provided info about their locking policy.

    Recently I learned that my iphone 5s is locked by Total Wireless. I wanted to take it to another carrier but was unable due to the lock and now is for all practical purposes useless.

    I bought the phone from Total. After 11 months I called Total that the phone was defective. I was instructed to call Apple. Apple attempted to fix my phone but could not, so they gave me a new phone. I walked out of the Apple store with a new phone already connected to the Total Wireless network.

    Total Wireless has a 12 month lock policy. I just learned the 12 month lock policy restarted with my replacement phone.I was a customer of Total Wireless until March 2018 - 19 months and yet my phone is locked.

    To me Total has taken advantage of my misfortune. I was a holder of a defective iphone and Total used my misfortune to lock me into their network for what would be 23 months. (11 months with my first phone and then 12 months with my replacement phone) In my view this is "price gouging"

    I have written to the FCC about this issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mint doesn't sell phones

      Delete
    2. Just sell the phone as total wireless locked.

      Delete
    3. Re: Unknown @ 1001 AM
      I don't understand. If "Apple" gave you a new phone, how is it locked to Total Wireless instead of being unlocked?
      Apple doesn't sell iPhones with TracFone/Total Wireless software inside do they?

      Delete


    4. @Unknown -- first check the unlock eligibility at:

      https://www.tfwunlockpolicy.com


      If it says not eligible, then contact Tracfone Executive Resolutions Department at 305-715-6500 X1029 during business hours and explain what happened. Tell them you need to have the phone unlocked or will be filing an FCC complaint.

      If they don't agree to an unlock, file an FCC complaint online.

      Also, contact Apple (800-APL-CARE) and tell them you need to have your case forwarded by a Senior Level Advisor to the Engineering team, in order to have a new Activation Policy issued for your phone's IMEI. Politely demand a new Activation Policy that unlocks your phone at the end of the original 12 months.

      Delete
  4. Have had mint mobile for 3 months. 14.5 Mbps download but only 1.8 Mbps upload. what's up with that ?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Current customer here. Visual voicemail availability is recent and hit or miss. Non-existent on iPhones, sporadic availability on phones under the Android umbrella. Oddly enough, it was available on BB10.

    Also, the last sentence in the call forwarding instructions seems unnecessary: Mint plans all come with unlimited talk.

    ReplyDelete
  6. No unlimited, no sale

    ReplyDelete
  7. These appear to be errors,
    2 GB high speed data: $60/3 months (*$23*/month)
    10 GB high speed data: $75/3 months (*$23*/month
    2G speeds of 128 Kbps or less for the rest *on* the plan month

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dennis, there are reports of chronic issues with voicemail across Mint Mobile's reddit page and their forum (community.mintmobile.com)

    Maybe VM QoS should be listed under cons.

    ReplyDelete
  9. In their official forum, a Mint Mobile rep posted a new recovery fee structure:

    "The Regulatory Recovery Fee is calculated as a flat fee of $1.25 for a one-month plan; $2.75 for a 3-month plan; $5.25 for a 6-month plan; and $10.25 for a 12-month plan. A flat per transaction fee ($0.50 for service charges of $10.00 or less and $1.00 for service charges of $10.01 or more) may apply for non-plan service purchases"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In other words, the regulatory recovery fee is no longer 1 to 3 percent.

      Delete
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