From $15 per month at Mint Mobile
- Lots of data
- Unlimited calls and texts
- Compatible with most phones
- Discounts in bulk
- Must buy in bulk
- Only one network
Buy in bulk to save money for service on T-Mobile’s network with Mint Mobile. Buy service with data in 3GB, 8GB, or 12GB chunks per month and save more when you buy more months in advance. Calls and texts are unlimited, and calling to Mexico and Canada is included.
Pay for what you use
From $6 per month at Ting Mobile
- Pay only for what you use
- Two networks to choose from
- Cheap entry price
- Gets expensive
- Data prices
For a light user or a backup phone, it’s hard to find a lower barrier to entry than Ting. With Ting, you only pay for what you use, but the price can grow quickly with heavier use, especially with data. If you are using more than a few megabytes in a month, you lose value.
If you only use your phone for a few calls and texts per month, Ting might be able to save you some money without giving up on coverage. If you want to get the most out of your smartphone, Mint Mobile makes a lot more sense with its smallest plan offering unlimited domestic calls and texts alongside a decent helping of data that is easily upgraded if your needs increase. For the majority of smartphone users that can afford to pay upfront and are covered by the T-Mobile network, Mint Mobile is a much better deal.
Making an educated guess
Mint Mobile sells its phone plans based on how much data you think you might need. The most economical choice would be to buy the package just above your usage amount so that you don’t go over, but don’t leave too much on the table. There is no rollover data. If you’re looking at your first smartphone, start small and work your way up. If you are just looking to save some money, you can get an idea of how many minutes, texts, or bytes of data you use from your previous bill.
Ting is aimed more at people that don’t use much data, but if your usage climbs, you can quickly overshoot the price of a data package. Mint Mobile is for people that use their phones every day and will use more than a few dozen MB of data. Mint Mobile’s starter plans are a staggering value over Ting for most smartphone users, but it isn’t a total victory.
|Minimum price||$15 per month||$6 per month|
|Calling and texting||Unlimited||Based on usage|
|Data||3GB 8GB 12GB||Based on usage $10 per GB after 2GB|
|Hotspot||Uses data||Uses Data|
The majority of users on either carrier will be using T-Mobile’s network, meaning that coverage between Mint Mobile and Ting should be very similar. Which carrier works best for you will ultimately come down to usage and pricing.
Mint Mobile’s plans
Mint Mobile has three plans that are available in three different durations. The difference between them is how much data you get. The plans come in at 3GB, 8GB, and 12GB. These plans fall in line pretty well with typical smartphone usage, and you can even upgrade to the next plan up if you find that your usage exceeds the data package you initially chose.
With Mint Mobile, you will need to pay for a minimum of three months upfront. This higher initial cost can make it more difficult to budget, but you maximize your per month saving by buying a longer-term. An introductory rate for the three-month package brings the cost down to $15 per month or $45 for three months.
Keep in mind that renewals will be at the standard rate.
|3 months||$15/mo. ($45) $25/mo. renewal||$15/mo. ($45) $35/mo. renewal||$15/mo. ($45) $45/mo. renewal|
|6 months||$20/mo. ($120)||$25/mo.($150)||$35/mo. ($210)|
|12 months||$15/mo. ($180)||$20/mo. ($240)||$25/mo. ($300)|
You can add more high-speed data at a rate of $10 for 1GB or $20 for 3GB if you run out. You can also upgrade to the next plan up if you feel you’ll need more every month in the middle of your billing cycle.
Not everyone uses their phone every day
It can be a bit strange for many of us to think about, but not everyone with a cell phone will use it as their main phone. There are still people that prefer to use a home phone for calling and haven’t really gotten into texting and persistent social media. We usually see these people at holiday meals. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want to have access to a cell phone when the situation calls for it. This is where Ting can be a great value since the base cost for a plan is just $6 per month.
Another use for this service could be as a backup phone service in a situation where you might not be able to use your primary phone. It’s worth remembering that good Wi-Fi can minimize the inconvenience of not having data.
On Ting, your monthly cost will likely be different each month since it depends on usage. If you want to get an idea of the potential cost, take a look at your usage on your current plan and enter it into Ting’s calculator.
Still, with Mint Mobile’s plan being as low as $15 per month, if you are willing to buy 12 months, Mint Mobile can quickly become a better value.
Since Ting works with T-Mobile’s highly-compatible network, users can use a low-cost device that may not be sold by a carrier. Compatibility with Sprint is a nice addition if you’ve got a compatible phone. You can check Ting’s coverage map for the T-Mobile network as well as the Sprint network to see which one will work best for you.
Mint Mobile makes use of T-Mobile’s network exclusively. Aside from not working with Sprint phones, you should see very similar coverage. Be sure to check Mint’s coverage map to be sure.
Both carriers offer international service. Mint Mobile includes calling to Canada and Mexico at no additional charge with additional countries supported for an additional fee. Roaming in other countries is available as well for with rates depending on the country.
Ting charges the standard rate for calling in 60 countries as well as other for an additional fee. Roaming outside of the U.S. is also available for an additional fee depending on the country.
If you are frequently talking to or texting someone from another country, using a messaging service like WhatsApp, Line, or Telegram can save you a lot of money and in many cases offer a better experience.
Which phones work?
Both carriers support a wide range of phones on T-Mobile’s LTE network. Pretty much any unlocked GSM phones should work as well as some from other carriers. Keep in mind that a phone with full support for the T-Mobile network will allow for a better signal in some areas. Ting has a little more support with access to the Sprint network as well.
To be sure, you should check you phone’s IMEI in Mint Mobile’s or Ting’s compatibility tool.
Both carriers sell phones ranging from the newest high-end Samsung and Apple devices down to the budget category. If you are trying to get a flip phone in 2020, Ting is your only option here. You can see what phone’s are available by visiting Mint Mobile’s online store or Ting’s online store.
Is Mint Mobile a fit for you?
Ting has one of the lowest barriers to entry anywhere with prices starting low and only increasing with usage, but if you intend to take advantage of your smartphone and can budget the upfront cost, Mint Mobile proves to be the better value. Ting’s main appeal of paying for only what you use just doesn’t hold up with people using their phones for more than ever. $45 can feel like a lot to get started on an MVNO, but with three months of service and enough data for standard usage at the introductory rate, Mint Mobile just makes more sense. Even at the $25 per month for three months renewal rate.
Save more by thinking ahead
From $15 per month at Mint Mobile
Mint Mobile makes a lot of sense if you are willing to buy a few months in advance and want to make the most of your smartphone. Save more by buying the year and upgrade to a larger plan if your needs grow.
Pay for what you use
Only for light users
From $6 per month at Ting
Simply put, Ting only really makes sense for light users and can be a great option for someone that mainly uses another phone and doesn’t need data away from home. Still, a low starting price is appealing.