Hello Mint SIM!
Teri and I recently had a very disappointing experience with T-Mobile. We both were 10+ year customers with grandfathered plans that were well below September 2017 new customer prices. Our problems began when we attempted to consolidate our separate phone plans to a 2-line family plan. I was told by customer service that it would be 20 dollars per month more than my Grandfathered rate of $65/month, so about $85/mo total, to add Teri to my existing plan. No problem, right?
After being juggled between the store and the customer service number 6 separate times, Teri found herself being told by a manager of T-Mobile's Customer Loyalty Department that they would not honor the $20/mo increase for an adding her line to my plan and that we both would be forced to accept the terms of a new Unlimited ONE Family Plan at the cost of $110/mo (versus the $85/mo originally promised). At the same time, in the course of visiting multiple T-Mobile stores and talking with customer service, the existing Family plan that Teri was sharing with her parents had been modified improperly by a T-Mobile store employee. This caused her parents an unintended rate spike. After a combined 20+ years with T-Mobile, the only action that the Loyalty Department Manager took was to correct the store employee's error and reverse the rate spike. We were told that we had no choice but to accept the Unlimited One Family Plan.
- Never accept that you have no options when it comes to a mobile service provider.
- When your customer loyalty means nothing, it is time to take your business elsewhere.
Prior to T-Mobile, I had been happy for several years with prepaid mobile providers. I had no problem owning my phone outright, and had enjoyed a $10-20 a month saving versus post-paid providers. Teri and I reviewed several of these carriers and found the following:
- It was difficult to get 2 lines for under $80/mo after taxes and fees.
- There almost always was some sort of upfront activation fee.
- WiFi Calling and Tethering was not included.
- Discounted carriers were on non-ideal networks for our location. (Sprint)
After a few hours of digging, Teri found Mint SIM and suggested that I research it further. Mint SIM, is a division of a prepaid wireless provider called Ultra with the following features:
- T-Mobile's network
- Free WiFi Calling and Tethering
- 2-lines for as low as $30/mo out the door.
- No activation fees
How can it be that cheap? by pre-paying for 3, 6, or 12 months of service upfront.
The Mathematical Truth:
Mint SIM vs. T-Mobile (2-Lines)
As you can see, Mint SIM is less than half the cost of the comparable T-Mobile plan. While I know that the T-Mobile plan has a much higher data allowance (30GB/mo), the average person uses less than 5GB/mo. Mint SIM allows users to upgrade data plans midterm by paying the difference between tiers. They also offer data allowance increases and international roaming on-demand. Even if you select the lowest tier plan, you are able to purchase add-ons for exactly what you need vs. paying a premium for what you'll never use. I tend to use more data service when I travel or attend technology conferences, so this flexibility could save me a nice chunk of change. Mint SIM + Google Voice would probably also make an excellent choice for affordable international calling.
At this point, I was sold on Mint SIM, but Teri need more convincing. We decided that I would take the plunge and sign up for the 3 month trial to test the service. Mint SIM gives you the same discount normally reserved for the prepaid 12 month plan during your 3 month trial.
I couldn't believe it. For the cost of 1 month of T-Mobile on my old plan, I had just prepaid for 3 months of service on Mint SIM. It took 3 days to receive my new SIM card and activation kit. Activation was straight-forward. I decided to port my old phone number from T-Mobile. The whole process took less than 2 hours before I received a welcome text and was fully activated. In following Mint SIMs comprehensive instructions, you will need to enter some settings into your phone to activate the data service, but I thought it was trivial.
I have been using the service for several days. Mint SIM has been fast and responsive in multiple locations around the Las Vegas Valley. Aside from data, I have not experienced any issues with dropped calls or missed texts. It consistently performs at the same level as my old T-Mobile account. Here are my Speedtest.net results:
I still have to test WiFi calling and tethering, but so far so good. I will post a follow-up article closer to the end of my trial. As it stands now, if T-Mobile's network provides the coverage and performance you need, you should definitely consider Mint SIM.