Phone Plans

Mint Mobile vs. Cricket Wireless: Which carrier is better?

By
Allison Radziwon
July 10, 2023

Mint Mobile and Cricket Wireless are popular prepaid carriers, as they both offer great deals on talk, text, and 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 

Coverage & Reception

Mint Mobile is on the T-Mobile network, while Cricket Wireless is on the AT&T network. 

Mint Mobile and Cricket Wireless 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 Cricket Wireless is an MVNO of AT&T. 

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 offers specific data buckets and hotspot access, while Cricket Wireless offers premium data. 

Both carriers give you unlimited talk and texting options with any plan you choose. Mint Mobile offers more plans with specific data buckets, while Cricket offers more unlimited options to choose from. All Mint Mobile plans offer hotspot access, while Cricket Wireless does not. Both companies deprioritize data, meaning you’ll have slower connection speeds in high traffic areas like concerts venues and shopping centers. However, Cricket Wireless’s Unlimited + 15GB hotspot plan, 10GB plan, and 5GB plans give users premium data. 

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. 

Cricket Wireless Plans

Cricket Wireless offers premium data on several of its plans

Cricket Wireless offers 4 plans, with 2 limited and 2 unlimited plans respectively. They offer premium data, which means your data will not slow down due to high network congestion. However, premium data on the limited plans will run out due to data caps.

Some plans allow hotspot access, while others require you to purchase an additional add-on in order to use it. 

As an AT&T MVNO, Cricket Wireless’s QCI tier is tier 8. Their unlimited base plan, however, is QCI tier 9. If you purchase your phone from Cricket Wireless, your device will be locked for 6 months after activation. The plans they offer renew monthly, and taxes and fees are included with the advertised price. You can also add up to 5 lines on a plan.

5GB 

This plan has 5GB of premium data.

This plan offers 5GB of premium data, which doesn’t slow down during high traffic. After, your connection slows down to 128 kbps, or 2G, speeds. With these speeds, you can send texts and emails or browse the internet. This plan does not come with hotspot access or the ability to add access. 

The plan costs $30 per month, with no available Autopay discount. At this rate, you get 5GB at $6 per GB. 

10GB 

This plan gives you premium data. 

This plan gives you 10GB of premium data, which slows down to 128 kbps, or 2G speeds after the cap. This plan does not include hotspot access, but can be added for $10 per month. You’ll get 10GB per month to use as hotspot data. 

The plan costs $40 per month before the $5 discount. At this rate, you get 10GB at $4 per GB. 

Unlimited 

This plan gives you unlimited data, but deprioritized. 

Cricket Wireless’s Unlimited plan offers unlimited data that does not slow down after any cap. However, the data you get is deprioritized, which means you’ll experience slower speeds during times of high congestion. The plan does not include hotspot access, but Cricket Wireless offers an add-on for 10GB of hotspot data for $10 per month. The hotspot stops after the 10GB are used. 

The plan costs $55 per month before the $5 Autopay discount. 

Unlimited + 15GB Hotspot 

This plan gives you unlimited premium data and access to 15GB of hotspot data included. 

As Cricket Wireless’s biggest plan, you get unlimited premium data. This means your data will not slow down no matter the traffic in the area and how much data you use. You also get 15GB of hotspot data, then unlimited hotspot data after this 15GB cap. Your speed will slow to 2G speeds after the cap. The plan also includes several features discussed below. 

The plan costs $60 per month before the $5 Autopay discount.

Features

Mint Mobile offers similar features with every plan, while Cricket Wireless offers features depending on which plan you purchase. 

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. Cricket Wireless features and perks depend on which plan you purchase from them, but Mint Mobile offers the same features with every plan. The only exception to this is video streaming quality on their Unlimited plan. 

Domestic Roaming Data

Cricket Wireless includes domestic roaming access, but in limited areas. Mint Mobile does 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. Cricket Wireless offers talk, text, and data included in Mexico and Canada with their Unlimited + 15GB hotspot and Unlimited plans, as well as new accounts that purchase their 10GB plan. 

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. Cricket Wireless offers international text included with their Unlimited + 15GB hotspot and Unlimited plans. They also offer an add-on for international calling. 

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 Cricket Wireless plans stream at 480p Standard Definition. 

Streaming Services

Cricket Wireless offers an ad-supported Max plan on their Unlimited + 15GB hotspot plan. Mint Mobile does not offer this feature.

Cloud Storage

Cricket Wireless offers 150GB of cloud storage using the myPhotoVault app on their Unlimited + 15GB plan. Mint Mobile does not offer this feature. 

Device Financing

Both carriers allow you to pay for your device in installments over time if you purchase a phone from them. 

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

Cricket Wireless offers Cricket Call Defense with all plans. Mint Mobile does not offer this feature.  

Free Trial

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

Customer Service 

Mint Mobile does not have physical stores, leaving all of their customer service to online support. Cricket Wireless has several locations. 

Mint Mobile is a digital-only carrier, 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. Cricket Wireless offers several stores across the country, and users can find the closest store to them with the website’s store locator. They also offer chat support from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mon. through Sat. and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays. They also offer support over the phone at 1-800-CRICKET (274-2538) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon. through Sat. 

The Verdict

Mint Mobile offers better deals overall, but Cricket Wireless’s Unlimited + 15GB plan is good for those looking for premium data. 

When it comes to limited data plans, Mint Mobile’s deals beat Cricket Wireless. They offer better deals per GB. Their Unlimited plan is also a better deal, even though Cricket Wireless doesn’t slow down speeds after a cap. It’s not necessary to buy an expensive plan for unlimited data if it's deprioritized – especially without included hotspot access. According to Ericsson Mobility, most smartphone users don’t use more than 20GB per month. So, the Mint Mobile Unlimited plan is a better deal. 

However, Cricket Wireless offers an amazing deal with their Unlimited + 15GB plan for those looking for something extra out of a phone plan. With included perks and unlimited premium data, this plan is worth the price. 

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!

Allison Radziwon
Allison Radziwon is a journalist from Pittsburgh, PA that specializes in phone plan advice.
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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?

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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.

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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.

How many SIMs will I be installing?

Great question. If you’re in Austin, TX, you’ll install 2 new SIMs. The REALLY nationwide SIM as your first SIM, which will give you voice / text & data on the nation’s largest and fastest 5G network powered by T-Mobile®. Your 2nd SIM will give you access to the REALLY DeWi network in Austin, TX, which you’ll prioritize when available so that you get even faster speeds and better coverage. Depending on your device, you may be able to install eSIMs via a QR code.

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How much data do you get on the unlimited plan?

The plan is unlimited, but once you reach 20GB you may experience slower speeds depending on network usage.

How much hotspot data do you get on the unlimited plan?

You get 10GB of hotspot data per month, but can add more if you need to.

How do I add more data to my plan?

You can chat with us, text us, or login to your account to top off. It only takes a few seconds.

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