Search results for

All search results
Best daily deals

Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

Google Fi Wireless vs Mint Mobile: What's best for you?

Why overspend? Find the best bang per buck here.
By

Published onDecember 30, 2023

Google Fi Wireless logo on smartphone with notebook SIM card and SIM ejector Stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

You’ll find great options in our list of the best prepaid plans, but two of the most popular MVNO cellphone service providers are Google Fi Wireless vs Mint Mobile. Those looking to avoid the big carriers and save some cash are probably considering these two. Which offers the best service and plans?

We’ll go category by category to figure out where you’ll be happier. It’s important to look at all factors, such as pricing, coverage, device options, and more. Let’s help you figure out where to make the switch.

QUICK ANSWER

Google Fi is a better option than Mint Mobile if you care for extra perks, such as free access to data-only SIMs, YouTube Premium, a Google One subscription, or roaming in Mexico/Canada. It also happens to be a better deal if you want a family plan with more lines. 

You should choose Mint Mobile over Google Fi if you want to save more and only need one or two lines. Or if you want a wider selection of devices available straight from the carrier.

Google Fi vs Mint Mobile: Pricing and plans

Money Stock Photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Pricing and plan options are likely the most important factors to consider when picking the right carrier. In the case of the Google Fi vs Mint Mobile dilemma, pricing schemes are quite differently approached.

First, it’s important to note that both Google Fi vs Mint Mobile offer unlimited national talk and text with all plans. The only differences are in data and extra features.

Let’s review the options below to determine how each company structures its plans.

Google FiMint Mobile
Limited data plans
Google Fi
Flexible:
$20 + $10 per GB for one line
$18 + $10 per GB per line for two lines
$17 + $10 per GB per line for three lines
$17 + $10 per GB per line for four lines
$16 + $10 per GB per line for five lines
$16 + $10 per GB per line for six lines

Mint Mobile
5GB:
$75 for three months
$120 for six months
$180 for 12 months

15GB:
$105 for three months
$150 for six months
$240 for 12 months

20GB:
$135 for three months
$210 for six months
$300 for 12 months
Unlimited data plans
Google Fi
Simply Unlimited:
$50 for one line
$40 per line for two lines
$27 per line for three lines
$20 per line for four lines
$20 per line for five lines
$20 per line for six lines

Unlimited Plus:
$65 for one line
$55 per line for two lines
$45 per line for three lines
$40 per line for four lines
$40 per line for five lines
$40 per line for six lines
Mint Mobile
Unlimited Plan:
$120 for three months
$210 for six months
$360 for 12 months

Are there intro deals?

Mint Mobile plans August 2023

We should highlight that Mint Mobile offers very enticing introductory prices to new customers. The plans listed in the image above will all cost $15 a month for the first three months, as of the time of this writing.

On the other hand, Google Fi Wireless offers no introductory deals. You do get a 7-day free trial, though.

Data limits

5G logo on graphic
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

All Mint mobile plans are technically unlimited. It will slow your speeds after you use the agreed data allowance. In the case of the Unlimited plan, your speeds will slow down after 40GB.

On the other hand, Google Fi will slow your speeds down after 35GB on the Simply Unlimited plan, or 50GB on the Unlimited Plus plan.

Things are slightly different if you use Google Fi’s Flexible plan. For starters, Google Fi offers what it calls Bill Protection. With this system in place, it ensures you won’t get charged any more per GB after a certain limit is reached. If you only have one line, that limit is 6GB, and that allotment increases when you have more lines.

This means the most you should pay with Google Fi Wireless Bill Protection is $80 for a single line. Any extra GB usage will be free. However, Google will slow down your speeds if you reach 15GB in one month. Those who want to continue using high data speeds will have to pay an extra $10 per GB for any high-speed data above 15GB. For example, if you use 16GB, you will pay $80 for the first 15GB, and $10 more for the extra one at full speeds. The total would be $90.

Which is more affordable?

Money Stock Photo 2 - Google Fi vs Mint Mobile
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

As you can see, these carriers are targeting different types of users. Google Fi’s Flexible Plan is the easiest to get into, just because you don’t have to pay for multiple months in advance. It only costs $20 for a line, with an additional $10 per GB you consume. This means you’ll be paying $30 at the lowest end.

All things considered, though, the cheapest Mint Mobile offer is the 5GB one, and that one costs the equivalent of $25 a month. That is already cheaper than using only 1GB on Google Fi’s Flexible plan. And with Mint Mobile, you get much more data. If you were to use 5GB on Google Fi Wireless, you would pay a total of $70. That’s a very significant difference on the lower end.

Are things any different once you move to the other end of the pricing spectrum? Not really. Mint Mobile’s Unlimited plan is $40 per month if you get it only for three months, and the price lowers if you pay for more months ahead of time. Fi’s Simply Unlimited plan costs $50. Google Fi Wireless slows down your data after 35GB, while Mint will do so after 40GB. Google Fi offers a more premium Unlimited Plus plan, which allows for using 50GB of data without slow-downs.

Other important factors are the types of discounts both services offer. While Mint Mobile offers discounts for paying for more months ahead of time, Google Fi cuts the price as you add more lines to your account. This means you’ll end up paying much less with Fi if you need a bunch of lines.

Let’s say you want four lines on an unlimited plan. On Mint Mobile, that would equate to $160 per month if you pay for three months in advance, or $120 per month if you prepay a whole year. On the other hand, four lines on Fi’s Simply Unlimited plan cost $80.

If you’re interested, we have a dedicated guide on Google Fi Wireless plans.

Other features

YouTube on smartphone stock photo 18
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

There is a reason why Google Fi is more expensive. This is simply because it really offers more, aside from just calling, texting, and data access.

For example, Google Fi offers data-only SIM cards for tablets and other devices, and there is no extra charge for these. The data-only SIM usage just counts against your data allotment. This means that with a Flexible plan, you only have to pay for the data that specific device uses. The higher-end Unlimited Plus plan also comes with a year of YouTube Premium, and 100GB of Google One storage.

Google Fi also offers free roaming in Mexico and Canada, our neighboring countries. We’re sure many of you will enjoy this feature.

Mint Mobile charges extra for roaming. You can call Mexico and Canada for free, but so can Google Fi users, and Mint Mobile subscribers don’t get free roaming in said countries.

Where can I buy Google Fi Wireless or Mint Mobile SIM cards?

You can get Google Fi Wireless SIM cards either from fi.google.com. Mint Mobile’s website also has its SIM card packs available. Alternatively, you can also get them from Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and other retailers.

Google Fi vs Mint Mobile: Coverage

Signal bars LG V60 - Google Fi vs Mint Mobile

Google Fi Wireless and Mint Mobile are both MVNO carriers. They piggyback off the T-Mobile network; both have access to 5G data. While both carriers should have the same coverage, their coverage maps don’t really seem to coincide. Google Fi’s coverage map is much healthier. You can check out the Google Fi and Mint Mobile coverage maps to compare.

Google Fi operates a little differently, depending on your device. Google has set things up to avoid paying extra fees to T-Mobile when possible. This means you will be using Wi-Fi calling on supported phones, for example. Additionally, Android 12 or newer devices will automatically connect to the W+ network when available. This is a series of Wi-Fi networks Google has partnered with. It could potentially improve your data speeds in congested areas, such as airports.

Google Fi vs Mint Mobile: Phone selection

EoY 2022 Best Phones on leather
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

We can confidently say Mint Mobile has a much wider selection of phones available. Mint offers devices of all kinds, and has most of the ones on Fi, too. Additionally, you can find high-end Android devices, iPhones, older phones, more budget options, etc. The list of devices you can purchase from Mint Mobile usually extends to about 30 options or more.

Google Fi offers only a handful of phones. These are all great, but they are only a handful. You’ll usually find about 15-20 options available straight from Fi. Google is much pickier about its phones, mainly because it wants to make sure it offers only ones that are optimized for Fi and can switch between networks more efficiently.

That said, Google Fi Wireless is usually much more generous with device deals. You’ll always find trade-in offers, discounts, and payment plans. Mint Mobile will only offer you small deals from time to time. As of the time of this writing, you can get a $50 discount on a device if you pay for 12 months of service in advance, for example. Mint Mobile is also currently giving away six months of service if you purchase a phone and a six-month plan.

Can I bring my own phone?

If you’re bringing your own phone, both carriers will accept it as long as the device is compatible with T-Mobile’s network. You can check the Google Fi Wireless and Mint Mobile compatibility tools, but these are the brands you will need.

T-Mobile bands:

  • Extended Range (XR) 5G: Band n71 (600 MHz)
  • Ultra Capacity (UC) 5G: Band n41 (2.5 GHz), Band n258 (24 GHz), Band n260 (39 GHz), Band n261 (28 GHz)
  • Extended Range 4G LTE: Band 12 (700 MHz), Band 71 (600 MHz)
  • 4G LTE: Band 2 (1900 MHz), Band 5 (850 MHz), Band 4 (1700/2100 MHz), Band 66 (Extension of band 4 on 1700/2100 MHz)
  • 2G (GSM, GPRS, EDGE): Band 2 (1900 MHz)

Which carrier is right for you?

Stock photo of Mint Mobile fox on phone with money 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

With all that in mind, which MVNO should you go with between Google Fi vs Mint Mobile? This will highly depend on your needs. If you want the absolute cheapest and won’t need many lines, then Mint Mobile is the absolute winner.

Even though you have to prepay at least three months at a time, Mint’s per-month equivalent pricing is very hard to beat. You can also reduce the pricing if you choose to pay for six months or a whole year ahead of time. And the first three months will be significantly cheaper, too.

That said, Google Fi Wireless will be cheaper if you need multiple lines. Its family plan options are actually quite impressive. Additionally, Goole Fi is a much better option if you want to get more out of your cellphone plan. Google Fi offers much better international services, added perks like YouTube Premium for a year with the Unlimited Plus plan, better device deals, and more.

These are important factors to consider, but some of you might not care for those extras, especially if you don’t go outside the USA much. You can always get a prepaid SIM card in the country you go to, anyway. It helps that you might save a good chunk of change in the process.

On the other hand, Google Fi’s phone selection is a bit limited. It doesn’t even offer iPhones, which we know many of you love. If you want more device options and want to get your phone directly from the carrier, Mint Mobile might be your best bet.