Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.
Google Fi vs Mint Mobile: Which is a better deal?
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 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.
Google Fi vs Mint Mobile: Pricing and plans
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 go through the options below to figure out how each company structures its plans.
|Google Fi||Mint Mobile|
Limited data plans
$20 + $10 per GB for one line
$18 + $10 per GB per line
$17 + $10 per GB per line
$17 + $10 per GB per line
$16 + $10 per GB per line
$16 + $10 per GB per line
$75 for three months
$120 for six months
$180 for 12 months
$105 for three months
$150 for six months
$240 for 12 months
$135 for three months
$210 for six months
$300 for 12 months
Unlimited data plans
$50 for one line
$40 per line for two lines
$25 per line for three lines
$20 per line for four lines
$20 per line for five lines
$20 per line for six lines
$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
$120 for three months
$210 for six months
$360 for 12 months
Are there intro deals?
We should highlight that Mint Mobile offers very enticing introductory prices to new customers. The plans listed in the table will cost $45 for the first three months on the 4GB plan, $60 for the first three months on the 10GB plan, $75 for the first three months on the 15GB plan, and $90 for the first three months on the Unlimited plan. Prices will normalize after the three months pass.
On the other hand, Google Fi offers no introductory deals. You just kind of have to jump into it with both feet in.
All Mint mobile plans are technically unlimited. It will just slow your speeds after you use up the agreed data allowance. In the case of the Unlimited plan, your speeds will slow down after 35GB.
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 a little different if you are using 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 Bill Protection is $80 for a single line. Any extra GB usage will be free. Google will slow down your speeds if you reach 15GB in one month, though. Those who want to continue using high data speeds will have to pay an extra $10 per GB for any data above 15GB. As an 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?
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 4GB 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 4 times the data. If you were to use 4GB on Google Fi, you would pay a total of $60. 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. Google Fi’s Simply Unlimited plan costs $50. They both slow down your data after 35GB. 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.
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 it if you have the Unlimited Plus plan. In the case of the 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 Mobiel 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.
Google Fi vs Mint Mobile: Coverage
Google Fi and Mint Mobile are both MVNO carriers. They piggyback off the T-Mobile network, and 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, devices running Android 12 or newer 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
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 over 50 options.
Google Fi offers only a handful of phones. These are all great, but they are only a handful. You’ll usually find under 15 options available straight from Fi. Google is much pickier about its phones, mostly 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 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.
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 and Mint Mobile compatibility tools, but these are the brands you will need.
- 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?
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 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, anyways. 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.