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Mint Mobile vs Cricket Wireless: Which is better for you?

Let's help you find the right prepaid carrier.

Published onMarch 22, 2024

Cricket Wireless stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Big mobile carriers have a lot to offer, but sometimes, it’s better to get back to the basics and go with a prepaid plan. The best deals usually come from MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) carriers. These tend to provide fewer bells and whistles, but they also cost significantly less. Today, we’ll compare two of the most popular budget carriers in this Mint Mobile vs Cricket Wireless comparison.

We’ll take a look at pricing, plans, coverage, phone selection, and more. Let’s jump right in and see which is the best bet for your specific needs.

Mint Mobile vs Cricket Wireless: Pricing and plans

Money Stock Photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’re eyeing Mint Mobile and Cricket Wireless, we can assume you’re trying to find a good deal. Luckily, both have great options. Their offerings come with some differences, though.

Before we jump into the offerings, it’s important to note all these plans come with unlimited calls and texting. Additionally, pretty much all of these plans essentially come with unlimited data. Options with a data allowance will still let you browse after you surpass the established cap. You’ll just be throttled to slower data speeds.

Mint Mobile plansCricket Wireless plans
Limited data plans
Mint Mobile plans
$75 for three months
$120 for six months
$180 for one year

$105 for three months
$150 for six months
$240 for one year

$135 for three months
$210 for six months
$300 for one year
Cricket Wireless plans
$30 per month

$40 per month
$70 per month for two lines
$90 per month for three lines
$110 per month for four lines
$130 per month for five lines
Unlimited data plans
Mint Mobile plans
$120 for three months
$210 for six months
$360 for one year
Cricket Wireless plans
Unlimited plan:
$55 per month
$80 per month for two lines
$90 per month for three lines
$100 per month for four lines
$125 per month for five lines

Unlimited + 15 GB Mobile Hotspot Plan:
$60 per month
$90 per month for two lines
$110 per month for three lines
$130 per month for four lines
$160 per month for five lines

Are there intro deals?

Mint Mobile plans March 2024

Both Mint Mobile and Cricket Wireless have their own ways of luring you into switching to them, but they are different types of offers.

Cricket Wireless has plenty of smartphone discounts, which require transferring your number from a competitor. Because AT&T owns Cricket, this won’t work if you’re coming from AT&T. Device deals can get very juicy if you can take advantage of them, though, and many of these phones are actually free if you go through the process.

Mint Mobile uses a different approach to make switching to it more enticing. Instead of discounting devices, it gives you a huge discount on the first three months of service. Plans listed in the table will cost $45 for the first three months, regardless of which plan you pick.

Just remember that pricing will return to normal after the first three-month period, when the plan renews. This is an excellent offer if you’re thinking of switching and bringing your own device with you.

Data limits

Mobile data usage
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

As we mentioned above, plans with a data allotment will get slowed down after they reach the agreed threshold. What about unlimited plans, though?

Mint Mobile has a fair use policy of 40GB for its Unlimited plan. Speeds will be slowed down after that. Cricket Wireless is more lenient with its data speed restrictions. Previous Unlimited plan subscribers used to get slowed down only if they exceeded 22GB and the network was congested. This means you could just use data away if you weren’t in a congested area.

Throttling has become one of Cricket’s differentiators between its two Unlimited plans. The basic Unlimited plan may slow down your speeds if the network is congested, and there is now no mention of a 22GB soft cap. This could be bad news, as Cricket might throttle you even if you don’t use much data.

Heavy data users will love the benefits of the Unlimited + 15 GB Mobile Hotspot plan, though. Cricket Wireless strictly specifies that this plan comes with “unlimited high-speed data that won’t slow based on your data usage.” This is very neat, and actually rare in the market.

Which is more affordable?

Credit cards and debit cards stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

No matter which plan you get, Mint Mobile has the edge in terms of pricing. At least if you get a single line.

Mint’s base 5GB plan costs $15-$25, depending on how many months you prepay. This competes directly with Cricket’s 5GB plan, which costs $30. Mint no longer offers a 10GB plan. Cricket provides this option for $40.

Mint’s Unlimited plan is also very similar to Cricket’s, and this is when the fundamental differences start showing up. Mint’s Unlimited plan costs the equivalent of a monthly $30-$40. Meanwhile, Cricket charges $55. This means even the most expensive Mint Unlimited offering is $10 cheaper than Cricket’s alternative.

Cricket Wireless is much cheaper than Mint Mobile if you need multiple lines.

Mint’s Unlimited plan also has 10GB of hotspot data, which Cricket charges extra for. That is, unless you upgrade to Cricket Wireless’ Unlimited + 15 GB Mobile Hotspot plan, which Mint Mobile actually has no competition for. Instead of a higher-end plan, Mint offers something in the mid-end with its 20GB plan.

However, Mint Mobile is technically only cheaper if you have one or two lines. Those with multiple lines will benefit from Cricket’s multi-line discounts, which are pretty substantial. Not to mention that Mint offers no discounts on family plans, claiming you are already saving plenty of cash.

For example, say you want four lines on an Unlimited plan. On Mint Mobile, that would equate to $120 per month. With Cricket Wireless, the same family plan would cost you $100, and you wouldn’t need to prepay for any future amount of months.

Other features and perks

HBO Max logo on smartphone stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Of course, price isn’t everything, even if it is an essential factor. The truth is we are all willing to pay more if we deem a service worth it, and this is why we think extra features and perks are important.

Mint Mobile offers no real extras. It is a simple carrier without bells and whistles that is designed to save you as much money as possible. They have left all the perks off. Cricket is a bit more like bigger carriers in this regard, though.

If you commonly frequent our neighboring countries, you will definitely prefer Cricket Wireless. All Cricket plans, except the 5GB one, offer free roaming in Mexico and Canada, as well as calls to said countries. On the other hand, Mint Mobile only offers calls to Mexico and Canada for free; roaming costs extra.

If you’re a fan of Max, Cricket Wireless also includes the ad-supported subscription for free with its Unlimited + 15 GB Mobile Hotspot plan. That’s a neat perk you won’t often see with these MVNO carriers. The same plan also has 150GB of cloud storage, but it is through myPhotoVault, which is a Cricket application and not one of the best cloud storage solutions.

Mint Mobile vs Cricket Wireless: Coverage

5G logo on graphic
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

What good is a great price, or an excellent selection of features, if coverage is bad in your area? This is why checking which network your MVNO carrier uses to provide its service is important.

Mint Mobile is powered by the T-Mobile network. Because AT&T owns Cricket Wireless, that’s the network Cricket piggybacks off of. Your area and device will affect your data and signal performance, but overall, AT&T is known to have more coverage. You’ll quickly notice this if you check out the Mint Mobile and Cricket Wireless coverage maps.

The difference in coverage might not affect you, though. And you do get both 4G LTE and 5G support with both carriers. Most city dwellers will do fine with either network.

Mint Mobile vs Cricket Wireless: Phone selection

Smartphones 2024 angled
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

There is a significant difference in phone selection when comparing Mint Mobile vs Cricket Wireless. Mint Mobile has well over 50 devices available most of the time, and this includes some of the most desirable phones in the market, such as the iPhone 15 series, Samsung Galaxy S23 series, Galaxy Z fold 5, Pixel 8 devices, and many more, including a plethora of budget handsets.

Cricket Wireless’ selection isn’t necessarily bad, but it is less extensive. The choice of phones isn’t as desirable either. There are a few popular phones, such as the iPhone 15 series, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE, and the iPhone SE. All the other options are either older or not as sought after.

That said, Cricket Wireless is much more generous with its device discounts. Mint Mobile usually doesn’t offer deals on smartphones. With Cricket, free or heavily discounted phones are very common.

Can I bring my own phone?

ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra in hand
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

You can certainly bring your own device to either of these MVNOs. You just need to make sure they are compatible with their respective networks. Both Mint Mobile and Cricket Wireless have tools for checking compatibility.

Make sure to look into our list of the best unlocked phones if you need some help getting a new device.

Which carrier is right for you?

If price is your main deciding factor, which is the best carrier in the Mint Mobile vs Cricket Wireless dilemma will depend on your needs. More specifically, it depends on whether you’ll be signing up for multiple lines or not.

Mint Mobile doesn’t discount lines, and all of its offerings are either equal to or more affordable than Cricket’s. The price difference becomes even more significant if you pay for more months in advance with Mint Mobile. On the other hand, discounts can get substantial once you start adding more lines to a Cricket Wireless account.

Regarding coverage and performance, AT&T’s network is known for being generally better than T-Mobile’s. This means you might have a better connection if you go with Cricket Wireless. However, your experience may vary depending on your area, your device, congestion, and other factors. It’s best to ask around your location to see which network is better.

Those looking for a fuller plan with extra perks and features might also want to look further into what Cricket Wireless has to offer, too. Free roaming in Mexico and Canada will be a great addition to many of you, not to mention a possible free HBO Max subscription.

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