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How do the two T-Mobile MVNOs compare?

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How do the two T-Mobile MVNOs compare?

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Prepaid carriers are having a moment. Not only are there more MVNOs available than before, but they are also gaining in popularity. More consumers are learning you don’t need to stick with AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon to get quality phone service. If you’re looking to say money, Tello and Mint Mobile are both great T-Mobile MVNOs. In this guide, we compare Mint Mobile vs Tello to help you decide which carrier is right for you. 

Plan Cost Talk & Text Data Extras
Plan

Mint 5GB

Cost

$75 for three months ($25/m)
$120 for six months ($20/m)
$180 for 12 months ($15/m)

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

5GB LTE/5G access

Extras

Hotspot up to data limit

Plan

Mint 15GB

Cost

$105 for three months ($35/m)
$150 for six months ($25/m)
$240 for 12 months ($20/m)

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

15GB LTE/5G access

Extras

Hotspot up to data limit

Plan

Mint 20GB

Cost

$135 for three months ($45/m)
$210 for six months ($35/m)
$300 for 12 months ($25/m)

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

20GB LTE/5G access

Extras

Hotspot up to data limit

Plan

Mint Unlimited

Cost

$120 for three months ($40/m)
$210 for six months ($35/m)
$360 for 12 months ($30/m)

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

45GB high-speed LTE/5G access
Unlimited 2G after

Extras

10GB hotspot access

Plan

Tello 500MB

Cost

$9 a month

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

500MB of high-speed data, unlimited 2G after

Extras

Hotspot up to plan limit
Free calling to 60+ countries from within the US

Plan

Tello 1GB

Cost

$10 a month

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

1GB of high-speed data, unlimited 2G after

Extras

Hotspot up to plan limit
Free calling to 60+ countries from within the US

Plan

Tello 5GB

Cost

$19 a month

Talk & Text

Unlmited

Data

5GB of high-speed data, unlimited 2G after

Extras

Hotspot up to plan limit
Free calling to 60+ countries from within the US

Plan

Tello 10GB

Cost

$24 a month

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

10GB of high-speed data, unlimited 2G after

Extras

Hotspot up to plan limit
Free calling to 60+ countries from within the US

Plan

Tello Unlimited

Cost

$29 a month

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

25GB of high-speed data, unlimited 2G after

Extras

Hotspot up to plan limit
Free calling to 60+ countries from within the US

Mint Mobile vs Visible: Pricing and value

tello featured

Mint Mobile is known for its aggressive pricing, but you need to pay for months upfront, with the best deals reserved for those who pay for an entire year at once. Unlike Mint, Tello sticks to a more traditional monthly payment structure. That said, the carrier offers a lot more customization with data packages ranging from as little as 500MB to unlimited. You can even get limited calling and texts to save a little money. In the table above we just picked a few of the most popular configurations to make it easier to compare.

Both carriers offer limited and unlimited options, but who has the better deal? In many cases, Mint Mobile offers better limited rates than Telo, though the catch is you need to pay for the whole year at once. For example, Telo charges $19 a month for 5 GB of data and unlimited talk/text, versus $180 for 12 months on Mint — this works out to $15 a month, $9 less! For those who choose to pay three months at a time, you’ll chalk up $75, which works out to $25 a month, $6 more than Telo.

A similar story plays out across all of Tello and Mint’s various plans, with the exception of unlimited data. Even if you pay for a year in advance, Mint Mobile’s unlimited data is still $1 more a month. Of course, there’s more to this than meets the eye. Neither plan has truly unlimited high-speed data and reverts down to barely usable speeds after you blow through the cap. For Tello, that’s just 25GB, while Mint’s Unlimited Plan gives you 45GB in total. 

All-in-all, we’d recommend Tello’s monthly plans unless you are willing to pay for a full year’s service at once, and then Mint Mobile mostly comes out on top. If you don’t use much data at all, you’ll also find Tello’s 1GB plan is a great deal at just $10 a month.  For those interested in unlimited data, Mint Mobile is the better deal, but again only if you pay for a year at once. It’ll still cost you a dollar more a month, but you get 20GB more data. 

Mint Mobile coverage vs Tello: How do they compare?

mint mobile map

Since both these carriers are independent but run on T-Mobile’s network, you can expect very similar coverage maps. T-Mobile has a great network and only continues to get better. Just be aware that the actual T-Mobile coverage map likely factors in roaming agreements, something you won’t get with an MVNO. 

Mint Mobile vs Visible: Data and Prioritization

We already made it clear that Mint Mobile’s unlimited data plan gives you more data at 45GB of premium data, versus the 25GB on Tello. But what about network priority? Both are going to be prioritized over T-Mobile’s own high-end plans, though you’ll find they are actually prioritized similarly to the T-Mobile Essential plan. This means Telo and Mint will sometimes see their speeds drop during times of major congestion, but in our experience, Mint still provides decent speeds on average, and most of the time, I never hit lower than 9-15Mbps, even during busier times when visiting in St Louis, Missouri.

Where I live in rural Missouri? The speeds between Mint and T-Mobile postpaid aren’t all that dissimilar. We’re still doing more tests on Tello’s network to see how it performs in the city, but it looks like the performance will be similar here too. 

Mint Mobile vs Tello: Extras, promotions, and phone selection

Google Pixel 7a front with box

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Tello and Mint like to keep things simple, so don’t expect much in the way of perks. Both carriers give you free calling to Mexico and Canada, but Tello also includes calling and texting in up to 60 countries. Mint also offers calling in 160+ countries, but it requires you to pay for it.  

Turning to promotions, Mint currently is charging just $15 for the first three months of service across all of its plans. It also has many phone deal promotions, which include the option to finance monthly. There’s also a wide selection of phone choices, including the iPhone 14 series, Samsung Galaxy S23 family, and even more unique devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Visit Mint’s website for a complete list of available phones. 

Outside of its better international calling support, Tello can’t compete. It rarely has many special deals, and its phone selection isn’t nearly impressive. The newest Samsung is the Galaxy S22, now a year old. The newest Apple device is the iPhone 13. You’ll also see a lot more bargain-bin devices, including those made from the company NUU.  If you want a newer phone, you’ll have to bring it to the network yourself in unlocked form. 

Overall we have to give this one to Mint. 

Mint Mobile vs Tello: Which carrier is right for you?

mint mobile sim
  • Overall Winner: Mint Mobile 

Mint Mobile and Tello were tied in almost every area above, with the exception of extras, promotions, and phone selection. Still, that’s a pretty important win. 

I really like Mint Mobile and enjoy the idea of paying once a year and forgetting about it. For those that get big tax refunds, this could be the perfect time to pay your bill. You’ll get the best prices, and yet the actual service between Tello and Mint is going to be very similar. We also appreciate that Mint Mobile has just as many promotions as many bigger carriers and has a massive library of phones up for purchase. 

Ultimately we’re going to declare Mint Mobile as the better choice of the two, unless you absolutely can’t afford to pay for your phone service one year in advance. If you prefer to stick to monthly payments, Tello comes close in pricing and offers pretty much identical coverage and service. 

Tello vs Mint Mobile: which is the better choice?

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Who am I, and why should you trust me?

As a writer in the mobile industry for over a decade, I’ve been at this for a long time. While I’ve had a lot of areas of focus in that time, carriers are one of my biggest focus points these days.  I’ve used T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, Visible, Google Fi, Cricket, US Mobile, Mint Mobile, and several other carriers for extended periods on and off throughout the years. I’m also currently testing Tello out as well. 

I’m regularly acquiring SIM cards from prepaid carriers in order to see how they compare to the big players in the space. When I write about prepaid and postpaid services, you can be sure that I’ll have actual real-time experience and insights. 

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Harmony Evans is an award-winning author of Harlequin Kimani Romance, African-American romance, and so on. Harmony Evans is an award-winning author for Harlequin Kimani Romance, the leading publisher of African-American romance. Her 2nd novel, STEALING KISSES, will be released in November 2013. Harmony is a single mom to a beautiful, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter, who makes her grateful for life daily. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, knitting, reading, and of course, napping and also review some of the best-selling and popular brands and services in the market and also write comprehensive blogs.

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