1. DecAway's Avatar
    Howdy, folks. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 4-months already… My how time flies! However, one thing that time does give us is an opportunity for reflection, and the ability to look at things from a different perspective, which is one of the reasons that I am here now.

    My original article was dated as of the 5th of April, which was a long, long time ago in tech years. Things have come a long way since then. The Samsung Galaxy 8 phones have been released, and so has the HTC U11, the new, Moto Z Force/Play series, the OnePlus 5, and Sprint posted their first positive quarter in 3 years – craziness I say. But… one thing has remained fairly constant, which is a) that we all still need phone service to use these devices, and b) we don’t want to pay any more than we need to for it. Sure, there are always the caveats that go along with rural service and the arguments for Verizon, the near-equal reliability and TV experience that comes with AT&T, and then there are the Uncarrier (T-Moble), and Sprint (in that order based on market share). After we look past these big name carriers, we find ourselves in MVNO territory. As previously stated in my other article, MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. What does this mean in layman’s terms? It means that the MVNO service provider is using the infrastructure and network of one of the major networks, and offering you their own form of service. For instance, Cricket is an MVNO that uses AT&T’s network, MintSim and MetroPCS use T-Mobile’s network, Virgin Mobile uses Sprint (In the U.S.), etc… In a nutshell, the major networks license out their bandwidth and towers to smaller guys, who then turnaround and provide you a service, generally for less money. I’m not going to get into the nuts and bolts of this, but a lot of it is possible due to the lack of storefronts, roaming is questionable (no roaming with MintSim), lower-tier phones are offered, and the plans offered are varied, as well as pricing methods.

    Ok. I’m really going to start talking about the service now. I have a penchant for explaining things ad nauseam – a benefit to some, a curse to others. I like to go through the process of educating and explaining things, to the extent of my own knowledge. Where does MintSim come in? Well, MintSim is important because I have been using their service since April. As mentioned before, I am what is commonly referred to as a dual-wielder – which means that I carry two phones. I maintain my primary phone number with T-Mobile, but I decided to save some money and switch my secondary phone over to MintSim to give it whirl. Being honest here, phone service is, and can be expensive… but it doesn’t have to be. I was paying about $40 a month for my additional line and decided to hop onto one of MintSim’s introductory pricing plans for a period of 3-months. The plan was as follows: unlimited talk, text, and 2 GB of LTE data, for the low price of $11.67 a month when you sign up for 3-months (a total of $35 plus tax). At that price, I figured why not, right? I’ll try 3- months of service for the price of one any day of the week. One piece of information I need to plug in here though is that I did not transfer my number. I am impatient and decided to go ahead and purchase the sim + plan, with a new number, so I cannot speak to how easy it is to transfer your number, but I have read other reviews that haven’t spoken kindly regarding the process. Also bear in mind that MintSim is not a traditional “brick and mortar” carrier, so you’ll have to wait a few days for the sim card to show up in the mail. Additionally, the pricing model has changed since 4-months ago. The base 3-month plans are now $15 a month for 2 GB of data (5 GB is $20, and 10 GB is $25) – and don’t forget tax.

    So how is the service?

    Connection: The connection is still reliable, and available where T-Mobile coverage is. As a reminder, I live in a suburban area of Houston, TX, and coverage is great here. When I drive an hour and a half away to visit my family in “the woods”, it doesn’t work; however, my T-Mobile phone doesn’t work out there either. Moral of the story, don’t purchase this service if you plan on using it in underdeveloped or rural areas that don’t have T-Mobile service. As stated, MintSim is an MVNO that uses T-Mobile’s network. If you’re curious about the service reliability in your area, a good indicator would be a freestanding T-Mobile store in your area, or ask friends/family if they have the service. Otherwise, if coverage is present, the phone service seems to work well. I have not had any problems with dropped calls or connection quality. If you’re curious, another helpful tool is the Coverage Checker on MintSim’s website. On a side note, be aware that you may not be able to tether your internet connection with MintSim’s service, which I covered in my original article as well. As far as I know, it’s not “technically” allowed, and it doesn’t work for me.

    Difficulty in Use: One thing that has been frustrating a few times is multimedia messages. Unlike with most major carriers, when you pop one of their sim cards in, it’s essentially plug-and-play (old term, I know) – this means that you don’t have to do anything. As you will see when the sim card arrives for Mint Sim, it will have instructions for setting up the APN. The APN settings must be properly setup for you to connect to the network properly, send SMS messages, and to receive the full benefit of internet connectivity. I have had better luck with some phones than others. For instance, it took me forever to get my HTC U Ultra (international dual-sim) model to work with the service properly. However, I popped it in the BlackBerry KEYone, and my Samsung Galaxy S8, and had no issues. It is working without a hitch now, but I had a few frustrating moments originally with my U Ultra. To ensure that your phone works properly, here is the link for the APN settings, which are listed on the website for Android and Apple - https://www.mintsim.com/faq/

    Performance: For the most part, the service has been reliable, and efficient – especially for the price. As noted in my previous review, my data speeds fluctuated quite a bit, especially depending on location and time of day - but hey, this happens with my T-Mobile phone as well. There are a lot of factors that go into data speed: signal strength, network congestion, and with MintSim, add the word “priority.” What is one of the downsides to using this MVNO? It’s the fact that your connection is naturally deprioritized, and it is not based on data cap. This means that in congested areas, your connection will not be given priority over T-Mobile’s actual customers, which means that your connection may be slower. In saying that, I will also say that the quality and dependability of the connection seems to have gotten better and I have not experienced it as much. When I first started using the service, I had a few frustrating periods of time in the morning and evening where my connection slowed down noticeably, which I measured with the SpeedTest app (not a plug for SpeedTest, but they have a great free app). My connection varied quite a bit at times when tested side-by-side with my actual T-Mobile phone, but I have to qualify this statement. I essentially paid $12 for the entire month’s service, and the disparity was during peak traffic time, and not all phone antennas were created equal. I have seen more consistency lately (tested in off-peak and peak times today with my KEYone, I posted download speeds of 20.72mbps, and 20,83mbps, with upload speeds of 5.11mbps, and 6.65mbps, with 30ms and 33ms pings) - this is by no means a guarantee on speeds or quality, and is only a reflection of my personal speed testing with my phone, in my area. I’m not sure if this is attributable to the phone, to increases in network support on the T-Mobile infrastructure side, or generally just more efficient connectivity between the two entities, but the difference is appreciated and I am definitely happier with the service than I was in the beginning.

    Economy Factor: This is where MintSim really solidifies the argument for trying out their service. There is no contract, it’s a GSM service so you can use it with any unlocked phone, and the pricing is pretty much unbeatable in my area. The prices have shimmied up a little bit from their initial offering, but they are still lower than the competition, and you can occasionally find coupon codes for an additional 20% off – which I did when I renewed my service. Putting this in perspective, most major carriers (not MVNOs), offer a single line of unlimited service around the $70 mark, whether taxes/fees are factored in is carrier dependent. MintSim does not offer an unlimited plan, which may be a downside for some people. However, they do offer a 2 GB, 5 GB, and 10 GB plan, ranging from $15, $20, and $25, respectively. I personally only use about 3-4 GB a month with my primary line, but I have unlimited data so I exceed that every once in a while. Before the days of unlimited though (pre-T-Mobile One plan for me), I paid for 3 GB, which I never went over using a combination of internet frugality and WIFI. I will say, for an average user, 2 GB is probably not enough, in my personal opinion. Contradicting that point, I have the 2 GB plan. Why? Because it’s my secondary line. I use it to carry around on the cheaps and test out new devices when I get them, which is enjoyable for me. I also like to switch it up and carry different phones sometimes, and my MintSim plan is a great way for me to do this without hurting the bank too much. Like I said, the roughly $12 bucks a month I pay for the service is much better than the $40 I was paying, and it makes my wife happier too...

    Conclusion: I still recommend MintSim.
    Concluding the 3-month social experiment with the service, I decided to re-up for another year, which at the time was offered for $199 for 12-months, based on the 2 GB plan (currently you can get the exact same plan for $184.00, including tax). The pricing is similar to the original payment plan structure, but it has gone up a little bit for the 3/6 month blocks of service. Despite the original connectivity issues I had with my U Ultra, once I switched phones I have had a much more pleasant experience, and am happy to be saving the extra money or my second line. Originally I had been a bit more hesitant to recommend the service as a primary form of service – and if you need unlimited data and like to carrier finance phones, I still don’t. However, if you like cheap service that’s reliable and you purchase your own phones, I would definitely recommend giving it a try. It could work really well for you. Of course, it also may not be feasible based on your phone and service needs.
    If you’re interested in getting more information or trying out their service, go check out MintSim over at https://www.mintsim.com/.

    As always, feel free to sound off in the comments, ask questions, and share your own personal experience with the service. Also, I am not personally aware of any discount codes right now.
    raino likes this.
    08-02-2017 10:57 AM
  2. raino's Avatar
    EXCELLENT review. I read every word of it. A few questions:

    1. You mentioned peak and off-peak speeds as you tested them. Did you also happen to simultaneously test speeds on your TMO line?

    2. I agree that Ultra appears to be one of the more stable MVNOs. You seem to be a price conscious customer; did you think twice at all about putting money down for essentially a twelve month contract, upfront?

    3. Have you always stayed under the data cap, or have you checked MintSIM's billing against your phone's data usage tracker? I'm not sure if this was ever a concern for you, given that this was a secondary line.
    08-23-2017 12:04 PM
  3. DecAway's Avatar
    Sorry for the delay. For some reason I didn't get a notification on the comment and Harvey messed things up around here for a bit.

    1. I have performed several simultaneous speed tests with ym TMO device, which is the basis for my speed differences and one of the reasons I talk about the peak/off-peak times

    2. I definitely had hesitations about throwing down all of the money for the 12 months of service up front. That's why I went with the 3 months, and I decided to write about my experience. The short trial is what convinced me to go for the year.

    3. I only went over my data cap one time and that was because I forgot to turn on my wifi at home for a few days. I sure wifi at home even with my unlimited linr with TMO, even though it isn't necessary. I switch back and worth between devices and somehow managed to leave my wifi off. Doh! Regardless, the data cap hasn't been an issue because of my unlimited line. If I were going to use it as a primary line I could definitely stay under 5gb... But not 2.

    Thanks for reading my review. Let me know if you have any other questions.
    raino likes this.
    09-11-2017 06:19 PM
  4. androidnaz's Avatar
    I expected porting my number to Mint would take a day or more. But porting is supposed to be done within 24 hours, according to regulation. Somehow, my number ported within 30 minutes. I can't really believe how fast it was. I hope the service stays this good. I have had Family Mobile, so I'm used to the network Mint uses.
    09-26-2017 12:25 AM
  5. Jay Cooper1's Avatar
    Another thing I really like about this service is the international credit and roaming. I'm originally from the UK, and a $5 credit purchase (plus tax) will easily last me 2 months. It's only 1.5c a minute to mobiles, and 1c a minute to landlines. There's no expiration date for the credit too, which is great. The call quality was much better than on my previous carrier (Cricket), where I always experienced echoes on the line.
    I also briefly used the roaming service when I went back to the UK in May. As soon as we had landed I had a signal (I think it connected to the 3 Network) so I was able to phone home immediately at a reasonable cost of 25c a minute. I didn't use the service much after that as I have a dual sim card so I just purchased a UK sim for the rest of my journey but still switched back over to Mint when I needed to phone the USA. Roaming only covers talk and text, no internet service as of yet. So yup, roaming worked fine for voice calls abroad.
    There's currently no IOS/Android app for it yet but I just used my chrome browser on my phone and set my account to my homepage which worked fine.

    So far, so VERY good with Mint!
    10-01-2017 10:42 AM
  6. sysop30135's Avatar
    Great infomercial for Mint SIM. But the "I installed the sim card and it's been working for 4 months" didn't really tell me anything not already on their own website.

    Bandwidth and latency- MVNO's often have higher latency and/or lower bandwidth than their post paid counter parts. To really get a good idea of the differences here, measurements in different locations (different towers), across the same time groups, for example, 8am, Noon, 5pm, Midnight over the course of several months by our testers, would really shine some light on this subject. Was any data collected using apps such as RootMetrics?

    Roaming- Post Paid is different from MVNO's. You pay less, because you get less coverage. Our test subjects hopefully are in different regions and don't mind taking a road trip out of town for the weekend to test roaming. Was any data collected while roaming?

    This is the data Android Central readers deserve!
    10-02-2017 06:31 PM
  7. raino's Avatar
    Wow...
    10-02-2017 07:00 PM
  8. Androidistopdawg's Avatar
    great review.

    cricket is not an mvno. they are actually owned by att. as metro PC's is owned by TMobile
    10-03-2017 05:46 PM

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