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MINT MOBILE reviews?

Does anyone have positive/negative experience using the Mint Mobile service in Europe? I'm planning my trip and tech plan for going to Portugal this Fall. I need a new phone at this point anyway, so want to make the best choice for device and service. Haven't seen any FORUM chatter about MINT and I am intrigued by their plans, but not if their service is unreliable in Portugal. Any advice is appreciated.
AJ

Posted by
11280 posts

No US carrier directly provides service in Portugal. Instead, they partner with a local Portuguese provider. So, it's totally possible for Mint (or any other US carrier) to actually have better service in Portugal than they do in the US. And (a tip I learned on this board), while your phone will usually auto-select a provider in Europe, sometimes you get better service if you manually change it. For instance, if your phone in Portugal is connecting to MEO and you're not getting good service on it, try changing it to Vodafone. This option is usually buried in the Connection settings.

In the US, Mint uses the T-Mobile network. So, the first question you have to answer is, does T-Mobile provide good service where you live, work, etc? For instance, my sister had poor service at home and no service in her office with T-Mobile, but has done much better with Verizon. It costs more, but for her it's worth it to have reliable service. T-Mobile has done fine for me and my mother, however, where we live and work.

Second, does Mint have a better deal for YOUR domestic needs than T-Mobile does? I have T-Mobile's Unlimited 55+ (only available to those 55 and over), where I get two lines with unlimited talk, text, and data for $80 per month. Mint is cheaper, but has some limits on data use. Source: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-wireless-carrier/#the-cheapest-plan-mint-mobile

Next, I looked at Mint's website for their international terms. For roaming to Portugal, they charge $0.25 per minute for calls, $0.05 per text, and $0.20 per megabyte of data. You have to add credit to your account for international service, in $5, $10, or $20 increments. Source: https://www.mintmobile.com/features/international-roaming/

Contrast that with T-Mobile's deal. For most (but not all) of their plans, roaming to Portugal (and about 100 other countries) costs $0.25 for calls, unlimited free texts, and unlimited free slow data (throttled to 2G speeds). This is included at no extra charge, and is automatic; when you land, you get a message informing you of your rates, and how your phone is ready to use. You can buy faster data if needed. Source: https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/roaming?icid=WMM_TM_U_18INTLTRVL_1EHW93IKD94W1YF9E18213&country=Portugal

So, as always, you have to evaluate ALL the factors. For more details, look at the rest of that Wirecutter article I linked (main link here: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-wireless-carrier/). And here's their discussion of international plans, and why Google Fi may be better for you: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-cell-phone-plan-international-travel/

Yes, it is complicated!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you Harold for such a comprehensive reply! I am doing my cross-referencing on "full terms" for both T-Mobile & Mint plans, for both home and travel uses, as well as further options for communications abroad. It takes time to decipher, but doing my due diligence to keep the costs manageable and able to be anticipated for a 4-5 week sojourn. I do like the T-Mobile 55+ 2-line plan as well. Now I will take a deeper look at Google-fi. Folks have mentioned using both with satisfaction, just wondered if anyone had actually experienced using MINT in Europe, Portugal specifically. I appreciate your knowledgeable advice.

Posted by
11280 posts

1) For 4-5 weeks, Mint will cost a fortune unless you don't plan to use much data while out and about.

2) Again, you aren't "using" Mint when you go to Portugal. You are using a Portuguese cell company. Mint (and any other US carrier) merely "hands you off" to a local cell company. Once that happens, your service is as good or bad as the local cell company allows.

However, one distinction is that Mint should allow full speeds on the Portuguese network. Google Fi definitely does allow full speeds. T-Mobile, on the other hand, will throttle that service, meaning that no matter what network you are on, you will only get 2G speeds, unless you pay extra for faster service. I found that 2G speeds are sufficient for slow loading of basic web pages (such as this one), with little or no pictures or video. They are also sufficient for mapping (again, slow but it works). For anything else, faster data is better.

One other option to consider, since you're going for a long time, is to get an unlocked phone that's compatible with the US carrier you will be using. Then, when in Portugal, just get a Portuguese SIM. This will give you a Portuguese cell plan, which should be cheap for a lot of calls, texts, and data. The only possible issue is that you will have a Portuguese phone number, which may be a problem if you need or want to get a lot of calls from the US.