For people that spend most of their time in the U.S. in an area with T-Mobile coverage, Mint Mobile can save you some serious money. Google Fi will have better coverage, especially in rural areas thanks to its combined network consisting of T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular towers. Google Fi also makes a lot of sense for people that travel internationally with no change in data cost in more than 200 countries around the world. Still, with Google Fi charging $10 per gigabyte of data, the costs can still add up quickly.
Mint Mobile keeps its costs low by trimming the fat in several areas where Google Fi excels. One thing you’ll notice is that Mint Mobile wants you to commit to up to a year for maximum savings. Mint Mobile also doesn’t have a lot of plan flexibility. You can choose between three different data amounts that should fit most people but won’t adapt to changes in usage well, especially if you buy 12 months of service.
Finally, even in the U.S., only having access to one network means that you’ll see your service drop to zero more often than Fi, though it’s worth mentioning that T-Mobile’s LTE network, which Mint Mobile uses, covers the majority of people.
|Mint Mobile||Google Fi|
|Family savings||None||up to 6 lines|
|Data throttling||At data cap||Flexible plan: 15GB |
Unlimited plan: 22GB
|Minimum term||3 months||1 month|
|Maximum term||12 months||1 month|
|5G||none||All T-Mobile low-band 5G capable devices|
Mint Mobile is designed around what most people need in a phone service. Most people are covered by the T-Mobile network and most people will fit into one of its 3GB, 8GB, or 12GB data tiers. Google Fi is aimed more at potentially heavy users and travelers that may need more flexibility in their phone plan. While you may pay more for it in the end, Google Fi makes sure you will have coverage almost anywhere you go and you’ll have plenty of data if you need it.
Mint Mobile Plans
Mint Mobile has nine different options for its customer but you only need to decide on how much data you need and how many months you are willing to pay for. Your price per month is lower if you commit to a full year of service but you will have to pay the full amount upfront. If you are interested in Mint, it makes sense to try out three months at the introductory rate before opting for the full year.
To find out how much data you need, you can look at your previous phone bill or check your usage in the settings menu on your phone. It’s also possible to reduce your usage if you take advantage of Wi-Fi for downloading music and videos to your phone. If you find you still need more data than the plan you chose, you can either upgrade to a bigger plan or add data by the gigabyte.
Talk and text are included and unlimited with Mint Mobile so you only need to think about how much data you need. You can also use your data as a hotspot if you want to get another device connected like a laptop or tablet.
|3 months||$15 per month ($45 total) |
$25 per month renewal ($75 total)
|$20 per month ($60 total) |
$35 per month renewal ($105 total)
|$25 per month ($75) |
$45 per month renewal ($135 total)
|6 months||$20 per month ($120)||$25 per month ($150)||$35 per month ($210)|
|12 months||$15 per month ($180)||$20 per month ($240)||$25 per month ($300)|
You can add more high-speed data at a rate of $10 for 1GB or $20 for 3GB if you run out. Even if you don’t, your data won’t get cut off, just slowed down.
Google Fi plans
Google Fi offers an Unlimited plan and a Flexible plan. Both plans come with unlimited calling and texting to numbers in the United States. Both plans also keep data prices and amounts when roaming internationally. You can save money by bringing additional lines, with the cost per line coming down per line with up to four lines.
Unlimited comes with data up to unlimited data, though your data speed will be slashed if you use more than 22GB in a period. This is more than most people will use but worth keeping in mind if you are a heavy user. This plan also comes with free international calling to 50 countries and 100GB of Google One cloud storage. This plan starts at $70 per month for one line but that price will come down with more lines.
The Flexible plan grows with you and will make more sense for most people unless you know that you will use more than 6GB per month. This plan starts at $20 per month with one line and data costs $10 for 1GB. Google Fi actually only charges you for the data you use so no rounding to the nearest gigabyte here. At 6GB of usage, Google stops charging for additional data used thought, if you use more than 15GB, your speeds will be throttled.
Mint Mobile operates on T-Mobile’s network and works with any phone compatible with that network including most GSM phones. You can check your phone on Mint Mobile’s website to be sure. You can also check with the Mint Mobile app. If you’re ready for something new, you can purchase or finance a phone directly from Mint Mobile online. The online store sells a wide variety of phones including both Android devices and iPhones.
Google Fi’s phone compatibility is a bit more complex. Nearly any unlocked device can utilize the T-Mobile portion of Google Fi’s service, but if you want to take full advantage of the service you’ll need one of the Designed for Fi approved devices. These phones will be able to dynamically switch between all available towers to ensure the best possible coverage.
Google’s own Pixel series of phones is one of the best ways to get the most out of Google Fi, although there are a few other options. You can buy an unlocked Google Pixel phone like the mid-range Pixel 3a and it will activate with Google Fi’s full capabilities. You can also buy or finance phones directly from Google’s store.
Mint Mobile is based on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network and it covers most Americans. It’s always important to check your coverage before signing up for a new phone service. If you live in an urban or suburban area, Mint Mobile more than likely has you covered but will have a few more dead spots away from cities if you travel often.
Google Fi merges towers from T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular to form its coverage area. If you have a phone that’s fully compatible with this network, you should have service in most of the United States, though you still might see 3G speeds between cities. Check out Google Fi’s coverage map to make sure you’ll have good coverage where you live and work.
Mint Mobile users get free calls to Mexico and Canada and have variable rates for other countries. Mint Mobile’s international data must be paid for individually at different rates depending on the country. Mint Mobile’s rates are $0.05 per text, $0.25 per minute, and $0.20 per MB of data in the countries with service. Mexico and Canada have reduced rates at $0.02 per text, $0.06 per minute, and $0.05 per MB of data.
Google Fi is well-known for its robust roaming options and if you travel outside the U.S. regularly, Google Fi can keep you connected without forcing you to change SIM cards or worry about absurd costs. Calling will cost $0.20 per minute but your data rates will stay the same. Google Fi’s international roaming is available in more than 200 countries
If you are just looking to make calls to other countries, Google Fi’s Unlimited plan has free calling to 50 locations. If you’re on the Flexible plan, calls vary by country, though Canada is notably free. These rates also apply to the Unlimited plan for countries that aren’t included.
Which is better for you?
Google Fi is a great phone service for many people, especially if you use a Pixel phone and travel outside the country frequently. It also offers more data than Mint Mobile though the prices are quite a bit higher. However, for most people, Mint Mobile has more than enough coverage and data for most people. Mint Mobile also has great device compatibility and doesn’t require a special device to use its entire network. If you can work within one of Mint’s plans, you will be able to save a lot of money.
Buy data in bulk to save
Mint Mobile saves money in the long run by selling data several months at a time with T-Mobile’s great network and unlimited calling and texting.
A plan that grows and travels with you
Legendary roaming paired with a strong network that works with a lot of devices makes Google Fi great for someone that needs plenty of data.
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