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Mint Mobile vs. Reach Cell Phone Plans Review
Mint’s amazing deals will be better for most customers. But Reach’s good coverage and giving programs will attract some.
Let’s skip the pleasantries and jump right into the meat of this review: Mint Mobile offers some of the lowest prices on the market for limited and unlimited data plans. It’s a great choice for those who are okay with occasional data slowdowns.
Meanwhile, Reach Mobile is pricier, has a low data cap on its unlimited data plan, and also has issues with data slowdowns. But, despite these flaws, the company’s charitable giving programs will definitely attract some socially conscious customers.
That’s the short story. But we’ll go over a whole lot more in this in-depth review.
How to choose a cell phone plan
We like to set a few ground rules for choosing a new plan before we dive into the details of our review. These are some features to consider as you choose your next cell phone plan.
- Data: Having enough data is essential to having a great experience with your cell phone plan. If you run out mid-month, your smartphone basically becomes a stupidphone.
- Price: Obviously, you don’t want to overpay. But it can get confusing when it comes to discounts and promotional deals. Make sure you read the fine print for price changes or other sneaky issues before you sign up.
- Coverage: There are three major networks in the US: AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Each network has its own perks and coverage holes. Look at coverage maps to see which is best in your area.
- Features: Not all plans come with special features, like hotspot data, international benefits, and HD video streaming. Sign up for a plan that fits your lifestyle.
Mint Mobile vs. US Mobile plans and pricing
Mint Mobile and Reach Mobile both sport suave green logos and some cheap data plans. But there are some notable differences between these two carriers when it comes to price, coverage, and perks. We’ll go over all the details here, beginning with Mint.
Mint Mobile’s plans
Mint Mobile’s plan structure is pretty simple. It has four plans—three data plans and one unlimited data plan (which we’ll talk about separately in a moment). Each of Mint’s plans come with the following features:
- Unlimited talk and text
- 5G network access
- Mobile hotspot data
- Coverage on the T-Mobile network
Mint’s data plans also come with 4–15 GB of data. Here’s a look at the prices.
The fact that you can get a relatively powerful plan for under $20 is kind of ridiculous (in a good way). Mint’s incredibly low prices are one of the main reasons we’ve dubbed it one of the best cell phone carriers in the industry right now.
Of course, there are some cons to keep in mind when it comes to Mint. The biggest one is probably data deprioritization. This means that T-Mobile (which owns the network Mint uses) can slow down the data of Mint customers whenever it wants.
Deprioritization becomes an issue during times of network congestion—if you’re in a crowded downtown area, a sports arena, or just in a suburb during peak hours. It can be hard to get enough data speed to do some pretty basic things, like playing a game on your phone, during these times.
A note about Mint’s pricing
It should come as no surprise that Mint makes our list of the best cheap phone plans. But before you decide to sign up, you should take a look at the fine print so that you don’t get stuck with a nasty price hike.
Mint’s plans are super cheap for the first month, but then the price can go up dramatically. For example, the 15 GB plan goes from $25 to $45 a month! The only way to avoid this price increase is to sign up for 12 months in advance.
Here’s a screenshot from Mint’s website that shows the details.
Source: Mint Mobile
Reach Mobile’s plans
Reach Mobile’s plans are very similar to Mint’s: you’ve got four limited-data options with unlimited talk and text, plus 2–15 GB of data (we’ll talk about the unlimited data plan in a moment). You’ll get mobile hotspot data and HD video streaming on every plan.
This chart shows the plan pricing.
As you may have noticed, Reach offers a bit less data than Mint, and its prices are a bit higher. That’s not a great look (usually you want more for less, not less for more). And it’s worth noting that the prices shown above could actually increase after a promotional period.
But there’s actually a pretty good reason for Reach’s prices being higher than Mint’s: the company gives a portion of its profits away to charity.
Reach Mobile’s charitable contributions
“Reach” was not just a randomly chosen name for this carrier. It’s all about reaching out to help others in need. In particular, Reach Mobile helps women in poor, rural communities across the world get connected with a basic cell phone and mobile plan.
You can even use the Reach Mobile app to track how much you’ve personally contributed to the company’s charitable programs.
Source: Reach Mobile
The good feels you get from this app will hopefully offset any bad feelings you have about paying a bit extra for your plan!
Mint vs. Reach unlimited data plans
Now that we’ve covered Mint's and Reach’s limited-data plans, let’s talk about the heavyweights, the big shots, the VIPs of mobile plans: unlimited data plans. Both companies have one, and they have a similar price. Check it out.
Both of these plans come with unlimited talk, text, and data. And they both let you use your phone as a hotspot. But there’s an important difference here: data caps.
Despite being called “unlimited” plans, both Mint's and Reach’s plans have a data cap. If you go over that cap, your speeds will be greatly reduced. With Mint’s Unlimited Data Plan, that cap is 35 GB. With Reach’s All-In Unlimited Plan, it’s just 25 GB.
So, it really comes down to this: a 35 GB plan for $30 a month vs. a 15 GB plan for $40 a month. When you look at it that way, there’s really no contest.
Mint vs. Reach family plans
If you’re anything like me, then you’ve tried your darndest to stay on the family plan that your parents signed you up for in high school (thanks, dad!). Why wouldn’t you? Family plans are one of the best ways to save money on your cell phone bill.
Both Mint and Reach offer family plans. But, before you get too excited, hear this: neither company actually gives you a discount for adding additional lines. For that, you’ll want to check out other carriers like Visible Wireless and T-Mobile.
Here’s a glimpse of how much you’d pay for unlimited data family plans with four lines from Mint and Reach.
As you can see, Reach ends up being pricier. But Mint’s plan isn’t exactly cheap, either.
In short, going with a family plan from Mint or Reach may help simplify paying your bills, but it won’t save you any of your hard-earned cash.
Mint Mobile vs. Reach Mobile coverage
Mint and Reach aren’t traditional cell phone companies. They are what we call mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). That’s a mouthful, we know. What it means in plain English is that these companies don’t actually operate their own networks. Instead, they lease bandwidth from existing networks.
So Mint and Reach customers will actually be on T-Mobile’s network. This is good news because T-Mobile invested heavily in data speeds. According to our own data from over 100,000 mobile customers, T-Mobile has the fastest 4G LTE download speeds in the industry.
Plus, the company has done a great job of rolling out super-fast 5G infrastructure.
But all that speed might not mean much if you don’t have good coverage. T-Mobile definitely has some gaps in coverage, especially in rural areas. Take a look at the coverage map below to make sure that T-Mobile's network covers your neck of the woods.
Mint vs. Reach phones and devices
Do you want a shiny new smartphone to match your shiny new phone plan? Of course you do. And there’s no better time to nab a great deal on an iPhone or Galaxy device than when you’re signing up with a new company.
These charts show the most popular phone deals from Mint and Reach. You’ll notice that Mint has a better selection of flagship devices, while Reach focuses on budget phones, like the iPhone SE (2020).
We’re constantly looking for discounts, promotions, and price cuts on brand new phones. Every month we update our list of the hottest phone deals on the market so that you can find all the best options in one place.
Recap: Which carrier is right for you?
So, should you go with the Mint-y fresh option? Or is it time to Reach for a better cell phone plan? We tend to think Mint offers a better all-around choice, but it’s up to you to decide. Maybe this quick recap will help you make up your mind.
- Plans: Reach and Mint offer a similar spread of plans. But there’s one key difference: Mint’s prices are just better. So, unless you’re drawn to Reach’s charitable giving, Mint is probably the better option in terms of value.
- Family plans: Both Mint and Reach will let you add extra lines to your account. However, neither carrier offers discounts on family plans (check out Visible or T-Mobile for great family plan deals). Mint Mobile still wins in this category because its prices are better.
- Coverage and performance: Mint and Reach both have issues with data deprioritization and throttling. While Mint’s data speeds may end up being a bit faster, Reach’s nationwide coverage is more robust. So you’ll have to decide which matters more to you: data speeds or coverage.
For this Mint vs. Reach review, we looked at every plan offered by both companies. We used data from WhistleOut and the carriers themselves to evaluate plan costs, perks, and performance. We used our own data from over 100,000 mobile customers to evaluate the data speeds of the parent network (T-Mobile).
Ultimately, our evaluations and recommendations were based on each carriers’ cost, data, perks, performance, and coverage. In this case, we also considered Reach’s charitable giving as a factor.
If you want to learn more about how we review cell phone plans, please read our article on the subject.
Still have questions about Mint and Reach? If you don't see the answer you're looking for below, drop us a line in the comments, and we'll try to get one for you.
The simple answer to this question is yes. Mint Mobile offers more bang for your buck than almost any other carrier. The biggest downsides to using Mint are that your data speeds will be slower than with a traditional carrier, like AT&T or Verizon, and the company’s fine print includes some pesky price increases after the first month.
Reach Mobile is definitely good in the sense that it’s a good samaritan. We think it’s so cool that Reach devotes money to helping disadvantaged women across the globe get connected with a cell phone. That said, Reach’s prices and overall performance are not necessarily the best.
Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile’s network. That means users will have access to T-Mobile’s rapidly expanding 5G network, quick data speeds, and decent nationwide coverage.
Reach uses T-Mobile's network, which just so happens to offer more 5G coverage than any other carrier currently.