Mint Mobile offers more high-speed data, but Tello has more plans to choose from and lower prices
Tello vs. Mint Mobile 2023
Tello Mobile and Mint Mobile are two cell phone carriers that offer cheap plans on T-Mobile’s network. But they’re not identical by any means. Here’s our hot take before we get into all the details below.
Mint gives its customers more high-speed data and some unbeatable promotional prices. But it’s more expensive once those promos end. Meanwhile, Tello offers a wider variety of plans and has consistently low prices that will be perfect for many low-data users.
For those who want a more detailed comparison, we’ve got you covered. Read on for an in-depth analysis of Tello and Mint’s plans, prices, coverage, customer service, and more.
Tello pros and cons
Mint Mobile pros and cons
Tello Mobile vs. Mint Mobile unlimited data plans
Tello and Mint both offer a variety of plans, but we’re going to start off by looking at the type of plan that most people want these days: unlimited talk, text, and data. Both carriers offer a cheap unlimited data option, but there are some important differences to consider.
Tello’s unlimited data plan
Tello’s unlimited talk, text, and data plan costs $29 a month and gets you 25 GB of unthrottled 4G LTE or 5G data (where 5G is available) on T-Mobile’s network.
That $29 price tag is about half the price you’d pay to get on the same network through T-Mobile directly (the Essentials Plan from T-Mobile costs $60 a month). That’s a darn good deal, but there are some significant drawbacks.
The biggest issue for most people will be the data cap: after you use the allotted 25 GB of data, your speeds will drop significantly to 2G levels. What does 2G data speed look like? It looks like laggy video streams (if you can stream video at all), poor audio quality on Spotify, and a web page that just never loads.
Mint Mobile unlimited data plan
Mint’s unlimited data plan looks similar to Tillo’s on first glance, but there’s an important difference to note about the data cap. With Mint you’ll get unlimited talk and text, plus 35 GB of unthrottled high-speed 4G LTE/5G data. That’s a whole 10 GB more than Tello.
After you reach your 35 GB of high-speed data, your speeds will plummet to 2G (128 Kbps). That will make it hard to scroll through TikTok or video chat with your family.
While the promotional price on this plan makes it look like the best deal since your local 7-Eleven was selling two-for-one slurpees, be aware that the prices will go up after three months. Still, at its normal price of $40 a month, this plan is still one of the best on the market in terms of overall value.
Tello vs. Mint limited data plans
While unlimited data plans have become the norm, there are many people—younger children, older adults, phone-wary luddites—who don’t need or want that much data (or any data at all). Tello and Mint both have good options for these folks. Let’s start with Tello.
Tello’s limited data plans
Tello has a bunch of low-data plans to fit pretty much any kind of user. You can get a data-free, unlimited talk and text plan for just $8 a month. On the other end of the spectrum, you can grab 10 GB of high-speed data for $24 a month. Or, you can choose something in the middle.
Here’s a look at all of the options.
We appreciate the sheer number of options that Tello gives customers, even though it can look kind of overwhelming. Where else are you going to get a plan with unlimited texts, 500 minutes, and 1 GB of data?
Mint’s limited data plans
Mint takes a different approach to its limited data plans, by only offering three choices. You can get unlimited talk and text with either 4, 10, or 15 GB of data. Here’s a closer look at the options.
Note: some of the prices might look a little bit weird in the chart above because of huge discounts that Mint is offering new customers. Be sure to read the fine print to see the real price after the promo period ends. For example, the 15 GB/month plan goes up from $15/month to $35/month.
Overall, Mint’s prices are pretty darn good for what you get, even after the promos end. But they aren’t as good as they used to be (we don’t know whether to blame inflation generally or Ryan Reynolds specifically for that).
Tello vs. Mint family plans
While both Tello and Mint technically offer family plans, neither carrier really rewards you for bundling together, which is a big bummer.
You can add additional lines to your Mint or Tello account to simplify your bill pay. But what we really want from a family plan is discounts for additional lines, free subscriptions, and other neat perks. Companies like Visible Wireless and Verizon really incentivize adding additional lines with these sorts of deals.
So, if you want to know how much it will cost you to get, let’s say, a Tello family plan with four lines and unlimited data, all you need to do is add up the price of four separate unlimited data plans ($116/month). All you wanted was a discounted family plan, and now you’re doing math. What has this world come to?
Tello vs. Mint coverage
When it comes to coverage, neither Mint nor Tello actually have their own mobile network. They are both mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), which means they lease network bandwidth from another, larger company. In this case, it’s T-Mobile.
Tello and Mint use T-Mobile’s nationwide cellular network, which is pretty good news for potential customers.
While T-Mobile used to be considered the worst of the three major networks (AT&T and Verizon are the other two), it has made major strides in recent years to up its data speeds, expand its 4G coverage, and install tons of 5G infrastructure.
T-Mobile now has the largest 5G network in the country. You can see how the carrier’s coverage looks more closely using the map below.
Tello vs. Mint customer service
Cell phone carriers really aren’t known for having exceptional customer service. It can be hard to get on the phone with a real human being and even then, many customers have negative experiences.
While Mint and Tello don’t singlehandedly make up for the industry’s customer service problems, both companies do have a relatively good reputation. Mint Mobile retains a 4.2/5-star rating on Trustpilot1 and Tello has a 4.5/5-star rating.2
Recap: Which is the best cell phone provider?
That was a lot of information. Here’s the Cliff Notes version for all of you who skimmed it.
- Unlimited plans: Mint Mobile wins. Mint’s unlimited data plan gives you significantly more data than Tello’s. It does cost more, but you can get a steep discount on your first few months if you’re a new customer.
- Limited data plans: Tello wins. Tello offers a wider variety of plans for those who don’t need unlimited data. You can spend as little $8 a month and still have a decent phone plan.
- Family plans: Tie. Both companies are slacking on the family plans. Neither carrier offers family plan discounts or perks.
- Coverage: Tie. Tello and Mint Mobile have identical coverage because they both use T-Mobile’s network.
- Customer service: Tello. Most customers report having good experiences with both Tello and Mint, though Tello has higher overall grades.
That wraps up our Tello vs. Mint Mobile review. Thanks for hanging with us! We hope we’ve helped you find the perfect cell phone plan.