As sister companies, both Mint Mobile and Ultra Mobile offer some of the best cheap cell phone plans on the market right now – especially when it comes to bang for the buck. They both operate similarly, with flexible buy-in-bulk multi-month plans, generous data allowances, and 5G data speeds as standard on all plans.
As we all know, Mint Mobile is the carrier that’s really making waves right now thanks to its high-profile ad campaigns, but that doesn’t mean Ultra Mobile doesn’t offer some great plans in its own right. In this article, we’re going to give you the low-down on how these two prepaid phone plans differ and who they’re generally looking to cater to. If you’re on the fence, we’ll also weigh in with an overall verdict on which one we think is the best for most users too.
Two excellent prepaid carriers
Plans, coverage and pricing
Both Mint Mobile and Ultra Mobile have pretty similar ‘buy-in-bulk’ pricing schemes where you’ll get the best deal overall if you commit to a longer service period. While there are still no service contracts to sign, you will, for example, get the lowest monthly rate on average with each service if you sign up for a yearly plan.
Mint: $15 to $30/mo
Ultra: $10 to $40/mo
Mint: 3 mo, 6 mo, 1 year
Ultra: 1 mo, 3 mo, 6 mo, 1 year
Ultra Mobile does, however, have the option for a single-month plan – which is more like what you’d expect from a traditional prepaid carrier. This one’s great if you simply need a temporary SIM card for a burner device since you can simply pay $15 upfront and get a full month of service. In comparison, you have to spend at least $45 to get the cheapest SIM on Mint Mobile for a 3-month plan.
Where Mint Mobile does shine, though, is for those longer-term plans – especially if you’re a more data-hungry user. You’ll generally get bigger data allowances for less cash at Mint, especially when it comes to the unlimited data plan, which is $10 a month cheaper than the same plan at Ultra Mobile.
Both being T-Mobile carriers, coverage will essentially be the same regardless of which service you pick. If you’d like to see what coverage is like in your area, then you can use T-Mobile’s own coverage checker right here.
Perks and features
Again, on the surface, both carriers offer very similar perks and features overall, with 5G data speeds where applicable, free mobile hot-spotting, and unlimited talk and text.
Unlimited 5G data speeds
Mint: capped (45GB on unl.)
Ultra: capped (40GB on unl.)
Mint: free (10GB max on unl. plan)
Ultra: free (10GB max on unl. plan)
Mint: 480p video (on unlimited)
Ultra: no cap
Mint: free to Mex and Can
Ultra: free call and text to 80+ countries
Things do however start to differentiate when you look at things like international calling – of which Ultra Mobile puts more of a focus on with its plans specifically.
For example, While you do get free calling and texting to Mexico and Canada with Mint, Ultra on the other hand offers free calling and texting to over 80 international destinations. This again makes it a great choice if you’re an international visitor who’s looking for a temporary SIM card for your device.
Ultra Mobile also has a “data my way” option that enables customers to tailor their download and upload speeds to their liking. This is essentially like a type of data-saving feature that in theory will help you stretch out that data allowance as much as possible.
Mint Mobile on the other hand has some great features for families in particular. As of May 2022 Mint Mobile’s family plan supports up to five lines at a time and allows you to get each line at the cheapest (yearly) rate while only having to pay for three months at a time. It’s a handy addition to the carrier’s current roster of perks, although not a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination.
Even though the two services are extremely similar on paper, it’s easy to see both these carriers cater to two different types of cell phone users. If you’re looking for a cheap single-month plan to use in a burner device or need international calling, then there’s really no competition here – Ultra Mobile is the best choice.
That said, for most domestic users in the US, Mint Mobile will offer vastly better value overall when it comes to long-term plans with bigger data allowances. Since the use case for Ultra Mobile is quite niche, we’d generally say Mint Mobile is the better choice for most people right now.