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    Mint Mobile vs. Visible: Which budget carrier is right for you?

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    Mint Mobile offers excellent value if you use 15GB of data or less monthly, while Visible Wireless is our favorite budget option for unlimited data.

    Business Insider

    If prices on T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon have you worried, your best bet is to consider carriers with more affordable plans, like Mint Mobile and Visible Wireless

    Mint Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses T-Mobile’s network and thus has the same coverage. Visible is a little different, as it’s owned and operated by Verizon while enjoying Verizon’s extensive coverage. They offer less expensive plans than T-Mobile and Verizon, especially for accounts with one or two lines. 

    Mint Mobile and Visible exchange certain premium features you’d find on major carriers for affordability. Namely, premium data with speeds unaffected by network congestion and data-connected smartwatch support. However, while pricey for an affordable option, Visible offers a premium plan, Visible+, that includes both these features.

    At the same time, Mint Mobile’s excellent customer support and value for those who use 15GB or less can’t be ignored. Check out our breakdown between Mint Mobile and Visible below for more detail. 

    Plan offerings and flexibility

    While either of Visible’s two plans is a superior value for unlimited data, Mint Mobile offers more plan variety, including the option to pay as low as $15/month for a limited 5GB of data. 

    Except for Visible’s premium plan, all Visible and Mint Mobile plans offer data subject to deprioritized speeds on Verizon’s and T-Mobile’s networks, respectively. 

    Where Mint Mobile offers prepaid plans in three-, six-, and twelve-month increments, Visible’s plans are prepaid monthly or annually. Below, we’ve noted the standard starting prices for the entry-level plans from the MVNOs: Mint Mobile’s three-month plans and Visible’s monthly options. 

    Plans

    Mint Mobile

    Visible Wireless

    5GB

    $15/month

    N/A

    15GB

    $20/month

    N/A

    20GB

    $25/month

    N/A

    Unlimited

    $30/month with 40GB cap before speeds are affected

    $25/month

    Visible+

    N/A

    $45/month with 50GB premium LTE and 5G data

    Note: Mint Mobile’s three-month plans are currently discounted to $15/month with a new customer promotion. For a limited time, the first month of a Visible+ monthly plan is also discounted to $25/month. 

    Both Mint Mobile and Visible offer mobile hot spot connectivity. With data-specific Mint Mobile plans, mobile hot spot data is limited to the amount of data in the data plan at the same service speeds. However, for Mint Mobile’s unlimited data plan, mobile hot spot is strangely limited to 10GB.

    Meanwhile, Visible doesn’t have a data limit for hot spot connectivity, but speeds are limited to 5Mbps on the standard plan, which is fine for sending emails, light web browsing, music streaming, and perhaps some video streaming at lower resolutions. You get faster 10Mbps data speeds on the Visible+ plan, which gives you more freedom to do basically whatever you want except streaming video at 4K. 

    Another thing to consider is that Visible offers a data plan for smartwatches (only available for Apple Watch models at the time of writing), which comes included in the Visible+ plan or costs an additional $10/month with the standard Visible plan. Mint doesn’t offer any data plans for smartwatches, so Visible is the clear choice if you plan to use data on a connected Apple Watch. 

    See our full Mint Mobile review or Visible Wireless review for more comprehensive plan breakdowns. 

    Coverage and data speeds

    While Mint’s coverage via T-Mobile is impressive, you should check with neighbors or social media to see if T-Mobile’s networks covers where you need it.

    Mint Mobile

    Mint Mobile runs on T-Mobile’s network, while Visible (owned by Verizon) runs on Verizon’s network. That gives Visible an advantage, as Verizon’s network generally has better coverage in rural areas than T-Mobile’s, which will matter if you know you travel away from urban areas. 

    Before signing up, check Mint Mobile’s and Visible’s respective coverage maps to ensure that the areas you frequent are adequately covered. 

    T-Mobile (and, therefore, Mint Mobile) can service rural areas as well, if not better, than AT&T and Verizon. However, it’s more case-by-case than other carriers and less comprehensive than Verizon’s coverage. You should also check with neighbors, friends, family, or even social networks like Nextdoor to see if T-Mobile works well enough in a specific area.

    Visible’s Verizon coverage offers more comprehensive coverage in the US.

    Visible

    Mint Mobile and Visible aren’t “premium” major carriers, so their data speeds are “deprioritized” under T-Mobile and Verizon customers. That means data speeds on either Mint Mobile or Visible may become slower temporarily in areas or when their networks are congested.

    Mint Mobile customers have access to all of T-Mobile’s 4G LTE and 5G networks, including the low-band (around 20% faster than LTE), mid-band (2-4x faster than LTE), and wide-band (extremely fast) 5G networks. The speeds you experience on Mint Mobile depend on which network is available where you are; Mint itself says that most users find themselves on low- and mid-band 5G networks the majority of the time. 

    Visible’s two plans offer different access to Verizon’s network and, thus, different speeds. The standard Visible plan, subject to deprioritization at any time, gives you access to Verizon’s 4G LTE and standard 5G networks. Closer to some of the best cellphone plans from major carriers, the Visible+ plan grants 50GB of “premium” 4G LTE and 5G data, which doesn’t slow down when the network is congested. It also gives users access to Verizon’s fastest 5G Ultra Wideband network.

    Customer support

    Mint’s mobile app stands out as particularly straightforward to use.

    Eve Montie/Business Insider

    Mint Mobile’s customer support is second to none among any type of carrier, whether more affordable MVNO carriers or major premium ones.

    The Mint Mobile app is well laid out and simple to navigate. It shows you most of what you’d typically want to know or manage, like a data usage indicator, which is handy for judging how much data you usually use in a month. The app also lets you switch plans straight from the app. 

    If Mint Mobile’s app doesn’t have the answers or actions you’re looking for, the carrier’s phone and online chat support are refreshingly responsive and have notably short wait times relative to our experience with other carriers. 

    The Visible app has the options you need, but it’s not as well laid out as Mint’s.

    Eve Montie/Insider

    Visible’s app and customer support are comparatively average for a carrier, which means your experience can be fine or frustrating. The Visible app gives you similar functionality as Mint Mobile’s, like data usage and plan switching, but it’s generally not as well laid out or easy to navigate. 

    However, if you decide to leave either service, Mint Mobile and Visible offer straightforward methods to cancel plans through their respective apps, websites, or customer support lines. 

    Mint lets new customers cancel and receive a full refund within seven days of activating their service. Existing customers can disable auto-renewal in the Mint app or by calling customer support 24 hours before their next payment, or you can simply opt not to actively renew.  

    Visible offers no refund opportunity, but customers can cancel anytime ahead of their next monthly or annual payment through the carrier’s app or website

    Which should you sign up for?

    Mint Mobile and Visible could be worthwhile budget carriers depending on your needs and location.

    Business Insider

    Before considering anything, you need to make sure which carrier has the network coverage that works for you. It won’t matter if Mint Mobile or Visible Wireless has the perfect plan if you can barely use it due to limited coverage. 

    With its customer support, user experience, and plan variety, Mint Mobile is a winner among the best cheap cellphone plans. If you know that T-Mobile’s network covers you, it offers exceptional value for those who only need up to 15GB of data per month. That’s a decent amount of data, and it’s worth checking if you use as much on your current carrier. If you’re a low-data user, switching to any of Mint Mobile’s entry-level plans is a solid move. 

    Beyond 15GB, Verizon-backed Visible Wireless starts to offer better value with unlimited data, as the basic $25/month Visible unlimited plan has the same monthly price as Mint Mobile’s entry-level 25GB plan.  

    For those who don’t want to risk slower data speeds from a congested network, the $45/month Visible+ plan with 50GB of premium data is an ideal “budget” option that offers great value for the first few lines, especially compared to Verizon’s plans, some of which even lack premium data. You would need four lines or more on Verizon’s Unlimited Plus plan to get premium data on Verizon at the same $45/month price, for instance.  

    Read the original article on Business Insider

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