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Mint Mobile vs. Ting and Republic Wireless

A reader recently sent me this email:

A pink iphone with a happy camper sticker on the back.

I was wondering if you still use Ting wireless.  My oldest son is 15, and we are considering getting him a phone at some point.  We currently have a great deal with AT&T, and when I called them today, I found out I could not add a line as our plan isn’t offered anymore.  So they told me I’d have to make him have his own plan…the cheapest they have is $45 a month plus taxes.  I don’t need much for my son as we homeschool and he has a tablet.  My thought for a phone is for safety when he starts driving next year.

He might be getting an iPhone, so I’m thinking Republic is out based on an old post of yours.

Any input or update you can provide on Ting or whatever cheap service you might have found that’s good would be appreciated!

-Laura

Interestingly enough, we just switched over to Mint Mobile in the last month.

Lisey switched some months ago because she was using too much data for Ting to be affordable. And now the rest of us have followed her over to Mint Mobile.

Here’s a little rundown of the three options we’ve tried.

Ting: good if you use very little data

If you want a very inexpensive phone plan and you can manage to use very little data, Ting is still a very cheap option.

If you choose the Flex Plan, for $10/month, you get unlimited talk and text, and then you pay $5/gig for data.

If you use very little data, this is really cheap. But if you are not careful with usage, you could get stuck with a big bill for data.

Ting's Flex plan details.

If you really just need to get access to talk and text for a kid, though, $10/month is a very good deal.

Plus, you can share data with others on your plan, so if you wanted to have two kids on the Ting plan, you’d pay $10/month for each of them, and then they could share the data.

Also, Ting has amazing customer service; every time I have called them, a real (and helpful) person answers the phone. I have never had to go through an automated menu!

Ting runs on both the Verizon and T-mobile networks.

(Scroll all the way down to see the Flex plan.)

Mint Mobile: better if you want data freedom

A pink phone in a blue backpack pocket.

With Mint Mobile, you can pay $15/month and get unlimited talk and text plus 4 gigs of high-speed data.

And this is not shared data; each line gets its own 4 gigs.

This feels like a deliciously high amount of data to me because after having been with Ting for so many years, I’m super in the habit of being careful about my data usage!

And now after I do something like downloading a song using my data, I joke to Mr. FG that I have become a profligate data user.

Mint Mobile also offers plans with more data or unlimited data, but I gotta say, 4 gigs seems very sufficient to me!

Mint Mobile runs on the T-Mobile network if that helps you decide.

Republic Wireless: not for iPhone users

Republic Wireless still only supports Androids, but even if you have an Android, I’d still go with Mint Mobile.

Republic’s plan is $20/month for unlimited talk and text but you only get 1 gig of data.

I’d much rather pay $15 with Mint and get 4 gigs of data!

Republic Wireless uses the T-Mobile network as well, so you might as well go with Mint Mobile. Same network, less expensive, more data.

That’s an easy decision.

A phone displaying the Duolingo Spanish home screen.

My opinion: go with Mint Mobile

Of these three options (which are the ones our family has experience with), I think Mint Mobile makes the most sense unless you are planning to keep data usage down to almost nothing, in which case I’d go with Ting.

Also, if you need to be on the Verizon network, then that’s a vote in favor of Ting.

Readers, help Laura decide what to choose for her kids! If you have experience with Ting, Republic, Mint, or any other affordable provider, do share.

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Suellen J Roley

Friday 17th of September 2021

I use Google Fi and have unlimited everything for around $80.00 per month (I know that sounds horribly high for one line, but I ported from Sprint who was charging me more than twice that every month--$40.00 or so for the phone I financed, and $130.00-$140.00 for data, talk, text).

What infuriated me is that I left the Sprint store thinking it was going to be around $140.00 including the phone, and they basically did a bait-and-switch. For the 18 months I had their service, the bill was NEVER lower than $160.00--$165.00.

Tarynkay

Thursday 16th of September 2021

I had Republic Wireless in the past. It worked well, I liked it. I switched to Mint bc my husband gave me his old iPhone from his job when they upgraded him. I like Mint a lot more. The service is just better and I have fewer weird glitches. I get unlimited calling, text, and data for $25/month. I got the data unlimited plan because I take my kids on lots of day trips and I absolutely need the Robot Lady to tell me where to go!

Andria

Thursday 16th of September 2021

Has anyone with Mint used it overseas or in Canada? I love the look of that price, but when I need my phone the most is when I'm traveling. I ended up quitting Ting years ago because I had no coverage in NYC (how!?), and we often spend a month in Europe e/o year. I ca never decide if overpaying for Verizon each month for the piece of mind that my phone will work outside the US is worth the tradeoff.

Gina

Thursday 16th of September 2021

We currently have Visible and love them. I think we pay $25/month with unlimited everything. They run on the Verizon network so really no issues with out of area stuff. The more people you put on your “party line” the less you pay. We have our teenage boys on our “party line”. For our 14 year old homeschooled daughter we will get her Gabb $20-25/month. It will just allow her to talk and text, no smart phone stuff.

Suz

Wednesday 15th of September 2021

As Kristen mentioned, it basically all comes down to - how do you plan to use data? The hard part for most of us is knowing how much data is used by our normal activities. For an overall reference - we have 2 of us on the Ting Flex plan (inc. 1 in college). We operate mostly on home/college wifi, but when out and about, we feel free to use it as we wish. For us, that generally means we check email, send texts with pics, some web surfing, pull up coupons, occasional directions - that type of thing. We easily keep within the 1G of data (in fact I checked just now and with more than half the month gone, we've used .01G between us). The bill for the 2 of us has been @$30 a month.

That being said, we don't use our phones to stream music/movies, which isn't hard for us since we just naturally find it more convenient to do that at home, generally on a tablet/laptop. We don't really use a lot of extra apps, some of which can pull a lot of data in the background.

So - you can think about how the phone will be used. Mint sounds great and we may end up looking into it in the future. But for now (through MS/HS and into college), Ting works great for us!

(Oh, one other thing that's been handy for us with Ting - other plans may be this way too, you could check - but for sure with Ting, we are able to be on 2 different telecom networks, which is great because the college campus was only strong with a different one than I'd been using. Ting made it very easy to switch; they have good customer service.)

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