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Two of the best prepaid carriers, compared

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’re looking for an alternative to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, there are a lot of prepaid carriers available in the US. Some are small independent companies; others belong to telecoms or one of the three major cellular networks. Two of the more popular prepaid carriers are Visible and Mint Mobile. Both are known for offering a lot of value, but there are a lot of differences between the two. In this guide, we compare Mint Mobile vs Visible to help you decide which carrier is right for you. 

It should be noted that Visible is actually owned by Verizon, while Mint Mobile is an independent company (for now) and is partially owned by actor Ryan Reynolds. With that out of the way, let’s start by taking a look at a chart that shows how plans, pricing, data, and perks compare. From there, we’ll break down each section and give you a little more insight into the differences. 

Plan Cost Talk & Text Data Extras
Plan

Mint 5GB

Cost

$75 for three months
$120 for six months
$180 for 12 months

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

5GB LTE/5G access

Extras

Hotspot up to data limit

Plan

Mint 15GB

Cost

$105 for three months
$150 for six months
$240 for 12 months

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

15GB LTE/5G access

Extras

Hotspot up to data limit

Plan

Mint 20GB

Cost

$135 for three months
$210 for six months
$300 for 12 months

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

20GB LTE/5G access

Extras

Hotspot up to data limit

Plan

Mint Unlimited

Cost

$120 for three months
$210 for six months
$360 for 12 months

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

40GB premium data
Unlimited 4G/5G

Extras

10GB hotspot access

Plan

Visible

Cost

$30 per month

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

Unlimited 4G LTE and 5G Nationwide

Extras

Unlimited hotspot access
Unlimited talk and text in Mexico and Canada

Plan

Visible Plus

Cost

$45 per month

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Data

Unlimited 4G LTE and 5G Nationwide
5G Ultra Wideband access
Premium network experience

Extras

Unlimited hotspot access
Unlimited talk and text in Mexico and Canada
International calling to 30 countries
International texting to 200 countries

Mint Mobile vs Visible: Pricing and value

Stock photo of Mint Mobile fox on phone with money 2

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If all that matters to you is saving money, Mint Mobile wins the battle here but not without a catch. Unlike Visible, Mint Mobile requires you to pay for either 3, 6, or 12 months of service in advance. The best savings are definitely found in the 12-month plans, which can range from $180/yearly to $360/yearly. Translating that into a monthly rate, that’s like paying around $15 to $30 a month for service. 

Don’t worry; you don’t have to jump right into paying a whole year at once to see the best rate. Mint Mobile offers an introductory 3-month plan that discounts down to the same low rates you’d see with the yearly plan. Once the first three months are up, you’ll have to pay more for the next three months or upgrade to a six or 12-month plan for better rates. 

Mint Mobile is cheaper, but Visible has better unlimited data options.

If you don’t mind the idea of paying once and then forgetting about it for a whole year, Mint Mobile makes a lot of sense. It’s probably less of a good deal if you only want to stick to the three or six-month plans. Unfortunately, the savings also start to evaporate when we talk about unlimited data. 

Mint offers three different limited data plans and just one unlimited option. Meanwhile, Visible is all in on unlimited data with two different plans. If you compare Mint Mobile’s only unlimited plan (at $30 monthly) to Visible ($30 monthly), you’ll pay the same with Visible, but you don’t have to fork out $360 all at once to pay for a year.

Service will be similar between the two, though Visible is actually truly unlimited — I’ve personally used 100GB or more in one month without issue. You will see deprioritization at times with both carriers, which we’ll talk about in greater detail a bit further down this guide. Visible’s more expensive plan offers unlimited priority data, so if the best speeds matter to you, it’s a great deal. You also get improved international calling options for free.

At the end of the day, we’d say Mint and Visible are tied for pricing and value. Mint has the advantage if you don’t use a lot of data, as its prepaid limited data plans are very well priced. However, Visible is the winner for those interested in unlimited data. 

Mint Mobile coverage vs Visible: How do they compare?

mint mobile map

Mint Mobile and Visible are both prepaid services, but Visible’s parent company is Verizon. This means it technically owns its own towers. Mint Mobile is in talks to join T-Mobile, but for now, it is simply an independent company that licenses access to T-Mobile’s network. This is called an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator). In reality, this doesn’t make a huge difference in terms of coverage or reliability, but it does mean Visible has a bit more control over the network it uses than Mint Mobile does. 

There are certainly pros and cons for each carrier when it comes to coverage. Let’s start with Visible.

Visible is backed by the world’s more extensive network. Verizon tends to be a reliable option for both city dwellers and rural folks, though it’s not without dead zones. While postpaid Verizon accounts have the advantage of roaming arrangements to fill in any holes, the same won’t apply to Visible’s prepaid service. The good news is it will rarely be an issue. 

I live in the middle of nowhere, Missouri, and have traveled across the Midwest extensively. In my time, I’ve found the service rarely has dead zones, but there are some areas in Nebraska and Kansas in particular that really only are served by US Cellular. 

Mint Mobile, on the other hand, uses the T-Mobile network. While it’s not as extensive as Verizon’s network, it is getting very close. T-Mobile has done a wonderful job spreading LTE and 5G to nearly every corner of the US. Even in rural areas like Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, I have no trouble using T-Mobile or any MVNO that works with its towers. Just like Verizon, you will run into pockets where coverage is non-existent, so it’s always good to check the Mint’s official coverage map to make sure the carrier will be a good fit for you. 

Overall Visible has a slight advantage when it comes to coverage, but the gap is much smaller than it used to be. 

Mint Mobile vs Visible: Data and prioritization

visible

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

Let’s talk about data. We already mentioned that Visible is truly unlimited data. You can use it as much as you want. The same doesn’t apply to Mint’s Unlimited plan. You’ll actually have just 40GB of prioritized data, but after that, speeds drop down to 600Kbps. If you rely on your mobile data as your main route to the internet, Visible might be the better choice.

Of course, we also have to factor in prioritization. You might jump to the conclusion Visible will have higher prioritization on Verizon’s network, simply because Visible is owned by the latter. That’s not necessarily true.

Visible’s base plan is very much known for deprioritization. It’s gotten better over the years, but in major cities, you will absolutely see slower speeds during times of congestion. For example, when I travel to St Louis, I often will have trouble getting more than 1-3Mbps during peak hours of the day. Thankfully in rural areas, this is less of a problem, and I tend to average 5-10Mbps during congested times. If you don’t care about speeds and just want tons of data, Visible’s base plan is a great choice. 

Deprioritization will apply to both carriers, but Visible Plus will see the best speeds and coverage.

Want prioritized data? You’ll want to get Visible Plus. This gives you unlimited prioritized data, though it will still see some lower speeds during times of congestion when compared to a postpaid Verizon plan. That said, it will be very minimal. I upgraded to Plus for a few months to test out the differences, and I’ll say that my Visible Plus line was always very close to my wife’s Verizon postpaid line. Slower but almost negligibly so. It’s also worth mentioning only the Plus plan will give you access to Verizon’s faster wideband 5G network. 

Now Mint Mobile might not be owned by T-Mobile, but it actually gets pretty solid speeds. I’ll be honest; I’ve only recently started to use Mint Mobile again after briefly playing with it for a few months back in 2020 or so. Still, in my tests, I’ll say that Mint tends to get much better average speeds than Visible’s base plan. Meanwhile, Visible Plus tends to offer similar speeds to Mint Mobile’s plans. 

It’s really hard to say which option is better here. If you want Visible base, Mint Mobile will have the win here. If you’re thinking about Visible Plus, it becomes a much harder decision. Let’s call this one a tie. 

Mint Mobile vs Visible: Extras, perks, and promotions

Google Pixel 7a front with box

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Neither Visible or Mint is known for offering a bunch of perks or extras, as both keep things pretty simple. Both carriers give you free calling to Mexico and Canada. Mint also offers low rates for calling 160 additional countries on all its plans. Visible Plus adds a few extra perks like unlimited talk, text, and data when visiting Mexico and Canada, international calling from the US to 30+ countries, and international texting from the US to 200+ countries. 

It’s really nearly impossible to beat Mint’s promotions, but Visible has a few deals of its own. It offers tons of special promotions, including trying Visible free for 15 days. There’s also a promotion where you get $20 off when you convince a friend to join Visible. As for phone deals, you can trade in any phone for at least $100 or more off, depending on the model. There are also deals like device financing and the option to trade in a phone that’s 50% paid for in exchange for a new one. 

So who does it better? Mint Mobile’s Pixel 8 deal is really hard to beat, and so in terms of promotions, it takes the cake. Of course, Visible gives you a few more benefits for international calling and has several interesting promotions as well. Still, we have to give this one to Mint Mobile. 

Mint Mobile vs Visible: Phone selection

Apple iPhone 14 vs Google Pixel 7

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Visible is compatible with pretty much every major phone sold in the United States and offers a wide range of brands such as Samsung, Google, Apple, and Motorola. There are also little guys like TCL and Orbic too. This includes flagships like the Galaxy S23, Pixel 8, and iPhone 15. You can check out their full list of phones on the Visible website.

Mint Mobile offers an equally impressive range, including a few brands you won’t find on Mint, like Alcatel and OnePlus. You have a few ways you can guy. You can get a “Phone Deal” that includes six months of free service and can pay upfront or through a payment plan via Affirm. Where Mint Mobile has an advantage is that it’s network is GSM based. Simply put, there are more unlocked phones that work with Mint than you’ll find with Visible. This is because Visible’s CDMA/5G networks require a few special bands that not all phones bother to include. 

Regardless of which service you choose, you’ll be able to bring your existing phone or buy a new unlocked one, as long as it’s compatible with the network. For more phone options, check out our guide to the best Android phones and best cheap phones.

So who has the better selection? It’s pretty much a tie here too, though Mint Mobile is the better option for those who want to bring an unlocked phone onboard. You’ll find more options and less headaches. 

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

Stock photo of Mint Mobile fox on phone 2

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If I had to pick a winner based on service alone, I’d give this one to Visible despite the official tie. Some of this is admittedly a bit biased, as I have been using Visible for years. Really though, it all comes down to unlimited data. Visible is a better option here if you don’t mind paying a bit more for the Plus plan. It’s also nice not to have to pay for a full year’s service upfront.

Now, if you need a new phone? Mint Mobile’s Pixel 7 deal is really hard to beat. If you are interested in a limited plan or don’t mind a little deprioritization, Mint Mobile is still a solid choice. The fact you only have to pay once a year can also be seen as an advantage for some. Get your taxes back, and pay your phone off. Simple.

Overall, Mint is going to be cheaper. The price ranges are really close, though, and there are certainly some areas of the country where having Verizon access is going to be a better fit than T-Mobile. 

Bottom line, both services are great, just in different ways. You can’t go wrong either way. If you want the fastest high-speed data, Visible’s Plus is the best choice. If you’re looking to save money or want to pay upfront instead of monthly, Mint Mobile is the winner. Not impressed by Mint Mobile but looking for something cheaper than Visible? Be sure to check out our guide to the best cheap phone plans

Visible vs Mint Mobile: which is the better choice?

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Who am I, and why should you trust me?

My name is Andrew Grush, and I’ve been with Android Authority in a multitude of different capacities for over a decade. My experience in the mobile industry dates back a few years earlier than that. While I have a lot of areas of expertise, I pride myself on being the kind of guy who never settles and is always trying new things. That applies to carriers as well. I’ve used T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, Visible, Google Fi, Cricket, US Mobile, Mint Mobile, and several other carriers for extended periods on and off throughout the years.

I’m also regularly acquiring SIM cards from prepaid carriers in order to see how they compare to the big players in the space. When I write about prepaid and postpaid services, you can be sure that I’ll have actual real-time experience and insights. 

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