Recently, the budget wireless market has been exploding. New network providers are constantly popping up—promising competitive rates, forgiving contracts, and affordable plans. So, how do you know which one is the best for you?
In this article, we’ll compare two of the most popular budget wireless providers: Mint Mobile and Visible Wireless. We’ll cover their plans, prices, speeds, coverage, and more. By the end, you should have a good idea of which network is best for your needs.
Let’s get started!
What Is Mint Mobile?
Mint Mobile is a low-cost carrier that operates on the T-Mobile network. It’s one of the newer providers on the scene, having only been around since 2016. Despite its relative youth, Mint Mobile has quickly become one of the most popular budget carriers—in part due to a co-sign from Ryan Reynolds (the company’s majority shareholder).
What Is Visible Wireless?
Visible Wireless is a budget carrier that operates on the Verizon network. Founded in 2018, It’s one of the newest providers out there—but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth considering! Visible Wireless is known for its simplicity: it offers only one unlimited data plan, for one low price.
Mint Mobile vs. Visible Wireless Comparison
Alright, time for the full review. To make things easier to follow, we’ve broken the comparison down into the following sections:
- Plans & Prices
- Speed & Data
- Coverage & Reliability
For each section, we’ll give you a winner and explain our reasoning. Now, let’s get comparing!
Mint Mobile vs. Visible Wireless: Plans & Prices
Mint Mobile Plans
Mint Mobile offers three different unlimited data plans, all of which come with unlimited talk and text. The main difference between the plans is data—the more you pay, the more high-speed data you get.
Here’s a breakdown of Mint Mobile’s plans:
- 4 GB: $15/month
- 10 GB: $20/month
- 15 GB: $25/month
- UNLIMITED (35 GB): $30/month
All Mint Mobile plans technically offer unlimited data. There’s a catch, though. After you reach a certain data cap (denoted by the plan’s title), your data speeds are throttled.
Visible Wireless Plans
As we mentioned earlier, Visible Wireless only offers one unlimited data plan. The plan includes unlimited talk, text, and data—all for $40/month.
And, unlike Mint Mobile, Visible Wireless doesn’t throttle your data speeds. That being said, Visible does limit the video streaming quality to 480p.
Visible Wireless also offers a great discount if you join a Party (i.e., a family plan). With a Party of 4+ people, that monthly rate drops to $25/month.
Winner: Mint Mobile—for the simple fact that Mint offers more plans at more affordable prices.
Mint Mobile vs. Visible Wireless: Speed & Data
Mint Mobile Speeds
All Mint Mobile are 5G-ready, so if you have a phone that’s compatible with T-Mobile’s 5G network, you’ll be able to take advantage of those faster speeds.
That being said, 4G is still the norm—and Mint Mobile’s 4G speeds are nothing to sneeze at. In fact, according to reviewer tests, Mint Mobile averages 21.1 Mbps for downloads and 12.5Mbps for uploads.
The throttled data speeds we mentioned earlier definitely come into play here. Once you’ve used up your high-speed data for the month, Mint will throttle your speeds down to around 128Kbps for downloads. In our experience, the throttled speed is almost unusable.
Visible Wireless Speeds
Similarly, all Visible Wireless plans come with 5G access that promise speeds as fast as 200 Mbps. And like Mint Mobile, the average 4G speeds are quite good. In fact, Visible Wireless actually edges out Mint in the speed department, averaging 29 Mbps for downloads and 26.1 Mbps for uploads in industry speed tests.
As we mentioned earlier, video streaming is capped at 480p quality. However, all other data usage is unlimited and won’t be throttled—no matter how much you use.
Winner: Visible Wireless—because the network’s average speeds are generally better. But remember, wireless speeds vary for different people.
Mint Mobile vs. Visible Wireless: Coverage & Reliability
Mint Mobile Coverage
Mint Mobile has great coverage, thanks to the fact that it runs on T-Mobile’s extensive 4G LTE network. In fact, T-Mobile’s LTE network now reaches 59% of the United States. That means Mint Mobile is part of the nation’s second-largest network provider!
Mint Mobile’s (or, T-Mobile’s) 5G network is also growing rapidly. As of October 2020, Mint Mobile customers with a 5G-compatible phone can access 5G in over 7,500 cities and towns across the US.
Visible Wireless Coverage
As we mentioned earlier, Visible Wireless is a Verizon subsidiary—so it should come as no surprise that it offers excellent coverage. In fact, Verizon’s 4G LTE network now covers more than 70% of the United States—making it the nation’s largest network provider.
What’s more, Verizon’s 5G network is the largest and most widely available in the US. As of October 2020, Visible customers with a 5G-compatible phone can access 5G in more than 2,800 cities and towns across the US.
Winner: Visible Wireless—Verizon is the largest network provider in the United States, and Visible benefits from that title.
Mint Mobile vs. Visible Wireless: Extras
Mint Mobile Extras
Mint Mobile is pretty bare-bones when it comes to extras and add-ons. There are still a few that deserve a mention, though!
- Mint Mobile App: The first is Mint Mobile’s app (available on iOS and Android) that makes it easy to check your data usage, upgrade your plan, and more.
- Unlimited Hotspot: The second is Mint’s unlimited mobile hotspot. All Mint plans come with high-speed data (up to the amount specified by your plan) that you can use for tethering to your laptop or other devices. Unlimited plans even offer 5G hotspot access.
- International Coverage: And finally, Mint Mobile offers free talk and text in Mexico and Canada—perfect for anyone who finds themselves traveling to either of these countries on a regular basis.
Visible Wireless Extras
Visible offers essentially the same extras as Mint Mobile:
- Visible Mobile App: The Visible app (also available on iOS and Android) is great for k managing your account, checking data usage, and more.
- Unlimited Hotspot: All Visible plans come with unlimited high-speed data for mobile hotspot use. Unlike Mint, Visible doesn’t offer 5G hotspot access.
- International Coverage: And like Mint, Visible offers free talk and text in Mexico and Canada.
Winner: Draw (slight advantage Mint Mobile)—this one’s essentially a draw, but Mint Mobile has a slight edge thanks to the 5G hotspot.
So, which budget wireless network is best—Mint Mobile or Visible Wireless?
The answer really depends on what’s most important to you. But here’s a quick summary:
Mint Mobile is best for:
- Those who want the cheapest possible plan
- Those with a 5G-compatible phone (to take advantage of Mint’s 5G network)
- Those who want plan flexibility
Visible Wireless is best for:
- Those who want unlimited (and unthrottled) data
- Those who want the most reliable network
- Those who want faster data speeds
Both are great choices for budget-minded consumers. But if we had to choose one, we’d go with Visible Wireless—if only because its unlimited data plans offer more value and faster speeds for the money.
What do you think? Let us know if you agree or not. We’d love to hear from you!