04-06-2017 10:25 PM
- First and foremost, I want to put it out there that I have not been encouraged, paid, or required to put this article together. I'm just an everyday mobile device enthusiast and regular guy trying to save a buck in the world. In pursuit of this endeavor, I decided to give Mint Sim a whirl, because why not? C’mon, what can possibly go wrong with 3 months of 2GB of service for $35 (really it’s $43’ish because of tax and shipping), but seriously, I carry two phones with me every day and I thought it would be a great idea to try a cheap solution and see if really lives up to the hype. Also, I know lots of Mobile Nations users that carry two phones around with them, because hey… we love our technology, right? Without further ado, let the review begin.
Reality Testing – Is the service provided as advertised?
Well, the first thing you need to know is that it’s pre-paid, so you have to pay for all of it up front. Since this is just a personal experiment, I opted for the 3-month plan because it’s the cheapest (I also have tethering with my other phone, as a backup). Another important thing is that you only get the discounted rate if you pre-pay for 3, 6, or 12 months (5GB is $16.67, and 10GB is $20 per month), otherwise $11.67 becomes $23, for 1-month increments (5GB is $33, and 10GB is 39.67). After taxes and shipping, the actual cost for 3-months came out to about $43 USD, and arrived within two days. Important to note --- I didn’t port my number over, but it’s possible for you to port your number; however, you get no additional cost savings for this. Also, bear in mind that this offer is only for new customers – shall we say “newly Minted customers?”
Setting Up Service – How hard can it be?
Actually, it’s pretty darn easy. The SIM-kit was issued a tracking number and arrived in about two days, but you can pay more for expedited shipping. The SIM-kit arrived much like any other carrier provider’s would, in a card-like contraption that can be punched out for smaller sizes, so it can be used as a full-SIM, Micro, or Nano-SIM. I turned my device off, pulled out the old SIM card and popped the Mint Sim, SIM card into my phone and powered it back up. On another note, the SIM-kit does come with a little pamphlet of impressively small proportions and details how to install the SIM and setup service. Before the service will work though, you have to activate the SIM card – this is also in the little pamphlet. It only takes a few minutes. All you have to do is go to the Mint SIM homepage and up at the top there is an option for “Activate.” Click on the activation link and follow the few short steps, which includes inputting the activation code from the SIM-kit card. After a few minutes of working your way through the activation process, you’ll be in business and can power up your device and connect to the network. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the ease of activating the SIM and establishing service! Additionally, you may have to adjust your phones APN settings, but the mini-pamphlet has all the information you need to do this for either an Android or Apple device.
Performance Test – Where expectation meets reality.
Alright, so how is the service working? Well, after a week of using the service I can tell you that it’s definitely not always “blazing” fast, as noted by Mint SIM, but it can be… and it is adequate. If you aren’t familiar with Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) work, Mint Sim piggy-backs off of the T-Mobile network – minus the ability for roaming… not supported by Mint Sim. Also, based on my understanding, Mint Sim users are naturally deprioritized, meaning in congested areas your bandwidth will be much more limited at times, which I attribute to the slower speeds that I received. However, is that necessarily bad? Well, the answer is that it depends. First, objectively, I just paid roughly $12 bucks for 2GB of LTE data, but of course it’s unlimited on 2G after that – If you don’t know what a 56k modem sounds like, head to YouTube. Reflecting on my experience with Mint Sim so far, I have been able to achieve download speeds of up to 21.04mbps and 12.24mbps, with a top-end 13.79mbps and 9.99mbps upload speeds (this was at 10pm, and 10am, in my suburban home) – in a side-by-side comparison with my actual T-Mobile phone, I pulled 19.84mbps download, and 10.01mbps upload. Out and about during the day my speeds have sometimes been lower. At 9am in a suburban area, I managed a much less impressive 0.36mbps download, and 1.87mbps upload, whereas with my actual T-Mobile phone I was running a 21.16mbps download, and 4.82mbps upload. But, then again, just one hour later at 10am, I managed 21.04mbps download and 9.99mbps upload speeds with Mint Sim. I have experienced similarly unimpressive speeds at other remote times and didn’t think to screenshot it, but the potential for speed is exists.
Fairweather Internet - How does this impact phone performance?
Having coped with the lower internet speeds at times, I can say that it hasn’t tremendously impacted my Boom Beach connectivity, or casual browsing, or using Android Central. However, YouTube streaming and other various services are going to be disappointing at these kinds of speeds, so prepare for buffering and low-res video at times. Additionally, on several occasions I have had to turn my network antenna off and back on because of internet “freezing”, meaning that data transmission stopped working – curiously, after either of these are done, the internet speed becomes much more responsive for a few minutes. On a positive note, phone calling and text messaging have appeared to be unaffected. I have actually been pleasantly surprised with the call quality and the responsiveness for messaging (no holding patterns or failure to send messages), but that needs to be balanced with connectivity and speed variances.
Conclusion – Is it worth it?
Well, again the answer is maybe. If you carry two phones around like me and can turn on wireless tethering with the other device, it really makes up for the shortfalls. If you’re cool with occasional inconsistencies in data speeds, then it’s also less worrisome. Call quality and messaging are more than adequate, so if you really need a cheap phone plan with the promise of internet in uncongested areas and off-peak times, this could be the answer for you. I live outside the Houston area, which if any of you are familiar with southeast Texas, you’ll know that the greater Houston area is massive. I have not been able to test the network in the inner-city, which is where the best speeds and network coverage should be at. However, in the well-equipped suburbs with good T-Mobile coverage, Mint Sim doesn’t always keep up. The service is adequate, but with a few asterisk here and there. Does it have enough positives to make it a viable option? I think so. If you need cost-effective communication, it’s a great deal. Of course, this has been my personal experience and Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) – So many acronyms… , so make any decisions with your best interests in mind!
"Does it have enough positives to make it a viable option? I think so."
- It’s cheap and easy to setup
- Sometimes it’s nice and fast
- Phone calls and texting are reliable
- Internet is manageable when it works properly
- Not always “blazing fast”
- Connectivity issues are frustrating, especially when the side-by-side comparison with an actual T-Mobile service is more reliable.
- The discounted prices are only available for first time customers, so once the initial prepayment period lapses, prices will increase.
If you have experience with Mint SIM, or generally have any questions or want to comment, feel free to hit me up, or head over to the comments section.
If you’re interested, please check out Mint Sim, at http://www.mintsim.com/?utm_source=v...mUvbUpU292428304-05-2017 07:07 PM
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