Consumer Cellular vs. Mint Mobile

A Side-by-Side Comparison of Consumer Cellular and Mint Mobile in 2024

Ana Durrani Ana Durrani Journalist and Contributor
taylor shuman Taylor Shuman Senior Tech Expert & Editor

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With so many cell phone providers competing for your attention, it’s hard to know which one to go with. Contract? No contract? 5G or 4G? Bring your own phone or buy a new one? You’re not the only one confused! Owning a cell phone is a must these days, whether for keeping in touch with friends, banking, or setting reminders; thus, taking the time to find the right plan that works for you is important.

Choosing the best cell phone plan will depend on where you live, your needs, and your budget. You will want to look at network coverage, high-speed data, plan perks and inclusions, family and senior discounts, and, of course, plan costs.

We took a look at two popular mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), Consumer Cellular and Mint Mobile. MVNOs are companies that sell mobile services under their brand name but use other carriers’ wireless network, signal, and coverage. This means they tend to offer excellent mobile plans at lower costs, which is welcome news to consumers.

Both MVNOs have a lot to offer, so deciding which to go with can take a little bit of research. That’s where we come in. We did the legwork for you and compared Consumer Cellular and Mint Mobile by evaluating their plans, prices, and features to make your comparison shopping a little easier.

Mint Mobile Dashboard

Mint Mobile Dashboard

Side-by-Side Comparison of Consumer Cellular and Mint Mobile

Both Consumer Cellular and Mint Mobile have plans to fit your budget and needs. Whether you want one line, two lines, or have your own phone, there’s a plan for you.

Our favorite is Consumer Cellular
  Consumer Cellular Mint Mobile Logo
Features Consumer Cellular Mint Mobile
Plan prices $20 to $50 per month $15 to $30 per month
Activation fees Free Free
Data speeds 4G LTE in most of the U.S., 5G and 5G+ in dozens of states and many densely populated cities 4G LTE and 5G, except in Alaska and Puerto Rico
Long-term contracts No contracts No contracts
Bring your own phone Yes, if unlocked and compatible; call carrier to sign up Yes, if unlocked and compatible
Discounts for multiple lines Can add up to three lines when ordering online (each extra line is $15 per month) Two or more lines start at $15 a month per line
Website

Phone Plans and Prices

Consumer Cellular Plans

Consumer Cellular runs on AT&T’s network and offers “big wireless coverage without big wireless cost.” The carrier has four main plans to choose from. They range in price from $20 to $50. Here’s a quick breakdown of plans:

Plan Data *Cost for a Single Line Minutes Text
Unlimited Talk and Text 1 GB $20 per month Unlimited Unlimited
Unlimited Talk and Text 5 GB $25 per month Unlimited Unlimited
Unlimited Talk and Text 10 GB $35 per month Unlimited Unlimited
Unlimited Talk and Text Unlimited data $50 per month Unlimited Unlimited

*Taxes and fees are not reflected in costs. Using AutoPay and paperless billing gets customers a $5 monthly credit.

Each plan includes:

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Cellular data
  • Mobile hotspot
  • Premium nationwide coverage
  • 5G access at no extra cost
  • Paperless billing
  • Automatic bill payment
  • Customer service via live chat (6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT) and by phone

Consumer Cellular has a lot of things to love. Here are some more things to know when choosing this company:

  • Plans come with free activation, no contracts, and no hidden fees.
  • There are no overage fees. Customers that exceed their monthly allowance will be upgraded to the next plan that covers their usage.
  • Customers should note that on unlimited data plans, access to high-speed data will be lessened after 50 GB of use. This means you will experience slower speeds at the end of your billing cycle.
  • Plans can be shared with up to seven lines on your account, with each additional line being charged $15 a month. All lines share minutes, texts, and data on the selected plan. Plans can be changed whenever needed without a fee or penalty.
  • AARP members can get two lines of unlimited talk, text, and data for $55 per month, but must call (888) 423-8071 and mention the code “AARP55.”
  • If you refer a friend, you and your friend will get a $20 credit when they sign up. And, you will get an extra $20 credit for each additional referral you make.
  • Cost per line will be reduced with the more lines you add, which is great if you want to add another person.
  • AARP members get a 5 percent discount off their monthly service and a 45-day risk-free guarantee.

The option to bring your own phone is great. However, when we shopped for a Consumer Cellular plan online, the website did not allow us to checkout without selecting a new phone. We found out that you need to call Consumer Cellular’s customer service to take advantage of that. While this is a bit of extra legwork, it’s worth it if you have a trusty phone you want to keep.

We also noticed that Consumer Cellular does not have a devoted “senior plan.” That’s because the carrier is designed for older adults, so all of their services are already tailored to seniors’ needs! They also don’t have any medical alert features that carriers like Lively offer. However, Consumer Cellular does offer a special deal for AARP members. Members can get a 5 percent discount on any plan, or two lines of unlimited talk, text, and data for $55 per month. To redeem the latter, you’ll need to call Consumer Cellular.

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: Looking for a phone that doubles as a medical alert device? Check out our Lively phone review.

Priced at $35 per month, Consumer Cellular’s 10 GB plan is another option for older adults who need a good plan with a decent amount of data. We also like their risk-free, money-back guarantee. Customers not completely satisfied within 30 days (data use is limited to 500 MB) of their service activation are free to cancel. AARP members get an additional 15 days to decide. No pressure!

In comparison, Mint Mobile only gives you a week to cancel. Mint Mobile also does have the Mint 55+ plan. It’s an affordable plan, but requires a minimum of three months of service. When that period ends, you must renew for three, six or 12 months. Only the 12-month plan retains the original rate, so to get the best rate you will need the 12-month plan. Mint Mobile does not have a physical store, so you will need to do everything online via their website.

All things considered, Consumer Cellular is a perfect fit for older adults who don’t want contracts and appreciate good customer service. Affordable month-to-month plans, and an excellent money-back guarantee policy (especially for AARP members!), make Consumer Cellular a worthy consideration.

For the full rundown on this carrier, check out our Consumer Cellular review.

Mint Mobile Plans

Ryan Reynolds. Need I say more? OK, the big sell isn’t just the owner/actor and his entertaining commercials. Mint Mobile also has great plans at great prices. Here’s a breakdown:

Plan Data *Cost for a Single Line Minutes Text
Unlimited Talk and Text 5 GB $15 per month Unlimited Wi-Fi calling and text
Unlimited Talk and Text 15 GB $20 per month Unlimited Wi-Fi calling and text
Unlimited Talk and Text 20 GB $25 per month Unlimited Wi-Fi calling and text
Unlimited Talk and Text Unlimited data $30 per month Unlimited Wi-Fi calling and text
Mint 55+ Unlimited Talk and Text 5 GB of 5G and 4G LTE data per month $15 per month Unlimited Wi-Fi calling and text and free MINTech advisors

*Only new subscribers on the first three-month plan. They require a minimum upfront payment of $45 for a three-month plan. Taxes and fees are not calculated in the above costs.

Mint Mobile runs on T-Mobile’s 5G network and offers prepaid plans without contracts. They have a selection of data options that range from 5 GB to unlimited data. Unlimited plan subscribers who use more than 40 GB a month will experience lower speeds and videos streaming at 480p. However, 40 GB should be plenty of data for most users. Plans start at $15 to $30 per month, and all Mint Mobile plans feature unlimited talk and text. You also have the option of either buying a new phone or bringing your own phone (BYOP).

All plans come with:

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • High-speed data
  • Wi-Fi calling
  • Free calling to Mexico, Canada, and the U.K.
  • Instant plan activation
  • Free mobile hotspot

Older adults can also select the Mint 55+ plan that comes with unlimited talk and text, free MINTech advisor support, 5 GB of 5G data per month, free international calls to Mexico, Canada, and the U.K., mobile hotspot data, and free Wi-Fi calling.

When you first select a plan, you’ll pay for three months of service. After your first three months are up, you can renew with a three-, six-, or 12-month plan. The 12-month plan will maintain the same rates you began with. But customers should know that they’ll experience a higher rate if they go with the three- or six-month plans. While these aren’t technically “contracts,” it’s important to keep in mind. If you just want a month-to-month plan, Consumer Cellular may be a better choice.

You can change your Mint Mobile at any time in the mobile app.

You can change your Mint Mobile at any time in the mobile app.

We like that Mint Mobile lets you BYOP that is unlocked. We tested the process by completing the online phone compatibility checker, and our phone passed! Since plans are prepaid, we chose and paid for our plan and ordered a 3-in-1 SIM kit. After we received the kit in the mail, we were prompted to enter our given activation code and transfer our existing phone number (or you can get a new number). You can follow Mint Mobile’s activation tutorial to walk you through the steps – and do what the mint-colored fox says.

FYI:

FYI: An unlocked phone means your phone isn’t tied to any contract or carrier. Check out our guide to the best unlocked phones to learn more.

Of all the prepaid mobile carriers we tested, Mint Mobile comes out the cheapest. Mint Mobile’s plans offer good value; we do think customers should consider choosing the 12-month package once their first three months are up to enjoy the most savings. The Mint 55+ plan is a good option for older adults. It comes with free premium MINTech advisors activation support. And, it costs $5 less than Consumer Cellular’s 5 GB plan with the same amount of data. Not bad!

For any questions, customer service is available seven days a week over the phone, and there is a 24/7 chat feature. As a nice thank you, Mint Mobile gives all customers a chance to earn up to $90 for each friend referral, depending on the plan chosen (your friend will get a $15 credit).

All in all, Mint Mobile is best for older adults looking for budget-friendly prepaid plans with lots of data. It’s also best for those who don’t mind paying for a year of service in advance, as this will get you the best rates.

Read our Mint Mobile review to learn more about this carrier.

FYI:

FYI: Some 97 percent of Americans own a cell phone. Nine out of 10 own a smartphone, which is an increase from just 35 percent in Pew Research Center’s first survey of smartphone ownership in 2011.1

Nationwide Coverage

Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular uses AT&T and T-Mobile networks; it has nationwide 5G data speeds in a majority of urban areas and 4G data speeds in most rural areas. Consumer Cellular says that it uses the networks of the biggest U.S. cellular providers, with access to 99 percent of the U.S. population.2

Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile’s 5G network for nationwide coverage. The company states that customers receive premium wireless service on the country’s biggest 5G network, but much less in cost than large wireless companies are charging.3

Consumer Cellular vs. Mint Mobile Phones

Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular offers flip phones and smartphones from brands like Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, and Apple. The carrier also has its own branded phones, such as the IRIS Connect and IRIS Flip. Customers also have the option of using their own phones with a Consumer Cellular SIM card.

Consumer Cellular's IRIS Flip has a large screen and keypad for easy viewing.

Consumer Cellular’s IRIS Flip has a large screen and keypad for easy viewing.

Like other mobile plan providers, Consumer Cellular stays competitive by offering discounts and promotions, which are ever-changing and can be found on their website. Some discounts AARP members won’t want to miss are the 5 percent discount on monthly service, 30 percent discount on select accessories, and an extended 45-day risk-free guarantee.

Fun Fact:

Fun Fact: People really cannot be without their phones these days. So much so that it’s actually a real phobia, called nomophobia (“no-mobile-phone phobia”). It is the fear of being without your phone.4

Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile promotes BYOE (bring your own everything), which includes your own unlocked phone and phone number. Customers also have the option to buy a new cell phone. Mint Mobile offers phones from Google, Apple, and Samsung. Customers can also bundle their new phone with Mint Mobile’s premium wireless service.

Testing out Mint Mobile's service on an iPhone (1)

Testing out Mint Mobile’s service on an iPhone

Like other mobile plan providers, Mint Mobile offers several promotions on their website, many geared toward new customers. For example, on the website there is a “Deals” link under the phone tab at the top.

Both Consumer Cellular and Mint Mobile offer a choice of new phones, BYOP, and deals for older adults. Consumer Cellular gets bonus points here for offering extra discounts for AARP members and more time to decide (45 days!).

If you’re looking for a new cell phone, check out our guide to the best cell phones for seniors!

Our Final Thoughts on Consumer Cellular vs. Mint Mobile

Consumer Cellular and Mint Mobile have great plans that are solid options for older adults. Both carriers have no contracts and let you bring your own phone or get a new one. Consumer Cellular offers month-to-month plans, while Mint Mobile requires a minimum three-month service commitment.

Mint Mobile has a great senior plan, but doesn’t have a physical store to visit. They also only give you seven days to cancel, while Consumer Cellular offers 30 days to change your mind (or 45 for AARP members). Consumer Cellular offers discounts for AARP members, which we love. Both know how to cater to older adult customers and offer affordable plans with the option of multiple lines. You really can’t go wrong with either, but choosing which one to go with ultimately depends on your needs, use, and budget.

Citations
  1. Pew Research. (2024). Mobile Fact Sheet.

  2. Consumer Cellular. (2024). Why Us?

  3. Mint Mobile. (2024).

  4. verwellmind. (2023). Nomophobia: The Fear of Being Without Your Phone.

Written By:
Ana Durrani
Journalist and Contributor
Ana has covered a wide range of topics in her 20-plus-year career as a journalist, contributing to numerous international and domestic publications. For several years she served as a regular contributor to Realtor.com. Some of the publications she’s written for… Learn More About Ana Durrani
Reviewed By:
Taylor Shuman
Senior Tech Expert & Editor
As SeniorLiving.org’s tech expert and editor, Taylor has years of experience reviewing products and services for seniors. She is passionate about breaking down stigmas related to seniors and technology. She loves finding innovative ways to teach seniors about products and… Learn More About Taylor Shuman