mint mobile, one month in
(In which I admit that (surprise!) I am also not immune to handsome actors.)
After leaving my last job and returning my work phone, I was forced to pick a new phone plan. The easy thing to do would have been to rejoin the AT&T family plan I was on before that my parents pay for, but some part of me resisted. I hate subscriptions as much as anyone else, but paying for my own phone plan felt like the right thing to do. While I don't plan on moving out anytime soon, I feel like I should start taking steps to extricate myself now so that it'll be easier for me to Become An Independent Adult when the day does finally come.
My search for a new carrier made me realize just how little I knew about the wireless landscape. I did a little bit of research, but in the end, Ryan Reynolds won over my heart and I ended up settling on Mint Mobile. It helps that it was pretty much the cheapest option I could find ($15/mo for 5 GB of data and unlimited talk & text), and I found their underdog status endearing. Porting my number over from Verizon to Mint was generally pretty smooth. I managed to do it in about an hour, and while it took a few days for iMessage to smooth out all the hiccups, I'm pretty sure Mint isn't responsible for those issues. In any event, I had no trouble getting ahold of a real human when calling customer support, which is always a plus.
After a little over a month of use, Mint's service has proven to be alright. Mint's data speeds have been noticeably slower compared to Verizon's, which irked me occasionally when Spotify or Uber wouldn't work. And the coverage inside buildings has been awful too. This is how I understand MVNOs (mobile virtual network operator) work: you're a second class citizen borrowing the coverage of a major carrier's existing network, which for Mint is T-Mobile. You save money but are subject to slowdowns during periods of high traffic, since your needs take a backseat to users of T-Mobile proper. I wouldn't recommend it for the small portion of the population that might need dependable wireless speeds (maybe if you were a rideshare driver or an influencer or something), but the slower speeds are only mild annoyances to me, especially considering how infrequently I go out. Besides, I always fantasize about getting a dumb phone for peace of mind anyway, so it makes no sense for me to complain about slow data speeds, especially when it means I can save some money.
All things considered, I like Mint. I've learned to view its small drawbacks as perks: the slower speeds force me to only use data when I really need to and the cheapest tier's 5 GB limit means I have to once again properly prepare for excursions by downloading maps and playlists for offline use if I don't want to run out. And I don't think these are such bad things, especially for a aspiring digital minimalist like myself, so I'll be sticking with this plan for the foreseeable future.