Verizon to Mint Mobile: Iowa Review


Verizon is great but expensive

I had Verizon from late 2005-January 2022 with few to no issues, aside from price. Today all major carriers push unlimited plans but the reality is the average consumer use ~5-6GB a month.

Verizon Pricing

Bundled with other family members our Verizon account had 6 lines, each paying $45/line/month (service only, with taxes+fees). I’m responsible for 2 lines so I’m at $90/month. This is competitive among the major carriers for post-paid accounts.

$45/line/month isn’t terrible but that price is only available when you have 5+ lines. If you have 2 lines and don’t have a way to bundle with others then the same unlimited plan is ~$75/line/month (service only, with taxes+fees). No thanks!

My Verizon Scenario

  • Two lines - iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro - unlocked; purchased directly from Apple; paid off.
  • Primary usage; Des Moines, IA metro but travel to Cedar Rapids area and North Western Iowa to visit family.
  • I spend over 90% of my day bathing in Wi-Fi
  • Two lines paying $90 ($45/line/month service only, with taxes+fees). Bundled with family for savings on Verizon account with 6 lines.

Device Financing History.

When handheld cell phones began rolling out, wireless providers typically required consumers to sign a contract saying they would remain a customer for some time, typically 2 years. If you wanted to switch wireless providers you had to wait until the contract expired or buy out the contract. A $200-300 dollar ordeal. Worse yet, if/when you broke your phone you couldn’t buy one at the same price as you did when you signed the contract. Why? Wireless providers baked in the cost subsidy of the phone into the monthly service bill. Without fulfilling your contract the wireless provider can’t recoup the subsidized portion of the phone. This was the case for many years.

In the past handful of years, wireless providers have changed their phone subsidize model BUT kept service plan rates relatively the same. Pushing the cost of the device to consumers. Now you may have a phone payment and a contract but the contract is just committing to paying the full cost of the phone. If you leave a provider and still owe for your device the provider invokes the contract, calling due the remaining balance of the device.

Both approaches are intended to keep you locked as a customer.

Apple has also gotten into the installment plan game for the iPhone. Instead of buying an iPhone with the device agreement (contract) with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc. You can purchase on installments directly from Apple. With this approach, loyalty to a single wireless provider starts to fade. After all, Apple wants to sell you an iPhone they don’t care what service you use to call, text, sms.

Verizon - Mint Mobile in Iowa

Ever since I got my first cell phone I have always had a subsidized phone, and a contract or device payment with Verizon. I hate shopping for clothes but for years I have followed the wireless industry looking for the best deals and keeping up with trends. Yet I’ve always had Verizon service and never switched because other providers’ pricing was usually about the same and I was happy with the service. There was no real incentive to move, aside from price.

With no iPhone payment commitment, my huge nerd level, and extreme COVID boredom. I’ve decided to do a wireless experiment. Leave Verizon for Mint Mobile (which uses the T-Mobile network).

Experiment Goals

  1. How does Mint Mobile service compare to Verizon in Iowa, particularly in rural Iowa?
  2. Do I even need unlimited data?
  3. Will I even care or miss Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wide-band speeds? (hardly any in Des Moines Metro anyway)
  4. Is it worth forgoing ‘partner coverage’ (T-Mobile terminology - aka most of Nebraska has no coverage) for savings?

My Mint Mobile Setup

  • One line - iPhone 13 Pro. Depending on the outcome the iPhone 12 Pro could join Mint Mobile in the future. For now, it’s staying on Verizon.
  • Same Primary usage areas in Iowa.
  • Same Wi-Fi usage.
  • Two lines paying $62/month. Verizon line at $45/line/month service only, with taxes+fees plus Mint Mobile line at $17/line/month service only, with taxes+fees.

I’ve started on Mint Mobiles 4GB new customer plan for $17/month (with taxes+fees).