Mint SIM Adds International Data Roaming

Posted on March 16, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, iOS, Mobile with 25 Comments

Mint SIM Adds International Data Roaming

I’ve been using the low-cost wireless carrier Mint SIM since last December. Today, they added my most eagerly-needed feature: International data roaming.

“We already had international roaming on talk and text, but including the Internet takes us to a whole new level for world travelers,” an email from Mint SIM notes. “Roaming credit can be purchased in amounts of $5, $10 or $20. Your unused balance will roll over from month to month and never expire.”

So yeah. The issue, of course, is the cost of that data roaming. Mint SIM is very affordable to use domestically, as I found when I started using the service last December. But how much will this cost?

To understand the bar here, Google’s Project Fi charges $10 per gigabyte for data, and it doesn’t matter where you use it. The price is the same here in the U.S. as it is internationally. This is a boon for people like me who like to travel outside the United States. (On a related note, we’ve just figured out our summer home swap, which will be in Sweden this July and August.)

So, 2 GB of data used internationally on Project Fi would set me back $20. How much would that cost on Mint SIM?

According to Mint SIM’s newly updated International Roaming page, more than that. Data costs $0.20 per MB (unless you’re going to Canada or Mexico, in which case it’s just $0.06/MB). So that would cost $40, about double the cost of Project Fi.

(UPDATE. My math might be WAY off. Is 2 GB of data at 20 cents per MB actually $400? If so, this pricing is beyond terrible. –Paul)

That may sound bad, but Mint SIM is actually cheaper overall than Project Fi. So if it was a bit more expensive during those few weeks per year when I’m traveling internationally, it would still make sense to use Mint SIM instead. (All other things being equal.)

As I noted in Thinking About the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Premium), part of my personal decision making around using the new S9+ regards Project Fi. But with Mint SIM now offering international data roaming, this decision might get easier.

Something to think about.


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Comments (25)

25 responses to “Mint SIM Adds International Data Roaming”

  1. Oasis

    Finally can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  2. Podunk

    Thanks, I use Mint too. Only travel once a year to Ireland for 2 weeks. This is great!

  3. Vladimir Carli

    WOW... you are coming to Sweden? Where exactly, do you need any tips? Regarding Internet, just buy a local SIM card and pop it in a mobile router. You can buy 15GB for about 30USD to be used in a month. Coverage is excellent almost everywhere.


  4. Harrymyhre

    have You tried putting your google fi sim in the s9?

    since your s9 is unlocked and gsm I bet fi would work.

  5. Greg

    Finally! You are talking about MintSim again! I Switched my wife and I over in December of last year. (That was when I recall hearing about it on your podcast with Leo and Mary Jo. You said you were going to try it and report more on it. I've read your site and listened to every podcast since...nothing. Please tell us what you think of the service now. We love it! And, with the special introductory offer from December...we will pay 25.00 per month until June 2018! Thanks Paul!

  6. UbelhorJ

    Just having the option to add international is going to be good enough for most people. The average American never leaves the country, much less does it frequently. Very few people are going to have international data costs on their list of considerations for wireless service.

    I use Mint SIM. I haven't traveled with it yet, but international data costs aren't really a concern. I really only need enough MB to get me to a store to purchase a local pre-paid SIM. Anyone using Mint is going to have an unlocked phone and can do the same.

  7. Jason Liao

    My family has 5 lines on T-Mobile for $170/month, tax included. Unlimited data and free roaming everywhere. I travel to China for three weeks every year and I depend on my T-Mobile data plan for everything. Although it is 2G or 3G in China, I can check email, read news, free texting and even listen to audio version of Windows Weekly.

    T-mobile is the only company I love without reservation.

    • Steve Dickey

      In reply to Jason_Liao:

      And if you're 55 or older, T-Mobile One is $30 per month, unlimited text and international 2G/3G data. So wait a few years, Paul, to be eligible.. If you need LTE, monthly packs are available.

  8. offTheRecord

    Yeah, $0.20/MB is *very* expensive.

    Sounds like the easiest option would be to just stick with Project Fi for overseas.

    • CrownSeven

      In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:

      Seriously this. Why have you not yet looked at using T-Mobile?

      • Paul Thurrott

        In reply to CrownSeven:

        I'm confused that you think I haven't.

        T-Mobile is obviously interesting. T-Mobile couldn't be less transparent about its pricing than it is. You have to be a T-mobile customer, or call them on the phone, to find out what things cost. Including, say, their International data day passes.

        I don't need slow data internationally. I need full speed data. For three weeks at a time. Not a few GBs. Many several/dozens of GBs. T-Mobile may be an option overall, but what they give you for free or low cost internationally will not work for me. And MintSIM is MUCH cheaper domestically than T-Mobile.

        I will keep looking.

        • AnOldAmigaUser

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          From the T-Mobile site on international data. If 256kbps is OK, then the cost is another $10/month.

          When you travel to Mexico and Canada, you get unlimited calling, texting, and data with up to 5GB at 4G LTE speeds. Plus, you get unlimited calling to Mexico and Canada from the U.S. for FREE. Check out details

          When you travel abroad you will have unlimited data at up to 128kbps, which is great for web browsing, email, social media, and occasional use of certain features like GPS/maps. Some applications like streaming music or video typically require higher-speed data for optimal functionality. If you frequently travel internationally and require a higher speed you can add T-Mobile ONE Plus™ and get up to 256kbps speeds abroad for $10/mo. 

          Typically, you can toggle these things and just add them for the months you need them. If 256kbps is not enough, then another solution is in order.

      • UbelhorJ

        In reply to CrownSeven:

        If you don't need any of the extras T-Mobile offers, Mint is significantly cheaper until you start getting into family plan discounts.

        T-Mobile's pricing is terrible for a single line. $70/month vs $70 for THREE months with Mint's cheapest plan. Crazy when you find out that Mint actually uses T-mobile for service.

  9. lilmoe

    I've never used data roaming when I travel, and I travel a lot.

    One thing you might to want to consider when traveling is a "Skype Number" (since you're already an Office 365 subscriber) and use call forwarding when you travel, they even offer temporary Skype numbers if you prefer that. When you get to your destination, get a traveler's SIM plan with up to unlimited data, which should be relatively cheap compared to any roaming plan...

    Just a thought.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to lilmoe:

      I use international data extensively when I travel. It is very inexpensive on Project Fi and is full LTE speed.

      • lilmoe

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        I understand. I wasn't implying that I don't use "mobile data" when I'm traveling. I do, extensively, but not in roaming. I always buy a temporary local SIM at my destination with a good data plan, and divert/forward all my calls to my Skype number. This also has the advantage of having cheap, local calls.

        This works better for my needs and is much more reliable.

  10. lanebishop

    Is 2 GB of data at 20 cents per MB actually $400?


  11. JerryH

    Ouch! That's an awful price. It looks like even AT&T would be cheaper with their Passport plan at $60 for 1GB, then $50 for each additional GB.

  12. LuxuryTravelled

    Love Sweden Paul, Great choice!