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.