A few months ago when I reviewed Mint Mobile, a popular pay-as-you-go cellular service in the United States, I noted there was some lost data. Meaning that the amount of cellular data usage from my phone once Mint was activated skyrocketed, resulting in a lot of unexplained data usage.
It’s a mystery I’ve been testing and investigating since it’s come up and I’ve got some answers but now a few more questions. Here’s the latest.
Gigabytes On Up
Prior to using Mint Mobile, I was averaging about 2.5-3 Gigabytes of cellular data usage a month. Primarily tied to WiFi in most cases, I’m not a heavy user. So it made sense to get a $15 a month 4GB plan to test on for a minimum 3 month term. Yet a week or two into my plan though I hit that data limit and got a notification I’d have to purchase more data – so I got 5 GB for an $15 extra dollars. And then 10 days later, guess what? The same thing happened.
In fact this happened each month so at the next 3 month interval, I went with a 10 GB plan. Same thing, went over my data limits, had to buy more. Then I went with the unlimited plan and well, that’s when things got weird.
Looking For Leaks
Prior to this I had tried to find if there was some data leak on my phone. I made sure WiFi Assist was off on my iPhone, a feature which uses cellular data when you’re on a weak WiFi connection. iCloud and iCloud Drive were off too, which they always are. Apps were checked for data consumption and my phone was left in airplane mode for days at a time.
Still, I went from averaging 3 GB a month, getting Mint Mobile, then averaging 15 GB or more a month. That is until I switched to an unlimited plan.
I reached out to Mint Mobile to see if they could share a history of my data usage over the months but they replied that since they’re a prepaid service, they don’t have such records. If that’s true, it would make it very difficult, if there was some sort of data issue, for Mint Mobile to investigate it since they wouldn’t have any records to go back and check.
Whether they have the information but don’t share it, or could access such records but don’t have the data parsed, or just don’t keep such records at all, in all 3 cases that’s a bad look. It means as a consumer you have to track all of your data usage by month and record it. Should there be a potential issue you noticed last month, well Mint Mobile wouldn’t be able to help you much since they can’t verify or cross reference the data usage you’re seeing from your phone to any records on their side.
And here we are. So far this month I’ve used a small amount of data and am wondering, what will happen when I go back to a 4GB plan or 10GB? We’ll see and I’ll update you in a few weeks with those results.