Add a Spot of Mint in Your Life

Dismal Wizard writes about the decision to transition from Ting Mobile to Mint Mobile and the onboarding experience with Mint. With the iPhone now up, we have iPhone visual voice mail again. First time with a NVMO! Yeah Mint.

Dish Network, struggling to make a go of satellite television service, decided to enter another difficult business, mobile telephone service. They bought the FCC mandated bits of Sprint that T-Mobile could not keep, bought some small wireless carriers for bodies and kit, and bought $30B of 5-G spectrum at auction including what came with Sprint.

Almost 3 years on, they have yet to realize revenue from that $30B in spectrum. Their deal with the FCC required them to have coverage over 70% of the country’s population by 2023 summer.

With $30B of spectrum assets in inventory, the company’s market capitalization is only $8B as I write this. Major brokerages are neutral but Dismal Wizard is feeling abandoned.

Since the acquisition, our prepaid monthly service has been grandfathered in. Chat bots have replaced the live Wisconsin support people that made Ting unique. The live support operators that picked up on the third ring, were pleasant to work with, and could actually help. This service plus T-Mobile fulfillment put Ting at the head of the pack.

The virtual network continues to operate on automatic. Same great T-Mobile service delivery as always. But there are signs of trouble. Dish are decommissioning the Ting web app at the end of February. Without prior communication. DW learned of this when he, by chance, opened the app on his mobile and saw the “I’m going away” message.

Dismal Wizard dropped by Edgar to see what Dish had to say about itself. Not much, lots of Dixie whistling. After 75 years on this planet, you can name that tune pretty quickly. Oh, and they keep issuing debt securities. Dismal Wizard feels seawater sloshing about his ankles. Time to go for a swim. So we did, to Mint Mobile after an exhaustive 5 minute study of Read on to learn about the new kids.


  1. 2023-02-22 Original


  2. Google Finance on Dish Network
  3. Consumer Reports on Cell Service Providers
  5. Turn on and set up an iPhone

Phone Services at Dismal Manor

We have three!

  • OOMA VoIP service, a full up “land line” using an OOMA black box connected to the Ethernet. Three wireless handsets talk to this box. But you can plug in wired phones by RJ-11 jack and plug. The OOMA VoIP line has old fashioned land-style caller ID. It identifies the entity calling in addition to the number calling.
  • YouMail virtual mobile number for most callers that are not close friends, family, etc. YouMail filters known bad actors and known spam voicemail messages. I use the YouMail virtual number as our public facing mobile number.
  • iPhone 11 service from T-Mobile via a mobile virtual network operator. I have aggressive call blocking enabled.

This article describes our experience changing form Ting Wireless to Mint Wireless. I decided to change as Ting had done a poor job communicating with us about the eventual transition form T-Mobile service to DISH Networks service. A transition required to happen this summer under terms of its deal with the FCC.

I suspect stand up of DISH organic service is going badly. They were to be aggressively raiding the incumbents by now. But crickets. Lots of crickets.

How DW finds carriers

He does what any red-blooded codger would do, he looks in Consumer Reports to which he subscribes. CR is very good at things like this where 100,000 readers will rat out a non-performing carrier on the yearly survey. This year, the readers are giving Ting a pass, much like many are giving Twitter a pass but the smart folk are swimming.

Mobile Virtual Network Operators

Ting is a mobile virtual network operator. That is, they take your money, provision your phone, and let T-Mobile do the work. This works find. The account is prepaid. It renews automatically. It bills my credit card. And my card has yet to be compromised. Pretty basic business. A good MVNO has a customer support operation to assist with onboarding new customers, change phones, and deal with accounts, money, and all that stuff. And that’s about it.

By this time, I’m sure Oracle or some such has MVNO in a Box. Add your branding, find a partner to fulfill service, and you’re off to the races. No risky tower build out. No spectrum to acquire, none of the hard stuff. Just sell tickets and hope your partner keeps his end up. There is some critical mass needed to make a go of it. I’m not sure TuCows ever reached critical mass with Ting or they would have kept it. Anyway it’s sold to Dish. Dish appears to be foundering. So time to bail.

Consumer Reports Says …

Mint Mobile is third on Consumer Reports customer satisfaction rankings, considerably above T-Mobile in mid-pack. Ting is first ranked based on customer service (same chat support as Mint after the sale) with T-Mobile fulfilling service for each. Consumer Cellular is in the middle but is Android-only if I recall.

Consumer Reports has little to say about bands, voicemail, spam blocking, etc. The survey is all about price, call and data reliability, and customer support.

What Mint Mobile Says

I’ve used 3 Mobile Virtual Network Operators StraightTalk, Ting, and Mint to this point and 3 actual carriers, Sun Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T. Mint appears to be head and shoulders above the pack with competitive pricing, a competitive HQ operation, and T-Mobile top shelf service.

  • Mint is privately owned
  • Mint supports iPhone visual voicemail and voicemail transcription and all T-Mobile supported iPhone goodness. Mint is the only MVNO I’ve used that does so.
  • Mint supports 5G where available (anywhere T-Mobile has deployed 5G)
  • Mint has competent customer service
  • Mint, once you are on board, is pretty much automatic as was Ting.
  • Mint is aggressively soliciting business.
  • Mint has family deals and referral bonuses

Mint Trial

Mint makes it very easy to try Mint service. If you are an iPhone user, there is an app for that. Google Play Store should have a similar app for Android.

The App will check coverage, check phone capabilities, establish a trial account, and provision the 2nd line on your phone to be a Mint line. All you do is select Secondary carrier and you’re up on Mint. It will do this in either a physical SIM or an eSIM if your phone supports them.

Once a trial account is open, you have a week to decide to come onboard. Again, you can do all that in the App.

All this went very smoothly. Mint has designed its app to be quite simple to use, to take things in small, clear steps, and to check and catch errors. If something goes wrong, there is sufficient logging on the back end that a customer service tech can sort your account and put things right.

I used Mint for a day for around town Car Play and a couple of calls. Same solid T-Mobile service!

Mint Onboarding

So I did the onboarding procedure using the Mint App. All went well until I reached the codger discount. You have to call for that. They figure that anyone who calls is actually a bored senior and give you the senior discount, no questions asked.

Somehow in the process of doing the senior pricing stuff, we hung the provisioning process. The phone was half-provisioned for Mint on line 2 and Line 1 from Ting had been terminated and the number handed over to Mint. Ting let go the number immediately! Before the Mint service was provisioned. First time ever I’ve seen a carrier let go a number same hour as requested. Usually, they drag butt for a week. No carrier stall hoping you’d say “just kidding.”

So I tried to set up an eSIM with the Mint number. That smoked. So I logged in to support, picked activation assistance, answered questions about my account including transaction numbers for my order (from the Mint App). A tech got me sorted in maybe 20 minutes. It seems like forever but it was about half wait for a tech, and only a few minutes for actual service. He had to verify my purchase record, check the provisioning workflow, spot the problem, and get things unstuck and moving. Provisioning takes a couple of minutes to set up the account records and let the network know about you and to set up the phone over the network.

It turns out that iPhones don’t like to have both a SIM and an eSIM. So tech had me pull the SIM. Once SIM was out, he pushed new provisioning to the phone and it was up.

Once account and eSIM were sorted, I set up visual voicemail and all the Apple iPhone goodness I had been forgoing with MVNO carriers.

I continue to use YouMail for spam call blocking. There’s now a Phone configuration item “Call Blocking & Identification” which configures an external spam call blocker. Set this option on and select your call blocking provider, in my case, YouMail.

By davehamby

A modern Merlin, hell bent for glory, he shot the works and nothing worked.