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5G

Ryan Reynolds, Rick Moranis hype Mint Mobile but not 5G

Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds – who happens to own a T-Mobile MVNO called Mint Mobile – this week released an advertisement featuring Rick Moranis, a comedic actor best known for his role in the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" movies but who has avoided the spotlight for years.

"Today @Mintmobile is launching unlimited for just $30 AND bringing back Rick Moranis. Suck it, 2020," Reynolds Tweeted.

Yet one thing missing from Reynolds' new advertisement is the fact that Mint also offers 5G. "All plans include 5G for free," the company notes on its website. "Not all 5G is the same…or free like ours. Check out the Mint 5G difference."

Interestingly, Mint also advises that it "uses 5G or 4G LTE, whichever is strongest," which is likely a nod to the fact that 5G can be implemented in a wide variety of ways, including ones in which it's slower than 4G. For example, new tests by PCMag found AT&T's 4G network is often faster than its 5G network because the carrier has assigned just a tiny slice of its 850MHz network to 5G and the rest to 4G.

Mint Mobile is one of dozens of prepaid MVNOs in the US market, though it gained some notoriety late last year when Reynolds bought an ownership stake in the business after Ultra Mobile launched it in 2016. The move helped to establish Reynolds as more than an actor, reinforced by the $610 million sale of his Aviation American Gin business to Diageo last month.

The fact that Reynolds' Mint Mobile sells 5G is due to the company's MVNO deal with T-Mobile, which is spending $60 billion over the next five years to build out a nationwide 5G network across its vast spectrum holdings. Neither T-Mobile nor its MVNOs like Mint are charging extra for 5G.

However, that doesn't mean T-Mobile's 5G offering is the same as the one from Mint.

For example, T-Mobile's flagship $70/month Magenta postpaid unlimited plan includes a Netflix subscription; 3GB of mobile hotspot data at 4G speeds and then 3G speeds thereafter; and unlimited international data at 2G speeds. T-Mobile adds that customers' speeds may be slowed after they consume 50GB in a month.

Mint, meantime, offers only 5GB of mobile hotspot data and free international calls to Mexico and Canada. The MVNO's customers' speeds may be slowed after they consume 35GB in a month. Mint also throttles customers' videos stream at 480p.

Such vast differences in "unlimited" plans are common across the industry, and those differences are clearly extending into the early days of 5G as well.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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