I want to improve my mobile privacy and I keep seeing Mint Mobile get mentioned as a cell provider, but I’m not a US resident. I’m wondering if I could get a Mint SIM anonymously, then use roaming to get service in my location. Would that work?
There is absolutely nothing special about Mint Mobile from a privacy standpoint; it is just cheap. International roaming costs are exorbitant as one might expect, so you are far better off getting phone service from a provider local to you.
Alright, I’ll look at some local prepaid mobile providers. As far as my IMEI goes, how do I disassociate it from my identity? Do I have to go get my phone’s motherboard changed to get a new IMEI?
If someone really wants to figure out who you are, they can do that by simply tracking the location of your IMEI. But you can establish a reasonable level of disconnectedness by simply not giving your phone provider your real name, address, or electronic payment info. This is completely impossible in many parts of the world, where you have to prove residency or citizenship to get a phone number.
Technically only the modem has to be changed, but in practice this means changing the whole motherboard. And that is usually not cost-effective, so in reality you simply get a new phone. Dual-SIM and SIM+eSIM phones have two IMEIs, one for each SIM slot.
Just to be clear, I actively discourage replacing your phone solely to get a new IMEI. That is an incredibly wasteful thing to do for a somewhat nebulous privacy improvement.
Just want to mention that roaming data with Mint is either unsupported or incredibly spotty (as someone who’s currently out of country) - Phone & SMS is fine, but it’s not cheap roaming. Not sure why anyone would get Mint for international usage to be honest. The selling point in the US is prepaid, cheap, easy to sign up with little/no PII.
I think the lesson here is to just find a company that does what Mint Mobile does in your home country.
So then what are you using for data roaming? Silent Link?