As every Roman historian and Shakespeare fan knows, a soothsayer once told Caesar to beware the Ides of March, for on that day, dark and terrible things would happen. I like to think the message was intended for me, too, because today, my beloved low-cost wireless carrier, Mint Mobile, packed up its ironic communications style, its celebrity ownership, and its $15/month plans… and agreed to sell them all to T-Mobile for $1.35 billion.
Good for actor Ryan Reynolds, part-owner of Mint Mobile. As Reynolds said in a statement, “We are so happy T-Mobile beat out an aggressive last-minute bid from my mom Tammy Reynolds as we believe the excellence of their 5G network will provide a better strategic fit than my mom’s slightly-above-average mahjong skills.” (Ha-ha!) Reynolds also released the funniest acquisition video I have ever seen.
Still, the news is depressing. Mint felt fresh; it was a wireless carrier with a slick website and app that worked (at least for me) simply and seamlessly, an irreverent and straight-talking style (Reynolds sent out temp tattoos of his face to subscribers for Christmas; they said, “No Ragrets”), and great prices. It all Just Worked. Now, I love a good value, but not at the cost of janky service, constant hiccups, and 2000-era websites like I saw at other cheap mobile providers. And it wasn’t just me; Mint racked up many recommendations, including the “best budget” wireless option from Wirecutter.