With month-to-month phone plans between $5 and $39 a month, Tello plans are a steal even by MVNO standards, but is it worth it?
In my Tello review, I tested out the Tello plan: Smart $19/month with 4GB of 4G LTE data and unlimited talk/text.
Here’s the bottom line: If you want steep savings on your cell phone bill and live in a good coverage area, the Tello prepaid carrier is a great way to cut on costs without compromising on coverage.
We’ve already reviewed a few of these, including Mint Mobile and Simple Mobile. Check these out to find out the best-prepaid cell phone plan for you.
What is Tello Mobile?
If you are new to MVNOs, you may be wondering, “What is Tello Mobile?” Tello boasts no-contract wireless service at ‘unbeatable’ prices, high-speed LTE coverage, and a range of features.
Tello may be a newer mobile carrier, but its parent company has nearly two decades of experience in telecom. Tello is owned by KeepCalling, which has provided quality wireless service to customers since 2002.
Along with other prepaid cell phone providers, Tello operates virtually. Which network does Tello use? To provide its customers with big wireless coverage at a low price with no commitments, Tello piggybacks off of the Sprint network.
My Tello Review
|The Bottom Line: As a top prepaid phone provider, Tello offers good coverage, prices, and features for less.|
In my Tello review, I tested out the Tello Smart plan for $19 a month. This plan gave me 4GB of 4G LTE with unlimited talk and text.
You don’t always know what you’ll get with bargain-basement wireless pricing, but I was pleasantly surprised. With the CDMA network as its backbone, Tello offers reliable coverage and several important features.
The low price point allowed me to pass on my prepaid plan to my daughter for her first cell phone, and we’re still with the network today.
The only real downside I found with Tello is that, although nationwide, access to the network isn’t yet available in all areas. Of course, this isn’t a prominent issue if you’re not an avid traveler. Furthermore, Tello is likely to expand the zip codes it serves in the near future.
However, before you buy Tello, it’s a good idea to check the Tello coverage in your city and state to ensure you’ll get the most out of your service.
Tello Phone Plans
|Pre-Made Phone Plans||Features||Price|
|New Family Plans||$5 to $39/month per line|
If you are looking for the best budget cell phone plan on the market, you don’t have to look further than Tello.
Self-proclaimed as the ‘most flexible wireless carrier in the U.S.,’ Tello plans really do cover just about every customer’s wireless needs.
When you’re ready to purchase a Tello plan, you can choose from one of the three suggested pre-made options or custom-build a plan to meet your exact wireless needs.
Here’s how to choose the best mobile plan or the best smartphone plan for you.
Tello plans: Pre-made
- Free unlimited text with every plan.
- Minutes used for calls to the US, Canada, Mexico, and China.
- Enjoy 4G LTE data; speeds throttled to 2G once you use up your plan’s data amount.
- Hotspot with free tethering.
- Share your data plan with other devices and friends.
- Automatic renewal every 30 days.
All pre-made Tello plans come with unlimited nation-wide text and unlimited minutes to the U.S. Canada, Mexico, and China. You’ll also get hotspot with free tethering.
Like most wireless carriers, Tello plans come with varying amounts of 4G LTE data. Once you use that data, speeds are throttled to 2G for the remainder of your monthly service.
One cool thing about Tello that is different from other MVNOs is data sharing. With Tello, you can share your data plan with other devices and friends that are also on the Tello mobile network.
Tello offers three pre-made plans with some of the best cell phone rates – ranging as low as $10 for 1GB to $19 for 4GB of 4G LTE data.
The best talk and text plan for you will likely depend on your data usage. If you need more than 4GB of high-speed data month, then you’ll want to build-your-own Tello wireless plan.
Tello Plans: Build-your-own plans
Not everyone is going to fit the mold of Tello’s pre-made plans. The good news is, you earn just as much, if not more, cost-savings when you create a unique price point with Tello’s build-your-own-plan tool.
This is especially helpful when it comes to creating a Tello family plan. With the build-your-own feature, you only pay for exactly what you need.
Tello build-your-own plans start as low as $5 a month for barebones service (no data, 100 minutes, and unlimited texting).
Conversely, the most expensive Tello plan gives you unlimited minutes, texting, and data for just $39 a month!
Within city limits, Sprint offers excellent coverage where I live. That means I have great Tello coverage everywhere I eat, work, and play.
Although I live in a neighborhood with spotty reception, Tello WiFi calling and hotspot is a huge benefit. I simply connect to the Internet for great coverage at home, and I’m not using any data while I do it!
Keep in mind that your Tello service is only as good as Sprint’s coverage in your town. If Sprint doesn’t offer great reception, you simply won’t get the fastest speeds on Tello.
The other concern is that Tello doesn’t cover all of the U.S., yet. Where I live in Colorado, I didn’t have any issues. However, before you buy the best Tello prepay phone deal, you’ll want to check the Tello coverage map.
When new users hear about Tello, they often ask, “What network is Tello on?” Tello runs on Sprint towers, which use the CDMA network. As a CDMA carrier or CDMA network provider, Tello will only work with CDMA compatible devices.
Fortunately, a lot of the newer phones available on the market today are compatible with both CDMA and GSM. You can find out if your device will work on the Tello network by entering your device’s IMEI on the website.
If you already have a CDMA compatible device, making the switch to Tello Mobile is simple with the Tello bring-your-own phone program. Simply purchase your Tello plan with a Tello SIM card, install the SIM card in your device, and follow the activation instructions.
On the other hand, if you need a new device or are looking for the cheapest prepaid phones, you can purchase a Tello phone on Tello’s website.
Tello vs. the Competition: MVNO Plan Comparison
|Carriers||Cheapest Plan||Best Smartphone Plan|
|$5/month No Data ||$39/month Unlimited |
|$15/month (12-month) 3GB ||$25/month (12-month bundle) 12 GB|
|$25/month 1GB||$50/month Truly Unlimited |
|$20/month 1GB ||$30/month 3GB |
|$35/month 3 Gigs 4G LTE||$50/month Unlimited Gigs|
|$35/month for 3GB||$55/month Ultimate Unlimited |
Where to buy Tello
If you are searching for the best-prepaid phone cards, the best cell phone plan deals, or smartphone deals – Tello has you covered.
Is there a Tello Mobile near me? No, there are no Tello stores. However, you can find your favorite Tello phone cards and deals online! If you need to speak with Tello mobile customer service, dial 611 from your Tell phone or call 1-866-377-0294. You can also chat with Tello support online.
My Tello Review: Highlights
Is Tello good? As far as Tello wireless reviews go, Trustpilot ranks Tello Mobile as “excellent” with 4.6 out of 5 stars!
My Tello review taught me this: For those looking to cut costs on their wireless bill, Tello is a prepaid wireless service that will actually save you money.
Tello’s flexible data plans, reliable coverage, and low price point ended up being an excellent choice for my daughter’s first cell phone. In fact, Tello offers some of the best phone plans for kids and the best student phone plans.
Overall, I was happy with Tello coverage in my town. Simply put, if you are comfortable with Sprint’s service in your area, you’ll get just the same service on the Tello mobile network.
My Tello Review: Lowlights
Of course, discount cellular phone plans have their downsides. Like other MVNOs, Tello customers may experience deprioritization to Sprint customers at times of congestion.
In my Tello mobile review, this wasn’t a huge concern. Most everywhere has free WiFi these days, so I stayed connected to the fastest service wherever possible.
The only thing I didn’t love about the Tello network is that it’s still growing. Although it uses Sprint towers, Tello doesn’t offer coverage everywhere that Sprint is.
That means that it isn’t the best choice for traveling – at least at the moment. However, for someone staying close to home, Tello is strong and reliable where it is available.
Tello: Should you try it?
You should try Tello if…
- You want to save big on your wireless service.
- Tello offers coverage in your area.
- You don’t travel frequently.
- You want more flexibility in your prepaid plan choices.
- You already have a CDMA device or are willing to buy one.
- You want a basic phone plan for your child or you are student.
The best part about Tello is ultimately your options. Few prepaid wireless plans let you customize your plan. With Tello, you can get rid of what you don’t want, so you only pay for what you need.
The point is, Tello will save you money, and the best way to find out if you like the service is to test it out yourself.
With Tello plans starting as low as $5 per month, you won’t risk anything trying it out.