Our Tello review covers the details you need to know about this increasingly popular and low-cost wireless service provider.
If you’re looking to save money on your phone bill, you’ve probably noticed Tello’s prepaid phone service. Their customer reviews are great. But is it worth the savings?
Read on, and learn more about their affordable prepaid cell phone plans in this review.
What is Tello mobile?
Tello is a cell phone service provider that offers low-cost, prepaid wireless plans. But don’t let the low-cost label throw you off. While they’re a relatively new telecom provider, they offer 4G LTE data, flexible plans, solid customer service and no fees.
Their prepaid mobile plans can be customized to your needs. For example, you can choose the amount of data and talk time you want and build your own mobile plan.
If you’d rather go for a predefined wireless plan, they’ve got you covered with four ready-made wireless deals that go from $10 to $39 a month.
While Tello might be a relatively new mobile carrier, their network isn’t. Their service runs on the Sprint Network.
What prepaid cell phone plans does Tello offer?
All of Tello’s plans are prepaid and come without a contract. So you’ll have the flexibility to upgrade, update, downgrade or cancel your plan through their website or mobile app with no extra fees.
And you can reconfigure your plan anytime. This means that with Tello, you have plenty of flexibility. You can save money by choosing only what you need.
Since all their plans are contract-free, you don’t pay extra fees. With Tello, you can:
- Build your own plan
- Pick a ready-made deal or
The build your own plan and the ready-made deals are monthly plans that renew automatically every 30 days. Talk time with these plans includes calls to Canada, Mexico and China at no extra cost.
Build your own plan
With the build your own monthly plan option, you can choose the talk time and amount of data that best fits your budget. This flexibility can come in handy if you’re trying to save money on your mobile phone service.
If you choose a plan with talk time, it’ll come with unlimited free texts as well. Your options for talk time and data are as follows:
- Data: choose from no data, 500 MB, 1 GB, 2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB and Unlimited Data.
- Talk: choose from no talk time to 100 mins, 300 mins, 500 mins and Unlimited Mins.
By selecting the amounts of data and talk time you want, you can put together a wireless plan that costs anywhere from $5 to $29 a month. Their unlimited data, voice and text plan goes for $39 a month.
For example, if you wanted a cell phone plan with 2 GB of data and unlimited talk (that’s what I have in my current plan), you’d pay $14.
Tello offers ready-made monthly wireless plans too if you’re not interested in customizing one. Besides their price, the main difference among these plans is the amount of data that you get.
All of their ready-made plans come with unlimited talk time and text.
Their current ready-made deals are:
- Economy: 1 GB of data + unlimited talk & text for $10/month
- Value: 2 GB of data + unlimited talk & text for $14/month
- Smart: 4 GB of data + unlimited talk & text for $19/month
- Data: Unlimited data + unlimited talk & text for $39/month
Tello’s pay-as-you-go mobile service is simple to use. To get started with it, you’ll need to buy credits after you open a free account.
You can order credits in amounts of $20 or above and use them towards data, calls and texts in the US or calls and texts to any other country.
Current pay-as-you-go rates in the US are:
- Mobile calls: 1 cent per minute
- SMS: 1 cent per SMS
- Data: 2 cents per MB
Pay as you go is best suited for people who don’t need a monthly plan or make frequent international calls.
What makes Tello different?
Tello may be a relative newcomer as a wireless provider, but they’ve set themselves apart by keeping things flexible, transparent and low-cost for their customers:
- Tello is low-priced: Tello offers thrifty phone plans for everyone. Their most affordable wireless plan starts at $5 a month.
- It’s all online: You don’t have to go to a physical store to get your wireless plan. It’s online. If you buy a phone through them, they’ll ship it to you for free.
- Flexible prepaid plans: You can build your own mobile plan, change to a ready-made deal, upgrade or downgrade plans. Make changes without the extra fees.
- Tello gets good reviews: Tello gets good reviews from its customers. And little wonder: their customer service is 24/7 and you can call them or reach them online.
- No contract: You won’t be tied to a 2 year plan like those of the other bigger carriers. With Tello there are no contracts to sign.
- Pricing is upfront: Their prices are transparent and available on their website. We found their plans easy to understand.
- No hidden fees: Tello’s plans are prepaid, so they don’t burden you with activation or early termination fees. There are no fees to pay.
Tello mobile coverage
When reviewing any prepaid mobile plan, it makes sense to check if its coverage in your area is adequate. You should do the same with Tello.
Follow this link to check Tello’s coverage in your area. Simply enter the location you want to check.
Tello uses 4G LTE technology which comes standard with all the plans that include data and all pay-as-you-go data users.
Tello phone selection
With Tello, you can purchase a mobile phone starting form $65. Since their focus is on the budget-conscious customer, you won’t find the latest, super-expensive models.
Having said that, they do carry phones that are near top-of-the-line, such as the Apple iPhone X and the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Bring your own device
With Tello, you can enroll your own device, though not every phone will work. The unlocked devices that can join Tello include the following:
» Sprint® Network ready unlocked device that’s free from contract
» iPhones purchased through Apple stores, big box stores or carrier retail channels:
- AT&T & T-Mobile: 6, 6+, 6S, 6S+, SE, XS, XS Max, XR
- Verizon: 5S, 5C, 6, 6+, 6S, 6S+, SE, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, X, XS, XS Max, XR
» Nexus devices purchased through Google Play, big box stores or carrier retail channels:
- AT&T & Verizon: Nexus 5, 5X, 6, 6P, Pixel, Pixel XL
- T-Mobile: Nexus 5X, 6, 6P, Pixel, Pixel XL
There’s a number of other phones that will work with Tello. If you don’t see your phone in the list above, you can check if it’ll work with Tello here.
You’ll need your phone’s IMEI number, which you can get by opening your phone app and dialing in the following: *#06# (star, pound, zero, six, pound).
Tello app “MyTello” overview
Our Tello mobile review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning their app – MyTello.
After you select a plan with Tello, you’ll want to download their app to easily manage your account.
To find it quickly in the Apple or Play Stores, type “MyTello” in the search box.
With the app you can:
- Manage your account and see your account balance
- Upgrade or downgrade plans
- Add credit if you use pay-as-you-go
- Call over Wi-Fi
What we like about Tello
- Transparent pricing. Tello makes it easy to see all of your pricing options on their website. You won’t need an advanced degree to understand their pricing.
- Freebies included. Tello lets you use your phone as a hotspot. Their free tethering means that you can share data with other devices or with your friends. Also, all their voice plans come with unlimited text and voicemail.
- 24/7 customer support. Tello customers who found their customer service helpful and patient rated Tello 5 stars on Trustpilot. Some reported that chats were easy to use and that email responses were detailed.
- Reconfigure your plan anytime. You can upgrade or downgrade plans anytime and without extra fees.
- Referral program. Tello has a referral program and will give you $10 Tello Dollars for every friend you refer. You can use these rewards towards a wireless plan purchase or a phone.
- No contracts. We like the fact that you can use Tello with absolutely no contracts. If at any point you want to end your service, you can cancel it anytime. You’re not stuck with a 2 year plan.
- Bonus international calls: You can call Mexico, Canada and China with the minutes included in your prepaid plan at no extra cost.
What can be improved
- Pay as you go expires if left unused. If you have a credit in your pay as you go account and you don’t use your phone for 3 months your credit will expire. Since all their plans are prepaid, it’s best to only buy the amount of pay as you go credit that you’ll need.
- Wi-Fi calling. Tello supports Wi-Fi calling through their app. However, using this feature requires you to have an active monthly plan. To avoid using minutes, use any 3rd party app to call on Wi-Fi.
- Unlimited data, but not unlimited speed. Tello’s unlimited data plans will run at 4G until you hit 25 GB of data usage in a month. After that, your speed will be 2G. This is similar to what other larger carriers do when they lower your speed due to network congestion.
- No family plans. Tello doesn’t offer family plans, but you can create multiple accounts with them. Is this a deal-breaker? We don’t think so. For example, if you want a phone line for your kid to stay in touch, you can get a new unlimited talk + text plan with 2 GB of data for $14 a month. If you only need some talk time and unlimited texts, their $5 a month plan will do.
Tello review: Is Tello a good cell phone plan?
Our bottom line: Tello mobile is an affordable prepaid wireless carrier that offers good value for the money. If you’re budget-minded and value flexibility, Tello might be a good fit for you.
They’ve remained competitive and have lowered their prices several times to remain a low-cost provider. We like their commitment.
As an example, their plan with unlimited talk, text and 2 GB of data has had two price cuts and gone from $25 to the current $14 a month. That comes out to more than $130 in annual savings.
Not a bad way to keep more cash in your wallet.
Yes. They have a simple process which will vary depending on whether you bought a Tello phone or you brought your own. Porting your number can take anywhere from 2 to 5 working days.
No. Tello does not charge activation or cancellation fees.
It doesn’t, but you can use Wi-Fi calling using your account balance with the MyTello app.
Tello minutes roll over only if you manually renew or change your plan before the end of your current billing cycle and only if the new plan contains the services that you previously had.
You don’t. All Tello products are prepaid services.
» Further reading: If you’re interested in saving money when making online purchases, check out our Rakuten review.