While Tello is a wireless provider focusing on delivering a simple way to provide cell phone service, it still needs to compete against the dozens of other cell phone services available.
It's unfortunate, but competition makes an MVNO stand out. While this can be a good thing, the competition can create confusion among us consumers, especially when the web pages contain scattered information regarding the monthly plans.
Fortunately, we've done the work for you and compiled the details, merging them into a document that is easy-to-read. Inside this guide, you'll find the facts on the available Tello cell phone plans, which can include unlimited text messages, the overall shopping experience of Tello, the almost free cell phones - well a couple of them anyway - the customer service, and more. You'll find that Tello, despite being a newer carrier, makes a great effort in securing its own customer base.
Finally, we'll direct you to our cell phone comparison tool, so you can make the final decision as to whether or not Tello is right for you.
Compare Tello Plans
|$18 Talk & Text Unlimited Plan||0 GB||$18|
|$29 Plan - Unlimited Talk & Text 1GB||1 GB||$29|
When you choose any of the Tello cell phone plans, you have the option of selecting either a prepaid plan or a pay as you go option. On the prepaid end, you can build your own plan. This is a great service in that you tailor a plan based on your usage so you don't overpay for items you won't use. To demonstrate, if you text like a fiend, you can select the unlimited text messages option as part of your plan for $3 monthly, which is an amazing deal.
If you prefer to take a more traditional route for any of these new plans, Tello has options for you. Each of its plans contains access to calling, texting, and data with 4G LTE speeds. On the data front, the total data amount usage per plan is 5GB. If you exceed your plan's total data allowance, Tello slows the connection speed to 64 kbps. While the unlimited access is generous on the surface, Tello's data offerings fall short of what other mobile carriers offer.
For instance, you won't have fully unlimited data usage with Tello. You might want to go for an unlimited data usage plan instead if you use a lot of data every month.
The good features of its new plans are the versatility you receive. Each plan is good for 30 days. Should you decide you want to change plans you are free to do so. In addition, you have the option to cancel your service whenever you want without fear of receiving an early termination fee since they don't exist with Tello.
Along with these benefits, you also receive free tethering. With this, you can transform your mobile device into a hotspot where you can connect your laptop, Smart TV, tablet and other devices easily. And if you have relatives or friends living in Canada or Mexico, you can use your talk-time minutes to call them without worrying about international roaming rates. Unfortunately, there are no international roaming rates to speak of anyway, as Tello does not offer roaming services.
With Tello, you'll face no early termination fees with any of these plans. So if you want to move on to another carrier, you won't have to deal with any form of early termination fees.
Pay As You Go
On the other end of the spectrum is the pay as you go plans. These plans give you the freedom to pay for the items you use. How this works is you start by adding money to your account, and when you use a service such as making a call or sending a text, the fee for each feature deducts from your account. Here's a breakdown on what Tello charges per activity:
- Calls within the United States = 3 cents per minute
- US texts = 1 cent per message
- Data within the US = 2 cents per MB used
The pay as you go option is ideal if your intention is to use your phone sparingly. However, if you plan to use your phone regularly it's a much better deal to go with the monthly plans, as they start as low as $9 a month.
Tello runs on Sprint's nationwide network, meaning you'll have access to 4G LTE data, which equals 4G LTE speeds. You can visit its website to view its coverage map to determine service eligibility in your area. You can also view Sprint's coverage and compare it against the networks of the other major three wireless providers with our guide, "Who Has the Best Cell Phone Coverage?". By the way, if you want a quick answer, Verizon has the best cell phone coverage.
What Cell Phones Can I Get With Tello?
Tello possesses a wide assortment of phone available for you to buy on its website. If you want to go old school and have a flip phone, you can buy one, since they are about as close to free cell phones as you can get.
Alternatively, Tello carries some of the latest models like the Apple iPhone 7. The carrier also sells some refurbished phones which are pre-owned models that have undergone testing and are in good enough quality to sell. These "good enough quality" phones come with a discounted price, but obviously, there are risks associated with using them.
You also have the option to bring your own phone if the device is unlocked and is on the CDMA network, which you can learn more about here if you'd like to. You can bring unlocked GSM phones to the service, but the unlocked GSM phone must have CDMA capabilities (for instance, the iPhone 6). To determine if your phone is eligible to use you can visit Tello's website and use its "bring your own phone" page to enter the device's IMEI, MEID or ESN code.
Read More: If you're unsure about which smartphone you should buy, you can always rely on our smartphone comparison tool.
At this time Tello doesn't sell insurance for its phones. You have the option to purchase coverage through a direct provider, though. Before you settle on phone insurance, you should probably take a moment to read our guide, "Is Cell Phone Insurance Worth It?"
How to Activate Your Device
Tello makes service activation simple and free. If you ordered a phone through its website you need to go to My Tello and follow the prompts. Tello states it can take up to 30 minutes for service to activate on your device. Another option is to call its customer service line, as Tello's staff can assist you with service activation.
If you're activating an iPhone, you will need to reset your subscriber settings by doing the following (taken from the Tello official site):
- Make sure Roaming is Off (go to Settings -> Cellular -> Cellular Data Options -> Roaming Off)
- Connect to any Wi-Fi network
- Enter ##25327# on the dial pad
- Press Call
- A "Reset Subscriber Settings" message will appear – press OK (this is not available for the iPhone 4 or 4S)
Then, you need to set up a profile and PRL update:
- Connect to any Wi-Fi network
- Press the phone app
- Dial ##873283#
- Press Call
- When a "Starting Service Update" appears, press OK
- A "Service Update Complete" message will appear after about a minute. After that, press OK.
Some devices require a CDMA SIM card (you can learn more about SIM cards here) to use 4G LTE data. To see if your phone needs a SIM card and a SIM card number, you can visit the "Bring your own phone" page and enter your device's information. In the event that you need one, you can order one on Tello's website. Do not expect free SIM cards. In fact, the SIM cards a bit on the pricier side, though Tello should consider the distribution of free SIM cards and SIM card numbers.
In the event that you need one, you can order one on Tello's website. Do not expect free SIM cards. In fact, the SIM cards a bit on the pricier side, though Tello should consider the distribution of free SIM cards and SIM card numbers.
Deals, Promotions & Discounts
Tello does offer amazing deals and discounts on select models of its phones, creating a more enjoyable shopping experience. To find these offerings you can visit its website and select the shop tab. Tello is also running a special promotion for former RingPlus customers where if you switch your service to it you'll receive a substantial discount off the price of your first month of service. However, you will need coupon codes for the discount. In this case, the coupon code is RINGPLUS50. However, you should be on the lookout for other coupon codes to save with Tello.
However, you will need coupon codes for the discount. In this case, the coupon code is RINGPLUS50. However, you should be on the lookout for other coupon codes to save with Tello.
On its website, Tello states its customer service team will answer your call in under five seconds, making it one of the most attentive customer service teams among the MVNOs.
That's some great effort for a carrier to set. Judging from customer reviews, most express satisfaction with Tello's services. If you need to contact customer service, you can do so via the phone number, email, and through the mail.
Read More: If you're looking for cheap cell phone service but only want to use your device for instant messaging, consider TextNow instead.
With varied plan options including the choice to pay for services as you go, attentive customer service, and good service reliability through Sprint's improving network, Tello is becoming one of the more reputable prepaid cell providers to have service through.
However, you will not have access to unlimited data plans. If you need an unlimited data plan, you can always refer to another MVNO like Boost Mobile or Virgin Mobile. You can use our cell phone comparison tool to see how Tello compares to the major providers.