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What Is Tello Mobile, and Is It Worth It?

Tello is one of a huge list of networks available in the US so what makes it stand out above the rest? Blending affordability and flexibility, Tello is a great option for those on a tighter budget.

While Tello has a collection of pre-designed plans, it's the 'build your own plan' that makes it unique from its competitors, allowing you to choose exactly how much you pay, how much data you have and your minutes.

Tello's cell phone plans at a glance

1. Customise your own plan
2.
Economy - 1GB data
3.
Value - 2GB data
4. Smart - 4GB data
5. Unlimited data

Whether you decide to design your own cell phone plans with Tello or choose one of the options supplied to you, the network has some of the best cheap cell phone plans in the US, competing with the ever-popular Mint Mobile.

It's flexible, only tying you in for a month at a time, it's 5G-enabled and it uses T-Mobile's network which means impressive 5G connections and coverage.

However, while it excels in pricing and flexibility, this comes at the loss of data. Without going for its unlimited data plans, you will find yourself maxing out at 8GB and all of the best price points appearing around 1-2GB.

So is Tello right for you or will you find yourself restricted with data caps? Read on to find out more about this cheap carrier and see whether it is the right option for you to go for.

The best Tello plans

Tello has two options when it comes to choosing a cell phone plan - you can choose from a list of deals or you can make your own by changing the amount of texts, data and other factors on your plan.

If you choose one of the pre-made plans, there are four main choices to go for. The main differences between these are in the data cap. These options are:

Custom plan
This is likely going to be the best option when it comes to choosing a Tello plan. You can select the exact amount of data, calls and texts you'll receive, mixing it up to find your best price. The customisations start at 1GB/500 minutes and go all the way up to unlimited everything.
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Economy
While you can customise your own plan, you can also simply decide on a pre-designed option. The cheapest of these is the Economy package, rewarding you with 1GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts. It's cheap but that 1GB limit will prove pretty restricting for a lot of people.
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Value
Value does exactly what it says on the tins - provides you with Tello's best overall value. You'll be getting 2GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts. It's slightly more expensive than the Economy option above but for most, the boost in data available here will be a necessary.
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Smart
Tello's Smart plan doubles the data available from the Value plan boosting you up to a much more competent 4GB. That will give you a bit more room for some very light streaming, social media and more. Like the two options above, you'll get unlimited minutes and texts View Deal

Unlimited data
Tello's most expensive cell phone plan but also the best one for a lot of people. Your bills will jump up sharply here but you will get unlimited data, calls and texts. However, you will only get 25GB of high-speed 5G data, from then on you will fall to 2GB for any other data you use.
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Plan
Economy
Value
Smart
Data
Talk
UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Unlimited
Text
UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Data
1GB2GB4GBUnlimited
Monthly Rate
$10
$14
$19$39

Tello family plans:

Tello offers family cell phone plans in the loosest terms possible. You'll be signed up as a family and you can manage all of the accounts via one email address and one dashboard.

However, past that there is no real benefits. Each person in the family can choose their own plan, can pay separately and start their contract on a different day. Plus, there is no discount for added lines which is usually the main reason to pick a family plan.

Other than ease of checking your accounts and dashboard, Tello's family plans are pretty much identical to buying separately. 

Why choose Tello?

Tello

(Image credit: Tello)

There is a lot of obvious benefits that come with Tello, not only down to the fact that it is a very affordable provider. However, the two core benefits are around its pricing and flexibility.

All of Tello's plans renew every 30 days. Not only does that mean you can cancel whenever you like without any charges but, it also allows you to update your plan each month if you need more data, want to pay less or need to bump up your minutes.

This flexibility also allows you to pick exactly how much you pay. Tello can get you some of the cheapest prices in the US, especially if you don't need much data and if you feel you're paying too much, you can easily cut your data down and lower the bills at any time.

Looking past the cost and flexibility, Tello's other benefits include unlimited texts on all plans, free tethering with no limits, free calls to 60+ countries and the use of 5G data.

What do customers say about Tello?

Tello for the most part is a well rated network. On TrustPilot, Tello scores an impressive 4.6 stars from over 7000 reviews, making it one of the best rated options in the US right now. 

Over on the Better Business Bureau, Tello's score takes a slight tumble, scoring a B rating. This however is from just 16 customers so is by no means as comprehensive as the reviews from TrustPilot.

The major factor that stands out in the negative reviews of Tello is around its customer service. Most complaints seem to highlight the network's issues with troubleshooting, customer service assistance and occasional issues with payments.

The next most common complaint focuses on signal with complaints that customers were struggling to get fast speeds in their homes. However, this tends to be the most common theme in complaints across all of the networks, both MVNOs and the core options too.

Is Tello an MVNO?

  • Tello is an MVNO using the T-Mobile network

Yes, like the majority of carriers in the US, Tello is an MVNO. This stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator and put simply, this means Tello doesn't have its own coverage or network.

Instead, Tello uses the T-Mobile network for its speeds, coverage and 5G. There aren't really any issues with an MVNO, operating almost identically to the carrier it borrows from.

However, the one key factor to be aware of is that with all MVNOs, they won't be prioritised over the carrier they borrow from. In this instance, if T-Mobile is in a peak period with heavy amounts of traffic, Tello could get slowed so T-Mobile customers are prioritised.

While this is obviously going to be irritating, it doesn't happen all too often and in exchange, you're able to use the T-Mobile service at a much cheaper cost than going directly.

Tello: bottom line

Tello

(Image credit: Tello)

Tello can save you a lot of money if you don't need a whole lot of talk or text. A plan that gives you 100 minutes of talk, free texting and 1GB of data will set you back just $10 each month, for example. And Tello has generally competitive pay-as-you-go rates to fill in the gaps.

If you use your phone primarily in one area that's served well by Sprint's network and spend most of your time connected to Wi-Fi, you can really save a bundle. If you often travel to areas where Sprint's coverage relies on roaming, or if you need a large bucket of data, Tello probably isn't a good idea.