Tello Mobile Review: Reliable Plans for Conservative Users

Cellular Network

Tello Mobile is one of the most affordable mobile carriers you can find these days. It bridges the gap between friends and loved ones, which can get quite expensive if you are using other networks. Tello Mobile offers unlimited data, calls, and texts at affordable prices so that you can stay connected for as long as you like. It also offers free international calls at no additional cost to help you stay connected even more. However, not many use Tello Mobile. Although it’s not completely unheard of, it’s not always the priority of people looking for a new mobile plan either.

Affordability doesn’t always equate to reliability. But just because Tello Mobile piggybacks off of another network to give out cheaper offers, many fear that it’s the case for the provider. In this article, we’ll be looking at Tello’s various offerings and come up with a verdict on their reliability.


Inside This Article

  1. What Is Tello Mobile?
  2. What Network Does Tello Mobile Use?
  3. Tello Mobile Plans and Prices
  4. Network Speed and Coverage
  5. Tello Mobile Phone Selection
  6. Activation Process
  7. Customer Service
  8. What We Like About Tello Mobile
  9. What We Don’t Like About Tello Mobile
  10. Verdict


What Is Tello Mobile?

Tello Mobile is best known for providing its customers with some of the most affordable mobile plans in the market. With prices starting at $5/month, you can have access to data, calls, and texts. You also have the freedom to upgrade and downgrade your plans as you see fit.

The network features a variety of plans that include pre-designed plans and even a build-your-own option. This makes the network unique to its competitors and you have control over how much you pay and the inclusions of your plan. Its prices are comparable to other affordable plans such as the TracFone mobile plans. Still, there are other factors to consider as both of them are MVNOs and run on different networks.

Tello Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). The network that it runs on is not its own. Hence, it does come with its own risks. However, by being an MVNO, Tello is able to provide its customers with cheaper phone plans.


  • Low-cost and customizable plans
  • Free international calls to 60+ countries
  • No contracts
  • Free hotspot and tethering
  • 5G data coverage wherever available


  • Fixed data allocations
  • Unlimited data caps at 25GB
  • Network speed depending on your area
  • Taxes not included in the monthly rate


What Network Does Tello Mobile Use?

Tello, as mentioned, is an MVNO. Like other networks of the same nature, they run their services on an existing nationwide network. By being an MVNO, Tello can offer its mobile plans at a more affordable cost. Tello runs on T-Mobile’s network. It joins Mint Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile as one of the network’s best MVNOs to date.

Tello is one of the more affordable MVNOs under T-Mobile and one of the best choices if you’re looking for a network that allows for more flexibility. It’s also a great network if you’re looking to have access to 5G. Tello is a 5G-enabled network and features impressive connections despite being an MVNO.

Since Tello relies on T-Mobile’s network, you can expect that they have close to similar coverage and network speed.


Tello Mobile Plan and Prices

Tello Mobile plans range from $5/month to $39/month depending on what you need. All of its plans come with unlimited calls and texts. The best thing about Tello is that you can make international calls with the minutes that come with your mobile plan. Contrary to other networks, you can make calls to 60+ countries including China, India, and Mexico.

All of its mobile plans also allow users to use their phones as a mobile hotspot with free tethering for free. Unlike other networks, this is free of charge and comes with all of their plans.

With that, here’s a quick rundown of Tello Mobile’s available plans:


Economy vs. Value vs. Smart

Tello Mobile offers three main plans, namely Economy, Value, and Smart. These are pre-made plans that you can upgrade and downgrade at any given time without worrying about extra fees.

Tello Mobile Plans
© Screencasted from Tello’s Official Website

The Economy is their cheapest plan at $10/month. It comes with 1 GB of data, unlimited minutes, and texts. Overall, this is one of the cheapest pay-monthly plans available in the market today. That said, this isn’t recommended for anyone heavy on data usage given the 1 GB allocation.

Up next is Value. This plan costs $14/month. It comes with 2 GB of data, unlimited minutes, and texts. It does have more data allocation than the Economy plan but again, this is only viable for those who don’t use a lot of data.

Lastly, Tello Smart costs $19/month. It comes with 4 GB of data, unlimited minutes, and texts. It’s a bump up from the other plans but still not enough if you’re heavy on streaming videos and music. The Smart plan is great for light browsing and online messaging but apart from that, you will need to get a bigger data allocation if you’re looking to use more data.



Tello Mobile’s Unlimited Plan is its most expensive offering at $39/month. You’ll get unlimited data, calls, and texts. The data allocated for the unlimited plan offers up to 25 GB 4G LTE/5G. It will become 2G once you have used up your unlimited data balance.

This plan is great if you want a ready-made plan that comes with unlimited data. Tello’s Unlimited Plan might not be at par with that of other network offerings but it has the best unlimited data plan for those who are looking for a cheaper alternative to that of other networks.


Build Your Own Plan

The mobile network also has a “Build Your Own Plan” option. With this, you have better flexibility as you can choose how much data, calls, and texts you want. This plan typically starts at around $5/month and can go up to $39/month, depending on your data allocation, calls, and texts.

This option is very straightforward. All you have to do is choose how much data, calls, and texts you want. You’ll receive a price based on how much you intend to use.

This is the best option for most people as you have full control of your plan. You can even choose a plan with no data at all if that’s what you’re looking for. You can customize the plan according to your immediate needs without having to stress about unused data or minutes.


Family Plan

Tello Family
© Screencasted from Tello’s Official Website

Tello Mobile also has a family plan that has the same loose terms as their other plans. You can also sign up together and manage all your lines from one account.

But beyond account management, there is little to no additional benefit from availing of a family plan. You don’t get discounts from getting a family plan since each individual can choose their plan, pay separately, and start their plan on a separate day. Unfortunately, you don’t get a discount for any added lines if you decide to avail of Tello’s family plans.

Availing of Tello’s family plans is very similar to purchasing separate lines. Only consider getting their family plan if you’re looking for a better way to manage multiple lines for your family. That said, it might not be the best option if you’re looking for a network with the best family cell phone plan either.


Pay as You Go

If you need short-term plans or if you don’t want to commit to the network on a monthly basis, you might want to try getting their Pay as You Go credits instead. This is a prepaid option that lasts for three months. With this option, you can choose the amount of credit that you want and use them for US calls, texts, and data. You can also use them for international calls but the minutes will vary depending on how much you have.

This plan will automatically stop after three months if you don’t make a new purchase. It’s a great option to consider if you’re not looking to make monthly payments. The downside of using this plan is that you won’t get a fixed allocation for data, texts, and calls so you will have to manage your credits wisely.

Tello Pay As You Go
© Screencasted from Tello’s Official Website

Pay as You Go credits start at $20. You cannot purchase credits at a lower price. If you’re looking at how you can maximize your credits, you can refer to their website to see an allocation of how you can use your credits effectively.


Network Speed and Coverage

tello coverage map
© Photo by Coverage Critic

As an MVNO, Tello shares its network with T-Mobile. That said, you can expect that there might be nuances when it comes to the network speed and coverage. When subscribing or getting a plan from an MVNO, it’s best to always remember that the network is not their own and you might experience slower data speeds.

T-Mobile will prioritize its own customers over that of its MVNOs. With that, there is a tendency for your network speeds and coverage to falter depending on the speeds of their mother network. Additionally, Tello Mobile will also be available only in areas where T-Mobile is.

In terms of their 5G coverage, its coverage will be similar to that of T-Mobile. But it would be best to manage your expectations when it comes to this as well. Since T-Mobile also encounters problems with 5G from time to time, expect that you’ll encounter the same problems with Tello. However, whenever 5G isn’t available, you will have access to 4G LTE.

If you’re from more rural areas, Tello or any T-Mobile MVNO might not be the best option for you as these networks are best for more urban areas. You can refer to the coverage map above to help you check if the network is the best fit for you.


Tello Mobile Phone Selection

tello phones
© Screencasted from Tello’s Official Website

The main goal of Tello Mobile is to help its customers save cash. Hence, their phone selection might be the most impressive in the market. It’s mostly limited to Android phones from Samsung, Motorola, and LG. There are also iPhones available but they aren’t the latest models. It’s best to manage your expectations if you’re looking to get a phone from Tello as they have a small and limited phone selection.

You can, of course, opt to use your existing phone or bring in a new phone to use with your Tello plan. You can bring in GSM and unlocked phones to make sure that they’re compatible with Tello Mobile.

Alternatively, you can check your phone’s compatibility on Tello’s website. Simply enter your device’s IMEI/ESN code and you’ll be able to check if you can use it with the network.

In terms of transferring your own number to the network, you can only do so after the service has been activated on your online account. You will also need to have the Tello SIM on hand already before you can submit a transfer request through the Tello website.


Activation Process

Once you receive your Tello Mobile SIM and phone, simply follow the steps below to activate your mobile plan:

  1. Log in to your Tello online account and go to “Activate SIM.” Do not insert your SIM card just yet.
  2. Simply fill in the required fields and follow through with any prompts throughout the process.
  3. Wait for confirmation of the activation.
  4. Insert your Tello SIM and turn on your phone.
  5. Simply follow through with the prompts that might show up and your Tello service should automatically activate.
  6. Once done, you’re all set! You can start calling, texting, and surfing the web with your new Tello plan.

If your service doesn’t activate automatically, wait up to 30 minutes then reboot your device. This should solve the problem. But if rebooting doesn’t work, you can go to Tello’s FAQs on their website for steps to manually activate your device.


Customer Service

Tello, like other MVNOs, lacks the presence of a physical store. It is an online-only mobile network which means that all your transactions will happen online. On the upside, you can easily access their customer service online and through their customer service hotline. It makes things faster and you don’t have to worry about looking for a store near your location.

Many users commend Tello for its solid customer service. You can send them an email or call their hotline if you have concerns. Many Tello Mobile reviews on websites like TrustPilot mention their satisfactory customer service.

This is a great factor to consider if you’re looking for a network with human customer service compared to automated ones. They are also easier to reach and you’ll be able to find a solution to your problems in no time.


What We Like About Tello Mobile

There are many things to like about Tello Mobile. It’s easily a great network for anyone who is looking for affordable mobile plans with flexible options.



At the top of the list are its flexible and customizable plans. Unlike other networks, Tello allows you to customize your plans and still maintain an affordable price. You also have a variety of pre-made plans to choose from. Moreover, you can upgrade or downgrade plans as you please. Any changes you make to your account will also reflect in real-time.


Free International Calls

Additionally, we also like their free international calls. The allotted minutes in each mobile plan include international calls which other networks don’t have. Most networks will charge you for making international calls and texts but Tello eliminates the additional cost by including these for free in their mobile plans.

tello calls
© Photo by Tello


Free Hotspot & Tethering

Lastly, we love how Tello Mobile offers free hotspots and tethering. Other networks will easily charge $10 or more if you want to include it as an add-on to your plan. Tello, however, allows you to use these services for free so you can share your data with your friends and family easier.


What We Don’t Like About Tello Mobile

Despite all the good things about Tello Mobile, there are also things that we don’t particularly like about it. Here are points that might make you look the other way.


Data Cap

We’re starting with the fixed data allocations and data cap. The data allocations that the network offers are fairly low compared to other carriers and you really can’t do much with them. Their unlimited data also has a 25 GB data cap which is subpar compared to other networks. However, this is understandable as the network is comparatively cheap and they have to maintain affordability. Unfortunately, it will come at the cost of their data allocations.



Next is their coverage. It runs on T-Mobile’s network which makes it difficult for those in rural areas. Despite offering nationwide coverage, you might encounter difficulties from time to time especially if you aren’t from an urban area.


No Family Plan

The network also lacks an actual family plan. Unlike other networks that offer family packages and discounts depending on the number of lines that you have, Tello only offers account management. You will still have to buy individual lines.


Additional Cost

Lastly, you will have to pay more than what you expect. The taxes aren’t included in the prices that you see on their website. Hence, you might have to pay just a little bit more for the tax. It’s not much but it does help so that you can manage your finances better if they include the tax in the price.


Verdict: Is Tello Mobile Worth It?

Yes and no. Whether the network is worth investing in will depend on how you intend to use it. It’s a great network for its affordability and flexibility but also, there are certain areas where they can do a bit better. In all, it will still fall on your needs as a consumer. Regardless, it is worth investing in because of its mobile plan inclusions. They’re also very straightforward with their offerings so you won’t have a hard time grasping what you will and won’t get from the plans. However, if you’re looking for a network with a higher data cap or one with family discounts, this network might not be for you. Ultimately, it’s always important to consider your immediate needs as a consumer before choosing a mobile network to invest in.