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Best Tello plans in 2023: Pricing, phone options, and more
Tello might not be as well known as some other prepaid carriers, but it’s actually a great option for those looking to save money. Even better, they give you a ton of options when designing a plan that fits your needs. Tello is an independent phone plan provider, but T-Mobile’s reliable network backs it, so it should work in any market where Tmo plays nice.
In this guide, we break down the best Tello plans, best Tello phones, and anything else you’d need to know about the carrier’s plans and features.
The best Tello plans at a glance
While Tello has official plans, it’s a bit different from most of the other carriers out there. Tello lets you customize a plan for your needs. You can create plans that have no data, as well as plans with no calling. Prices can range between these plans significantly. There’s a simple tool on their website that lets you select how much data or calling minutes you need in order to find the right mix of features you need.
Below we take a look at some of Tello’s most popular plans and offer a quick breakdown to help you out:
- Data only. Only need data? Tello offers plans ranging from $5 a month for 500MB to as much as 10GB for $20 a month (the first month is just $10). This is perfect for devices that don’t need a traditional phone line. You won’t get calls or text.
- Limited data. Tello limited plans come in three main tiers: Economy (1GB), Value(2GB), and Smart(5GB). These plans all have unlimited talk and text and are priced $10, $14, or $19 a month, respectively. All three plans offer a discounted rate for the first month’s service. You can also upgrade to 10GB of data for just $5 more than Smart, but you’ll have to use Tello’s customize tool as this isn’t a default plan.
- Unlimited data. Tello’s unlimited talk, text, and data plan isn’t actually truly unlimited. You can use 25GB a month; afterward, you’ll get just 2G speeds until the next month’s payment cycle. This plan costs $29 a month, but the first month is just $14.50.
Which Tello plan do we recommend?
The fact that you can customize your plan means there are literally a dozen or so combinations you can pick from. Still, it’s not hard to cut through the noise and recommend a plan.
Beyond the amount of data, you won’t find any differences between the different plans offered by Tello. Higher tiers don’t get better data priority or extra perks like streaming services or international calling. We actually appreciate this, as Tello’s plans and pricing are extremely straightforward and all about simplicity.
Tello Unlimited Data plan
With that out of the way, we recommend the Unlimited Data plan for $29 a month for almost all users that are considering Tello. That’s just $10 more than the 5GB plan, and yet you get an additional 20GB.
Tello Limited Data plan
Still, if you’re really on a budget and don’t mind sticking mostly to Wi-Fi, the Value and Smart tiers will save you a significant amount of money. These plans are better for first-time phone owners like teens or elderly family members.
Tello vs the competition
Tello is a very affordable way to get phone service, but there are plenty of other options. Obviously, you could consider a post-paid plan from T-Mobile, Verizon, or AT&T. There are also tons of prepaid options. If you’re interested in Tello, odds are you are looking for a good deal.
We have a guide if you’re interested in the best prepaid carriers. We also take a look below at a few prepaid carriers that focus on value first and foremost:
|Cricket More||Visible||Mint Mobile||Google Fi|
$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$110 for three lines
$130 for four lines
$40 per month
$45 per month
$70 for one line
$60 for two lines
$50 for three lines
$45 for four lines
Talk and Text
Unlimited 4G LTE
Unlimited 4G LTE
Standard Definition streaming
15GB Mobile hotspot
Google One membership
Mexico and Canada usage up to 50%
Texting to 37 countries
International calls to Mexico and Canada
Free calls to over 50 countries
Free texts and data abroad
Mint Mobile is an independent carrier owned by none other than Ryan Reynolds. Backed by the power of T-Mobile’s network, Mint now offers an unlimited plan, or you can get 15GB of 4G LTE or 5G access for just $30 per month. You even get free international calling to Mexico and Canada and can use your hotspot as much as you want — at least within the limits of your plan’s cap. Mint also offers plans that let you pay for months of service in advance in exchange for better-discounted rates. When it comes to Mint Mobile vs Tello, the former might just have the edge.
- Up to unlimited 4G LTE or 5G data per month
- Calling included to Mexico and Canada
If you’re looking for a great prepaid unlimited option, Visible is a great option. You’ll get unlimited talk, text, and data for $25 a month during the current promotion period (which is set to end after May). After that, the price will return to $35 a month. What really makes Visible great is it costs just $6 more than the “unlimited” plan on Tello, and yet is legitimately unlimited. I’ve personally used 100GB or more in a month. There’s even truly unlimited hotspot access.
The only downside is speeds aren’t typically as fast as other carriers (I average 5-20Mbps, depending on where I’m at). The same goes for hotspot access, which is capped at 5Mbps.
- Unlimited talk, text, and data
- Pay as little as $25 per month
Cricket Wireless is one of the best prepaid options out there. Although it’s owned by AT&T, Cricket manages its own features, plans, and has an extensive lineup of phones. Unlike many prepaid carriers, you can even get device financing, special discounts on phones after staying with the company for a while, and more. The best plan you can get is Cricket More, and it serves as the high-end unlimited option. For your money, you’ll get unlimited talk, text, and data, and 15GB of hotspot data.
- Usage in Canada and Mexico up to 50%
- 15GB mobile hotspot included; add more for a fee
Best Tello phones
Tello has some pretty great plans, but what about Tello phones? Unfortunately, this is a bit of a weaker spot. The only phone sold new that is even remotely recognizable by brand is the Samsung Galaxy S22, which is actually a year old at this point. The rest are all Nuu phones, which — trust us — you probably want to avoid.
There are some high-end options that are sold as refurbished with their own limited warranties.
We’ll highlight some of our favorites below, but let’s be frank: In most cases, you’re better off getting an unlocked phone to bring to Tello. The carrier should play nicely with any phone that supports T-Mobile’s bands. For more options, you can check out our guide to the best Android phones, as well as our guide to the best budget phones.
- Samsung Galaxy S22: It isn’t the latest flagship from Samsung, as that honor goes to the S23 series. Still, a year later, the S22 holds up as a powerful device with an amazing camera and great software support. You can pick it up brand new from Tello for $679.
- Apple iPhone SE (2022): The iPhone SE (2022) is a mid-range phone and the absolute cheapest way to experience a new iPhone. You get a powerful A15 Bionic chipset and solid battery life. There are even extras that are less common in mid-rangers, like wireless charging. Unfortunately, the downside is the design is pretty dated, and the camera isn’t as good as we’d hoped for. You can pick it up refurbished for just $209.
- Samsung Galaxy A32: If you’re looking for a cheap phone with decent performance and Samsung’s excellent software, the A32 is a great choice. You can pick it up refurbished for $209.
Does Tello offer any special discounts?
If you’re looking for senior citizen, first responder, or military discounts, you’re unfortunately not going to find them with Tello Mobile. While some prepaid carriers offer this kind of discount, this is typically more common among postpaid plans.
Frequently asked questions
Tello uses the T-Mobile network, though it is independently owned.
If you’re looking for a good value, absolutely. It’s not all perfect, as there is deprioritization over T-Mobile’s other services, and there are no frills or extras. Regardless, you get simple plans and great pricing. What more could you look for?
Tello is owned by KeepCalling, a telecommunications company founded in 2022 and based in Georgia. The carrier owns prepaid services both in the US and across the globe.