Tello Mobile cellular service - 2017-2018 Review
Tello Mobile - a new Sprint MVNO offering simple, cheap cellular service
Summary: Tello Mobile is a new Sprint MVNO (Mobile
Virtual Network Operator, aka reseller). I've been using Tello since
2017, and it works fine. More importantly, Tello
pricing is very good and their customer service (if needed) is great.
Assuming your area has decent Sprint coverage, Tello offers a good solution for low-use users
through either their low-cost monthly plans or through their pay-as-you-go
plan for people who are very low-use users. Tello is also a great low-cost
option for a kid's first cell phone. Tello Mobile has some of the best and highest rated
customer service and satisfaction in the industry. If you think you need to
pay a lot to get good cellular service, think again. In my opinion, the big
four (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint) are taking advantage of most
people, and people are paying a lot more than they should. With the advent
of low cost MVNO operators like Tello, there are lots of cheaper options for
service today, and Tello is one you should definitely consider. If you are
looking for the lowest cost "low use" reliable, hassle-free solution and you
have good Sprint coverage, Tello is probably one of best
solutions available today.
Tello Coupon Codes, Special Offers, & Deals
last updated: September 17, 2018
First Month FREE Special!
New customers get their first month free on the unlimited talk/text +
1GB LTE data plan.
Must sign up before September 30, 2018.
first month on any new Tello monthly plan
5% off on your entire Tello order
(5% off everything, including phones,
sim cards, pay-as-you-go credits, and monthly plans)
On October 18, 2017, Tello updated all of their monthly plan
options to cut their prices and now includes unlimited texts in every plan.
March 6, 2018 update: Tello has cut their prices again. The MVNO
field continues to get more and more competitive and the customer is
the winner with even lower prices. Here are some excerpts from Tello's
March 2018 Price Cut press release:
New Unbeatable Prices. Spring into Tello! March 2018
Prepaid is becoming the most competitive category in wireless. Tello
Mobile set the trend, with its flexible approach to custom plans and
massive price drops. This spring, Tello Mobile announces a new line up
of lower (unbeatable) prices that will satisfy every money savvy need:
most of our phone plans get up to 35% drop in cost.
* For instance, if a customer want a plan including unlimited minutes
& text plus 1GB of data, they can have it now at only $14/mo., instead
of $19. If they need more data, they can choose 2GB instead of 1GB to
the same combo and they will end up paying only $19 for what used to
* The new prices are available for both newcomers and existing
customers. The people who join Tello Mobile will benefit from the cut
prices upon signing up, whereas for the ones already enrolled in Tello,
the extra benefits take effect immediately and the lower price at
their next billing cycle.
* At Tello, customers can choose the number of minutes & data they
need, unlimited texts are included in every plan, free of charge.
Phone plans start as low as $5/mo. up to $39/mo., and now they can
even choose a 4GB data plan option. Cell phone plans can be upgraded,
downgraded, or renewed at any time, for no charge at all.
* The "no fees whatsoever" policy, outstanding 24/7 customer service &
free calls to Canada, Mexico & China included in any plan make Tello
stand out from other MVNOs. Other great freebies: tethering, unlimited
* Besides being flexible when it comes to plans, Tello is also the
only wireless carrier rated as "Excellent", as a result of more than
1400 reviews from its customers on Trustpilot, a famous review website
getting roughly 500,000 genuine testimonials about thousands of
businesses each month.
About TELLO MOBILE:
Tello started providing cellular service in the UK in 2014, and then began
offering cellular service here in the US in 2016. The parent
company of Tello is KeepCalling, which has been in the US since 2002. Tello
uses Sprint as their cellular service provider, so you need to have a Sprint-capable (CDMA)
phone, or you can buy a phone from Tello. Tello usually has a traditional flip phone
available for $29, as well as smart phones starting as low as $49. Of course, Tello also sells more expensive phones, including iPhones,
Samsung phones, and Motorola phones. So you can buy a phone from Tello, or you can use your
own phone as long as it is CDMA capable (they have a phone checker on their
website so you can confirm your phone will work on their network). If your
phone doesn't already have a
Sprint sim in it, you can purchase a Sprint sim from Tello for $10 with free shipping. With Tello, you can either
Pay-As-You-Go or have a monthly service plan.
1¢ per text | 3¢ per voice minute | 2¢ per MB
With Pay-As-You-Go, there are no monthly fees. You simply add money to your credit balance ($10 to start),
and then you pay 1 cent per text, 3 cents per voice minute, and 2 cents per
MB of cellular data. If or when your credit balance gets low or runs out,
you just add more to it. Your credit balance will never expire, as long as you do
something at least once every three months (like send a text). Thus, for
example, if you only use your
phone to text and you don't send very many texts, an $10 credit
could last almost indefinitely (1000 texts). Just remember to make a call or send a text
(or you can send a text to your Tello number) at
least once every three months to keep your credit balance from expiring. If
you don't want to burn up your pay-as-you-go balance using cellular data,
you can turn off cellular data on your account (and only enable it when you
need it). Then you'll only be charged for calls and texts, and you can use
wifi for data. If you don't call or text very much, a $10 credit can last a
BUILD-YOUR-OWN Custom Monthly Plans
(add voice and/or data, all plans include unlimited texts)
no voice $0 | 100 min $5 | 200 min $7 | 300 min $9 | 500 min $10 | unlimited
no data $0 | 200MB $7 | 500MB $8 | 1GB $9 | 2GB $14
| 3GB $19 | 4GB $24 |10GB $34
* unlimited texts are included free in all monthly plans
** prices are even lower if you combine voice and data
With Build-Your-Own monthly plans, you can configure a monthly plan
with the number of voice minutes and/or the amount of cellular data that you want.
You can update and change your plan whenever you want. All monthly plans
include unlimited texts for free. The prices for the number of minutes or
amount of cellular data are shown above. For example, you can get unlimited
talk and text for
$15 $11! If you add both voice minutes and cellular data, the
monthly price is discounted even more. You can use their
on their website to easily see what your options are and how much they would
cost. For people who don't use their phones very much, Tello
offers some of the lowest price monthly plans available anywhere.
* Low cost monthly plans starting at $5/month (i.e. unlimited texts
plus 100 minutes for $5, or unlimited texts plus 200MB for $7, or unlimited
texts plus 100 minutes plus 200MB for $8)
* Starting March 2018, you can now get unlimited talk and text (no
cellular data) for $11/month
* No contract
* Extremely simple, straightforward, easy to understand pricing
* No hidden fees (no overage, no administration, no activation fees, etc.)
* Calls to Mexico, Canada, & China are included, and are treated the same as
* You can change your plan anytime
* Highly rated customer service (online chat, phone, email & call back)
* Instead of a monthly plan, you can also use Pay-As-You-Go and just add a
credit (e.g. $10) and pay for each text, voice minute, or actual data used. If you
don't use your phone very much, your monthly cost would be minimal
* You don't need to have a smart phone, you can get service for an old
fashioned flip phone
* You get a "real" cellular phone number
* Voicemail is included for free
* Tethering is enabled and included for free
* Unlimited 2G data - On monthly plans that include data, after you hit
your data limit you still get unlimited but slow 2G data,. So for example,
if you pick a monthly plan with 200MB of LTE data, after that gets used up, you still get
unlimited 2G data, so you are never without data (thanks Dave1 for
pointing this out in his comment below)
* If you manually renew your monthly plan before it auto-renews, you can
roll your unused minutes over to the next month (per a comment by Dave1
* Tello uses Sprint for cellular service only (you can check your
local coverage with the
coverage checker). There is no roaming. If you have good Sprint
coverage, you will be fine, but if you have spotty or no Sprint coverage in
your area, you should consider a different carrier.
MY EXPERIENCE with TELLO:
I won't review a product or service unless I have actually tried it, so with
that in mind, even though I don't really need another phone or phone number,
I set up my Moto G4 on a Tello Pay-As-You-Go account and got a Tello phone
number to test and evaluate, and then to use as a secondary/backup phone and
phone number. For reference, the Moto G4 is both GSM and CDMA capable,
which allows it to be used with
any of the big four carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint). Most
importantly, the Moto G4 is CDMA capable, which means it can be used on
Tello since it will work with Sprint (which requires a CDMA phone). I
had to get a Sprint sim card (sim model SIMGLW446C) for my Moto G4. If you want to use
your own Sprint-capable (CDMA) phone and you need a Sprint sim for it, you can get a
Sprint sim card from
Tello for $10. Once I had a Sprint sim for my Sprint-capable Moto G4 phone,
I was ready to set up a new Tello account and "bring my own phone".
Ordering and setting up the new service on Tello was simple. They have an
excellent, intuitive, easy to use website interface.
✔ The first thing they ask you when you are signing up is if you want to
order a phone from them (which is the simplest way to go) or "bring your own
phone". I selected the "Bring My Own Phone" option. I was then prompted to
enter my Moto G4 phone's IMEI number (you can find this by dialing *#06# or
by looking under settings > about phone > status > IMEI Information (my IMEI
✔ The next thing you are asked (if you are bringing your own phone) is if
you have a Sprint sim, or need a sim (Tello sells sims for $10). I selected
that I already had a sim, and was then prompted to enter the sim ICCID (you
can also find this under your phone settings if the sim is in your phone, or
printed on the sim card) (my sim ICCID is 890112010005328xxxxx).
✔ I was then asked if I wanted to port my old number into Tello or get a
new number from Tello. I got a new phone number.
✔ I was then asked to pick a monthly plan or add a Pay-As-You-Go credit
(or do both). I chose [ADD CREDIT] to add a Pay As You Go credit, and
selected a $10 credit.
✔ I then took advantage of the
Tello 5% off special, which
dropped my cost down to $9.50. Taxes and fees then kicked it back up
to $10.42. Taxes and surcharges were $.92, but that's not Tello's fault
. That's all courtesy of our Federal government and State of California, but
that's not the point of this review. :)
✔ I then entered my credit card information and submitted my order, and
received my email confirmations.
After finishing and placing my order, I logged back into my Tello account to
confirm I had the $10 credit and to see what my new phone number was. I
immediately had my son send me a text, which didn't work. I probably just
needed to wait a couple of minutes, but instead we turned the phone off and
on, and did a carrier reset and a couple of other things, and then the new
number worked. Again, I probably just needed to wait a few minutes and turn
the phone off and on one time, but I was impatient. Once the phone was
working, I called my son (standing next to me) and he called me, and we sent
texts to each other. Overall, it was quite simple, and I now had a new
phone number with a $10 Tello credit.
I also logged onto my Tello account and went to my dashboard, where I turned
the 4G LTE cellular data off. I'm okay with only having data available
when I'm on wifi, and I don't want to accidentally burn through all my credit
by using cellular data.
I do now have a working phone number for calls and texts, and will pay 3
cents a minute for calls and 1 cent per text.
I'll update this review as I
have time and as I have a chance to use my Tello number a bit more. In the
meantime, from what I have read and my own limited experience, I believe Tello is a great option for people who are happy with Sprint coverage and
who don't use their phones a lot, and who are looking for a low-cost,
reliable, easy-to-use option for cellular service.
August 24, 2017 update: I've used Tello for a couple of weeks for
sending and receiving texts and calls, and to occasionally check email (I
turned my Tello cellular data back on). Tello works just as expected... which is
great. As long as you have good local Sprint Coverage, Tello works just
fine. Their pay-as-you-go credit (which is what I've been using) is a great
way to go for really low-use people, or to test them out as I've been doing.
Otherwise, their custom monthly plans are a good value. You can get unlimited
texts and 100 voice minutes $5. You can add 200MB of LTE data for $4, or $9
total. If your monthly LTE data runs out, you still get
unlimited (but slow) 2G data, or you can use a pay-as-you go credit to
supplement your monthly plan data.
October 20, 2017 update: Tello is still working fine. I've been using
the service for talking, texting, and light internet use, and it works,
as expected. Our local Sprint coverage is just fine. And although I haven't
needed to contact customer service for anything, I see that they continue to
get high marks and great reviews for their customer service and support. If
your local Sprint coverage is good and you're looking for an inexpensive
option for cell phone service, I highly recommend that you consider Tello.
March 1, 2018 update: Tello continues to work as expected. I don't
use it very much, but when I do use it, it works just fine. I continue to
recommend Tello as an extremely affordable service for light users who are
in an area with good Sprint coverage.
March 1, 2018 update: Important update for Pay-As-You-Go users. You need
to use your pay-go balance every 90 days or less or it will expire. The
Tello policy used to be that you needed to use your balance at least every 6
months, but they changed it to at least every 3 months or 90 days last fall.
If you go more than 90 days with no use on your account, your pay-go balance
will expire and your Tello phone number will be lost. Any call, text, or
data used counts as usage, whether sent or received. Thus, to keep your
balance active, all you need to do is send your number a text every 89 days
or less. After you send or receive the text, check your dashboard to make
sure your balance has dropped by a penny (the text costs one cent), and
you'll be good to go for another 89 days. I wouldn't actually wait 89 days,
but would send or receive a text every two months, unless you are regularly
using your Tello service, in which case, you don't need to worry.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT TELLO:
To my mind, one of the best things about Tello is their customer service, as
they have some of the highest rated customer service in the industry. If you
have any problems with your order, or your phone, or your service, they will
respond quickly and efficiently, and will do everything they can to solve
your problem. Tello uses TrustPilot to let their customers review their
service. The nice thing about TrustPilot is that they have real reviews, and Tello can't delete the bad review. The reviews you see are the real
And the thing about real reviews is, when people are unhappy they'll often
post a bad review, but when things work the way they should, people often don't
take the time to write a review or say
anything. So I am used to seeing negative comments (on companies that have
poor products or service), but it's not very common to see that many
positive reviews (because most people won't take the time to leave positive
reviews) unless a company really is exceptional and really deserves all the
positive reviews. The cool (and amazing) thing about Tello is that not only
do they not have many (or any?) negative reviews, but they have lots of
positive reviews (which is uncommon). Check out the latest
TrustPilot reviews here. Based on all the happy customers (and reviews)
that Tello has, they really do have great customer service.
"Have never experienced a large service company as
responsive as this one and I have dealt with a LOT of them. Made the process
clear and easy to follow. Everything worked as they described in a single
email." - Robert Byers, August 24, 2017
"I am really amazingly happy with this amazing provider, amazing service,
and great customer support!! Thanks!!" - I. Schipper, August 24, 2017
"Everything about tello is awesome. Thanks." - Steve C., August 24, 2017
"I've had the service for about 3 months. So far, it's been perfect and you
can't beat the price." - Anthony Edwards, August 23, 2017
the latest Tello customer reviews (from TrustPilot)
learn more about Tello
Comments / Questions / Feedback:
Comment by Dave1 on Monday, June 05, 2017
Hello Steve, Good overall Tello overview, I have also used it for a few
months. Just a slight observation about the calls to Canada/Mexico, the
calls are not exactly free, they are simply charged the same rate as in-US
calls, meaning the rate of the calls is taken from your remaining
I have been satisfied with Tello using a monthly plan, and I put my mother
on the Pay-as-you-go plan. The pay-as-you-go plan is very convenient and
affordable for someone who does not talk/text or use data a lot. You can get
a plan for $10, my mom got 2 months out of it using the service almost every
day for a few short calls and texts. People who rarely call or texts, or
want to have a backup phone can get way longer mileage out of the $10. You
can even turn off your data in the website to prevent unintentional data
use/expense. You also get an itemized list of calls and texts received/made
and voice mail is included.
The monthly plans are great too, you can get the lowest possible 4G (high
speed) data of 200 MBs, and after you run out of it, you get unlimited
reduced speed data at 64k, which is good enough for GPS apps, and even Uber
app, checking emails, and sending MMS, although as expected such activities
will take longer to accomplish, but considering that it is unlimited AND
included at no extra charge if you use a monthly plan, I can not complain
Additionally, if you don't use all your call minutes, and you manually renew
your plan (instead of letting it renew itself automatically at end of cycle)
you can roll those unused minutes over to the next month, and you can
continue accumulating unused calling minutes. I had been using a combo of
100 minutes, unlimited texts, and 200MB, and the price was only $10 plus
taxes, which is very affordable I think for reliable cellular (not VOIP)
phone service. Of course, being a Sprint MVNO, the coverage will not be as
extensive as the other 3 major networks, but I have not had trouble at all
with it. Customer service is also great, I had to contact them via email
twice, and I got a response with 5 minutes both times. You can use almost
any Sprint phone I believe even the FreedomPop Sprint devices with Tello,
you can use the tool in their website to make sure your used phone is
compatible with it before signing up. I have used it with a Moto G4 Play,
just had to find the correct Sprint sim card for it, and got it for a
fraction of the cost from eBay. The first month after I ran out of 4G data,
I found out I had to go to the "Cellular Network Settings" on the phone to
change from LTE to 3G, in order to access the 2G speed data. Definitely a
reliable and affordable phone service.
Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Dave, Wow! Thanks for your detailed real-world report on using Tello, and
for pointing out some additional benefits and tips. Best comment I've gotten in
a long time. Thank you! I'll add your info into my review, and clarify that
calls to Mexico and Canada aren't really "free" but they are included and
treated the same as domestic US calls. Your experience with getting unlimited
slow 2G data after you hit your data limit on a monthly plan is great to know.
So your data never gets cut off, it just gets slowed down, but it still useable
for checking email, etc. Thanks again!
Reply by Dave1 on Monday, June 05, 2017
Glad you found useful info in my experience with Tello, before I forget,
if you ever need to port out, you would have to contact them to get your account
number, as that information is not available in the website. Also, Tello does
not use a pin number for the accounts, but most other companies require a pin
number when porting in, the pin you would provide is 0000.
About the unlimited 2G data, it is indeed very useful to have, and at no
additional cost it is a win for sure, but you might have to play around with the
"Cellular Network Settings" depending on what phone you have as mentioned
previously. I was able to even send picture messages, although it took sometime.
I successfully used Waze and Google Maps, as well as WhatsApp, Uber, and Gmail
app. Regular web surfing definitely is not an enjoyable experience at this
speed, but if you need to do a quick Google search, it is better than not having
data at all.
Be aware that with monthly plans, the renewal date does not fall on the same day
every month, so if you want to renew manually to roll-over the used minutes,
then you must keep track of the due date. The unused minutes from the ending
month will not roll-over if you let the system renew your plan. I renewed my
plan a day before just in case.
You can also download their app for more convenient access to your account.
Comment by Reuven on Monday, August 21, 2017
Most of the reviews I came across merely highlight the monetary aspects
of the provider, neglecting the customer support / technical support
aspects. I started my cellular adventures with RingPlus, (R.I.P.) - they
NEVER answered an eMail or a telephone call. From there I wandered to
FreedomPOP; The sold me a Galaxy S4 that did not have any signal strength,
and failed to call many times. Their tech support was moronic and laughable.
After divorced them, miracle of all miracles, signal strength jumped from 0
to -80 dbm!!!
Now I've landed in TELLO Mobile land. I had a caller-ID problem, called them
and the guy picked up the phone on the 2nd. ring. (!!!) They followed-up
with an eMail AND with few phone calls to make sure I'm satisfied. Where
else can one expect such a service nowadays?!!! I would highly recommend
Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Reuven, Thanks for your comment and for sharing your own personal
experience with Tello. I agree that Tello's superior customer service is one of
their strengths. From my own experience, when I was placing my order with Tello,
I had a question and clicked on the online chat button on their website. Someone
responded in under a minute. The person was very knowledgeable and answered my
question quickly and efficiently. I believe Tello has one of the highest
customer service ratings of any cellular service provider based on their
TrustPilot rating. That's also the impression I get from just about everything
I've read about Tello. I think they truly go the extra mile on their customer
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