Tello Cell Phone Service Review
Tello is an inexpensive prepaid wireless phone service for folks who don’t like getting locked into long-term contracts. Plus, aside from the usual random taxes and whatnot, Tello doesn’t charge any unnecessary fees (like phone activation).
How Tello prepaid data plan prices compare
Tello isn’t geared toward big families or folks with multiple devices, but instead focuses on providing cheap individual cell phone plans.
You can’t get any big discounts like you would with other cell phone plans from bigger companies. In fact, you can’t even add multiple lines to the same account, meaning everyone has to get their own service setup, which also means separate bills.
Tello prepaid plans
Tello offers quite a few low-data plans. And you don’t have to get data with Tello, either, if you don’t want it. If you do want it, though, plans start at plans start at $9/mo. for 500MB + Unlimited Talk & Text.
Tello prepaid data plans and prices
You’ll probably want to get at least a couple of gigs of data use. Getting 2 GB for under $20 a month isn’t a bad way to go if you seldom use your cell phone for surfing the net, but we think it’s worth the extra money to get the 4 GB or 6 GB plans for those trying to save. That way you won’t lose your 4G LTE speeds toward the end of the month.
Tello’s best features:
- Plans start at $5 (for talk and text only)
- No contract
- No early termination fees
- No activation fees
- No overage charges
- Includes calls to Canada, Mexico, and China
- Free tethering
Tello cell phones and devices
You can get iPhones and Androids, but not the latest models. Tello’s focus is saving cash, so it offers a wide variety of inexpensive models.
Tello covers a wide variety of big-name cell phones and ones we hadn’t heard of. If you’re bringing your own phone instead of purchasing a phone from Tello, make sure to contact Tello. We’ve had readers tell us that Tello wasn’t compatible with devices they just bought, so make sure to find out before purchasing an unlocked device.
If you want to buy a new phone, you can always go directly through Tello. Here are some of the phones you can purchase.
Tello isn’t trying to be the flashiest player in the game but instead goes for “this phone was the best a year or two ago” or “this phone isn’t brand new, but it works just fine, and you can save some money” route.
It has solid options and some that are as low as $25 with no activation fee. Once again, Tello aims for value at low costs.
How good is Tello performance?
Tello uses Sprint’s nationwide coverage, which isn’t the best, but will still cover most people in most areas.
Tello uses Sprint’s 4G LTE network, which still exists despite T-Mobile recently absorbing Sprint. Historically, Sprint offered the worst coverage of the four major networks in the United States (and it wasn’t really close). But things could seriously change for Tello if it gets grandfathered into T-Mobile’s network (which is way better than Sprint’s network) now that the merger has gone through. We’ll keep you updated if that happens. For now, expect reliable coverage in more urban areas with Tello and extremely spotty coverage in more rural areas.
Check out the Sprint coverage map below to get an idea of coverage with Tello.
Tello customer service
What’s up with the customer service?
Tello gets good reviews from its customers, and with good reason. It offers a simple and straightforward service that doesn’t cause the typical confusion that some of the bigger companies bring by tucking in activation fees. You can hit them up 24/7 on the phone via talk or text, or you can chat with them online.
The agents we chatted with answered our questions very quickly and followed up with useful links. Much better than some of the automated chatbots that we’ve encountered across various services.
Recap: is Tello good?
Tello is an inexpensive option for people who want to save on their monthly cell phone bill. You’ll get low costs and no hidden fees.
Tello is great for high school and college students who are getting their own cell service for the first time and wants to start with a more affordable option. It’s also great for anyone who uses their phone for talking and texting and not for trading pictures or browsing the internet.
- Plans: Affordable data plans with one of the most inexpensive unlimited plans available.
- Performance: Tello’s coverage on the Sprint network will work well for folks in more densely populated areas, but if you’re switching from Verizon, don’t be surprised if Tello’s service is spotty by comparison.
- Customer service: You get 24/7 support from Tello, and most customer service reviews are decent.
- Overall: We’d recommend Tello to folks who don’t require much data and want to avoid paying an arm and a leg to talk and text. We wouldn’t recommend it for rural folks, but most others will enjoy coverage just about everywhere.
Q: Does Tello have overage charges or hidden fees?
You won’t see anything aside from the cost of your phone (if purchased), service, and local taxes.
Tello avoids hidden fees by using a prepaid monthly model that you can always choose to upgrade or downgrade without early termination fees either.
Q: Does Tello charge an activation fee?
Activation fees suck—and for other providers, they can be as high as $30–$45. Luckily, Tello does not charge activation fees for phones.
Q: Does Tello let you bring your own phone?
You can save money by bringing the phone you already have to Tello. BYOD (bring your own device) is especially easy from Verizon since they are CDMA carriers.
Q: Can I keep my phone number?
You can totally keep your number, homie. When you sign up, let Tello’s customer service reps know and they’ll help set it up.
Q: What’s Tello’s return policy and early termination fee?
You get 30 days free returns on phones, meaning no delivery fees either. Service is non-refundable.
Q: Does Tello have a military or student discount?
No, but Tello’s a cheap service, generally speaking. And it’s customizable to your needs.