Tello offers better data plans at a lower price, but some rural customers may choose Ting to get on Verizon’s network
Tello vs. Ting Mobile 2023
Tello and Ting are two relatively new discount cell phone companies. While their names may sound alike, these two carriers are actually quite different.
Tello offers tons of incredibly cheap plans for all kinds of users, and it runs on T-Mobile’s network. Ting has fewer plans, which are more expensive, but it can get you on Verizon’s network which has great rural coverage.
We’ll just come out and say it upfront: Tello is probably the better option for most people. Its plans are cheaper at every level and T-Mobile’s network is great in most areas. For those who want better rural coverage, Ting is a fine option, but there are actually better discount carriers out there (like Visible) that can get you on Verizon’s towers.
Enough of our hot takes. Read on to get all of the details so you can decide which carrier is best for you.
Tello pros and cons
Ting Mobile pros and cons
Tello Mobile vs. Ting Mobile unlimited data plans
Tello and Ting both offer unlimited talk, text, and data plans. (Ting actually offers two of ‘em!) But not all unlimited plans are created equal. Tello’s unlimited data plan is cheaper than Ting’s top-tier plan, but it has a lower data cap. Still, we think Tello offers a better deal overall.
Here are all of the details so you can make up your own mind.
Tello’s unlimited data plan
Tello’s unlimited talk, text, and data plan is one of the cheapest on the market at $29 a month. With it, you’ll get 25 GB of unthrottled 4G LTE or 5G data (where 5G is available) on T-Mobile’s network. That’s a whole lot cheaper than going directly through T-Mobile. (The T-Mobile Essential’s plan costs a clean $60 a month!)
The most obvious drawback to Tello’s unlimited data plan is the data cap. At 25 GB, this cap will be an issue for those who like to scroll, stream, post, and browse all day long on their phone. After you reach the 25 GB data cap, your speeds will plummet to 2G levels, which means you’ll have a hard time doing pretty much anything online.
Ting’s unlimited data plans
Ting has two unlimited talk, text, and data plans. They are essentially exactly the same, except that the Unlimited Plan gives you a 22 GB data cap and the Unlimited Pro Plan gives you 35 GB of high-speed unthrottled data.
Honestly, we’re not too impressed by these unlimited plans from Ting. The Unlimited Plan gives you less data than Tello, but costs more. And the Unlimited Pro Plan costs a whopping $55 a month. That’s nearly as much as an unlimited plan from one of the Big Three (Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile).
Tello vs. Ting limited data plans
Unlimited data plans are quickly becoming the new standard in the industry. But Tello and Ting are both trying to court customers who don’t want to shell out a ton of money each month for data and perks they aren’t going to use.
Here’s a look at the cheaper, lower-data plans from each company.
Tello’s limited data plans
Tello has nine different options for those who don’t need unlimited talk, text, and data. There’s an option here for pretty much any kind of user—whether it’s your grandma who just needs a few minutes and some text messages or your teenage kid who needs 5–10 GB of data to keep up with the TikTok trends.
This WhistleOut chart shows all the plans.
We know that this many plans can be a little overwhelming, but in an industry that’s increasingly dominated by just a few big companies (with just a few pricey plans), we really love seeing all these options.
Ting’s limited data plans
Ting only offers two kinds of non-unlimited data plans. There’s a “Flex” option and a “Set” option. The Flex option gives you unlimited talk and text for $10 a month, plus you pay $5 a month for every GB of data you use. The Set plans give you 5 or 10 GB of data a month for $25 or $35.
While the Flex plan might seem like a great option for those who don’t know exactly how much data they’re going to use each month, it’s actually not a great plan.
That $5 per GB can really add up quickly. If you end up using, let’s say, 8 GB a month then you’ll pay $50 for your plan. If you’re going to spend that much, you might as well get an unlimited plan. Meanwhile, if you use just 2 GB you’ll still pay $20 a month, which is $6 more than the unlimited talk, text, and 2 GB of data plan from Tello.
Unfortunately, the Set plans aren’t that great either. The 12 GB plan is pricier than Tello’s unlimited data plan! Not a good look.
Tello vs. Ting family plans
We love family plans. Companies like Visible Wireless and Verizon will give customers awesome perks and huge discounts when they bring their kids, spouses, and other family members into their plan. It’s a great way to simplify bills, save money, and pick up some nice extras, like free subscriptions.
Sadly, both Tello and Ting drop the ball on family plans. Technically, you can add extra lines to your account with either carrier. But you won’t see any discounts when you do. Nor will you see any cool perks. It’s really just a way to simplify your bill if you’re paying for your kids’ cell phone plans already.
Tello vs. Ting coverage
Ting and Tello are both mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), which means that they don’t actually own and operate their own cellular networks. Instead, they lease network bandwidth from bigger companies.
Tello uses T-Mobile’s network, which offers great nationwide coverage in most areas and the largest 5G infrastructure in the US. But, there are some sizable coverage gaps in rural parts of the West (like Nevada, Idaho, and Wyoming). Take a closer look with this interactive coverage map.
Ting is unique in that it lets customers use one of two networks. You can choose either T-Mobile or Verizon. No, you can’t choose both. For some people with older CDMA or GSM phones, there might not be a choice at all because your phone only works on one or the other.
For those who live in rural areas or travel/camp/adventure in the wilderness often, Verizon is by far the best network. This means that going with Ting (or another Verizon MVNO) is a better choice than going with Tello.
You can see Verizon’s network coverage in the map below.
Tello vs. Ting customer service
Small companies like Ting and Tello can have a hard time with customer service. They usually don’t operate huge call centers or have a bunch of customer service staff on payroll. That said, both of these carriers seem to do a decent job at answering questions and addressing issues.
Ting Mobile scores a 4.6/5-star rating on Trustpilot,1 while Tello gets a 4.5/5-star rating.2 There are, of course, some negative reviews online. Customers complain about billing issues and problems with the app. But, overall, we’re pretty impressed with Tello and Ting.
Recap: Which is the best cell phone provider?
Before we sign off, we like to leave our readers with a short recap of everything we said. Here’s the short and sweet version of our Tello vs. Ting cell phone plans review.
- Unlimited plans: Tello wins. Tello’s $29 unlimited data plan is a way better deal than either of Ting’s unlimited plans. In fact, it’s one of the best deals on the market for unlimited talk, text, and data.
- Limited data plans: Tello wins. Once again, Tello takes the gold medal. It offers more plans than Ting and they are cheaper at every level.
- Family plans: Tie. Neither company will give you a discount or extra perks for bundling up with your family. Hopefully one of them will step up soon and offer some family plan deals.
- Coverage: Ting. While Tello members are required to use T-Mobile’s network, Ting customers have a choice between T-Mobile and Verizon. For those who live in rural areas, the Verizon network is the way to go.
- Customer service: Tie. The telecommunications industry isn’t known for great customer service. But both Tello and Ting manage to keep most people happy.
In short: Tello is the better service overall, but some folks who live in rural areas may prefer Ting’s coverage.