Between Tello and Red Pocket, we prefer Tello.
Tello vs. Red Pocket: Which Is Right for You?
Which MVNO to pick: Tello Mobile or Red Pocket Mobile? It’s a close race, but ultimately, we choose Tello.
Tello and Red Pocket are neck and neck when it comes to unlimited and family plans. And while Red Pocket has several network choices, it requires you to know whether your phone is GSM or CDMA, which isn’t common.
Tello vs. Red Pocket unlimited plans
Tello’s unlimited plan is cheaper, but Red Pocket offers more fast data with its plan.
Tello unlimited plan
Tello’s $25 unlimited plan features unlimited talk, unlimited text, and unlimited data—with restrictions. Your first 35 GB are at full speed, but after that, the rest of your data comes in at snail-like 2G speeds. Sigh.
Red Pocket unlimited plans
Red Pocket has many unlimited plans with different amounts of high-speed data.
Like with Tello, your Red Pocket unlimited data will slow down after an agreed-upon amount. This amount can be anywhere from 1 GB to 30 GB, depending on how much you need and want to spend. We consider the 30 GB plan most comparable to Tello’s unlimited plan.
This 30 GB unlimited plan is $40 a month if you sign up on a month-to-month contract. If you choose to go annually, it’s $30 a month. Naturally, we recommend the annual plan if available.
Tello is cheaper and offers 5 GB more data, so we’ll call this one Tello's. However, either could be a great choice, depending on your needs.
Tello vs. Red Pocket family plans
Tello unlimited family plan is more expensive but provides more fast data than Red Pocket does.
Tello family plans
With Tello, you can customize a family plan for up to four people. For instance, if one of you is a Luddite and the rest are major technophiles, you can pay $75 a month for three unlimited lines plus $10 extra for a line with 2 GB of data.
If everyone wants the unlimited plan, you’ll pay $100 monthly. Unfortunately, not every prepaid carrier can offer family discounts like Xfinity Mobile. Even when bundled in the family plan, Tello's unlimited plan is the same: unlimited calls and text with 35 GB of speedy data.
Red Pocket family plans
Red Pocket family plans start at $30 for the first line and then $20 per line for up to four additional lines. That’s $110 each month for five lines.
Also, you’ll pay a $10 setup fee for your extra lines, so for your first month of service, you’ll pay $150.
Each line has unlimited talk, text, and data—although only the first 20GB are high-speed. That’s 10 GB less than you’ll get with an individual plan, so keep that in mind when weighing whether to bundle up or go solo.
After the first month, price-wise, Red Pocket’s family plans are more affordable than Tello’s. But while you’ll pay slightly more with Tello, you’ll get 15 GB more fast data. That leaves us with a family plan tie.
Tello vs. Red Pocket prepaid plans
Red Pocket doesn’t have any additional prepaid plans, making Tello the winner.
Tello prepaid plans
Some of Tello’s unlimited and family plans are also prepaid, but If you want the classic prepaid definition of a plan with set minutes, Tello has four different options, ranging from $20 for 2,000 minutes to $50 for 5,000.
Should you need more minutes than what’s shown here, Tello offers Pay-as-You-Go minutes that you can add to a prepaid plan at the rate of 1 cent per minute.
Red Pocket prepaid plans
Red Pocket doesn’t have additional prepaid plans apart from its unlimited and family plans. So if you’re looking for a certain number of minutes at a set price, that’s not an option here.
Tello vs. Red Pocket data
You’ll spend less on balance but get more data with Tello than with Red Pocket.
Tello’s plans start at $5 monthly for 1 GB. You can double the data for $1 more to get 2 GB at $6. That’s almost half the price and double the value as Red Pocket’s lowest plan: $10 for 1 GB.
The next comparable plan is 5 GB of data with unlimited calls and text, for which both Tello and Red Pocket charge $10.
Finally, Tello charges $25 for 35 GB, just $6 more than its 10 GB plan. Red Pocket charges $30 for 20 GB. That’s $5 more for 15 GB less.
Except for the family plan we reviewed earlier, Red Pocket data always trends at a higher price than Tello. Sometimes, you can get an annual contract to mitigate some of these costs, but not always. As far as a cost-benefit analysis goes, Tello is the better option.
|$9/mo.||1 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$10/mo.||2 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$12/mo.||5 GB||300 minutes||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$13/mo.||5 GB||500 minutes||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$14/mo.||5 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$17/mo.||10 GB||300 minutes||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$18/mo.||10 GB||500 minutes||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$19/mo.||10 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$22/mo.||15 GB||300 minutes||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$23/mo.||15 GB||500 minutes||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$24/mo.||15 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||View Plans|
Tello vs. Red Pocket coverage
Tello uses the T-Mobile network, while a Red Pocket cell phone plan uses T-Mobile, Verizon, or AT&T.
Which network you use can be super important—one of our writers had T-Mobile but lived in a T-Mobile dead zone for three years. So we’re giving this one to Red Pocket and its multiple options.
This map shows only the Verizon network, but you can toggle between providers to see your different coverage options with Red Pocket.
When it comes to traveling out of the country, Red Pocket has roaming data, which Tello doesn’t. It also offers international calling to more countries than Tello does—though Tello includes free hotspot data, so you should be able to make Wi-Fi calls wherever you are despite the cellular service limitations when traveling.
Tello vs. Red Pocket customer service
Tello and Red Pocket both have fine reputations: Some positive comments, some negative. Based on reviews alone, you’ll have a good experience with either (at least compared to the phone industry at large, which could improve).
But we have a major bone to pick with Red Pocket: It requires you to know whether your phone is GSM or CDMA. (To learn more, read Is My Phone GSM or CDMA?)
Do you know that off the top of your head? We didn’t think so. Do other networks ask for that info? No.
In our opinion, requiring this obscure information to sign up is not very customer friendly.
Recap: Which is the best cell phone provider?
Tello is the victor, but let’s review why.
- Unlimited plans: Tello. Tello’s unlimited plan is more affordable and offers more data, while the Red Pocket unlimited plan costs more but has less fast data.
- Family plans: Tie. Tello’s family plan is more expensive but with more data, while Red Pocket’s is less costly but with less.
- Prepaid plans: Tello. You can get additional prepaid plans with Tello but not with Red Pocket.
- Data: Tello. Tello almost always offers more data for less money than Red Pocket.
- Coverage: Red Pocket. Red Pocket combines the forces of T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T versus Tello’s T-Mobile coverage.
- Customer service: Tello. Signing up with Tello is easier than signing up with Red Pocket, which requires you to know what technology your phone uses.
If you’re still unsure what to choose, read our Tello Mobile Review and our Red Pocket Mobile Review. Or, if you haven’t found your heart’s desire yet, we also have reviews of other MVNOs: Mint Mobile, Boost Mobile, Xfinity Mobile, and Cricket Wireless, among others.
|$9/mo.||500 MB||Unlimited||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$10/mo.||1 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$14/mo.||2 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$17/mo.||5 GB||300 minutes||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$18/mo.||5 GB||500 minutes||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$19/mo.||5 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$22/mo.||10 GB||300 minutes||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$23/mo.||10 GB||500 minutes||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$24/mo.||10 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||View Plans|
When comparing Tello Mobile and Red Pocket Mobile, we considered these things:
- Plans (price, data, lines)
- Customer service
When we compare plans, we don’t consider cost or data limits in a vacuum—we consider both simultaneously to reach the plan’s value. In some cases, Tello has a higher value, and in some cases, Red Pocket does.
Coverage is crucial. There’s no point signing up for a cell phone carrier if you can’t get any service! Red Pocket uses three carrier networks while Tello uses just one, so Red Pocket has an edge. If your home is in a T-Mobile dead spot, you can choose Verizon or AT&T without switching phone carriers.
Finally, customer service. We’ve learned that mobile customer service is generally less than desirable, but people still like Tello and Red Pocket. But because Red Pocket expects you to know which type of network your phone needs—something most people simply won’t—it gets a customer service downgrade from us. We’d pick Tello any day to avoid that nonsense.