Tello vs. US Mobile: Plenty of Deals or Unlimited Data

US Mobile has better unlimited deals, but Tello has better non-unlimited deals

Best unlimited plan
  • Icon Blank
    Price: $10.00–$45.00/mo.
  • pro
    Amazing unlimited plan (with a 35GB data cap)
  • pro
    Choose between T-Mobile or Verizon for coverage
  • con
    Unreliable coverage in rural areas
Best non-unlimited plan
  • Icon Blank
    Price: $8.00–$25.00/mo.
  • pro
    Great deal on a 5GB data plan
  • pro
    Automatic T-Mobile coverage
  • con
    Unreliable coverage in rural areas
Tyler Abbott
Feb 22, 2024
Icon Time To Read4 min read

Tello and US Mobile are both prepaid cell phone carriers that offer way more affordable mobile plans than anything you can get from a major carrier. US Mobile offers the best deal on unlimited data in the entire mobile industry. But Tello offers better value for the non-unlimited data plans.

Want to know which prepaid carrier is better for you? Read on to see the pros and cons of both.

How we pick between Tello and US Mobile

The most important factors to weigh when comparing cell phone plans are price, data caps, and coverage. Both Tello and US Mobile offer affordable pricing for data plans, but US Mobile edges out Tello for value when it comes to unlimited data, offering a plan that’s $6/mo. cheaper. But Tello’s non-unlimited plans beat what US Mobile currently offers. Both unlimited plans from US Mobile and Tello have a 35GB data cap.

As for coverage, US Mobile uses both T-Mobile and Verizon coverage networks—you can choose which network you want to use when you sign up. Tello exclusively uses T-Mobile’s network for coverage. You can get an idea of what coverage to expect in your neighborhood with either network by entering your zip code on the map below:

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US Mobile vs. Tello: Price and data caps

US Mobile has the best unlimited plan deal.

Out of all the cell phone plans offered from Tello and US Mobile, the big standout is the Unlimited Starter Plan from US Mobile.

On the surface, the base unlimited plans from Tello and US Mobile seem exactly the same, but there’s one major difference: US Mobile’s unlimited plan gives you 35GB of premium, high-speed data to use per month, while Tello hooks you up with just 10GB of premium data.

The higher the data cap, the more wireless data you can use with reliable speeds—after passing your data cap, your speeds get massively throttled. In other words, you have way more room to stream, game, and scroll social media with US Mobile than you do with Tello.

If you know you want an unlimited data plan, it’s an easy choice: US Mobile’s Unlimited Starter Plan offers some of the best value we’ve seen from an unlimited plan. Of course, it would be awesome to push the price down even further with a family plan, but neither carrier gives family plan discounts.

Tello offers an awesome 5G data plan

Where Tello has the advantage over US Mobile is with its 5GB data plan that currently costs only $14/mo. For a lot of people that use their smartphones sparingly, 5GB lands right in that sweet spot where you get enough data to scroll Facebook if you get bored waiting in a line somewhere, but you don’t have to pay for a full unlimited plan.

US Mobile vs. Tello: Coverage

US Mobile gives more options

Neither US Mobile or Tello own a wireless network, so they both rent space from a major network to provide coverage. In this case, US Mobile has two networks you can choose from: T-Mobile or Verizon. Both networks offer plenty of coverage across the United States, but Verizon technically provides more coverage in rural areas than T-Mobile. Tello, on the other hand, only uses T-Mobile’s network, so you’ll automatically get connected to that network when you sign up for a plan.

When you use a prepaid carrier like Tello or US Mobile, your coverage experience can fluctuate. One Reddit user shared an experience camping in Colorado with US Mobile and not getting voice, text, or data service at all. Since the user was technically on Verizon’s network, and Verizon had coverage in that area of Colorado, it felt safe to assume they’d have coverage with US Mobile too. Turns out that Verizon has roaming coverage that only applies to actual Verizon customers.

You can get a good idea of what coverage to expect with either Tello or T-Mobile with the interactive coverage map below, but keep in mind that your mileage can vary.

Whatever you choose, we highly recommend taking advantage of a free trial period from Tello or US Mobile. Try out the service and see if you get reliable coverage in your day-to-day life.

US Mobile vs. Tello: Cell phone deals

Neither carrier gives you a deal on a new phone

One of the downsides of going with a smaller carrier like Tello or US Mobile is that you don’t get sweet discounts on a new iPhone or Android. Basically all the discount that you get is factored into your data plan price. Bigger carriers, like AT&T, can give you a free phone, but you have to lock yourself into a two-year contract before you can get it. Since smaller carriers never require contracts, you can’t enter into a long term agreement that nets you a free iPhone.

But if you want a new phone to go with your Tello or US Mobile plan, lots of users buy the latest iPhone SE or purchase an older iPhone directly from Tello or US Mobile’s online stores. Take a look at the most popular devices folks buy with their Tello or US Mobile cell phone plans.

Recap: US Mobile vs. Tello

Both US Mobile and Tello offer a variety of data plans for affordable prices, with a few noteworthy differences.

Prices and plans: You get a higher data cap with US Mobile’s unlimited plan (35GB) than you do with some of Tello’s plans. However, Tello offers a 5GB plan for $14 per month that US Mobile doesn’t compete with, and it also has a $25/mo. Unlimited Everything plan that offers 35GB of high-speed data.

Coverage: US Mobile users can choose between Verizon or T-Mobile for network coverage, whereas Tello users automatically get on T-Mobile’s network. The ability to choose your own network when you sign up gives US Mobile a clear advantage, but your coverage experience can feel unreliable with either carrier.

Cell phone deals: Neither carrier offers deals on new smartphones. You’ll need to sign up for a plan with one of the big three carriers for a free phone.

Tyler Abbott
Written by
Tyler Abbott
Tyler has been obsessed with watching sports as efficiently as possible since the creation of the DVR. He is always on the lookout for the best tech in TV and wireless so he can watch all the sports and still have enough time to hang out with his baby. He has written about streaming, wireless, and TV for over three years. He hopes the Lakers will eventually get better.

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