Tello is a unique carrier in that it doesn't have a traditional set of plans, instead, the best Tello plans can be customized for each person. This includes choosing how many minutes and minutes they want, plus data. Tello operates on the T-Mobile network with access to 5G including the faster mid-band connection. While you don't need to commit to it, Tello has created some starting points for plans, and the best value for most people is Tello's Smart Plan with 4GB of data and unlimited talk and text.
Best overall: Tello Smart 4GB
On Tello, you can create your own plan by choosing how many minutes you think you'll need and how much data you think you'll need. You can get an idea of how much data you typically use by looking at your current bill or checking the data usage settings on your Android phone. For most smartphone users, Tello's pre-configured Smart Plan is a great starting point with unlimited minutes and 4GB of high-speed data. All Tello plans with minutes come with unlimited texts.
Many people simply don't need an unlimited connection especially when you remember that using your phone while connected to Wi-Fi doesn't impact your mobile data at all. If you're working from home or your office has Wi-Fi for you to use, you may not need nearly as much data as you imagine. Still, Tello lets you upgrade your plan at any time so it's a good idea to start small and upgrade as needed.
Tello uses T-Mobile's network including 5G which means that just about any unlocked phone will work with the service including the best Android phones you can buy. This plan compares favorably to other 4GB plans as well. Mint Mobile, for example, only beats Tello's price if you're willing to pay for an entire year of service.
Tello Smart 4GB
Get a smart start
Best value: Tello Economy 1GB
Whether you're looking for a cheap plan for a backup phone or just want to try to strip out unnecessary spending, the Economy Plan gets you connected with unlimited calling, texting, and 1GB of data for just $10 per month. This is plenty of data for email, picture mail, and even some occasional social media, though you may quickly find out that a few hours stuck in a waiting room or waiting for a train can wipe out your data in a flash. Luckily Tello doesn't charge you for overages.
If you do use all of your data, you'll get 2G speeds for the remainder of your billing period. These speeds will be frustratingly slow for anything beyond receiving messages and emails so it may be worth it to upgrade your data mid-cycle if you find you're running out of data early.
Tello Economy 1GB
Calls and messages only
Best unlimited: Tello Data
Tello's most expensive plan is perhaps its best value with unlimited calls, texts, and data for just $39 per month. If you're a heavy data user, this is the perfect plan for your phone. One thing to keep in mind about Tello's unlimited data is that it's only high-speed until you've used 25GB in a billing period. After that, your speeds plummet to 2G speeds until the billing cycle renews. Unlike other Tello plans, there's no more room to upgrade so if you're using more than 25GB in a month, Tello may not be the carrier for you.
While Tello does offer more data than the quite expensive Google Fi unlimited plan, it falls short of carriers like Mint Mobile, Visible, and Metro by T-Mobile in total data. Still, you can use all of your data in a hotspot if you please and with a little care, there's a good chance you can keep your data under 25GB. With this plan, you get unlimited minutes included in the price so there's no reason to reduce those features.
Just keep streaming
Best plan for the family: Tello For Teens 4GB
Teens don't spend a whole lot of time talking on the phone so it doesn't make a ton of sense to pay for unlimited minutes for them. This plan is configured with 300 minutes of talk time which should be plenty for most teens. Tello comes with unlimited texts so users can text phones that don't support modern RCS messaging features, like iPhones, without worrying about usage and vice versa.
The 4GB data limit may not seem like that much but with many schools offering Wi-Fi and home Wi-Fi, most people can get by with 4GB if they're not blowing it on streaming video and social media while on LTE or 5G. Still, like other Tello plans, this can be upgraded as needed with the next step up to 6GB or 8GB, only costing $5 and $10 more respectively.
Tello For Teens 4GB
Plenty of data for messaging
Best for seniors: Tello For Grandparents
The cheapest plans on bigger carriers can be way more than a senior needs. Tello keeps things in perspective with just 1GB of data to keep the phone working away from home and 500 minutes to stay connected to the people that matter the most. Seniors can offset their usage by staying connected to Wi-Fi if they want to video chat with friends or family and most messaging apps let you choose which video files to download so there's no surprise data usage.
This plan comes in at just $9 per month and is a great starting point for someone getting their first smartphone or who just wants to ditch an unreliable and expensive home phone option. The savings in long-distance charges alone can make the move to Tello more than worth it in just a couple of months.
Tello For Grandparents 1GB
Everything you need with nothing wasted
The best Tello plan for you will be the customization you settle on after using the service for a couple of months. Once you get a handle on your actual monthly usages, you'll be able to trim the fat and keep your bill as low as possible. If you're looking to reduce your usage, you can also start small and upgrade as needed. Tello allows customers to use their minutes like normal to call more than 60 different countries so even if you have family in Mexico, Canada, China, India, or many others, you can stay connected.
Overall, Tello's Smart Plan with 4GB of data is the best starting point for most people. With unlimited minutes and texting, you can stay focused on your data usage to save money and may even find that you can downgrade to 2GB if you make efficient use of Wi-Fi connections. Tello's plans are just a jumping-off point so there's no reason to stress about your choice, just pick the plan that fits your budget and adjust as needed down the line.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Samuel Contreras When Samuel is not writing about networking and carriers, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.
When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.
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