Tello is less expensive than Mint Mobile if you don't need much data. That being said, Tello falls short with its network that can't match the coverage offered by Mint Mobile's T-Mobile based service. If you are covered by Tello, it can be a great choice and can save you a lot of money. Still, Mint Mobile makes the most sense for people that need their phone to work in more places and Mint's multi-month savings obfuscate the price difference.
Plenty of data
Mint Mobile keeps things simple with unlimited talk and text on all of its plans and data comes in three sizes that should work for most people. Tello lets you customize a plan to fit your needs precisely so you only need to pay for what you use. When it comes down to it, unless you're getting the bigger six or 12-month terms from Mint Mobile, Tello is going to be cheaper. In the end, the biggest question is whether the Sprint network provides the coverage you will need.
Thankfully, with Tello, there are no contracts and with a one month term, you aren't stuck with a plan for long if it doesn't work out.
|Minimum term||3 months||1 month|
|Maximum term||12 months||1 month|
If you need more than 12GB of data, Tello is the only option and if you have coverage, you can build a plan that works for anyone. If you budget for six or twelve months of service, Mint Mobile is a better value in the three data tiers on offer.
For its own plans, Sprint uses partnerships with other carriers to fill in the gaps in its coverage in order to create a competitive LTE network. Even if you're used to the Sprint network, you should definitely check your coverage on Tello before signing up since Tello customers won't get service on these partner towers. Still, Tello covers most urban and suburban areas and should work for the majority of people.
Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network, which has been growing quite a bit in the past few years and has coverage competitive with the other major networks. You should check your coverage on Mint Mobile to be sure but Mint Mobile likely has coverage where you live.
For international coverage, you can stay connected on Mint Mobile for a flat rate. In Mexico and Canada, service costs $0.02 per minute, $0.06 per minute, and $0.06 per megabyte. In the other supported countries the rates are $0.05 per text, $0.25 per minute, and $0.20 per megabyte.
Tello does not offer support for international roaming but the Tello app could be used on Wi-Fi to make calls.
Mint Mobile's plans
Mint Mobile has a much smaller number of plans on the menu than most other carriers and has focused those plans on the majority of smartphone users with 3GB, 8GB, and 12GB. The major question with Mint Mobile is how much service you are able or willing to buy at once. Mint Mobile is most competitive when users buy six or 12 months of service.
Mint Mobile has free calling to Mexico and Canada included with every plan. You can also call over 160 other countries at rates that vary by country.
If you check your current phone usage, you will probably fall into one of Mint Mobile's plans. If you want to try to save some money, you can try to reduce your usage by taking advantage of Wi-Fi more and downloading videos, music, or podcasts before you disconnect. If you find that you didn't get enough data on Mint Mobile, you can upgrade to the next plan up at any time by paying the difference.
|3 months||$15 per month ($45 total)
$25 per month renewal ($75 total)
|$20 per month ($60 total)
$35 per month renewal ($105 total)
|$25 per month ($75)
$45 per month renewal ($135 total)
|6 months||$20 per month ($120)||$25 per month ($150)||$35 per month ($210)|
|12 months||$15 per month ($180)||$20 per month ($240)||$25 per month ($300)|
You can add more high-speed data at a rate of $10 for 1GB or $20 for 3GB if you run out. Even if you don't, your data won't get cut off, just slowed down.
With Tello, you can build your plan starting at just $5 per month with 100 minutes and unlimited texts. You can also stick to just data starting at 500MB at $5 up to $25 for 8GB. Data speeds are reduced to 2G if you go over. You can also go up to the unlimited plan for $39 with speed being reduced to 2G at 25GB.
You get hotspot functionality on every data plan but it does use your data allotment so you'll need to keep an eye on usage. You also get free calling to Mexico, Canada, and China, which is a great addition for people that want to keep connected. You can also call other countries but the rates will vary by country
Tello sticks to less expensive phones, with the most modern being the Samsung Galaxy S9. You can choose from a wide variety of budget-oriented Android and iPhones, as well as a couple of feature phones. If you want to use a newer phone on Tello you will need to bring it from somewhere else.
Mint Mobile offers a pretty standard array of phones but it sticks to smartphones. You can have newer Android phones such as the Google Pixel 4 or Samsung's Galaxy series, as well as iPhones. Thanks to T-Mobile's GSM network, you can bring pretty much any unlocked phone to Mint Mobile if nothing on Mint's page feels right.
Are Tello's prices worth it?
Tello's prices are very competitive. Whether you want a lot of data or can get buy with just a little, you're not going to find a much better deal. Free calling to China is another great distinction and Tello is one of the only carriers offering it. For most people, however, Mint Mobile hits a sweet spot with its balance of data and unlimited talk and text. The stronger T-Mobile network makes it an easy choice if you travel and greater phone compatibility gives you more options to bring your own device.
Larger network, more phones
A great balance of features
Mint Mobile offers data choices that work for most people without giving up on features. Save more by buying six or 12 months at once.
Custom plans, more data
Tons of data on the Sprint network
Tello has a ton of options for any user including an unlimited plan that lets users get the most out of their smartphones on the Sprint network.
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