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Is Tello Mobile using cellular or VoIP for calls?

Tello Mobile website on an Android phone
Tello Mobile website on an Android phone (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Best answer: Tello is a small carrier that relies on Sprint's network for phone calls, and as such, uses cellular for its services. You can choose how many minutes you want each month, ranging from 100 up to unlimited.

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Tello uses cellular, not VoIP

If you're interested in joining Tello, chances are you want to know whether it uses cellular service or VoIP for calling. We won't beat around the bush — Tello relies on cellular for all of its phone calls, not VoIP. Tello is a wireless carrier, and as such, uses a wireless (read cellular) network for sending/receiving calls. This is how AT&T, Verizon, Cricket, Mint, and other carriers work.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a set of protocols that allow phone calls to be made over the internet. Some popular VoIP services would be Skype, Facebook audio calling, etc.

It relies on Sprint's nationwide network for coverage

For the cellular service, Tello needs to operate its customers' phone calls; it piggybacks on Sprint's nationwide network. Tello is an MVNO (Mobile virtual network operator), meaning that it sells wireless service and plans on a network it doesn't necessarily own.

Tello doesn't own the towers that allow you to stay connected, but it's reached an agreement with Sprint where it can use Sprint's towers to do just that. Sprint isn't the absolute best in regards to wireless coverage in the United States, but it has grown and improved a lot over the years. Coverage is weak towards the western part of the country, but the midwest and west are well-covered.

You can create a plan that's just right

Rather than having a set of predefined plans for you to choose from, Tello allows you to customize everything, so you get the features you want at a price you'll be happy with. Plans start at just $5/month, and you get to decide how much data and how many minutes you want each month (unlimited texting is included for free for all plans).

You could pay just $14/month for 2GB of LTE data and unlimited minutes, or go with 6GB of LTE data and 300 minutes for $22/month. Tello also has a competitive unlimited plan, which gives you unlimited LTE data and minutes for $39/month.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.