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Tello vs. Boost Mobile: How much data do you really need?

Tello keeps its plans simple by giving people the flexibility to save money with a custom plan, especially if they don't use much data. Tello's unlimited plan with 25GB of data isn't the cheapest around, but it's close. Boost Mobile isn't far off with a 1GB plan at $100 for an entire year.  If you're looking for a monthly plan on Boost, you can get 2GB with unlimited talk and text for $15. While Tello is a bit cheaper, Boost isn't far off.

Tello vs. Boost Mobile: Plenty of data options

It's possible to get a Tello plan with no data and just 100 minutes of talk time, and it's cheap at just $5 per month. Any Tello plan with minutes also comes with unlimited texting. Boost Mobile's smallest plan, by comparison, is 1GB with unlimited talk and text. In fact, all of Boost Mobile's plans come with unlimited domestic calls and texts. 

The biggest differences begin to show up with unlimited data. While Tello includes a healthy 25GB of high-speed data with its unlimited plan, Boost Mobile takes that number up to 35GB. If you're a heavy user, the extra 10GB with Boost is a good option to have, but it is more expensive at $50 per month. If you pay for three or 12 months, though, Boost's prices get a lot closer.

TelloBoost Mobile
NetworkT-MobileT-Mobile
Maximum data25GB35GB
5GYesYes
Hotspot includedYesYes

Tello vs. Boost Mobile: Identical coverage in the U.S.

Both Tello and Boost Mobile use T-Mobile for their current coverage. They also both used to use Sprint. With a new plan on the T-Mobile network, both carriers will have identical coverage, including LTE and 5G if you have a compatible phone. A 5G phone will help you get the most out of either carrier with T-Mobile's 5G coverage, reaching 320 million people with upgraded 5G speeds available to more than 235 million.

Since both carriers are prepaid, you can easily switch if you find coverage to be suboptimal down the line. It's worth noting that Boost is owned by DISH, which is in the middle of building out its own 5G network with backup coverage from T-Mobile. For the time being, you shouldn't expect a significant coverage difference, though as DISH's network grows, capacity could end up favoring Boost.

Tello vs. Boost Mobile: Tello's plans

Tello website on a Galaxy S20+

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

To build your Tello plan, you just need two pieces of information— how much data you need and how many minutes you need. Texts are unlimited on any plan with talk minutes. To get a good idea of how much data you need, you can look at your past bills to see your usage. You can also start small and upgrade your plan as needed if you're not sure how much you'll need. Keep in mind that using Wi-Fi can save a lot of data.

Tello's offers data packages of 500MB, 1GB, 2GB, 5GB, 10GB, and unlimited. Unlimited comes with 25GB of high-speed usage. For talk time, you can choose between 100, 300, 500, and unlimited minutes. You can also choose no data or no minutes.

Tello has also preconfigured a few plans for those looking for a good starting point.

Tello's ready-made plans
Minutes/textsData (GB)Price
EconomyUnlimited1GB$10
ValueUnlimited2GB$14
SmartUnlimited5GB$19
DataUnlimitedUnlimited (25GB)$29

Tello has international calling as well with support for 60 countries for any plan with minutes. Your minutes are used at the normal rate with international calls on Tello.

Tello vs. Boost Mobile: Boost Mobile's plans

Boost Mobile web page on an S20+

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Boost's plans can seem a bit simpler with only five major options, but when it comes time to sign up, things are a bit more complicated. Boost also has multi-line discounts for new customers as well as a few of its plans with multi-month savings. If you're willing to pay for the entire year, Boost's pricing is very competitive but unlike what we saw in our review of Mint Mobile, not all of Boost's plans are eligible for multi-month savings.

If you can find a Boost Mobile plan that fits your needs and budget, there's quite a bit of saving potential.

Boost Mobile plans available online.
Montly3 months12 months
1GB$100
2GB$15
5GB$25$45$168
15GB$240
Unlimited$50$90$300
Unlimited Plus$60

Boost also has one of the best packages for people that need to travel to Mexico. The Todo Mexico add for $5 per month comes with unlimited calls to and from Mexico and 8GB of roaming data in Mexico. There are some other international add-ons for international calling and a lot of add-on services. These add-on services range from internet security and device insurance to telemedicine.

Tello vs. Boost Mobile: Get the right phone

OnePlus Nord N20 5G held in a hand outdoors

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Thanks to the T-Mobile network, just about any unlocked phone will work on either of these carriers. If you're ready for a new phone, you can grab one of the best Android phones unlocked and take it with you if you choose to change carriers.

You can also buy a phone directly from either carrier though, Tello stays focused on cheap phones, with its only new phones being mid-range devices. Boost has a good selection of Android and iOS devices, with some high-end devices included like the Galaxy S22 series available. Keep in mind that these phones must be active on Boost Mobile for 12 months before becoming eligible to be unlocked.

Tello vs. Boost Mobile: Which should you pick?

Tello Mobile unlimited plan in phone web browser

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras)

Boost Mobile has some solid plans and prices with multi-month savings for those willing to commit to a longer term. While Boost's plan structure has taken a turn for the complicated, the carrier still offers some of the best international features of any prepaid carrier. Especially for those traveling to Mexico.

Tello keeps it simple and with its unlimited plan coming in at under $30 with no need to commit to a multi-month term, it's a much easier pick for many. While it doesn't come with as much data as Boost's option, it still has enough for most people at 25GB. Tello continues to shine with its smaller plans and even offers further savings for those that don't need unlimited talk times.

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.