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Tello vs. Straight Talk: Which carrier fits your needs

Tello website on a Galaxy S8
Tello website on a Galaxy S8 (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)


Tello logo

Tello keeps it simple with just one plan that can grow or shrink with your needs. With as much as 25GB of high-speed data and unlimited talk and text, even heavy users can create a plan that works. Light users can also get a cheap plan with just the basics. Tello includes calling to more than 60 international locations for free.


Custom and cheap

Fast T-Mobile coverage with 5G
Create your custom plan
Works with most unlocked phones
Change plan at any time
Hotspot on every plan
No multi-line discounts
Phone selection is weak

Straight Talk

Straight Talk Logo

Straight Talk's plans are true to the carrier's name with straightforward data amounts, features, and pricing. While there are cheaper prepaid carriers, few offer as much unlimited data with up to 60GB before you're subject to account review on the top unlimited plan. You can get a SIM for Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile compatibility.

Straight Talk

Tons of data

Choose from Big Three networks
Tons of data with the top plan
Mobile Protection option
Multi-month plans are available
Hotspot on most plans
Quite expensive for a prepaid carrier
International limited to 15 unique numbers

Tello has only one plan that can be fully customized for each person. Tello lets you order as little as 100 minutes or up to unlimited everything with 25GB of data. You can also change your plan at any time so you don't need to risk overbuying data you don't need. Straight Talk on the other hand has a handful of simple plans with plenty of data for most people. The mid-range 25GB plan is a great value for heavy users and it works with just about any unlocked phone.

Tello vs. Straight Talk: How much data do you use?

Tello's top unlimited plan comes with 25GB of high-speed data on LTE or 5G which should be enough for the vast majority of people. The people that need more than that will be better served by Straight talk with its 25GB plan and unlimited plan with 60GB or more of high-speed data. Light users have an option on both carriers with a basic plan on Straight Talk, though Tello's custom plan can go as low as 100 minutes for just $5 per month and is the best cell phone plan for light users. If you need a backup phone, Tello is the perfect fit.

TelloStraight Talk
Minimum dataNo data100MB
Maximum data25GB (high speed)60GB (account review possible)
InsuranceNoneMobile Protection (Asurion)

Tello has much more flexibility in its plans but Straight Talk stays focused on the sweet spots that make sense for most people. Heavier users will find more data on Straight Talk though most people will be more than covered by the 25GB included with the unlimited plan.

Tello vs. Straight Talk: Coverage

Tello Mobile LTE speed test results

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Tello uses only T-Mobile's network, which provides good coverage to the majority of Americans with LTE and 5G. T-Mobile's 5G coverage is the best in the nation and delivers solid speeds to more than 305 million people. You also get access to the fast Ultra Capacity 5G network, quickly adding coverage. T-Mobile's network is highly compatible with support for most unlocked phones. So if you've bought one of the best Android phones unlocked, it will more than likely work great with Tello.

Straight Talk lets you use the network that works best for you in your area or is compatible with your phone. Straight Talk offers SIMS for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon-compatible phones, making it easy to bring your unlocked device to the carrier.

Tello vs. Straight Talk: Tello's custom plan

Tello's plan is simple with a single custom plan. Tello's plan starts as low as 100 minutes or 500MB of data. You can also skip one or the other if you want. Any Tello plan with calling minutes comes with unlimited texting as well. You can add data as needed up to unlimited, which comes with 25GB of high-speed data. You can also add unlimited calling. With unlimited everything, it comes to $39 per month.

Tello plans

Source: Tello (Image credit: Source: Tello)

Tello has put together a few plans that make good starting points if you're not sure how much you need just yet. Since you can upgrade your plan at any time, it makes sense to start conservatively.

Tello pre-made plans

Source: Tello (Image credit: Source: Tello)

Tello includes international calling to more than 60 destinations as well. Tello also allows unrestricted hotspot usage, so if you have any data left on your plan, you can share it with your devices.

Tello vs. Straight Talk: Straight Talk's plans

Straight Talks plans are a bit more complicated, but it mostly breaks down into four main options. The Basic plan comes in at $30 per month and has 100MB of data, 1500 minutes, and unlimited texting. The 10GB plan comes with unlimited talk and text for $35 per month, though this plan will be reduced to 5GB after October 30, 2021, at the end of a promotion.

The middle 25GB plan will be the sweet spot for most smartphone users and even comes with 10GB of hotspot data. This plan is $45 per month though you can also buy it for three, six, or 12 months at a time. Buying for a longer-term isn't much cheaper than a single month, so this option is mainly for convenience if a yearly payment makes more sense for your finances.

The top unlimited plan comes with a few iterations, including improved international support and one with phone insurance included. This plan starts at $55 per month and comes with 15GB per month. You can also get this plan for two lines for $90 per month.

A few plans are available, with international calling included for a bit more than the base plan. However, keep in mind that you will only be able to call 15 unique numbers in more than 60 countries.

Tello vs. Straight Talk: Does your phone work?

Galaxy S20+ 5G network with SIM cards

Source: Samuel Contreras / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Most phones work with either of these carriers. Straight Talk offers SIM kits for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon-compatible phones. If you bought it from the carrier, make sure you've paid it off and gotten it unlocked from that carrier before canceling your existing plan. Straight Talk also sells many phones if you need a new one, including modern Android phones and iPhones. A few of the more expensive models are available with financing.

Tello works with most unlocked phones thanks to the T-Mobile network though, for the best 5G results, you'll want a phone that works with both bands n71 and n41. For the most part, any modern 5G phone will work well with T-Mobile's network. Tello sells a few phones, but they are mainly cheap and mid-range phones.

Don't forget you can also buy one of the best cheap Android phones unlocked if you want to save some money with the ability to switch prepaid carriers at will.

Tello vs. Straight Talk: Which should you pick?

Tello Unlimited Plan Hero

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

If you are a very heavy user, Straight Talk has the largest plan with up to 60GB of data usage before being subject to account review. Straight Talk also has a two-line plan for its largest data tier that brings the price down to a very competitive $45 per month. The other plans are a solid value and great for someone not covered by T-Mobile's network.

Under 25GB of usage, Tello is the better value. The T-Mobile network is more than fast enough for most people, with coverage expanding all the time thanks to its vast 5G spectrum. Tello also lets you save a little money by going with a smaller plan if you find out you don't need that much data. With so many people transitioning to working from home, having a plan to adjust to your needs can be a huge win.

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.