The choice is yours

Tello

Tello logo

Multi-month savings

Ultra Mobile

Ultra Mobile Logo

Tello lets you build your own affordable cell phone plan or pick from some ready-made options. On the unlimited plan, you'll get at least 25GB of high-speed data, but if you're looking for less data or none at all, you can pay as little as $5 per month. Unfortunately, no international roaming is supported.

From $5/mo. at Tello

Pros

  • Build your own plan
  • Inexpensive
  • T-Mobile 4G LTE and 5G network
  • Free mobile hotspot
  • Free calls to Canada, Mexico, China, and Romania

Cons

  • Speed throttled to 2G once the plan's data is consumed
  • Unlimited plan data cap of 25GB
  • No international roaming

Ultra Mobile offers several data plans on T-Mobile's network, with one that works for everyone. You can save by paying 12 months upfront, though single-month plans are available too. With each plan, you get the bonus of unlimited calling to 80+ destinations and international roaming.

From $10/mo. at Ultra Mobile

Pros

  • Discounted multi-month plans
  • T-Mobile 4G LTE and 5G network
  • Free mobile hotspot
  • Free unlimited text and talk to 80+ countries
  • Supports international roaming

Cons

  • Only 10GB of mobile hotspot on the unlimited plan
  • Unlimited plan data cap of 40GB

Tello Mobile and Ultra Mobile both leverage T-Mobile's vast and growing 5G and 4G LTE network to offer great coverage at lower rates. While Tello gives you the freedom to build your own plan, Ultra Mobile lets you save some extra money by signing up for a few months at a time. If you're looking for an affordable plan you can customize, look no further than Tello. If you're a heavy data user or want to have some extra international perks, Ultra Mobile is a better fit.

Tello vs. Ultra Mobile: Same network, different plans

Tello and Ultra Mobile use the same network, meaning that coverage with each carrier should be similar. When it comes to picking the right provider for you, Tello is the cheaper option and offers the luxury of building your own plan. If you don't want minutes, you don't have to pay for them. The same is true vice-versa. If you prefer a ready-made plan with unlimited talk and text as well as a free mobile hotspot, prices start at $10 per month and go up to $39 for the unlimited plan.

On the other hand, Ultra Mobile offers both single-month and multi-month plans, with multi-month plans being the better deal. You won't build your own plan, but you do get a decent selection of data plans that come with unlimited talk, text, and free hotspot within the same $10 to $39 price range. Unlike Tello, Ultra Mobile offers international roaming and free calling to 80 destinations. Also, if you're a heavy data user, you'll get more high-speed data—40GB instead of 25GB with Tello.

Tello Ultra Mobile
Network T-Mobile T-Mobile
5G Included Included
Hotspot data Included Included (10GB limit on unlimited plan)
Minimum term 1 month 1 month
Maximum term 1 month 12 months
Minimum data No data 250MB
Maximum data Unlimited (25GB) Unlimited (40GB)

Tello vs. Ultra Mobile: Tello's Plans

Tello website on a Galaxy S8Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

Tello is one of the best cheap phone plans you can get and a great way to save money on your phone bill. You can sign up for as little as a month without being tied down to a contract, and if you're unhappy, you can cancel or change plans at any point. One of the best features about Tello is that you're able to build your own plan and purchase exactly how many minutes and how much data you need. As long as you get some data, texts come free. Starting at $5 per month, you can build a plan with no minutes and 500MB of data, or no data and 100 minutes.

Tello plan samplesSource: Tello

An unlimited plan with Tello costs a rather affordable $39 per month, but if you think you'll need less, you can also select from another one of Tello's ready-made plans that offer 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB of data. Each plan includes unlimited minutes, texts, and free tethering. Once you've used up your monthly allotment of data, you can either add more to your Pay As You Go balance or be limited to 2G speeds. Your data will also be throttled to these speeds on the unlimited plan once you've used up 25GB of data.

Before signing up with Tello, you should, of course, check your coverage. Tello uses the T-Mobile 4G LTE and 5G network, so if you get good T-Mobile coverage in your area you should have no issues. Another factor to consider before signing up is whether you'll need roaming, especially since Tello doesn't support roaming of any kind. If you travel abroad, you'll need to purchase another SIM card for your device to work, which can be a hassle. The one international perk that Tello offers is free calling to Canada, Mexico, Romania, and China. If you need to call other countries, you can purchase a prepaid Pay As You Go credit. For France, calls would cost 1¢ per minute to landlines, 2.80¢ per minute to mobile, and 1¢ per text.

Overall, Tello is a great choice if you're looking for a cheap plan to completely customize and don't need many international features. It's also an excellent choice if you don't want to be locked into a contract for a few months and need flexibility or want to create an affordable family plan. If you're an average data user and only need 4GB of data a month, it's hard to beat Tello's price of $20 per month.

Tello vs. Ultra Mobile: Ultra Mobile's Plans

Tello website on a Galaxy S8Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

Ultra Mobile is the parent company of Mint Mobile and another popular MVNO on T-Mobile's network. Unlike Tello, Ultra Mobile offers multi-month plans in addition to its single-month options. By signing up for 12 months at a time, you're able to save some extra money. Tello's least expensive plan starts at $10 per month and comes with 250MB of data. Plans are also available with 2GB, 3GB, 6GB, 15GB, or unlimited data.

Ultra Mobile PlansSource: Ultra Mobile

Though all of Ultra Mobile's plans include free mobile hotspot, the unlimited plan only comes with 10GB. If you run out, that's all you get. This plan also only comes with 40GB of high-speed data, meaning that your speeds will slow once you consume that amount. But for most people, 40GB should be more than enough. If you're on a lower data plan, you can always add 1GB for $10 or 3GB for $20.

When it comes to international features, Ultra Mobile plans come with free unlimited calling to more than 80 destinations (and more via uTalk), as well as unlimited global text. All plans except the 250MB plan come with a recurring $1.50-$5 calling credit and a one-time $5 international roaming credit. If you're considering traveling abroad and need more calling or data credit down the line, you can always add more to your balance in $5, $10, or $20 increments. If you're traveling to France, for instance, you'll be charged 25¢ per minute, 5¢ per text, and 20 cents per MB.

Ultra Mobile makes sense if you get good T-Mobile coverage, though you should double-check the coverage map, and if you're able to pay a few months upfront. Though the multi-month savings aren't as attractive as Mint Mobile's, they're still worth considering. Ultra Mobile is also more appealing when it comes to international features and being able to roam. Like Tello, most unlocked GSM devices will work with Ultra Mobile, so you're able to bring your own device over to this carrier.

Tello vs. Ultra Mobile: What phones can you get?

Ultra Mobile Website On S20 PlusSource: Samuel Contreras / Android Central

If you're hoping to bring your device to Tello or Ultra Mobile, you should be able to easily do so as long as you have an unlocked GSM device. Also, because Tello and Ultra Mobile use T-Mobile, your phone needs to support VoLTE to work. If you want access to 5G, your phone must support T-Mobile's 5G bands (particularly band n71 and band n41). If you're unsure whether your phone will work, the easiest thing to do is head to each carrier's respective compatibility checker and enter your device's IMEI number.

If you rather purchase a phone from Tello or Ultra Mobile directly, you can do so online. Ultra's selection is a bit better than Tello's and includes the latest iPhone 12 and 5G compatible devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and the OnePlus 8. Tello offers older (but more affordable) phone models such as the iPhone XS and a limited selection of popular Android devices.

Tello vs. Ultra Mobile: Which should you get?

If you use a lot of data and don't want to see it throttled, Ultra Mobile is your safer bet. You'll get at least 40GB of high-speed data on T-Mobile's network. Also, if you frequently make international phone calls or need international roaming, this is the plan for you. However, keep in mind that the unlimited plan's hotspot data is limited to 10GB, and you'll have to purchase 12 months upfront for the best savings.

If you prefer a bit more freedom with your cell phone plan and don't care about international features, Tello is the better choice for you. With Tello, you don't need to pay for data or minutes you don't need, and you can build the exact plan you want. Mobile hotspot is free, and though the unlimited plan is throttled at 25GB, most people will never reach this amount.

Build your own

Tello logo

Tello

Tailored to your needs

Tello lets you pick from its premade plans, or you can create your own, sparing you from spending on features you don't need.

A plan for everyone

Ultra Mobile Logo

Ultra Mobile

Single or multi-month plans

Ultra Mobile's single-month and multi-month plans have something for everyone. You can save by purchasing 12 months at once.

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