Tello vs. Visible: Which is best for you?

Tello and Visible each have some of the best cell phone plans available today. While both carriers have many similarities, the most significant difference between the two is the network. 

Tello uses T-Mobile, while Visible uses Verizon to offer 4G LTE and 5G across the country. Coverage should be right at the top of your carrier priority list, but if both have coverage for you, Visible's truly unlimited data on both of its plans is a compelling feature. If you prefer to customize your plan and avoid spending money on data you don't need, Tello makes more sense.

Tello vs. Visible: How do these carriers compare?

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Visible started out with just one unlimited plan but has since expanded its offering to include two plans. Visible and Visible+ are both unlimited plans on the Verizon-owned carrier with no data caps, unlimited hotspot data, and access to 5G. Visible+ offers faster service in areas covered by Verizon's Ultra Wideband 5G network and has several international features.

Tello, on the other hand, has only one core plan that can be customized to fit nearly any customer's needs. You can start with as little as 500MB of data and up to unlimited with 25GB. You get full access to the T-Mobile 5G network on any plan configuration, including the faster mid-band coverage. If you're a light user, you can save some money with Tello, but it's lower data ceiling will be an issue for heavier users.

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Header Cell - Column 0 TelloVisible
NetworkT-MobileVerizon
5G NationwideIncludedIncluded
5G mid-band and mmWaveIncludedVisible+ only
Hotspot dataIncludedIncluded (5Mbps)
Minimum term1 month1 month
Maximum term1 month1 month
Minimum dataNo dataUnlimited
Maximum dataUnlimited (25GB)Unlimited

With both Tello and Visible, no contract is required, and you can cancel anytime. Likewise, if you need more or less data with Tello, you can also make those changes at any time. But keep in mind that Visible includes all taxes and fees, unlike Tello. You can save a bit more with Visible if you're willing to sign up through PayPal. (opens in new tab)

Tello vs. Visible: Tello's plans

Tello website on a phone

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

As we saw in our Tello review, the carrier has some of the cheapest cell phone plans out there today, starting as low as $5 per month. This prepaid carrier has a plan for everyone and lets you either build your plan or pick from ready-made options, including 1GB, 2GB, 5GB, and unlimited options. 

If you don't need many minutes but use an average amount of data, a 5GB plan with 100 minutes will only cost $16 per month. Unfortunately, this doesn't include taxes and fees, but it's still an excellent deal.

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Tello's ready-made plans
Row 0 - Cell 0 Minutes/textsData (GB)Price
EconomyUnlimited1GB$10
ValueUnlimited2GB$14
SmartUnlimited5GB$19
DataUnlimitedUnlimited (25GB)$29

Each Tello plan comes with a free mobile hotspot, and its unlimited plan for $29 per month includes unlimited talk and text. As long as you purchase minutes, texting is free. Thankfully you don't need a contract and can cancel or make changes to your plan at any point. 

If you want the unlimited plan, keep in mind that once you've consumed 25GB of data, you'll see slower 2G speeds. This plan is $10 less than it was a few months ago, making the plan much more appealing even with its lower high-speed data cap.

Unlike core T-Mobile plans, Tello doesn't offer any international roaming. This means that you'll need to purchase a new SIM card if you plan to travel abroad. However, you can call more than 60 countries abroad, including Canada, Mexico, China, and Romania. 

If you need to call another destination, you're able to do so via Pay As You Go, as long as you purchase credits. If you use a service like WhatsApp or Telegram for voice calls, though, you will only use a bit of data.

Though Tello may not have all the perks or international features of another cell phone plan, it can offer inexpensive service on a fantastic network. With several plan options, Tello makes it easy to pick a plan that is a good fit and won't lure you into paying for more data than you need. Building your plan can also be a great way to save money down the line.

Tello vs. Visible: Visible's plans

Visible is a prepaid carrier owned by Verizon that uses the carrier's network exclusively. Visible offers two plans that both of which come with unlimited data and have access to LTE and 5G. Our Visible review focused on the carrier's old plan, which closely lines up with the base Visible plan. That being said, the new Visible plan could potentially have better responsiveness but lower top speeds. Overall, the average user likely won't notice much of a difference.

Visible+ can be a lot faster thanks to having access to Verizon's Ultra Wideband 5G network and premium data. Verizon Ultra Wideband 5G includes both mmWave and C-band 5G, which has much more capacity for data than the slower LTE or nationwide 5G network. As a result, the base Visible plan may connect to some Ultra Wideband towers with a speed cap.

Visible+ also has 50GB of premium data. Premium data will be prioritized over other data, so in a congested area, your speeds will be higher than those using a base Visible plan. If you live in a rural area, premium data may not be worth the extra cost for you.

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Visible's plans
Header Cell - Column 0 VisibleVisible+
DataUnlimitedUnlimited (50GB premium)
5G accessNationwideNationwide and Ultra Wideband
Hotspot dataUnlimited (5Mbps)Unlimited (5Mbps)
Spam protectionYesYes
Price$30 per month$45 per month

Visible+ has some international features that you would expect for the higher cost as well. Calling to 30+ countries is included with texting to 200+ countries. You'll also be able to roam with data in Mexico and Canada on this plan so if you travel between the two frequently, it could be money well-spent for that feature alone.

Tello vs. Visible: Which phones will work?

Visible Speed Test LTE Galaxy S20+

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Before signing up with either carrier, you should decide whether you plan to bring your device or purchase a new one. If you want to use your current device, you should make sure it's unlocked, supports VoLTE, and is compatible with the respective network.

For Visible, you can head to a compatibility checker on its website to verify whether your unlocked phone will work on its network by typing in your IMEI number. You can also see this list of all the iPhone and Android phones compatible with Visible. If it's fairly modern with VoIP support and designed to work with Verizon, you're more than likely in luck.

If you're hoping to purchase a new phone through Visible, you can easily do so on its website as well. Many of the best Android phones are included, such as the Galaxy S22 series and cheaper 5G phones like the Galaxy A53 5G.

If you want to bring your device to Tello, you can also do so as long as it's a GSM device that supports VoLTE and is compatible with the T-Mobile network. You can check online for compatibility by typing in your IMEI number. 

If you're looking to buy a device from Tello, the selection isn't quite as large as Visible's, but you'll still be able to get your hands on some popular Apple and Android models.

Tello vs. Visible: Which should you get?

Even among the best cell phone plans, If you're looking to save money and find that you don't use that much data, Tello is the better choice for you. A plan with 5GB of data and unlimited talk and text will cost you only $19 per month. You can also build your plan with the amount of data or minutes that works for you, starting as low as $5 per month.

If you're someone that consumes lots of data and gets great Verizon coverage, Visible offers better value. There are no data caps on its unlimited plans, unlike Tello, meaning that you won't have to ever worry about streaming too much. You can even get some more speed with Visible+ and a compatible phone. With two simple and cheap unlimited plans on a network with fantastic coverage, Visible is an easy choice for many.

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.