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Which network does Tello use?

My Tello app showing account details
My Tello app showing account details (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Best answer: Tello uses T-Mobile's LTE and 5G network for its coverage, replacing the older Sprint network.

Which network does Tello use?

Like many of the best MVNO carriers, Tello uses T-Mobile's nationwide LTE and 5G network for its coverage. In the past, Tello used Sprint, but all plans activated recently will be on the T-Mobile network. This is great for most users because T-Mobile has worked hard over the past few years to build a very competitive network. So as long as your phone supports T-Mobile's LTE band 71, you'll get great coverage.

One nice thing about T-Mobile's network is that 5G is included if you have a 5G-compatible phone. T-Mobile's 5G coverage uses both band n71 and n41, with most 5G phones from the last couple of years supporting both 5G bands. Band n71 serves as the 5G network's foundation with 305 million people covered, while band n41 adds a lot more speed where needed. Currently, band n41 covers more than 165 million people.

T-Mobile 5G on OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

In the past, Tello used Sprint's network for all of its coverage, and some customers with older phones may still be using the network. While new activations and people that have upgraded to a T-Mobile-compatible phone will be on the new network, some people may still need to switch.

Even if you have good coverage on the Sprint network, T-Mobile is getting geared up to decommission Sprint's network starting in early 2022, so you'll need to take a little action. If you're using one of these older devices, you've likely already been contacted about upgrading or will be soon. This could be a good time to make sure you're using one of the best cell phone plans.

If you're thinking of signing up to Tello, there are a couple of things to do to make sure you make the most of your new carrier. The first is making sure you have a phone that supports as much of the network as possible. Some older T-Mobile phones don't support the newer band 71 and could have worse coverage than other T-Mobile phones. If you want 5G, just make sure your phone supports both band n71 and n41. Most newer 5G phones will support these bands, including all 5G Pixels, Galaxy S20, and S21 series, as well as iPhone 12 series.

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.