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What You Need to Know

Although Tello is one of the newest carriers in the U.S., the company is a KeepCalling brand, a global telecommunications business in operation for more than a decade. Known for its affordable plans with no hidden fees or extra charges, this carrier leases bandwidth from bigger carriers to provide service to their customers.

All of Tello’s plans are prepaid. Options starting as low as $5 per month for a single line of service. From there, simply add a la carte services to create your ideal plan. The most expensive plan at the time of writing is $39 per month for unlimited talk, text, and data on a single line of service.

If you need a phone, Tello sells many popular options. They also support a wide range of unlocked GSM VoLTE-compatible phones.

What’s Good?

  • No hidden fees
  • Pay-as-you-go credits available
  • Prepaid plans available
  • No early termination fees
  • No activation fees
  • No monthly device fees
  • Data throttles instead of charging overage fees
  • PayPal payment options
  • Free tethering

What’s Bad?

  • No roaming voice, data or text access
  • No multi-line plans or discounts
  • No device financing

Notable Features

No hidden fees: While Tello isn’t the only budget-friendly prepaid/pay-as-you-go carrier in the US, they are one of the few that doesn’t tack on additional monthly fees for devices and services. Everything you pay on your plan or pay-as-you-go top up goes directly to service.

Unlimited talk and text: For those who love to stay in touch, the unlimited options are some of the most affordable amongst U.S. carriers.

No additional fee for calls to Mexico, Canada, and China: While they’ll still count toward your minute allotment, calls to landlines or cellphones in these popular destinations is included with any plan.

Awards and Recognitions

With Tello being so new in the States, there’s not much to see here. However, looking at their community forums, comments on their blog and searching for reviews on the Internet, people seem quite impressed with their service.

They have a B rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau with 33 complaints closed in the past 3 years.

How is the Network Coverage and Speed?

Tello is currently in the process of rolling out support for a new network and switching from CDMA to GSM networks. While they haven't disclosed exactly whose network they are using, the switch to GSM should undoubtedly increase coverage and provide better support (and speeds) for a wide range of bring-your-own-device options.

You can check coverage and network types in your area on their Coverage Map.

Existing CMDA network support will remain until approximately the middle of 2021 at which point they will be phasing out support and requiring existing customers to switch to devices that support the required GSM frequencies.

You can read more about their network changes on their New GSM Network FAQ page.

Do They Charge Roaming Fees?

No. However, this comes with an important distinction--they don’t offer domestic or international roaming either. If you’re not within the coverage area, your only option for service is Wi-Fi calling through the My Tello app.

What About Long Distance Fees?

All plans include calls within the United States, Canada, Mexico, and China. International calls are billed separately from prepaid plans using pay-as-you-go credit.

Rates to other countries vary. However, they offer a simple calculator to see how many minutes or texts a pay-as-you-go card is worth based on your calling destination.

Does Tello Offer Wi-Fi Calling?

Yes. You can place Wi-Fi calls using the My Tello app for iOS and Android.

How About Voice over LTE (VoLTE)?

Yes, with the switch to their new GSM network partner, Tello will now offer VoLTE on supported devices.

Can I Tether My Phone?

Yes! All plans include tethering if the phone supports the feature. Tethering data counts toward your 4G data allotment. Once you deplete your high-speed data, speeds throttle to 64kbps--slightly faster than dial-up.

Can I Rollover Unused Data?

While Tello does not offer month-to-month data rollover, they will allow you to rollover data when upgrading or downgrading plans. Plan changes are free and any unused minutes or data are added instantly and available for 30 days from the date of changing your plan.

What Add-ons or Bundles are Available?

With their a la carte pricing method for monthly plans, there is no need for add-ons or bundles. If your plan doesn’t suit your needs, simply upgrade or downgrade your voice, text or data allotment. There’s no fee to change your plan and you’ll be billed immediately to reflect the difference between plans.

Can I Bring My Own Device?

Yes! Tello supports GSM phones compatible with the 2, 4, and 12 frequency bands. You can verify compatibility using their online tool or contact their customer care team to ensure compatibility before signing up.

Do They Require a Credit Check?

This carrier does perform checks for new lines of service. At the time of writing, this is a "soft" check--meaning the check should not impact your credit report.

To run the credit check, the carrier will need:

  • Your name
  • Current address
  • SSN

In some cases, a government-issued ID--such as a Driver's License, State Identification Card or Passport--is required as well.

NOTE: Credit checks from carriers that pull your credit bureau report may impact your credit score. If you're not sure the best options for your credit profile, we suggest contacting the carrier directly before attempting to obtain service.

What About Activation and SIM Fees?

Tello does not charge activation fees.

If you bring your own phone or tablet, you'll also need a Tello SIM.

SIM kits are available through their online store for $9.99.

Do They Charge an Early Termination Fee?

No! Monthly plans have no term commitments and devices are purchased upfront. This means no worry about surprise fees should you switch providers.

Can I Port My Number To or From Tello?

Yes! They support porting numbers from any area in which Wireless Number Portability is in effect.

To start the porting process, you’ll need some information. Common items include:

  • The phone number you wish to port
  • The carrier with which the number is currently assigned
  • The account number with that carrier
  • The PIN or security password for that account
  • The billing address listed on that account
  • The first and last name of the account holder

You can find out more about the process at their Help Center.

Will They Unlock My Phone?

All phones sold by Tello are unlocked when you receive them.

For additional questions about pricing, features and coverage, be sure to check our Tello Q&A Forum. It’s filled with questions and answers from people like you looking to get the most out of their mobile service!

If you spot any errors or missing information, please let us know! It's definitely appreciated and will help make this page better for everyone.

Voice network: CDMA 1900 MHz, GSM, LTE
Data network: 1xRTT, EVDO Rev. A, 4G (LTE)

Tello Customer Service

Mailing Address:
4780 Ashford Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA, 30338

Phone Number:
1-866-377-0294 (or 611 from your Tello phone)

Helpful Links

Official Website, Facebook, Twitter, Coverage Maps, Manage Your Account


Review Sources and Citations

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