Though I’m a now former RW Community Ambassador and Expert Customer, my household is not and never has been RW exclusive. Among the other service providers currently used in my household is Tello.
Tello offers a flexible build your own plan experience. As examples, 100 minutes talk, unlimited text and no cell data is $5/month. Unlimited talk & text plus 1 GB of cell data is $10/month. Unlimited talk, text and cell data is $29/month with 25 GB at 4G LTE/5G speeds depending upon phone model and/or network availability. Taxes and telecom fees are not included in the quoted pricing.
Tello sells a small selection of phones online and supports bring your own phone. There is an IMEI check tool. Generally, any unlocked phone (Android or iPhone) compatible with T-Mobile’s network works with Tello.
Tello SIMs are available for $2 from Tello directly or from Amazon.
Like the old RW, Tello assigns a new number at activation. Porting one’s current number to Tello is done after activation replacing the number assigned at activation. Porting is initiated through Tello’s online portal.
So long as T-Mobile’s network is sufficiently robust where one needs it to be, the network service experience will be solid. Tello does not offer roaming of any kind (domestic or international).
My need for support from Tello has been limited. At one point, I needed a replacement SIM. The original Tello SIM I purchased did not support certain iPhone features. The replacement corrected that. That said, there was a hiccup in that initially I chose to contact support via email, which went unanswered. A follow-up call was handled efficiently. The agent profusely apologized for my email having gone unanswered, offered a coupon to make the replacement SIM free then stayed on the line while I placed the order to be certain the coupon code was accepted.
Tello shares ownership with KeepCalling, a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. Tello does not use proprietary VoIP technology for cellular service. Tello does, however, leverage the relationship to offer international calling to 60ish countries at no additional charge above and beyond what one is paying for their Tello plan.
WiFi calling has been supported on every Android (Samsung, Google and Motorola) I’ve thrown at Tello’s SIM, however, as with any service provider, Tello cannot and does not guarantee WiFi calling works on every Android phone model. WiFi calling works on supported iPhones.
I’ve yet to see an Android phone that is supported by Tello for visual voicemail. iPhones are supported. Conditional call forwarding works, so use of third party visual voicemail services like Google Voice and YouMail are options when using an Android on Tello.
Tello offers a complete and well designed account portal for account management. Tello’s account portal is divided into the following sections:
- Dashboard - provides an overview of one’s current plan plus running balances for talk, text and cell data.
- My Settings - allows for designating a nickname for each line of service, toggling text messaging on or off and providing the required E911 address for WiFi calling
- My SIM - order a replacement SIM or switch to eSIM (eSIM requires a capable device)
- Porting - here’s where one ports their current number to Tello (all new lines are assigned a number at activation that gets replaced if one chooses to port their current number from another provider)
- Activity - historical information for talk, text and cell data
- Order History
- Referral Program - here one finds the information needed to refer others to Tello in the form of a code and link
- Payment - payment information lives here
- My Information - where one manages general contact information and account details such as email address, account password and account PIN
Tello’s mobile app offers most of the account management features of the portal. Tello’s app is also a VoIP dialer allowing one to make outbound WiFi calls using one’s Tello number.
Tello does not require one to pay for a year in advance to get its best pricing. If one is in the market for a T-Mobile network based service provider, Tello is well worth a look.
Tello doesn’t advertise it but if one manually renews their plan one day before it automatically renews anything metered (that which is not unlimited) rolls over (apparently in perpetuity).