Home - , , , - New MVNO Tello Joins the US Mobile Market by Offering "No Fees, Whatsoever"

New MVNO Tello Joins the US Mobile Market by Offering "No Fees, Whatsoever"

tello
A new MVNO has arrived in the United States and it's promising to be rewrite the mobile industry. The young operator runs on Sprint's network and comes as a challenge to the other network providers in the business. With its promise of offering "No Fees, Whatsoever", Tello is on a mission to be a leading operator throughout the country.

Apart from their promise, Tello offers clean price plans, transparent billing policies, straightforward services, and an easy online interface for its users. Tello users have no activation fees, processing fees, overage fees, or early termination fees to worry about since each customer can design his a contract-free plan suitable for their own needs. With the advantage of being unbound to a 2-year contract, customers have a cost-effective prepaid solution for all their mobile needs. Creating an account can be done in as little time as possible. All it takes is a visit to Tello's website and choosing a corresponding contract-free prepaid service straight from the comfort of their homes.

Tello believes that they know they best know their customers. With this, they offer a range of affordable plans which start off at $5/month. While there's the option to go for a traditional prepaid plan customers can also go for  a Pay As You Go option. When deciding to customize a plan, customers simply have to pick the number of minutes, texts, and data they need to use. Minutes range from 0, 100 ($3), 200 ($5), 300 ($7), 500 ($10), to Unlimited ($15). On the other hand, the texts go from 0, 200 ($2), to Unlimited ($3). As for data, users may go for 0, 200 MB ($4), 500 MB ($8), 1 GB ($11), 2 GB ($21), 3 GB ($31), and 5 GB ($45).

For the undecided, Tello offers predefined deal options:

  • Economy ($9/month): Includes 100 minutes, 200 texts and 200 MB of 4G LTE data
  • Value ($21/month): Includes 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 500 MB of 4G LTE data
  • Smart ($39/month): Includes unlimited minutes and texts and 2 GB of 4G LTE data
  • Data Savvy ($55/month): Includes 500 minutes, no texts and 5 GB of 4G LTE data

For US and International calls and texts, Tello has an option for One Pay As You Go balance which includes US Calls (3¢/minute), US Texts (1¢/SMS) and US Data (2¢/MB). For international calls and texts, some examples of Tello's rates are Cuba (65¢/minute), Mexico (1¢/minute) and China (1.2¢/minute). By offering the Pay As You Go credit, customers simply have to choose any value  credit starting from just $5 that they can use however they wish.

What's good about Tello is that it gives its customers the option to change what's included in their plans every month. So if they foresee that they will need more minutes over texts or more 4G LTE data over minutes, they can just make the change any time. Customers are free to downgrade, upgrade, renew or cancel their plans without dealing with extra fees. And these are things that make Tello stand out against the other MVNOs in the market.

31 comments:

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  1. Newbie here. Besides the MVNO itself where can we get new phones and what type of phones do we need?

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    1. It's a Sprint MVNO so you can use any fully paid for Sprint postpaid phone, the Nexus 5, 5x, 6 and 6p, the 2015 Moto X Pure Edition, the iPhone 6 and newer and the Verizon iPhone 5s and 5c.

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  2. Not competitive at all. And it's on CDMA. The Sprint network is the final nail to the coffin.

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    1. The prepaid plan looks pretty good for very light use, parking a number, alarm systems etc. 3¢/Min, 1¢/SMS, 2¢/MB. $5 minimum top up and airtime doesn't expire as long as you "use" the phone at least once every six months.

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    2. I wish there was something like this for our alarm system, on AT&T.

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  3. Sprint?

    That means overpriced phones, an unusable 3G data network, limited coverage and laughable BYOD restrictions.

    The only thing that really put 'em on the competitive map was RingPlus, because Sprint ain't worth it unless you're giving away service for pennies on the dollar and heavily subsidizing devices.

    Regardless, R+ still seems like a better deal than Tello (even after being gimped).

    There's also US mobile, a T-mobile MVNO which uses a similarly tiered pricing structure. Their data offerings at $20 and $35 are much more generous than Tello's despite GSM data supposedly being more costly.

    At this point, Sprint's only a good deal if it's the only deal in your town.

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  4. Replies
    1. There's more than one race. Cricket's plans aren't the best for all use cases.

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    2. Correct. Cricket does not even bother to compete in the first of the two plans. They lose by forfeiture. But Cricket does completely smash the second two of the four plans list.

      And this Data Savvy one? I think this is the first expensive plan I have seen with NO TEXTS AT ALL.

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    3. Tello gives you more flexibility to change and save money if your needs go down. And of course you can add texts to Data Savvy; just make your own plan.

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  5. I don't see any uniquness light user can sign up R+'s free plan.

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    1. True, although some users find R+'s voice issues unaceptable.

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    2. Jason in PortlandMay 10, 2016 at 6:30 PM

      With pay as you go, one isn't limited to the pre-defined buckets on the R+ Truly Free 2 plan. Or the constantly-changing promotions/flash sales on the 'free after top-up' plans.

      Wouldn't surprise me if the 'no fees' marketing point is comparing themselves versus postpaid.

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  6. Man, those are terrible plans....

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  7. From https://www.tello.com/help_center -> General

    "Our products are subject to local and federal taxes, but there are no hidden fees applied to the prices displayed on the website."

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    1. I don't get why Tello makes such a big deal over "no fees". Prepaid has traditionally had few if any fees. If they were absorbing all taxes and like Metro and Cricket that would be something worth talking about, but no fees is nothing to get excited about.

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    2. "I don't get why Tello makes such a big deal over "no fees"

      They don't have much to crow about, really. In hindsight, they should have added "Touch Tone" and "Long Distance Calling" to their feature list.

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  8. No fees... Except those darn monthly fees.

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  9. No fees, but what about taxes?

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    Replies
    1. Yes. But they add them on top of your monthly fee so they're not hidden.

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  10. Looks like they compete with Ting or USMobile, but Ting offers roaming.

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  11. Whole lotta hoopla for nothing...

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  12. The prepaid option looks the most interesting because of the low cost. Sprint must be wholesaling their services at a pretty low price for Tello to be able to do this. But unfortunately it's on Sprint's network. If this was on T-Mobile I'd be much more tempted.

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    1. " But unfortunately it's on Sprint's network. If this was on T-Mobile I'd be much more tempted."

      T-Mobile is only a little better than Sprint. Verizon and AT&T are hugely better. Hold out for something a lot better rather than something that's still another cut rate compromise.

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  13. " Tello is on a mission to be a leading operator throughout the country."

    When it is running on the worst network of the largest four (only half as good as Verizon and AT&T), and it charges between two and four times as much for data as Boost, T-Mobile, and Cricket... it looks more like "Hell No" Tello is on a mission to be a joke in www.prepaidphonenews.com comments and nothing else.

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  14. No fees at Metro PCS and GoPhone. Plus better BYOD policies and much better coverage. Their plans are probably good for emergency/backup light phone users. But other than that, I see no reason to go to them. My uninformed prediction is that we will see another MNVO casualty on the horizon.

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  15. A review of Tello:

    I activated a used Sprint Motorola Admiral on Tello a few days ago. I chose to start with $20 on their Pay-as-you-go plan requesting a new number. Ordering was easy as it gets online: enter the ESN, set up an online account, choose a plan and fund it with a credit card or PayPal. With a used Sprint phone you need to 'Update Profile' on the phone to complete the activation (they don't tell you that.) I tried for two hours and it failed with NETWORK_ERROR messages, so I submitted a help request with their online contact form. A polite and friendly man with a USA accent called back 30 minutes later to help, but coincidentally my last attempt to Update Profile worked and I was in business after a reboot. The customer service rep said they were busy 24/7 with new customers (hence my delay) and to keep and eye out for special deals in the future.

    My $20 purchase went up to $23.34 with the following fees added: Federal Cost Recovery Charge $0.12, Federal Universal Service Fund $1.33, Md Prepaid Wireless E 911 Fee $0.60, Maryland State Sales Tax $1.29.

    The Tello website is exemplary and other companies should take a lesson. Call records are clear and concise showing SMS, call length, and MB used per data session. There is a minor delay in records showing up. The Help Center FAQ section is quite complete.

    Calls to toll free 800/888 numbers didn't not show up in the activity log and I wasn't charged. Maybe they're free or just delayed. We'll see. Call clarity was fine.

    International rates are cheap and direct dial (011-etc.) A 30 second call to a land line in Germany cost a penny, for example. The answering machine I spoke with sounded clear. ;-)

    I was charged only a penny for MMS: one a text message to an email address, and one to an email address with a photo attached. Email addresses from Tello lines are in the format 1234567890@messaging.sprintpcs.com for SMS and 1234567890@plspictures.com for MMS.

    Tello allows tethering and the Admiral can act as a hotspot. It worked seamlessly. I was charged $0.25 for 12.57 MB. The biggest surprise of the day was the 2.3 Mbps speed on Sprint 3G, according to Ookla! I'll have to test that again later.

    The My Tello app isn't compatible with the old version of Android (2.3.5) on the Admiral, so I coudn't test it out. They advertise it can make WiFi calls when off network and manage your account.

    Tello has a winner here if Sprint's native network works for you. Their pay-go rates are the best out there and don't expire if used every six months. International rates are very good with direct dial. The website is excellent with good customer support.

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    1. Addendum: I was eventually charged for the 800/888 calls and for MMS data. Was a couple hour delay in the records.

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    2. I will add (having signed up several family members) that Tello has customer service UNEQUALED in my experience with ANY company in ANY field. They are available, understandable, extremely helpful. I just can't say enough about this aspect. Jaw dropping good experience in CS.

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  16. It's too bad it's on a distant fourth network... so Tello's actual service is rather inferior, even if the manners it uses in handling its customers is superb.

    Similarly, I am sure there are some tiny carriers scattered about the country... the Bug Tussel's and the like, where the CS is so good they will take you out to dinner as well as solve your problem.

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