Home - , , - Heads Up: Tello Pay As You Go Now Requires Use Every 3 Months (Was 6 Months)

Heads Up: Tello Pay As You Go Now Requires Use Every 3 Months (Was 6 Months)

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Sprint MVNO Tello has changed the minimum usage requirement for its Pay As You Go plan. Customers must now have a chargeable event (call, text or data use) at least every three months rather than every six months. Customers who don't use their phones for three months will lose their cash balances and have their service suspended.

The change obviously won't affect customers who use their phones regularly. But Tello is unusual in that it does not require periodic top ups to keep the service active. As long as the minimum usage requirement is met, Tello Pay As You Go balances rollover indefinitely. Plans like Tello's that have a very low minimum monthly cost attract users who want to "park" a phone number as well as so called "glovebox" phone users or who keep a spare phone in their car or house for emergency use. Number parkers and glovebox phone users now need to make or receive a call or text or use some data at least every 3 months. Tello charges 3¢/minute, 1¢/text and 2¢/MB so its minimum monthly cost is only a third of a cent.

It's likely that Sprint charges Tello a maintenance fee for every line regardless of use so customers who rarely use their phones are cost Tello money. The change to the usage requirement follows Tello's recent increase of the minimum Pay As You Go top up from $5 to $10. Both changes seem to be intended to get a tiny bit of additional revenue out of very light users. The usage requirement change will also cause some light users to forfeit their balances.

Even with the changes, if Sprint coverage meets you needs, Tello is probably still the best deal for very light usage. The only other pay as you go plans I'm aware of that don't require periodic top-ups are from Truphone and Lycamobile and both are more expensive to start up and to actually use for calls and texts. Here's how they compare.

  • Tello (Sprint) - $10 top up to start, 3¢/minute, 1¢/text and 2¢/MB, must use every three months.
  • Lycamobile (T-Mobile)  $10.99 start up cost ($10 top up plus 99¢ eBay SIM), 5¢/minute, 4¢ per outgoing text, incoming texts are free, data not available, must use every 90 days.
  • Truphone (AT&T) $29.99 start up cost (includes SIM and $15 credit) outgoing calls and texts are 9¢ each (incoming calls and texts are free) data is 9¢/MB, must use every 120 days
Update 8/10: A HowardForums user who contacted Tello about the change received a response saying the that Tello; "...will not suspend the service for you or any of our customers without prior notice, if you for some reason haven't used the service for 3 consecutive months, we will contact you and let you know that you need to, so you can avoid the account's suspension."

Source Tello via HowardForums

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41 comments:

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  1. I believe, Truphone requirement is 180 days, not 90:
    "9.2. In the event that the Company does not use the SIM card for any continuous period of 180 days, Truphone reserves the right to invalidate the SIM card and/or call balance components and cancel the Company's account and the Service without prior notice and without any refund, repayment or compensation.:
    https://www.truphone.com/us/legal/general-terms-and-conditions-for-business-users/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No it is definitely 180 days for prepaid. I had it confirmed by customer service.

      "Maintaining a credit balance is not enough to keep the SIM active. There should have atleast one outgoing usage like calls, SMS, or data in 180 days. Just always be reminded to make a call, send SMS, or use data before it reaches the 180th day of inactivity. "

      Delete
  2. Thanks for the heads up. People should be aware that only 1 month of activity is visible from the "Activity" tab of the dashboard. After 1 month of inactivity you will need to remember or record you activity to make sure that you don't break the 90 day rule.

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  3. The only mention of 90 days in the terms is if your balance reaches $0 then you will be suspended. That is separate from the 180 day for inactivity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The 3 month usage requirement is on Tello's FAQ page at tello.com/help_center;

      "Does my Pay As You Go credit expire?

      If you don’t use the service for 3 months, the credit will expire and the Tello service will be disconnected. Otherwise, the balance and your number have unlimited validity as long as you call, text or surf the web."

      Delete
    2. Sorry that was meant to be replying to the truphone comment!

      Delete
    3. I see what you are saying. Truephone only requires use every 120 days. I've updated the post to reflect that.

      Delete
  4. It begins...or is it already too late?

    Maybe it's somewhere in between, but it'll be happening soon enough.

    You only have to listen.

    RIP Tello

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, they already changes the min top up from $5 to $10 recently. Not sure I like where Tello is heading, but it's still a good deal for now.

      Delete
    2. oh that is stupid you think rip end of the world when a mvno is tightening up its requirements and increasing what you pay. but yeah its rip for you if you never want to pay. grow up.

      Delete
    3. "oh that is stupid you think rip end of the world when a mvno is tightening up its requirements and increasing what you pay. but yeah its rip for you if you never want to pay. grow up."

      I think he is quite grown up and mature enough to not give any company extra money unnecessarily. Cheers for those who use call automaters to keep their accounts going. I used these on all of my Ring Plus accounts.

      Wasting money is childish.

      Delete
  5. saw this 3months requirement when the other day was reviewing the terms & conditions, and also the FAQ. have four phones on tello. two as paygo where always making a call. so no problem there. the other two are on $6/month and $7/month plans that cover only data and sms texts, plus each of those two phones has paygo balances that now are respectively $15 & $20 to cover possible calls for each phone. the one with the $20 balance never makes calls, but has the $20 paygo balance for just in case. to be on the safe side, my assumption is the 3month requirement applies to the paygo balance regardless of if have a monthly plan for data and texts. probably wrong, but it's our way of supporting tello where either use up at least part of the paygo balance by making calls, or by paying in at least $10 every so often, now at least pay in to the account every 3 months

    ReplyDelete
  6. Piranha Mobile only requires a chargeable event every 420 days and no periodic top ups are required as long as you maintain a minimum balance.

    In many countries it's a much cheaper option than Truphone.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I wonder how many people will lose their balance because they are not aware of this new policy. Tello should have taken the high road and emailed their paygo customers about this plan change. When my balance expires, I will port out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope they all lose their balance. If you don't use the phone you don't need the line you're simply costing Tello money. If you can't afford a $10 topup then you have huge problems. Let me guess, mostly X Ring Plus customers?

      Delete
    2. Anon 653, you must really despise websites like prepaidphonenews because they alert customers to the MVNO's underhanded tactics. But wait, you like the free publicity though. BTW, thanks for the heads up Dennis!

      Delete
    3. Anon 7:46a Please explain what's underhanded about a business trying to make some revenue? If you're not using the phone then you're not paying anything--you won't be missed!

      Delete
    4. There's nothing wrong with Tello changing the terms to increase revenue.

      But if Tello is not notifying users about a terms change that could cost them their balances, I would consider that underhanded.

      Delete
    5. The customer has a certain amount of responsibility. If they want to park a phone then go to a service that provides that service! If people don't like the terms then they can move on. If they arn't using their phones then being cancelled should not matter.

      Delete
    6. Do you not understand the concept of a backup phone? How do you think the customer will feel if their primary phone is lost or stolen and their backup phone does not work either?

      Delete
    7. The customer has a responsibility not to use the phone for criminal or fraudulent activities. Beyond that, you are just making stuff up. For crying out loud, it's just having a phone on a line and making a few calls over a space of a few months.

      Add speak for yourself. If someone needs a phone as an emergency backup, that's their business, not yours. Even though you might have different needs.

      And it's my business if I want to have a phone on one of these lines and hardly ever use it. It's not some sort of capital case like you make it out to be.

      Delete
    8. Seriously people? It's a few cents every 3 months....

      Delete
  8. Junk. MVNO games.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lycamobile simkit r 0.01¢ on Amazon

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is frustrating. Those of us that use our cells are being penalized because of the entitled that are not paying their fair share.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I disagree. The goal of this site is to help users find the most cost effective solution for their needs. If someone needs to park a phone number, I don't see anything wrong with using Tello or another similar provider with a very low minimum monthly cost. That's how free markets work.

      It was Tello's decision to offer that option, if it proves to be a money loser they have every right to discontinue it, but as long as it's available customers who choose it are doing nothing wrong.

      Delete
    2. "The goal of this site is to help users find the most cost effective solution for their needs."
      I don't think this goal is always met, because this site does not write articles about:

      1. Postpaid bargains, like one year free on Sprint postpaid, Bring Your Phone Unlimited; and the new T-Mobile 55+ 2 lines Unlimited everything for $60 total price.
      2. Certain discounts like PureTalk AMAC that offer more for less. Maybe it's because AMAC supports conservative policies.

      I have read reasons like: 'This site is about prepaid' in the past. But some postpaid, non-contract carriers are covered, and some aren't.

      Delete
    3. "This is frustrating. Those of us that use our cells are being penalized because of the entitled that are not paying their fair share."

      This is a purely false statement. The only entitlement that is happening is people being entitled to the service that they paid for.

      And last time I knew in America, if you pay for/enroll for goods or services, you are entitled to those goods and services. I don't know what planet you are from...

      As for "fair share", it is up to the individuals making the deals. Not you, unless you are referring to your own interaction with the company. Otherwise you have no idea what you are talking about.

      I think you are yet again the particular troll who gets so angry at the idea of customers receiving the services as described that they enrolled in.

      Delete
    4. The goal of this site is number of visitors, being helpful has nothing to do with it. If I want accurate info then I go to other sites that provide original content and provide that info hours or sometimes days earlier. I come here to laugh at the responses.

      Delete
    5. You must be very new to this site. If you have been here more than a day or two, you will see that it's very clear that Dennis and his staff enjoy being helpful.

      Delete
    6. Dennis said: "I disagree. The goal of this site is to help users find the most cost effective solution for their needs. If someone needs to park a phone number, I don't see anything wrong with using Tello or another similar provider with a very low minimum monthly cost. That's how free markets work."

      Add to this the fact that it doesn't harm anyone if anyone has a barely used, "glovebox" phone, or whatever, and another person's calling patterns aren't any business of the "customers shouldn't use the services they pay for" whiners.

      Delete
  11. "Maybe it's because AMAC supports conservative policies"

    What is that all about? what does that have to do with anything? Speculate much?

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  12. You are being ridiculously pedantic about the mission statement. Technically, it doesn't mention bargains in toilet paper, used cars, or real estate either.

    But the rest of us with decent reading comprehension who don't have a chip on our shoulder can see that the name of the website has to do with prepaid phones. And then anyone with the brain can match that with the mission statement.

    On top of that you chimed in like the nutty conspiracy theorist concerning Dennis and a purely imaginary political bias of his that you perceive. Referring back to the mission statement, it is clear that the purpose of the site is not to support campaign finance scams.

    And I am typing this as a conservative who has had political comments deleted from this very website. But I know that they are deleted because they are political, not because they are conservative.

    Because unlike you I don't think it's a capital offense when someone who owns a website exercises their own control over it.

    Feel free to start your own "Phone Values for Trump Lovers" website. And pass on the link when you do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol yeah very depressing when some sad person who is probably mad at the world has to instinctively talk political nonsense when discussing phones. it's phones. so what if the mvno changes terms. it happens. you just have keep up and re-read the terms of service, terms and conditions, etc every once in a while. or read this site which alerts people to changes. don't expect the world to stay the same. the world won't stop spinning (with changes that are bound to occur) because of you. keep up and move on before you get run over because you don't like how things don't stay free or cheap at the same old prices anymore.

      Delete
    2. Anon 835a. Great idea but people won't read the TOS, they can't even use their phones as expected and you want them to stay current on the TOS?

      Delete
  13. I can't help but wonder the people having difficulty remembering when to make a call etc..do they forget to take a bath, forget to use deodorant, forget to brush teeth, wait never mind.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have a backup phone on Tracfone that I practically never use; however, it still costs me $6.67 a month ($19.99 card every 90 days), so this Tello deal sounds much better. With triple minutes AND a promo code the Tracfone minutes still end up costing 8.3 cents each.

    I'm glad I read this.

    I can put in $10, make one or two 3 cent calls every 90 days and I'm spending less.

    That's great.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Glovebox phone with app installed to text once a month automatically - service for $0.01/mo is a great deal. Set up the phone properly and hide it in the car with a low-draw charger hooked up (assuming the car is driven frequently enough to prevent too much battery drain) & you've got an anti-theft device/GPS locater, too (triggered by an appropriately worded text). I've got no problem paying such a low cost for such a useful service.

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  16. Dennis, thanks for this post. You truly are the wizard of MVNO deals!

    I thought I kept current about low usage (glovebox phone, good term!) setups, but all three mentioned here are new to me. I thought PagePlus's $10 for 4 months, 3G only service was the best deal going.

    It sounds like I can reactivate my RingPlus Moto E on Tello for $10 out of pocket. And get a line on AT&T for ~$30. And keep both of those lines going indefinitely for very low cost - until the terms change.

    Do you know of any similar deals for Verizon service? (my phone is currently on Teltik for $23/month, so I am covered for TMO)

    Finally, I've been reading your site for maybe nine months now, generally very solid info, no sales pitches, etc.

    So I would disagree with the 3PM anon above. But the 1:44 anon might have a bit of a point about not covering some deals, because they aren't MVNO. I would argue, for instance, that TMO is almost an MVNO since they don't lock you into a contract and the rates are pretty reasonable (if you have more than 2 or 3 lines).

    But, it is your website, you can put whatever content you want here, and I can make my own decisions about spending time reading it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. if you for some reason haven't used the service for 3 consecutive months, we will contact you and let you know that you need to, so you can avoid the account's suspension
    ok, but how will we be notified?? email to our account? or text to our phone?? need to know answer.

    ReplyDelete
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