Say Hello to Tello - Shrink Your Mobile Phone Bill
Competition is a good thing, because it spurs innovation. Competition among mobile phone service providers benefits consumers, as it drives prices lower and erodes the anachronistic tyranny of long-term contracts that effectively enslave us to entrenched carriers. On the flipside, one example of free enterprise at its finest is mobile service provider Tello. Let's take a look at how it works, and find out if it will help you save on your monthly phone bill...
Hello, Tello! (Will it save you money?)
Tello is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that lets you build your own phone plan starting from just $5 per month. You might not be familiar with the acronym, but surely you've heard of other MVNOs, such as Tracfone, Consumer Cellular, Ting, and Republic Wireless. Simply put, MVNOs buy telecom services from the large nationwide carriers at "wholesale" prices and resell it under their own brand. Want to learn how Tello works, and how to make it work for you? Keep reading...
A MVNO like Tello does not own any carrier equipment; no cell towers, no data centers, no cables, etc. Instead, Tello buys network capacity from "America's largest, fastest, and most reliable network" and resells minutes, messages, and data to consumers. The MVNO business model enables entrepreneurial companies like Tello to try their innovative ideas in a marketplace dominated by giant, old, hidebound corporations like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.
Tello offers coast-to-coast wireless coverage in the USA and runs on the T-Mobile network. The 4G LTE network allows high quality calls (national and international), video streaming, and fast data connections. Faster 5G service is available, depending on your location and your phone.
No contract is required with Tello; all plans are prepaid. There are no contracts, and no activation or early termination fees. Just roll your own plan, get a price, and change or quit whenever you like. Tethering (wifi hotspot) is permitted to share data with your other devices. Tello also has a referral program. Use your link to refer friends and if they place an order, you both get 10 Tello Dollars.
A plan includes calls to anywhere in the US, Canada, Mexico, India, and China (an interesting addition). Other countries can be called or texted on a pay-as-you-go basis. You can use Paypal, Visa, Amex, Discover or Mastercard to pay your monthly and ad hoc charges.
Tello isn't entirely virtual, they are US-based, with offices in Atlanta, South America and Europe. But to avoid the cost and headaches of call centers, Tello does all of its customer service online. That’s a red flag to some people, but having dealt with agents whose English left much to be desired, I am rather fond of online customer service. Tello claims that its Customer Service team will “answer in less than five seconds”.
Less Restrictions, More Value
Tello has eliminated several onerous restrictions often imposed by the big carriers. No longer are the most desirable phones tied to the most expensive plans. You can change phones whenever you wish without sticking to a carrier’s upgrade schedule or paying a penalty for “early” upgrades. Tello has a "bring your own phone" option and sells a variety of both low-end and popular phones with free shipping.
There are no restrictions on tethering - that is, using your phone as a mini-hotspot to let several devices connect to the Internet through it. The devices can be yours or anyone else’s.
“Ring-time charges” are out with Tello. Billable time begins when a conversation begins on a call; you don’t pay for 30 seconds or more of ringing before your friend answers or the call goes to voicemail.
Tello plans start as low as $5/month for 100 minutes of talk and free texting. You can also get a plan with 500 MB of data, with no calling minutes or text messages. I don’t know of another carrier who sells data-only plans like this one. You can put together a plan that exactly fits your mix of voice, text, and data usage, and change it any time you want. For example, a combination of 5 GB of data and unlimited text/talk is just $19/month. Play around with Tello’s plan calculator to see the many possibilities. Family plans are also available.
When Tello launched in 2016, I wasn't sure if their business model would prove profitable in the long run, but it looks like things are going well, and Tello is saving consumers money as well. Try their plan calculator and see if there is a Tello individual or family plan that costs less than what you're paying with Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 4 Aug 2022
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Say Hello to Tello - Shrink Your Mobile Phone Bill (Posted: 4 Aug 2022)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved