Free Government Phones

Tello No Contract Phone Plans

TelloWith its nationwide 4G LTE/5G coverage, Tello is another prepaid cell phone provider. That means no contract, no early termination fees, and no activation fee. To use an old computer term, it’s WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get.

The unbelievably inexpensive phone plans range in price from $5 to $29. With each plan, you get free unlimited text, wi-fi calling, free tethering (aka hotspot), and free calls to over 60 countries.

Tello offers ready-made deals or you can configure your own plan. As of this writing, there are four ready-made deals as follows:

  • Economy: 1GB data for $10/month
  • Value: 2GB data for $14/month
  • Smart: 5GB data for $19/month
  • Data: Unlimited data for $29/month

All four plans come with unlimited minutes and unlimited text.

Customized Tello Plans

You can customize your plan to have as little as no data (that's where the $5 monthly plan comes into play) to unlimited. Similarly, the minutes and text range from no minutes to unlimited. The beauty of customizing the plan is you can modify it to meet your needs on the fly. If you know you’ll need a lot of data for a particular month with only a limited amount of talk minutes, you can make the necessary changes without being penalized. Conversely, you can lower the data and increase the minutes the following month. Only pay for what you need. You can upgrade, downgrade or cancel at any time.

Be aware, however, that plans automatically renew every 30 days. Also once you reach your data limit, the speed is throttled down to 2G. With the Unlimited plan, the throttle occurs after you reach 25GB.

Family Plan: Multiple Users, One Plan

What I find a bit interesting about the family plans is that it’s possible to separate billing dates if you don’t add all family members at the same time. For example, as a new customer, if you add 3 family members on the same day, you’ll get an invoice covering all three. However, if at a later date, you decide to add another family member that family member’s invoice date will be different.

If you want the same billing date, you must add that fourth member on the morning of your monthly billing date. Doing so will ensure a common bill date.

International Calling

Tello offers free international calls to over 60 countries. Currently, China, Mexico, and India are free. See the list of free countries here: If you wish to call a country that is not included as one of the 60 countries, you can purchase a Pa As You Go Credit and add it to your plan. The credit lasts for 90 days, so it’s best to purchase it when you know you’re going to use it within that time frame.

Bring Your Own Phone to Tello

Tello has a bring your own phone program. They accept any GSM phone (as long as it isn’t under contract), a Tello phone (from their online store), or other unlocked smartphones. If the unlocked phone is an iPhone it has to be a 6 or newer. Similarly, if the phone is a Galaxy it must be an S8 or newer.

Go to their BYOP page and insert the IMEI/ESN number to check for compatibility. Once it’s compatible, you can transfer your phone number too once your account has been activated.

Tello’s Referral Program

With the Tello referral program, if you refer a friend and your friend signs up, you both get $10 Tello Dollars (not regular dollars, but Tello Dollars to apply to an outstanding balance.

Something to Note:

Mid Month Plan Change: If you choose to upgrade/downgrade your plan, you will be billed for the change immediately. Your old plan will be canceled and replaced with the new plan. As a result, your monthly billing will now be 30 days from the date you changed the plan. If you don’t want to change your billing date, then make plan changes on your current billing date.

Did you know?: If you meet the Lifeline and/or Affordable Connectivity Program criteria, you qualify to receive a free device (smartphone or tablet) along with discounted or free wireless service (plans vary by state).

About the Author: LaForey is a person who was fed up with contract phone plans and opted for something more practical.

Last Modified: 6 February 2023

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