Tello, an MVNO on Sprint, has just updated its cell phone plans. All plans now include unlimited text. Pricing for plan combinations offered by the prepaid provider also went down.
Tello offers it's subscribers the ability to custom build their own phone plans. Under the old plan format, subscribers had to pick the allotment of text messages that they wanted their plan to have. They could choose from 0 messages for $0, 200 for $2 or unlimited for $3. They also had to pick an allotment of data to use, and a separate allotment of minutes.
Under the new plan structure, Tello has opted to give everyone unlimited text messaging. Now subscribers just have to pick separately the amount of minutes and data that they want their plan to have. Data only and voice only add-ons can still be purchased.
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A close examination of Tello's new pricing structure reveals that those who want to purchase data only or voice only add-on options will have to pay more than they did before. So the costs associated with unlimited texting that is now included with all plans has been somewhat added into the cost of those add-ons. However, when you combine all add-ons together to make a phone plan, the overall cost for a plan has gone down compared to the old pricing structure. So the only ones really negatively affected by Tello's new plan structure are those who have or want, data only or talk only plans. Text only plans were never offered as Tello required customers to build plans at a minimum cost of $5/month.
Let's take a quick look at how all of this now works out.
If you previously wanted a talk only plan with 200 minutes you had to pay $5/month. Now a 200 minute plan will cost you $7/month. Similarly, before the update, 500 MB of data cost $8. Now a 500 MB data only plan costs $9/month. From the looks of it, it would now seem that a 200 minute plan with 500 MB of data will cost $15/month. However, Tello is now offering a discount to those who add both a data and voice option to their plan. So a 200 minute plan with 500 MB of data will actually cost $11/month. This is actually $2 cheaper than it would of cost you under the old structure. Under the old structure, the plan would not have included text messaging.
The biggest savings for Tello subscribers are going to come at the higher data allotments. In fact, the new pricing structure will make Tello much more competitive at the $35 and under price points.
Tello is now highlighting the following improved plans on its website:
- Unlimited talk, text and data with the first 500 MB at 4G LTE speeds for $19/month. Previously priced at $26/month.
- Unlimited talk, text and data with the first 1 GB at 4G LTE speeds for $22/month. Previously priced at $29/month.
- Unlimited talk, text and data with the first 2 GB at 4G LTE speeds for $29/month. Previously priced at $39/month.
- Unlimited, talk, text and data with the first 3 GB at 4G LTE speeds for $35/month. Previously priced at $49/month.
All of Tello's plans also include international calling to Mexico and Canada. Tethering is available at no extra charge, as is the ability to upgrade or downgrade your plan at any time with no fees.
Some of the new plans are now on par with or slightly better than those offered by other Sprint MVNO's.
For those of you already with Tello, it appears that you will automatically be migrated to the new plan and pricing structure. From an account that I have access to, it looks like the company is migrating you to a new plan that has the same price as your old one. For instance, the account I just checked had been paying $10/month for 100 minutes, unlimited texts and 200 MB of data. As of this morning, the line has been upgraded to include 300 minutes, unlimited text messaging and 200 MB of data for the same price as before.
If you have a plan price that is lower than it would be after the update, Tello will allow you to keep your old plan and price as long as you don't manually change it and you keep auto-pay enabled in your account.
In addition to the prices shown, Tello does charge and bill for cost recovery surcharge, county sales tax, federal universal service fund, state excise tax, and state sales tax. This amounted to an additional 60¢ a month on the aforementioned bill in my area. Taxes vary based on your location.
Bonus! For a limited time Tello's $45/month plan will include an extra 5 GB of high speed data. With the promotion, customers will get a total of 10 GB of 4G LTE data each month and the bonus data will renew month after month until the promotion ends. No end date has been specified for the promotion.
For more information about Tello, or to signup with service, head on over to the Tello website.