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Are Tello Phones Unlocked? Here’s What You Need To Know 

Tello Mobile is a budget MVNO network that specialises in providing bargain-basement priced phone plans. It also sells phones too. But are these Tello cellphones unlocked? 


Key Takeaways: Tello Mobile’s Stance on Unlocked Phones 📱

Unlocked Phones from Tello 🔓

Tello’s phone options are budget-friendly and mid-range. The best part? Tello phones are unlocked, giving you the flexibility to switch carriers in the future without needing a new phone.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to Tello 🔄

Already have a phone you love? You can bring it to Tello as long as it’s unlocked and compatible with the T-Mobile network, which Tello uses. This means more freedom and less hassle for you.


T-Mobile Data & Coverage For Less
Tello Mobile Plans
4.5
With some of the lowest cost plans on the market, Tello is a great fit for the right type of user
Pros:
  • Custom "Build Your Own" Plans, Very Affordable, Excellent Coverage, Fast Data Speeds, No Contracts
Cons:
  • Data Throttling Over 35GB
Best For: Budget Conscious, Cost-Cutting
Data Types: 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G
Runs On: T-Mobile Network

An ‘unlocked’ phone essentially gives you the freedom to use your device with different carriers. This means you’re not tied down to one service provider. You can switch between carriers and even use your phone – via eSIM or a standard SIM – on networks outside the US.

Of course, before you commit to a carrier, MVNO or otherwise, it is important to know if the phone you’re buying from them is carrier locked or unlocked.

And that’s what we’re going to dive into here.

But the good news is that any phone bought via Tello will be completely unlocked. Need more detail? Read on…

Tello’s Stance on Unlocked Phones

Tello Mobile CompatibilityPin

If you’re planning to buy a phone directly from Tello, it’s important to know where they stand on this issue. Tello focuses on providing affordable, no-frills mobile services, and this extends to their phone offerings as well.

The phones you buy from Tello are unlocked. This means you have the liberty to use these phones with other compatible network carriers, not just Tello, which is great because it means you can switch plans whenever you like should you see a better offer elsewhere.

Buying Your Phone from Tello

When you choose a phone from Tello, you’re likely selecting from a range of budget-friendly and mid-range options. The good news is, these phones come unlocked (and with a warranty of 30 days). This gives you the advantage of not being bound to Tello’s network. So, if in the future you decide to switch carriers, you can do so without the need for a new phone.

In the UK, it is now illegal for carriers – or networks, as they’re known there – to “carrier-lock” their phones. OFCOM passed a law in 2020 that made it illegal, so all phones bought in the UK are now unlocked.

In the US, there is talk of a similar law but so far the FCC has not been able to get anything passed into law. This makes it super-important for all consumers in the USA to ALWAYS check whether their carrier sells locked or unlocked phones before buying one.

Bringing Your Own Phone to Tello

What if you already have a phone and want to switch to Tello? You absolutely can, as long as your phone is unlocked and compatible with Tello’s network. Tello operates on the T-Mobile network, so any unlocked phone that works with T-Mobile should work with Tello.

Benefits of BYOD Schemes

  • Cost Savings 💰 No need to purchase a new device. Keep using your current phone and save money.
  • Familiarity and Comfort 🤗 Stick with a device you already know and love. No learning curve or adjustment period.
  • Eco-Friendly Choice 🌍 Reduce electronic waste by extending the life of your current phone.
  • Instant Setup ⚡ Avoid the hassle of transferring data. Everything you need is already on your phone.
  • Flexibility and Freedom 🔄 Enjoy the liberty to switch carriers without being tied to a specific device.
  • Wide Range of Compatible Devices 🌐 Tello supports a variety of phones, offering more choices for compatibility.
  • Maintain Your Contacts and Apps 📞📲 Keep all your existing contacts, apps, and settings as they are.
  • No Extra Costs or Contracts 🚫💸 Avoid additional fees and contractual obligations that often come with new phones.

Checking Your Phone’s Compatibility

To ensure a smooth transition, it’s a good idea for you to check your phone’s compatibility with Tello. You can easily do this through Tello’s website using their Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) feature. This step is crucial to avoid any surprises about network compatibility after you’ve made the switch.

Wrapping Up / Final Thoughts 

Tello Mobile PROS AND CONSPin

Whether you’re buying a new phone from Tello or bringing your own, the unlocked nature of these devices means you have more control over your mobile service choices. 

You can build and customize your own plan based on how much data you use. Me? I tend to use less than 15GB a month, so I could get set up on a plan with Tello for around $19 per month. Currently, I pay Verizon around triple that for an unlimited plan. 

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He has written for Den of Geek, Fortean Times, IT PRO, PC Pro, ALPHR, and many other technology sites. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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