Tello vs Ting: 6 Differences between the Two Phone Providers

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How low would you like your monthly phone bill? In this post, we’re going to review Tello vs Ting to see which is more competitive yet remains reliable on coverage, data speeds, and voice service.

As you know by now, we have only three major network providers here in the U.S- namely Verizon, T-Mobile, & AT&T. So, both Tello and Ting are virtual network operators (or MVNOs) operating on these other major networks.

And since the two are prepaid operators, you can enjoy your service at discount rates without overage charges. Then, there’s no credit check, thereby you can join when you even have bad credit or no credit at all.

Tello vs Ting: A Summary on the Two Prepaid Phone Services

Carrier NetworkT-Mobile (previously Sprint)Verizon/ T-Mobile
eSIM supportN/AN/A
Free 5GYES (on Android)YES
5G Download SpeedsUp to 280+MbpsUp to700+Mbps
Lowest Phone Plan$10/ month$10/ month
Unlimited MinutesYESYES
Unlimited dataYES (with cap)YES (with cap)
Data CarryoverYESYES
Family DiscountN/ANO
Free Mexico/ Canada CallYES (and other 60+ countries)Varies
Mobile HotspotYESYES  
WiFi CallingYESYES
Video StreamingYES [up to 4K UHD]YES [Up to 1080p HD]
Phone Unlock PeriodAt PurchaseAt Purchase
Extra PerksN/AN/A
Type of ServiceOnline OnlyOnline Only

 Is Tello Service Any Good?

Are you looking for a really cheap pay-as-you-go phone? Tello is a perfect example in this case. It has very competitive rate plans, whereby you can choose the ready-made deals or build your own allotments from the scratch.

In these custom plans where you build your allotments, Tello has some deals going as low as $5/ month. Then, you have the option to choose a plan for talk + text only for the seniors and a data-only allowance for tablets or hotspot devices.

On top of that, Tello does have minutes and data carryover when you renew your service early. It also has a free international calling to over sixty countries, a feature not many MVNOs have.

That said, though, Tello is yet to initiate eSIM support if you’d like to take advantage of the digital SIM benefits. Also, the wireless operator is yet to have its own carrier bundle with Apple. So, you might be limited on some network bands with the latest iPhones, as we shall see shortly.

Is Ting Service Any Good?

Do you browse a lot? Ting is one of the many prepaid networks you might have never heard about, but pretty decent on rates. One of the best features at the moment is that you can get the Unlimited Pro plan with 35GB of priority data. Thus, allowing you to browse or stream more while on the go.

Furthermore, Ting has now partnered with both Verizon and T-Mobile, thereby allowing you to enjoy extensive coverage across the country. It also supports both domestic and international roaming, a feature its counterpart, Tello, doesn’t have.

More on that, Ting does have free international calling & texting to over sixty destinations. However, the feature is currently available to old customers who joined before November 2020. If you’re a new subscriber, the calling and roaming charges range from $0.05/ minute as outlined in the Ting International Rates sheet.

Tello vs Ting: Comparing the Six Crucial Features & Perks between the Phone Providers

 Network Coverage

Ting is no doubt the clear winner here as you can get reception in either T-Mobile or Verizon coverage areas. The carrier still has a contract with Sprint, its original carrier network, but T-Mobile will be retiring these bands soon. Hence, the reason Ting has been switching its old customers on the Sprint network to X3-SIM (on T-Mobile) or V1-SIM (on Verizon).

The good news is that this also means you have an option to get a line on the network that works best in your area. And if you happen to travel a lot, the Verizon line could be a great pick since it has most towers across the country.

On the other hand, Tello only has access to the T-Mobile network bands. So, your coverage will be limited in some places, especially the rural areas since T-Mobile is largely into urban areas.

Winner: Ting offers service through both T-Mobile and Verizon networks.

 Phone Selections & Deals

Both Ting and Tello have a retail section with some pretty decent phones to choose from when upgrading. Of course, the available catalog isn’t as large as with a provider like Mint or AT&T, but it’ll suffice in most parts.

If it’s Ting, the selections available include even the latest iPhone 13 series, Samsung Galaxy S21 series, and several others with 5G capability. The pricing is also good and you can get up to $50 off on several brands.

Furthermore, Ting sells all the phones when they’re already unlocked. Then, there’s a buy now pay later financing, with luxury phones like iPhone 13 Pro going from as low as $53.36/ mo.

On its end, Tello only offers its devices on a full payment purchase. Also, the company doesn’t have the luxury brands like iPhone 13 and the overall 5G-capable selections are only a few.

Winner: Ting online shop has many latest phones, lower pricing, and financing option.

Free 5G Access & Speeds

Similarly, the points here will be going to Ting phone service. Of course, both providers have free access to the 5G network bands, but Ting does have its own carrier bundle with Apple. So, you can enjoy the ultra-fast Verizon or T-Mobile speeds on both iPhone and Android devices.

Another thing, Ting has relatively high browsing speed, which the company says can peak up to 1Gbps on average- presumably on Verizon. However, many of us will have access to the low-band or mid-band 5G spectrum. And in that case, you can expect download speeds between 175-700Mbps, which is slightly better than the current Tello.

Yes, on Tello 5G, a recent speed test has peaked at around 282Mbps on downloads and 8.5Mbps on upload. However, the download speeds can drop down up to 68Mbps or even 50Mbps during heavy deprioritization.

Also, it’s worth noting Tello currently doesn’t have its own carrier bundle with Apple. Hence, the reason you’ll find many people complaining about not having access to 5G with iPhone devices.

Winner: Ting has 5G access to both iPhone and Android devices, plus about 2.5x faster 5G speeds.

Phone Plans & Pricing

At this point, Ting has led on all the points for coverage, phone deals, and 5G service. However, when we compare Ting vs Tello phone plans, the latter is the clear winner. It not only has more plans to consider, but also more reasonable rates.

Features500MB CustomEconomy PlanValue Plan  Smart Plan  6GB Custom8GB CustomData Plan  
Single Line Price$9/ mo.$10/ mo.$14/ mo.$19/ mo.$24/ mo.$29/ mo.$39/ mo.
Talk MinutesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Text MessagesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
High-Speed Data500MB1GB2GB4GB6GB8GBUnlimited
Priority DataN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A25GB
128kbps DataUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Video Streaming4K Quality4K Quality4K Quality4K Quality4K Quality4K Quality4K Quality

In the chart, our Tello plan structure starts with the 500MB Custom bundle that you can get from $9/ month. I’ve dubbed it “custom” since it’s one of the customizable rates you build depending on your needs.

And as said earlier, you can build your desired Tello Phone Plans from as low as $5 with 100 minutes, unlimited texting, and no data. Alternatively, the five bucks can give you 500MB of data with no minutes or free text.

If you’re a heavy data user, Tello also has Unlimited Data plan you can consider. However, the said “unlimited data” includes 25GB of priority data, then 2G speeds thereafter.

Ting Could be Better!

Indeed, you might find Ting a much better option if you’re on the internet a lot. It has an unlimited plan with a 22GB high-speed data allowance and 35GB on the Pro version. The pricing is also pretty average, but not the greatest, as shown below.

FeaturesFlex PlanSet 5 PlanSet 12 PlanUnlimited PlanUnlimited Pro Plan
Single Line Price$10/ mo.$25/ mo.$35/ mo.$45/ mo.$55/ mo.
Talk MinutesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Text MessagesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
High-Speed Data$5/ GB (add-on)5GB12GBUnlimitedUnlimited
Priority DataN/AN/AN/A22GB35GB
128kbps DataN/AUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Mobile HotspotN/AYESYES (up to 8GB)YES (up to 12GB)YES (up to 18GB)
Video Streaming QualityN/A1080p HD1080p HD1080p HD1080p HD

Again, Ting Phone Plans may have everything you need in a good phone service, but they’re a bit expensive. Yes, the price is relatively low compared to Verizon and T-Mobile postpaid, but not against Tello.

If it’s the talk & text only plan, here it will cost you $10 vs $5 on Tello. Then, $45/ month gives you 22GB data plan on Ting, whereas Tello has a 25GB bundle at $39/ month.

Even so, the Ting Unlimited Pro plan still has more high-speed data than Tello plans.

Winner: Tello rate plans are more flexible and slightly budget-friendly

Roaming Feature & Pricing

Although many don’t consider it, network roaming is very crucial in any cell phone service. However, several carriers, including our Tello here, don’t offer any roaming feature on its GSM service.

So, you’ll have to rely on WiFi calling when you’re traveling abroad or even when in poor coverage areas here in the States.

On the other hand, Ting has the roaming feature both within and outside the United States. So, you’ll be able to keep in touch with your loved ones in areas you can’t use the WiFi calling option.

Nonetheless, Ting usually allows you to enable the international rooming feature after a minimum of three months. Then, your account will need to be in good standing with no late payments either on the phone plans or device financing.

Winner: Ting for having both domestic and international roaming feature

Deprioritization & Throttling

Similar to other MVNOs, both Tello and Ting will experience deprioritization when their carrier networks are very busy. Thus, it will be safe to be on the 5G service so you can still have usable data speeds when your line is deprioritized.

As for throttling, the two carriers also don’t have “truly” unlimited data plans. So, they’ll slow down your high-speed data speed after reaching the allotment limit.

Winner: A tie since both carriers will slow down your data speed based on usage and during congestion

Final Thoughts:

At this point, we can say both Tello and Ting are great phone services if you don’t want to pay the expensive rates on the major networks. Tello allows you to save even more bucks using its custom plans that you choose the minutes and data based on your usage.

Even so, Ting is a much better choice, in my opinion. It not only has a more expansive coverage on Verizon and T-Mobile but also faster 5G speeds on all smartphone brands, including iPhones.

Also, the Ting phone plans have more data allowance on the unlimited plans. Then, you can enjoy both domestic and international roaming, which Tello doesn’t have.