Icons-MyTello Icons-MyTello Icons-MyTello Icons-MyTello Icons-MyTello

Help Center

Got a question? We have the answer!

Will my phone work with Tello?

If your phone fulfills 2 requirements - compatible and unlocked - it should work with Tello:
1. Compatible
This is something you can check quite easily.
In general Tello-Compatible BYOP devices usually include:
  • Most unlocked T-Mobile, AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Simple Mobile, and Straight Talk phones
  • Many 4G LTE phones used on Verizon may also work with Tello as long as they have been unlocked.
  • Only models manufactured for the US market will activate on our network - phones made for overseas markets will not work.
Please don't contact our support team with just the make & model of the device because with just that information we cannot say for certain if it will be compatible with our network.

Here is how you can quickly & easily check compatibility yourself:
  • You have the Phone to hand:
    If you have the device to hand, then you have access to the IMEI and so you can use our online device checker at https://tello.com/bring_your_own_phone.
    This is a very reliable checker (our Customer Support team uses the same checker!) so you can trust the results from this.
  • You don't have the Phone at hand:
    If you don't have access to the IMEI, you must look at the device's tech specs and check them off against the 2 compatibility requirements listed below.
    The "tech specs" of the phone you have (or are considering purchasing) will contain the information related to these requirements.
    You will find them in the description of the device you are thinking about buying (ask the seller directly), in the manual of the device you already purchased or via an online search.
    • (a). VoLTE
      VoLTE means Voice over LTE and provides crisp, clear audio quality and helps prevent dropped calls.
      The device must support VoLTE (the type of VoLTE compatible with our network).
      Older phone models tend to be missing this feature more often than newer models.
    • (b). Bands
      The device must support (at a minimum) the following set of LTE bands:
      • Band 2 (1900 MHz)
      • Band 4 (2100 MHz)
      • Band 12 (700 MHz)
However, for best service on our network, your phone should have at least 1 of the following bands/frequencies in addition to the above 3:
  • Band 5 (850 MHz)
  • Band 66 (1700 Mhz)
  • Band 71 (600 MHz)
For example, if the phone has bands 2, 4, 12, and 71, then that is ideal.
Phones made for overseas markets and older phones are more likely not to accommodate these band requirements.

2. Unlocked
Whether you device is compatible or not, the phone needs to be unlocked.
Unlocked and Compatible are 2 completely different unrelated requirements.
Our device checker can check for compatibility only - you must check that the phone is unlocked.
So even if you receive the "Awesome" message on our device checker, you still need to check if the phone is unlocked or not.

Contact the existing carrier to confirm the locked status of the device or if you are buying a new phone, confirm with the seller.
Locked phones will not work on Tello and we do not lock or unlock any phones so this can only be checked with your carrier or the phone seller.

In summary, when acquiring a new device, please ensure it supports the 2 technologies outlined above and of course check with the seller or carrier that it is unlocked.
You can also purchase a compatible device (with a free Tello SIM) from us.
See our phones selection.
Mobile routers (e.g. Netgear) will not work with Tello. Only a Tello SIM will work on Tello. No other SIMs will work. Once you successfully bring a compatible & unlocked phone through our device checker page at https://tello.com/bring_your_own_phone, then simply follow the prompts to acquire a Tello SIM and proceed to checkout.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Contact Tello Support