Tello UK Review: Flexible Plans With Low UK & International Rates

January 31st, 2017

Tello is a low-cost mobile network with flexible plans and competitive rates for UK & international calling.


In the UK, Tello is a low-cost mobile network specialising in flexible 30-day plans and low-cost UK and international phone calls. The network, which uses 3G & 4G coverage from Three, allows you to build custom 30-day plans from only £4/month. For out-of-plan usage, Tello will then charge just 5p/minute, 5p/text and 2p/MB for usage in the UK. International phone calls start from 1p/minute.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the Tello UK mobile network. We’ll start by looking at the price plans available and at how the prices on Tello compare to other UK mobile networks. We’ll also look at the coverage on Tello, how you can join as a new customer and how you can keep an existing phone number.

Pricing & Tariffs

30 Day Plans

Tello Build Your Own Plan

You can build your own custom plan on the Tello website.

The core of Tello’s UK offering is their flexible 30-day plan. With a 30-day plan, Tello gives you a certain amount of minutes, texts and internet to use at any time over the next 30 days. You’ll pay a fixed amount for your plan which is based upon the allowances included within it.

Uniquely, among UK networks, Tello allows you to build your own custom plan. You can customise the elements of your plan based on how many minutes, how many texts and how much data you require. You’ll be able to choose an option from each of the columns below when making your own customised plan:

100 minutes £2
200 minutes £3
500 minutes £4
Unlimited minutes £8
20 texts £1
100 texts £2
Unlimited texts £3
100MB data £1
500MB data £3
1GB data £5
2GB data £7
3GB data £9

You can build your custom plan through the interactive tool on Tello’s website:

Build Your Own Plan ( »

By default, the same plan will automatically renew itself at the end of 30 days. If you don’t want this to happen, you can change your plan at any time through the My Tello website or mobile application (available for iPhone and Android smartphones).

You can get a 25% discount on your first month’s plan by ordering through this link and using the W2T25 voucher code during checkout.

UK Rates

Top Up LogoFor any out-of-plan usage, Tello allows you to pay on a per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte basis. You can top-up from a minimum of just £2 each time, but it’s worth remembering this is in addition to the cost of your monthly plan.

Tello’s out-of-plan rates are fairly competitive compared to other UK mobile networks. They charge 5p/minute, 5p/text and 2p/MB (a fraction of what the major mobile networks typically charge). However, there are some cheaper alternatives like 1p Mobile (1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB) and Three (3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB on Pay As You Go).

The following table shows Tello’s out-of-plan rates:

Calling Rates:
Voice Calls 5p/minute (any network, any time)
Calls to Voicemail 5p/minute
Calls to Special Rate Numbers 15p/minute access charge
+ service charge from the company you’re calling
Messaging Rates:
Text Message (SMS) 2p
Picture Message (MMS) Not available.
Internet Rates:
Mobile Internet 1p/MB

Order Tello SIM Card »

You can check the remaining balance on your Pay As You Go account by calling the automated service line on 32123. Alternatively, you can log in to the My Tello website or app (available on iPhone and Android).

Your Tello account can be topped up through the website or app using a credit card, debit card or PayPal account. For convenience, there is also an optional auto top-up feature which will recharge your account automatically when your Pay As You Go balance falls below £2.

International Rates

EarthA major selling point of the Tello mobile network is their low rates for international calling. With a Tello SIM card, you can call abroad from as little as 1p/minute with the exact rate depends on the country you’re calling. Below, we’ve shown the cost of calling some frequently-called countries.

International text messages range from 6p to 10p each (again, this depends on the country you’re sending a text message to).

CountryCalls to MobileCalls to LandlineText Message
China (+86)2.4p/minute2.4p/minute10p/message
India (+91)2.7p/minute2.7p/minute6p/message
Ireland (+353)4.7p/minute2.1p/minute6p/message
Italy (+39)3p/minute2.1p/minute10p/message
Pakistan (+92)4.5p/minute4.5p/minute6p/message
Poland (+48)3p/minute2.6p/minute10p/message
Romania (+40)3p/minute2p/minute10p/message
Sri Lanka (+94)16.5p/minute16.9p/minute6p/message
Turkey (+90)12.9p/minute3.9p/minute9p/message
United States (+1)2p/minute2p/minute10p/message

Cost of international calls & international text messages on the Tello network (calls & texts made to a phone number in another country whilst you're in the UK). Last updated on 12th May 2017. Source:

For anyone who frequently calls abroad to other countries, Tello also has a range of international plans. The international plans will give you a large number of international minutes for a fixed price each month (for instance, you can get 500 minutes to the US for £8/month).

International plans are currently available for calling Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Lithuania, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Thailand and the United States of America.

Credit Expiry

Phone Call

On Tello, your credit will not expire providing you use your SIM card at least once every 180 days.

On Tello, your Pay As You Go credit won’t expire providing your SIM card remains active. To keep it active, you’ll need to use the SIM card at least once every 6 months. This is stated in the terms and conditions for Tello UK SIM:

If Tello SIM is not used for a period of 6 months (no calls, texts or data usage is registered), the SIM will be deactivated and all unused balance will be lost. Upon SIM deactivation, Tello recalls no obligation to refund any lost data, Pay As You Go credit, minutes or any other account balance.

Most other Pay As You Go mobile networks specialising in international calling have a much stricter policy on credit expiry. For instance, on Delight Mobile, Lebara Mobile, Lycamobile and Vectone Mobile, your credit will expire 90 days after it’s added to your account.

Given the much more generous credit expiry policy and given the smaller minimum top-up of just £2, we believe Tello is a much better choice for occasional mobile users wanting low international rates.

Voucher Code Offers

For customers choosing a flexible 30-day plan, it’s currently possible to get a 25% discount on your first month’s subscription. For instance, if you were to get the £12/month plan with 500 minutes, 20 texts and 2GB of data, you’d only need to pay £9 for your first month’s subscription.

To benefit from the discount, you should use the W2T25 voucher code during checkout. The voucher code can only be used once per customer, and is only valid for a period of one month.

Comparison To Alternatives

£5 per month bundles

5 Pound Note

Tello has some entry-level bundles at £5/month.

On Tello, you’d be able to get 100 minutes, 100 texts and 100MB of data for £5/month.

The following tables shows a comparison of how Tello’s £5/month bundle compares to rival networks like ASDA Mobile, EE and giffgaff:

ASDA Mobile1252,000200MB£5.00
ASDA Mobile2502,000-£5.00

You’ll get a free SIM card when ordering your plan from Tello.

£10 per month bundles

10 Pound Note

Tello has a choice of six bundles for £10/month.

For £10/month, you’d be able to get one of the following six bundles from Tello:

On rival Pay As You Go mobile networks, you’d be able to get the following for £10/month:

ASDA Mobile600Unlimited2GB£10.00

For all-round usage, ASDA Mobile’s £10 bundle could be slightly better value than Tello (600 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB data for £10/month).

£15 per month bundles

15 Pound Notes

For £15/month, you’ll get unlimited minutes, 100 texts and 1GB of data on Tello.

On Tello, you’ll get unlimited minutes, 100 texts and 1GB data for £15/month.

On rival Pay As You Go mobile networks, you can pick up the following bundles for £15/month:

ASDA Mobile1,000Unlimited5GB£15.00

For a more in-depth comparison, please see our guide to the UK’s best value Pay As You Go bundles.

UK Rates

Tello charges 5p/minute, 5p/text and 2p/MB for usage in the UK. This makes it one of the better value mobile networks for out-of-plan usage.

At present, 1p Mobile has the lowest Pay As You Go rates in the UK (they charge 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB). Amongst the mainstream providers, Three has the lowest rates (3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB). For a full comparison, please see our guide to Pay As You Go rates in the UK.

International Rates

The following table compares the per-minute costs of international calling on Pay As You Go networks:

CountryCost of calling abroad from the UK (per minute)
China (+86)2p
(2p to landline)
(2p to landline)
(1p to landline)
(1.5p to landline)
(2.4p to landline)
(1.5p to landline)
India (+91)2p2p2p2p2.7p1.5p
Ireland (+353)8p
(1p to landline)
(2p to landline)
(7p to landline)
(1p to landline)
(2.1p to landline)
(5p to landline)
Italy (+39)7p
(2p to landline)
(3p to landline)
(7p to landline)
(2p to landline)
(2.1p to landline)
(5p to landline)
Pakistan (+92)10p
(10p to landline)
(8p to landline)
(8p to landline)
(6p to landline)
(4.5p to landline)
(12p to landline)
Poland (+48)5p
(1p to landline)
(2p to landline)
(1p to landline)
(1p to landline)
(2.6p to landline)
(5p to landline)
Romania (+40)5p
(1p to landline)
(2p to landline)
(1p to landline)
(1p to landline)
(2p to landline)
(5p to landline)
Sri Lanka (+94)20p
(10p to landline)
(14p to landline)
(12p to landline)
(15p to landline)
(16.9p to landline)
(12p to landline)
Turkey (+90)15p
(5p to landline)
(3p to landline)
(3p to landline)
(3p to landline)
(3.9p to landline)
(5p to landline)
United States (+1)3p2p6p2p2p1.5p

Cost of calling abroad from a UK mobile network (per minute). As the headline figure, we've shown the per-minute cost of calling a mobile phone number. Where a lower price applies for calling landline numbers, this is shown separately in brackets. Last updated on 12th May 2017. Source:,,,,,

On Tello, you’ll automatically get the lowest rates available. However, other mobile networks may require you to opt-in for the lowest rates. For more information, please see our guide to international calling.

If you’re frequently calling another country, Tello’s international bundles may be a better value choice.

Network & Coverage

3G & 4G Coverage from Three

Tello UK Coverage Map 2017

Tello offers 97% population coverage, using the 3G & 4G networks from Three.

Tello is a low-cost virtual network operator that uses Three as its network coverage provider. Customers with a Tello SIM card will therefore receive the exact same coverage as customers on Three.

At the time of writing, this is 97% population coverage for calling, texting and browsing on 3G. About 65% of the population will get the fastest 4G service, with download speeds about five times faster than regular 3G.

Before ordering a SIM card from Tello, we strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on the Tello website:

Check Tello UK Coverage Map »

For a list of virtual network operators and the company they each use to provide their coverage, please see our guide to mobile phone coverage in the UK.


Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with another device (for instance, with your laptop or tablet).

On Tello, it’s possible to tether on all of their tariffs. This is a key benefit compared to other low-cost Pay As You Go networks as many others prohibit the use of tethering.

Tello’s full tethering policy in listed in their help centre:

Do you offer tethering?
Yes, tethering is available on Tello. You can share data through tethering (creating a hotspot) with any device capable to use a data connection. There are no limitations and no extra charges, besides the data usage that will be deducted from your national plan or Pay As You Go balance.

International Roaming

Going Abroad

Tello does not provide an international roaming service.

Unfortunately, Tello doesn’t yet offer international roaming as part of their service. This means if you leave the UK with a Tello SIM card inside your handset, you won’t receive any mobile coverage on your phone.

To make phone calls whilst you’re travelling abroad, it’s still possible to use the My Tello app (available on iPhone and Android). To use this, you’ll need to connect your smartphone to a wi-fi network. The call will then use your normal phone number and you’ll pay the same rates as you normally would in the UK. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to receive incoming phone calls on the My Tello app.

Joining Tello

Tello is a SIM-only mobile network so you’ll need to have an unlocked handset to use with the service. This can either be your existing smartphone (see our guides to unlocking an iPhone and unlocking a Samsung Galaxy) or you can buy a new unlocked smartphone.

You can order a free SIM card from the Tello website, paying for your plan and/or initial top-up by credit card, debit card or PayPal.

You can get a 25% discount on your first month’s plan by ordering through this link and using the W2T25 voucher code during checkout.

Keeping Your Phone Number

Transfer Phone Number to Tello

It’s a straightforward process to transfer your phone number to Tello.

If you’re switching from another mobile network to Tello, it’s a straightforward process to keep your existing phone number.

To do so, you’ll need to contact your old mobile network to ask for a PAC Code. This will authorise the transfer of your phone number to Tello. Once you’ve received the PAC Code from your old network, you can order your new SIM card on the Tello website.

When your new SIM card arrives, you can contact Tello customer services on 32100 (or 020 3514 7110 if you’re calling from another network). After you give your PAC Code to Tello, they’ll arrange for the transfer of your phone number (this will normally take place on the next working day after you give them your PAC Code).

For a step-by-step guide on moving your number to Tello, please select your current mobile network from the drop-down menu below:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to Tello

Your current network provider:

  More Options

For more information, please see our in-depth guide on transferring your mobile number from one network to another.

More Information

For more information about Tello in the UK, please see their official website.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 18 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Ken said:

    Hi all,
    Unfortunately, Tello has increased their PAYG & bundle rates as of today. They’re now charging 5p/minute, 5p/text and 2p/MB (up from the previous rates of 3p/minute, 3p/text and 1p/MB). The cost of various build-your-own-bundle options have also gone up.
    I’ve updated the article above to reflect this information.

  2. Lee said:

    Very good payg rates but unfortunately you need to take out a plan when you first order a sim & keep a plan active to top up your payg balance once it runs out, so if you cancel your plan before it auto tops up every 30 days then you cannot top up your payg balance later on. The other catch is that you lose your unused credit for plans after 30 days (no roll over), however your payg credit does not expire unless your sim remains inactive for 6 months. So in effect your forced into taking a monthly contract to keep using their payg service & any unused credit from their monthly plans i assume goes towards their profits as its non refundable. Only a good option for moderately to heavy users & not a light user like me who wants a simple payg service.

  3. A G said:

    The 070/084/087/09 access charge is 15p/min now. Still low enough for me to tease my parents on decidedly old fashioned 12 month contracts

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi AG,
      Thanks for the heads up about this! I’ve just amended the special rate in the table above to 15p/minute.
      Thanks again!

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