For Tello Mobile, GSM is the new normal
Kicking off 2021 with a bang: Starting this January, Tello is enrolling customers into our new GSM network, while keeping our hallmark flexible phone plans and excellent customer service exactly the same. (pinky promise!)
🙌 This good news is for everybody: past, present, and future customers.
Since many of you were eager to see this happen, we are very glad to announce that GSM is now LIVE.
As you might know this from our previous posts, conversations or our social media, transitioning to a GSM network took a bit longer than expected.
Just like all good things in life, right? It was worth the wait since this change comes with improved 4G LTE coverage, faster data speeds, and a super-stable network. So maybe not having 2020’s karma all around this news was actually a good thing after all.
Wait. What? What does that mean?
For Tello Mobile, GSM is the new normal.
This means aligning with the industry trends of next-generation VoLTE. Our challenge was to keep it simple and make the transition as seamless as possible for each and every customer. (no, we were not catching up with some sleep)
📌 Everything you need to know about Tello and the 2 Telecom Giants’ Merger
Here’s a breakdown of ALL the things you need to know about Tello GSM:
What changes for New Customers that want to join Tello?
How do you know Tello’s a match for you? You have a GSM VoLTE device, you’re into small phone bills and “Savings” is your word of the year. That’s it. That’s the deal.
What should newcomers expect of Tello transitioning to GSM?
🎯 Newbies will be onboarded directly to the new network
🎯 Before porting in to Tello, keep in mind that you’ll have to:
- Check our coverage where you live – https://tello.com/coverage
- Check phone compatibility and enroll your own GSM compatible device, or buy a new one
- Choose the plan best suited for you and place your order on tello.com – our cell phone plans start from $5/month and we’re still crushing the competition with these super affordable rates.
🎯 New customers will need to buy a new Tello branded SIM when they first join, just like before.
- After receiving the SIM, they’ll have to activate the service according to Tello instructions found on our site.
What will the migration look like for Existing Customers?
Ensuring the migration to GSM runs as pain-free as possible for existing customers is top of mind for us. Knowing that we can keep our word on this feels good, we won’t lie. Our social media, blog and newsletter will keep you in the loop regarding the exact timeline and things to consider. Yes, this is a great time to subscribe to our newsletter, just saying.
More details on what to expect as a Tello customer, coming right up. We’ve kept the info as simple as possible, just in case the word “change” makes your heart race by default.
What should existing Tello customers expect of the GSM migration?
🎯 Current customers will begin to migrate from the CDMA network to the new GSM network in the first quarter of early 2021 → no need to worry or hurry, the existing CDMA network will still be supported until the end of 2021
🎯 The migration to the new network will be done in batches → every existing Telloer will be guided through the process with personalised information, tools and dedicated support
🎯 As soon as they receive the migration prompt via email/app notification, each customer will be able to get the new Tello GSM SIMs for free and change the network while keeping their number and device, if compatible
🎯 Before you enroll in the new network, you’ll need to check that you already have a compatible phone or you need a new one. Customers with phones that are not compatible with the new GSM network will have multiple opportunities to upgrade their phone and change gears
🎯 Also, we recommend that you check the coverage where you live, just to make sure the new network already offers better coverage than the old one.
🎯 Once you receive it, it will be over to you to activate the service on the new network according to our instructions. Billing will not be affected in any way, so the only thing remaining is to wish you a happy restart on the new GSM network.
🎯 For the entire transition period, customers will be able to check coverage under the new network as well as the CDMA network
What a brand new nationwide GSM 4G LTE network actually means?
We’re not just saying “bye-bye” to CDMA and “hi, GSM”.
Our end goal is to offer: more accessible service, faster speed, better coverage for even more people! This will never change. Same goes for our prices. Small rates are here to stay. If these changes are still not that clear for you, take a look at the table below or check out this page for more info:
Congratulations on going live with GSM VoLTE service!
One of my current lines of service is active on a very old CDMA-only phone, if I proactively switch to a different phone during the transition would the new phone be activated on the GSM network?
Hello, there, excited customer!
Excited Tello rep over here, nice to make your acquaintance. Thanks for the question, the short answer is you can do both, here’s how:
– If your replacement phone and SIM are CDMA compatible, it will activate under CDMA network.
– If the phone is GSM compatible, your phone will need a Tello GSM SIM (added in the checkout during the Bring your own device) and it will activate under the new GSM network, bringing your number along.
Hope this helps.
Have a great day, thanks!
What if an existing customer were to buy a new phone from Tello at this time, which network would it be activated under?
The device that you will buy from us will be used on the GSM network and you will also receive a GSM SIM along with it. Thanks!
Will Tello customers have access to the new networks 5G coverage and will we gain native wifi calling?
After all our prior conversations on the GSM topic, I was expecting a bit of excitement on your part when posting the article 😉.
To answer your question, both 5G and WIFI calling are top of mind in terms of future things to add to the service. While we don’t have an ETA for them yet, I trust that my team will make them happen in the foreseeable future. Thanks!
Trust me, I’m very exited that GSM is now live.
I’m a little sad though because I’d love to get my SE over to GSM ASAP, but currently it looks like only new customers are getting to have all the fun. I would love to get some sort of timeline as to when us current customers can migrate over, trying to do so in the account now only offers CDMA SIMs.
T-Mobile keeps messing with the Sprint network and makes my service not super reliable in my area. Heck, I’ve not been getting any calls then will get week old voicemails. Not to mention I could have LTE service in one spot one day, then only 1xRTT in that same spot on another day.
Though for the fact the 3 blocks around my house has been mainly 3G only since October, I got a pleasant surprise tonight when I crossed over one block from my house to get B25 LTE. It looks like T-Mobile is starting to integrate some of the LTE bands into their own towers around me.
Now that’s more like it, Drako, thanks! You kind of scared me by not having a reaction to the news. I was dying to share it with you guys :).
As far as timelines for the migration batches go, everybody will receive an email from us with more details soon enough.
I’m sorry to hear about your coverage issues and all the time travelling voice messages, but hope things will get better asap!
Have a great day!
Not a big deal for me but I don’t see WIFI calling on the features list so will that not be enabled on GSM network?
Alison, thanks for reaching out!
WIFI calling is not available right now, but we’re working on it and hopefully, we will have it enabled soon.
Have a great one,
I’m so happy to see the transition to GSM. Will phones locked on T-mobile work on Tello or will they need to be unlocked?
Hello, thanks for doing the GSM happy dance with us:)!
As per your question, the unlocked rule is universal, meaning the device needs to be unlocked in order to join Tello. You’ll have to check its compatibility on our site as well, and after that, if all is ok, you’re good to go.
Hi, As long as the phone passes the compatibility checker, it should be good to go, correct? Some used S20 phones on sale like Swappa say they’re network locked on T-Mobile but they pass the compatibility checker.
Kenny, the compatibility checker is the all mighty Oracle here, if it says it’s good to go, then I wouldn’t doubt it. Maybe for more info on the matter, you can give my colleagues from the Customer Support Team a ring, they have much knowledge too. Thanks!
Hi, great news on the migration, I’ll be sending some more people your way!
I am curious if there are any plans for eSIM support? They are so much more convenient than SIM cards and T-Mobile does allow their MVNOs to sell eSIM service. It would be a big boost to Tello to have this since it enables quick and seamless switching from an expensive postpaid plan to a much more reasonable Tello plan!
Thanks a bunch, Robert! Your support and trust mean the world!
eSIMs are definitely on our radar for the future, since we want to have the latest tech, but for now, it’s a no. You’re right, it would be great to have them soon, we’ll keep you posted on this, thanks!
Thanks for the fast response, Maria! Great to hear that eSIM is at least in the future plans.
One more question. It is my understanding that Tello was not deprioritized on Sprint because Sprint didn’t deprioritize their MVNOs. Since T-Mobile is supposed to offer MVNOs the same terms they had on Sprint as part of their merger agreement, does this mean that Tello is not deprioritized like other T-Mobile MVNOs are or was deprioritization behind T-Mobile’s own customers part of the new agreement?
With LTE network evolving and 5G added on top, this is no longer a concern. There should not be any issues with degraded service quality for our customers versus others on the same network.
Is RCS messaging a feature that will be available at some point in the future?
I’d like to know this as well.
Here’s what I have for you regarding this matter: all Androids RCS capable and compatible with RCS Universal Profile should work on the new network.
Is there any way to port back in a Sprint CDMA phone to the CDMA network that was previously on the Tello network? There is no GSM coverage in my area. I understand support will end in June, but it would buy me some time.
Phil, while the maps are not updated, this may have also changed since T-Mobile is planning on keeping 20,000 cell cites to expand their coverage area into areas where Sprint worked and T-Mobile did not.
They have also already begun integrating Sprint’s LTE into their own and dual-casting for both Sprint and T-Mobile. You could tell if you use a Speedtest.net app or a network diagnostics tool. If they give you the ISP as T-Mobile, then the LTE network is already running on T-Mobile and therefore is giving out “GSM” coverage. (Since it’s all LTE now anyways.)
I have noticed with the Speedtest.net app that it may not show it on the initial report screen, but will show it on the detailed history report.
For instance on my iPhone I used a search for “cell info” and the Network Utility will show me the backend ISP. ALL LTE in my area (using a Sprint SIM) gives me the backend ISP of T-Mobile. That means all LTE in my area is already integrated into T-Mobile’s network and APN, but dual casting so Sprint users can use it too.
This is mandatory: all customers are advised to check the coverage network before switching and to delay moving to GSM if they have any concerns on coverage.
Hope this helps,
I did notice that while current users have not gotten any notifications to migrate over, there seems to be a hidden gem.
If you log in and put in the IMEI of a compatible device on the BYOD page, it will allow you to order a GSM SIM for the active line. (SIM card is also FREE when I started the process.)
Was wondering if that was a glitch in the system or if someone really wanted to jump over now – would doing it that way mess up anything on the account?
I guess my question here is:
Would existing customers be able to use the BYOD page to go ahead and switch to the GSM network now if they have a compatible device instead of waiting for the prompts and if we did it now would we have to pay for the GSM SIM?
So I did call a rep about this:
The rep said that existing customers with compatible devices may go ahead and rush the migration through to BYOD page and get their FREE GSM SIM card.
At first she said she flagged my account so the SIM would be FREE, but I was playing around with it before the call and it was already FREE.
Though the rep said the exact process is as follows:
Login to My Tello
Go to the My Phone page
Click on “Bring a new phone” (This will take you to the BYOD Page)
Enter the IMEI of your current, active device.
If it is compatible with the new network, it will let you order a GSM SIM.
(It shows $10 on the order page, but it changes to $0+Shipping in the cart.)
May want to make sure that the phone is compatible with the new GSM Network and there’s coverage where you use it.
Just make sure the order is for a GSM SIM, which will be listed both on the BYOD Page and the Order Pages.
Thanks for the tip, Drako. Much appreciated. Got my new SIM card on the way now.
As with Draka, I am willing to be a ‘Guinea Pig’ and want to proactively change to the GSM network.
When I tried the process above to get the new/free GSM SIM card, it did not work. After I click ‘Bring a New Phone’ and enter the IMEI of my current, active phone and click ‘Check’, then nothing happens. The page doesn’t update, change, or do anything.
I have already verified my phone will work on the new GSM network by using the “Is my phone compatible with the new GSM network?” on the web page, and when I click ‘check your phone’, it says “Good news! Your phone is compatible with our new GSM network.”, so I’m not sure why the process above doesn’t seem to work to get a GSM SIM card sent out to me.
Any thoughts/suggestions? Or should I just be patient and wait for the transition to come to my account?
Make sure you check the shipping options carefully!
You can get free USPS First Class, or you can speed it up a little
for $5 Priority Mail or $15 UPS 2nd Day Air.
The $5 is checked by default, so if you’re not in a big hurry, you can save a little money there.
You are worthy of a MacGyver title.
You’re right, users are not blocked from early transitioning.
However, we recommend customers to follow our notifications because they are tied to a better time to transition as we will take into account device compatibility and coverage for a seamless transition.
Thanks for being part of our community!
Also, is anyone aware that the Coverage Page on Tello’s site still cites the Sprint Network in it’s title?
Pretty sure the new map is the new GSM Network – looks like T-Mobile to me, but I think you may have a contract that doesn’t allow you to disclose which network you are on now.
Though I think such contracts are a bad idea because it revokes needed information for customers.
I’ve even petitioned the FCC to ban such contracts for MVNOs.
Though my bigger concern is that with the Sprint name still showing, could be giving confusing/conflicting information to customers.
I posted this same comment/question on the older blog (What Tello customers can expect when we’ll be switching to the GSM network – https://blog.tello.com/news/tello-and-the-telecom-giants-merger/), but since this blog is newer, I’ll post here as well. Sorry for the duplication.
Question regarding the functionality once the switch to GSM is made. With the Sprint/CDMA system, we were able to block unwanted text messages from random numbers by texting ‘block [number]’ to 9999 and thus save the $0.01 charge on the Pay As You Go Credit each time these unwanted, spam messages would be sent by bad people. Will we be able to do the same (block specific numbers) once on the GSM system? Or maybe it will be the same? I don’t know if T-Mobile will carry over the Sprint 9999 number to send to in order block. I know we can block ALL text messages via logging into our account on the Tello web page (probably the app as well) and selecting that option on the web page, but blocking all is not an enticing solution. We need to be able to block just these spam people while still being able to text those numbers we want. I also know iOS (and assume Android OS) have the ability to block numbers, however that block is done locally on the phone, so, while not disturbed by the unwanted number, we still get charged $0.01 for the text message. What’s worse with that is since it is blocked by the phone, we do not know to block it otherwise and can continue to get unwanted message and charged $0.01 on your balance each time without realizing it until checking usage and balance.
So I asking if we’ll be able to block specific numbers by sending ‘block [number]’ to 9999 ? Will our previously blocked numbers be carried over to GSM?
Also, with Sprint/CDMA, we are able to check our Voice Mail on a different line (again saving Pay As You Go Credit charges) by calling our number and when the leave a message recording comes, type ‘*’ and our voice mail passcode. Will we be able to continue to do this once switching to the GSM system?
Thank you – sorry if the post if long, I just wanted to try to be clear in order to get clear answers to my two questions.
Upon reading your message, it became clear to me that I have to act like a liaison between you and my fellow IT department. I’ve forwarded your question and the guys are on it, saying they have to run some tests around the issue.
Also, remote listening voicemail works just fine.
I’ll get back to you when we have something, thanks!
Maria – thank you for the update. I look forward to additional information IT can provide once they get back to you.
Congrats on the big move!
Noticed that the new coverage map now has something called “partner coverage” in grey. Does it mean that Tello can now roam on T-Mobile’s partners as well? This was not the case with Sprint before – we were limited to their proprietory coverage only.
Thanks to clarify.
Hi, there, thanks for your question and your regards.
Unfortunately, we have no updates on roaming at this point, sorry. I’ll come back with news when we have something fresh on this topic.
Have a great day :D!
How to check current Tello phone for GSM compatibility
Current ‘old’ Tello customer, trying to use the IMEI checker to see if my current phone on Tello is GSM compatible. The checker sees that it’s already on Tello and gives that message, but doesn’t tell me if it will be GSM VoLTE compatible with the new network.
Your techs need to update the script so current customers can check their current in use phones.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, things are now updated to work properly, please try it again.
Can I get the new SIM Card sooner than later as my phone (iphone SE) works with both CDMA and GMS and as there are some “holes” in the coverage of Sprint in my region?
Thanks for writing.
Please see my friend Drako’s answer on this, he beat us both to it :) Thanks!
Told ya I was excited for the new network and wanted to be able to get onto it ASAP.
When you mentioned that current customers buying new devices will be moved to the new network, and I looked back on the previous announcement where you mentioned using the BYOD page to check for device compatibility after GSM is live. So I did some playing around and found out that one could get a new GSM SIM this way if their current device is compatible already. The call to Support only confirmed it and ensured the SIM would be FREE. (Which it already wasn’t charging me before the call.)
This is great news and I’m sure once the dust settles, and Sprint’s CDMA network is offline, (According to HowardForums members, could be as early as January 2022) things will only get better for Tello customers.
I am also documenting my own migration on Howard Forums.
I will be moving to Mountain City, TN in the next few months. Unfortunately, there is no coverage there.
Looks like I’ll have to use another provider.
Mountain City sounds like quite the adventure, sorry that we won’t be able to share it with you.
We’ll be here when you come back, all the best! Thanks!
Hi! I’m a current Tello user, and the Tello phone compatibility checker says that my phone is not GSM compatible. Coverage map shows excellent coverage for both networks. Should I go ahead and buy a new phone now, or should I wait? Can we expect greater savings on Tello phones for existing customers in the coming months? Thanks!
Older CDMA phones will work up until the end of 2021, and we will enable a gradual switch with lots of opportunities to change your device.
In terms of buying a new phone now or later, that’s up to you. See what works best for your budget, and if you find a great device – that is unlocked, GSM & VoLTE compatible, don’t let it slip away.
We’re big fans of promotions and deals, so it’s best to keep an eye out for such offers and we are committed to making the switch easier on our current customer – please make sure you’re a newsletter subscriber :),
Thanks so much for writing!
I am starting to get a bit irritated. After dialing *#06#, I see that my device ID is 99001108597501. I go into my phone and try to get the IMEI number from SETTINGS – ABOUT PHONE – STATUS – IMEI INFORMATION and it tells me the IMEI number is 990011085975018. I enter either number into the widget at: https://tello.com/new-gsm-network and it tells me this:
Oops! Your IMEI might not be correct or your phone is not compatible with our new GSM network. Please check that your IMEI is correct. Otherwise, consider getting a compatible phone.
So let me get this straight. Last May you knew you were going to GSM, yet you sold me a CDMA phone knowing full well it wasn’t going to work on the new network. And you did this without giving me any warning so that I could pick a different phone that would be compatible. This is pure outright FRAUD, as I see it. What do you have to say to this? Am I mistaken? Please supply a decent answer since you swear that you don’t lie, etc. Thank you.
Thanks for reaching out.
We’re here to listen and we genuinely understand your frustration.
The big GSM transition was (and still is) a handful for us as well. Most of the time, embracing change is easier on paper than in real life.
Here’s the story: CDMA is in the past, it’s just how things are right now, according to the industry trends and the big telco companies. Imagine tectonic plates moving, there’s nothing you can do about it. You have to adapt and choose a neat place to land, that will keep all your customers happy and safe. We’re in the middle of that, right now.
Please know that we cannot disclose details about the migration or give “warnings” ahead of time. But rest assured, that we’re doing everything we can to accommodate people’s needs.
Now back to the issue at hand: the weird thing with your IMEI. My advice is to contact our Customer Support Team and have them check it as well.
If your device does turn out to be non-GSM compatible, you’ll still have plenty of time to shift gears. We’re supporting CDMA devices until the end of 2021 and offer lots of opportunities to change trains.
Thanks for understanding!
I should say I’m glad to be a willing Guinea Pig:
After getting and activating my iPhone SE on GSM (the one I bought from Tello)
Noticed I’m not getting VoLTE or MMS to work.
Already sent messages to IT and hope they find a fix soon.
Any luck getting MMS to work?
Apparently there seems to be an issue where a lot of features stop working for iOS users after the migration at this time.
They are looking into my MMS and lack of VoLTE, but the other features (Group MMS, Wi-fi calling, Visual VM) all require active IMS registration, so I feel my issues are connected too.
My situation on a Moto E4 seems to mirror your iPhone troubles, with the only exception that MMS seems to be working (together with 3G voice, SMS and internet).
The android settings shows “Not registered” under “IMS Registration Status” … did you get any details on this IMS registration topic from Tello support?
They only sent me an e-mail stating that with the new network, iOS users currently didn’t have Wifi-calling, MMS Group Chat, and Visual Voicemail – all of which require IMS registration.
I have read the e4 (especially the Sprint/Tello version) is not compatible with the new Network.
Sadly, coupling all the issues and the hardware issues (3rd repair needed for iPhone) I have ported my number out to Hello Mobile. Mainly because I was already going to move to a family share plan with my husband on there and it’ll save me about $2 a month (taxes and fees included in the pricing) and bump me up to unlimited everything.
I have loved Tello’s service and hope they can work out all the bugs. If Hello screws us over, I’ll be back.
Drako, this is a sad day. I won’t take it as a stab in the heart, but you’ll be terribly missed around here!
We appreciate your trust and your superhuman dedication to helping others – including us – out, every time!
On a more personal note, please check your Tello account these days, thanks!
Certianly don’t take it personally, Maria. For me, it just makes more fiscal sense to bump myself up to Unlimited while saving a couple bucks a month, especially since I’m paying for two lines – may as well do so on the same plan if it’s gonna save me that cash. $40 unlimited for 2 lines as a family plan, or $42 for one line unlimited, and the other at 2 GB? (Taking taxes and fees into account.)
Just an (interesting?) observation to share: after migrating with the new GSM SIM card, my phone briefly picked up LTE bands 25 & 26, which are (were?) Sprint’s, but mainly stayed on bands 4, 2, and 12, in that order.
My iPhone seems to be in love with Band 2, maybe because they have yet to find a fix to get VoLTE working. It took the phone a full 24 hours to even be able to latch on to B4 or 12, which gave the false impression of “no signal” in my apartment for a day.
Also, T-Mobile is integrating B25/41 into their own network and dual casting them for both T-Mobile and Sprint customers.
Sorry I made an error in my last post the VOLTE data usage for an hour voice call could be up to around 22MB not 4MB. So the cost would be up to 44 cents on my Pay as You Go plan, probably less, versus 60 cents. Not a big deal just curious of the small savings is being pass along to the customer or not.
SAD PROBLEM:. Moto G Power phones. We have newer unlocked MOTO G power phones (which are programmed to work on any network). On Tello network, my Moto will only allow 3G data (yes I have spent many, many hours with Tello support/blogs/etc to attempt get 4G) in strong network areas. Currently, it is a nightmare.recieving or sending data pictures, all data connections ( wifi and mobile data) must be stopped, restarted and say many prayers). It can take upto a day to get photos. Yes, unfortunately, all our friends know it takes upto a day to get any pics due to the Tello glitch. Sad. Very Sad. It is like the old commercials. Tello, can you hear me now?
Will converting to the new network bring any relief (1990 technology) help my MOTO G Power phones? Any help would be appreciated.
I feel for your story, I grew up in the 90s and remember exactly how things used to work. So sorry you’re experiencing this, but unfortunately, I cannot be much of a help, any issues of this kind must be directed to our Customer Support team and they’ll see it through. There are a lot of Moto phones that work really well on Tello – my dad even has one. Fingers, toes, arms and legs crossed for this one, thanks!
I had the same Moto G Power/Sprint problem – data only worked on 3G.
Got my new GSM Sim today, and it seems to be doing data on LTE just fine.
Based on the “new” TMobile coverage map, service is taking a big step down in this area of Upstate NY. No better than when I tried (unsuccessfully) a T-Mobile netowrk a few years back. Looks like the only future options here will be MVNO’s on AT&T GSM or Verizon CDMA.
So far, the GSM network has been AMAZING! My only concerns are that visual voicemail, MMS messaging, WiFi Calling, VoLTE, etc. are currently not working on iOS. When can we expect those services to be functional?
I think they are looking into it, but are not entirely sure that it an IMS registration issue. I have open trouble tickets and they only confirmed that the known bug was Group MMS, VVM, and wifi calling. I have been pointing out all those require IMS along with VoLTE, so maybe a fix will happen sometime this year? (And apparently it’s only iPhones, so may be some weird SIM provisioning issue?)
As for me, I’m entirely sure its an IMS registration issue.
I am not 100% sure if my recent experience on Tello T-mobile network with a Moto E4 XT1768 is related to the previous posting.
Anyhow, I had an IMS registration issue myself that seemed to be causing voice calls to always be routed from LTE to 3G.
Once I changed my APN settings, both the IMS registration status and the LTE voice call problems got fixed.
The old APN settings were using fast.t-mobile.com (aka T-Mobile US 240 DUN) while the new, working, APN settings use wholesale (as currently described in the Tello Help page).
I have the same phone, Moto E4, and the same IMS registration issue. But mine has only been semi-fixed by adding APNs (I had to add two different ones).
I still continue to periodically lose the IMS registration. However, it is now at least easy to restore it by toggling airplane mode (a suggestion that I had read online).
This is annoying, periodically checking the IMS registration status. Then each time that the phone says it is “not registered”, I toggle airplane mode then go back and check and it then shows the status as “registered”.
Jeff, so sorry you’re having these issues.
I know that you’ve talked to one of our representatives from Customer Support and unfortunately there’s nothing more we can do. Perhaps a phone upgrade might do the trick?
Maria, after migrating, my phone’s “mobile network” settings shows “enhanced 4G LTE mode”, which of course I slide to “on”. Ok, that’s “VoLTE”, which I understand is the ability to surf during a phone call. But, I was under the impression that VoLTE also included HD Audio on phone calls. After not experiencing HD Audio on calls, a conversation with your tech service relayed to me that HD audio is NOT available to Tello customers. I don’t understand the technical reasons for why it isn’t, since T-Mobile certainly has it, but I am very disappointed, as HD Audio is one feature I want with my mobile coverage. After all, it’s 2021.
Aaugh, I should have known tello was too good to last, at least for my mother. She is in a nursing home in Madison, MS and when I tried T-Mobile about 1.5 years ago with their GSM network with Tracfone, there was NO SERVICE all throughout the building no matter where you were. You had to go outside to even get any signal. Verizon, Sprint and C Spire, all CDMA providers at the time, provided 3-4 of 4 bars of service in her room. The whole point of her phone is to work in her room.
To add insult to injury, her phone is a Motorola Moto E4, which we bought from Tello back in July of 2019. Apparently, the phone is not compatible with GSM.
I will have to look at other options for unlimited talk and text.
Norm, we’re so sorry for this, but unfortunately, we can’t control the coverage. We do expect it to get better and improve over time, but I understand the unique situation your mother is in and we wish you both all the best, in life, health and in finding a solution that best caters to her needs. We appreciate you choosing Tello in the first place and have nothing but love for you, thanks!
Received my new SIM in 3-4 days after ordering it, followed the procedures on the activate page, and all is good.
The activate page was a little confusing because it’s also used for activating new service,
but eventually I got it all straight. You need to fill in a complete address, which is where I
stumbled a bit.
The problem I had before with 4G LTE data not working is now solved! It was a strange issue between Sprint and Motorola forcing use of 3G for data. It looks like this will be a big improvement.
I’m trying to switch my existing Tello account over from a CDMA sim to the new T mobile sim. The activation says it will auto-allocate a number based on my zip code. How do I activate the new sim card without changing my phone number?
Anthony, I’ve checked with my amazing Customer Support teammates and it seems like your issue was handled and you managed to have a successful migration & activation and kept your number, yay! So happy, thanks for being a prat of the Tello fam!
Here’s a heads-up about the transition … it’s a brand new voicemail system.
(However the inputs are mostly the same.)
After converting my line over to GSM system, I tried dialing into voicemail from another phone, and it said my password was unrecognized. Searching through Tello website, I could not find anything about resetting it (I did not know yet that it was a new system on the new network). Finally, I tried to reach voice mail from my Tello phone by pressing-and-holding the “1” – yay! that worked.
It then prompted me to set up my voicemail greeting and password and it’s good to go.
However, it seems that if you had any voicemails on the OLD network, they are lost …
so beware — check and clean up your voice mailbox BEFORE you switch to the new network.
(And there still doesn’t seem to be any documentation on changing your voicemail password that I can find.)
Yeah, I also had to do some internet searching to figure out how to set up the new voicemail system on the new GMS network. I’d like to suggest that voicemail setup instructions be included in future migration notification emails to Tello customers. Here are the instructions I found:
Press and hold the 1 key or dial 123 on your device dial pad to call and connect to your voicemail.
During the first time setup, you may be asked for your password. The default is the last four digits of your mobile number.
After using the default password, create a new password.
Your password can be any 4 to 7 digit code.
A good password is one that’s easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess.
When prompted, record your greeting and name. Your voicemail is now ready to use.
Be aware that group MMS, Visual Voicemail, and Wi-Fi Calling currently do not work on the new GSM network on iPhones.
I switched to GSM, expecting everything to work as before, because Tello’s FAQ says “Your Tello service will not be adversely affected by the migration from the CDMA network to the GSM one.” That simply is not true, and Tello support is aware of it. And they won’t let me switch back, so I will probably have to leave Tello, as broken group MMS is a deal-breaker for me. I’m quite disappointed, Tello.
I’m currently a Tello customer on Sprint network. Is there a way to expedite the conversion to GSM network?
If your phone is compatible, you’ll need to get a GSM from us and the migration will happen when you activate the SIM. We decided to migrated customers in batches, for a better grasp on the whole process and in order to ensure a good experience for each one of them. But if you’re in a hurry, you can go along and do it yourself. Thanks!
Did they get all the features working, including VoLTE and all the features that were lacking on iPhones?
I just activated a new iPhone SE on the GSM network and VoLTE is not enabled. When I change the switch to enable it, I get a warning message that “This cellular network has not been certified by the carrier for VoLTE on iPhone.”
Another thing I noticed, every time I go into Settings>General>About, I get a message “Carrier Settings Update: New settings are available. Would you like to update them now?”. No matter how many time I click “Update”, I keep getting the same message every time I go back into About.
This is actually a major issue with pretty much any MVNO.
The wholesale SIM they use have the MVNO’s name tied to it.
(Tello SIMs can say “Tello” as the network name just like Hello Mobile wholesale SIMs say “Hello Mobile”)
This is enough to trigger an error with the system on iOS that loads the carrier packs. The carrier isn’t recognized as one supported by Apple, which requires the carriers to come to a direct agreement with Apple to get said support. (Could mean increased prices and the need to sell new iPhones from Apple.)
A lot of MVNOs have had this exact same problem and each iPhone gets varying errors. Some don’t get the “Advanced features” like MMS, VoLTE, ect. Others may not get 5G or even LTE.
Since Tello’s SIMs are wholesale from T-Mobile, (sorry for breaking the rules Maria) – shy of Tello coming to a direct agreement with Apple, iOS devices will not function properly on Tello. (Tello doesn’t have its special “carrier pack” to make it work on iOS.)
Some Samsung and Blackberry devices were setup in much of the same way.
In this case, it’s Apple’s fault for requiring a contract with each carrier to make the iPhone work – even if that carrier is an MVNO of an already supported network.
Hi Drako, I’m not following your comment. Are you saying the repeated “Carrier Update” messages are an Apple/Tello issue and not specific to my phone?
The reason I asked is that I called Tello and they said that I needed to do an iTunes Restore on the phone. That doesn’t make sense to me given its a brand new, never previously activated phone that I just activated on the Tello GSM network. I just wonder if this has to do with the VoLTE and WiFi calling issues with iPhones on Tello.
I’ve noticed how scarce the selection of Tello-ready phones there are on the Tello Website. Will more selections be added in the near future?
Yes, Sharon, you’re right, but we are working on getting more option for you available on Tello, asap.
Thanks for reaching out!
Perhaps you can add to an FAQ on the GSM switch, that if a customer wants to switch sooner rather than later, just go ahean and order a new SIM for either your current phone (if it is compatible) or a new phone… And by magic the final checkout will charge $0 for the SIM and $0 for standard mailing, more if you want it faster. In other words, FREE now if you order or FREE when Tello gets around to it.
The IMEI check at T Mobile says my phone is GSM and VoLTE compatible, but the Tello check says it isn’t. Is there a difference in requirements between T Mobile and Tello?
My phone passes the T-Mobile IMEI checker saying it’s GSM and VoLTE compatible, but it fails the Tello IMEI checker. Are there different requirements?
Hello, thanks for reaching out.
Can you be so kind as to try again, please? We had a small issue with our device checker, but it’s all good now. Let me know how it goes, great day!
My phone passes now. Thanks.
Glad to hear that!
We’re well into March and have not gotten any notifications about my mother’s line transitioning to GSM. Are you still transitioning customers? An update on progress would be nice
Thanks a lot for following us.
If your mother’s phone can join Tello you can switch whenever you want. The GSM SIM is FREE of charge for all existing customers. You can check if her phone is compatible on the Bring Your Own phone page, by entering the phone’s IMEI. If the device is compatible, select that you need a GSM SIM, and it will be shipped to you for FREE.
If you need extra help, please remember you can always contact our Customer Support team
GSM 2 phones has anyone tried these 2 best bang for the buck phones on the new GSM ?
1 – Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC
2 – TCL 10L
both are under 250 with 6 gigs ram I want to order the Xiaomi phone from walmart heard it will work on the T-mobile network
Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC does work with the GSM on Tello joy oh joy just got mine today the global version and it does work on the tello network had to call in cause told me IME was not compatible phone but did my research and it does work on Tmobile you need to do the phone code to enable volte then its golden
sorry no go on the Poco x3 it should work but volte and wifi calling fail but back on my ph-1 and they all work love the new service
why is my question not being posted? from a previous post ? fell like I’m on google or youtube , if my question doesn’t fit the agenda it won’t be posted . .
silly me just a long delay before it gets posted
My coverage is now worse than it was before the switch. Can you tell me if a Tmobile CELLSPOT will work?
Unfortunately, we don’t have info on that particular device, so we simply cannot recommend it.
Sorry it took so much to circle back to you, we did some digging but still came up short, hence the response.
Have a great day!
Ok, since my coverage is way worse now, i have been trying to get wifi calling to work. Sometimes it tells me i have to create a t-mobile account and place my E911 number will them. But of course it won’t let me because i have no t-mobile account! This is really bad because i had to go buy a new GSM phone and now my service is worse. I guess i am going to go to AT&T or one of the mvno’s that support that as t-mobile coverage is terrible.
We’d love to help, but first I need to identify your account and see what phone model you’re using with Tello.
For now, WiFi Calling is not available from iPhones. We are currently working on providing the functionality for Apple devices as well.
Please send us an email and we’ll look into it right away: https://tello.com/contact
Thank you so much for contacting us!
After customer service contacted me, we finally solved it, for now. Now the problem i have is:
Free msg unable to send message message blocking is active.
I do not have any blocking set up and this happened all of a sudden. Seems to be a t-mobile problem that has been around for years.
I also get 4 bars out side and it says LTE but it is x’d out.
interesting I have the t-mobile visual voicemail I just installed on 2 phones doing test and they both worked without having to create an account and wifi call is working great on my end Android 10 phone PH-1
I am new to tello. I signed up with Tello because I wanted GSM service and not CDMA. CDMA is not available in my area. So, imagine how shocked I was when I set up my SIM card only to find that the carrier is Tmobile(CDMA). Guess what. I get no service. I have a GSM phone. Tello is spouting GSM, so why would they give me CDMA service? What do I do now?
Chris, thanks for writing!
I’m sensing a bit of confusion there. Tello has just switched from CDMA to GSM. Also, T-Mobile uses GSM, and not CDMA. So, I’m not sure what happened there, but promise to look into it! Great day!
I just made the switch to GSM. The phone service worked OK in my house with the old CDMA service but it drops in and out with the new GSM. After talking to CS I don’t think there is anything I can do to improve the service.
So I want to setup calls over WiFi. I setup my E911 info on Tello website and enabled calls over WiFi on my phone. I then got error message “ER081 – Unable to connect” on my phone. Looking on the internet I found that I have to make some changes in my WIFI router. I enabled PPTP, IPSEC, and PPPoE. It seemed to work for one call then I got other “ERxxx” errors on my phone. Back on the internet I saw that I might have to open ports on my firewall.
Does Tello have any specific instructions on how to setup my router for calls with WiFi and Tmobile network?
Bummer… now I have to spend a bunch of money to buy a new phone. Any assistance out there to help subsidize these expensive transition?
Dana, there’s no rush! Please take a look at our phone selection here -https://tello.com/phones- to see the discounted devices, there’s something for every budget.