Tello’s Bring-Your-Own-Phone Program – Everything You Need To Know

Tello’s bring-your-own-phone (BYOP) program (also called a bring-your-own-device program or BYOD program) allows Tello subscribers to bring their own devices to the carrier. You can check whether your phone is eligible using the compatibility tool on Tello’s website.

Most unlocked phones that were sold by Sprint or designed for Sprint’s network will work with Tello. A decent number of recent phones that were not sold by Sprint will also work with Tello, including most iPhones sold in the U.S. in the last few years.

Potentially compatible phones

Tello is likely to work with a handful of recent, non-Sprint phones provided they’re unlocked. Notable devices include:

  • iPhone 6 and later iPhones sold in the U.S.
  • Verizon iPhone 5c and 5s devices1
  • Some Google Pixels
  • Some Motorola G-series phones
  • Some Samsung S7 and later phones in the S-series

Many phones are released with different models with hardware designed for specific regions or networks. Even if your phone model is listed above, be sure to double-check compatibility with Tello’s online tool.

If your phone is not listed above but was released in the last few years, you may not be out of luck. I’d try running your device’s IMEI number through Tello’s tool.

Tello’s shift to T-Mobile

While Tello runs over Sprint’s network, the carrier is about to begin a transition to running over T-Mobile’s network (thanks to a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint). Tello may cease offering service over Sprint’s network as early as mid-2021. Further, data service quality may degrade before Sprint-based service ends.

Once the transition to T-Mobile’s network is complete, Tello will work with a much wider range of phones. Considerations about phone compatibility will shift. Phones with the following features are likely to perform well on T-Mobile’s network:

  • Support for LTE bands 2, 4, and 12
  • Support for LTE band 66 and 71 (not strictly necessary)
  • VoLTE support

Recent iPhones and many other recent, flagship phones tend to support these features.

Footnotes

  1. While these phones are expected to work with Tello, the nodels do not support CDMA at 800Mhz. Performance may be impaired.