This Mom Gets Four Cell Phone Lines for $65/Month (Without Sacrificing Service or Data)

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Fran DeRosier’s monthly cell phone bill used to cost $359.56.

The Burlington, Wisconsin, mom of four managed seven lines on the family’s Sprint plan: Hers, her husband’s, her four kids’ and her mother-in-law’s.

“We couldn’t believe how much money we were spending,” Fran says. The second-grade teacher and her husband, Larry, a paramedic/firefighter, had other bills to pay; they needed to find a way to save.

So she started kicking her kids off the plan… First her oldest. Then her teen twins.

Down to four lines, their bill was still close to $300 a month. Fran began researching discount carriers, but many of them required new and unlocked phones. If she had to buy everyone in her family a new phone, the switch would never pay off.

Then she found Tello, a discount wireless carrier with plans starting at $5 a month.

Is $65 a Month For 4 Cell Phone Lines Too Good to be True?

Fran was admittedly a bit skeptical at first.

She was mostly worried about dropped calls and limited coverage. But she learned Tello ran on the Sprint network, which she already used and knew worked well in her area.

Larry, still not convinced, let his wife try it out first. If it didn’t work, Fran thought, then she could easily cancel, since Tello doesn’t require a long-term contract and doesn’t have early termination fees.

She went on Tello’s website and built her own plan. She chose unlimited talk and text and 2 GB of data. If she needed more data, she could always add it later.

From there, she checked out and waited for the Tello service to activate. It happened overnight — literally.

Then it was time to set up her mother-in-law’s Tello account. She used a flip phone and didn’t need any data — just some minutes. Fran had been paying $30 a month for her mother-in-law’s line at Sprint. With Tello, she customized the plan. Grand total? $8 a month.

Eventually, Fran’s husband and daughter joined. Larry signed up for 4 GB for $19 a month, and her daughter opted for 6 GB, which cost $24 a month.

Grand total with Tello: $65 a month for four lines.

Tello Review: “Tello is Saving My Family About $2,820 a Year”

It’s been nearly five months since the DeRosier family switched their cell phone service to Tello, and they have no complaints.

In the two times Fran reached out to Tello’s customer service (once when she had trouble switching her mother-in-law’s phone over and once when she requested the wrong SIM card for her daughter), she said it’d been so easy, and each issue was resolved in less than five minutes.

Fran manages the family’s accounts from her phone — Tello has an app that makes it easy to track your data usage and add more if needed.

For example, Fran’s daughter is prone to using all her data before the month’s end, so Fran can go into her Tello account and add extra data. If she doesn’t? Tello doesn’t mess with overage fees; it simply cuts the data off, so her daughter can just rely on Wi-Fi.

But hands-down the best part? That approximately $2,820 a year the family is saving.

“When I did the math, I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? That’s crazy!’” Fran says. “I didn’t realize it would be that much, but it’s freed up money to fix our house up to potentially sell and has given us extra room to do some things we want to do.”

How to Switch to Tello (It’s Easier Than You Think)

Fran notes that switching her family to Tello was easy — all their Sprint phones were compatible with the service.

But just because you don’t have Sprint doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Many of the iPhones and Nexus purchased from Apple, Google Play, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or big-box stores will work.

Pro Tip

If you have a phone you want to bring with you, check to see if it’s compatible on Tello's website. Click “Bring your phone,” and Tello will let you know in less than a minute.

If your phone is compatible but you need a Sprint SIM card (that little microchip in your phone), you can get one through Tello for $9.99. You should receive the card in the mail in three to five business days — or you can opt to pay for priority shipping if you need it sooner.

Next up, you’ll create your account and build your own plan. Tello holds your hand through the process — it’s way easier than you might think.

So are you ready to see how much you could save by switching your cell phone service? Start by checking your coverage and phone’s compatibility, then build your Tello plan.

Carson Kohler ([email protected]) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.