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2023 Mobile Telephony: Fresh, New Ways to Skin a Cat

We’ve covered many interesting mobile telephony solutions over the years including our most recent experience with Visible. But, as has been true with the Bell Sisters for decades, Verizon has continued to move the goal posts with Visible. The bottom line is the cost of Visible service is now virtually identical to the cost of Verizon. So today we’re putting on our creativity hat to consider some other options.

For those in the United States that pay a monthly fee to Comcast for Internet service, we’ve got some terrific news. As you probably know, Xfinity WiFi offers millions of free WiFi hotspots to all Comcast customers. You’d be hard pressed to find a metropolitan area or residential community where an Xfinity WiFi hotspot is not available. For mobile service, what you really need in these areas is a phone number and little else.

If you happen to have an existing Google Voice number, both Android and iOS devices offer a Voice app that lets you make free calls and send free messages using Google Voice. One drawback of Google Voice is you need an existing phone number to qualify for a new Google Voice number so this is a bit like the chicken and the egg dilemma.

Today, we have a $6 a month solution that kills two birds with one stone. You not only get a cellular number on one of America’s best cellular networks, but you also get a small bucket of calling minutes and data to tide you over as you move between WiFi hotspots. Using our referral link with Tello, you and Nerd Vittles both get $10 of free service, ample time to let you kick the tires and see whether this solution can meet either some or all of your cellular needs. There are no contracts so your experiment is purely on a month-to-month basis.

The silver lining is that, while you have your assigned Tello number in an area code of your choice, you also can sign up for a free Google Voice number and add it to your cellphone and desktop phone as well. And, if you drop Tello after your $10 credit runs out, you still will have your new Google Voice number for unlimited calling and texting in the U.S. and Canada. What’s not to like? And here’s the free calling map while you’re with Tello:

Tello’s $6 plan gives you 100 minutes of calls per month plus a 500MB data allowance. And, after exhausting your 500MB of data, you still get unlimited 2G data service which is more than ample for email. Tello also supports eSIMs, a mobile hotspot, free unlimited text messaging, and WiFi calling that lets you conserve your data bucket for emergencies. You also get calling support to 60+ countries. You can bump up the high speed data allowance to 1GB for an extra dollar a month, or you can add unlimited calling for just $3 more per month. In short, their $10 a month plan offers unlimited calling to 60+ countries, plus unlimited texting, and a gigabyte of high speed data every month. Coupling that with XFinity’s millions of hotspots would make this an ideal solution for almost every teenager.

Give it a try. The first month is on us.

Originally published: Thursday, February 16, 2023

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