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How to Get the Best Price on a New Phone

Traditionally, the best deals on cell phones have gone to those who change carriers and subscribe to a new rate plan. This is still the case in many situations. However, there are now some ways to upgrade your phone at a reasonable price while remaining with your current provider. The goal of this page is to help you navigate replacing or upgrading your cell phone at the best possible price.

Cell Phone Upgrade Situation 1: New Service

Your single line or family plan contract is up, and you are willing to change carriers

This is still the best way to get new phone(s) at the best possible price. Most cell phones, even some high-end smartphones, are free with new service. To research and compare the options (single line or family plan) available in your area, start by clicking one of the buttons below:

Cell Phone Upgrade Situation 2: Single Line Contract Extension

Your single line contract is up (or nearly up) and you want to stay with your carrier

Consider a contract extension as a way to get a cell phone upgrade for free or a deeply discounted price. The phone price may be somewhat higher than for a new customer (although sometimes it is the same), but will be far less than buying a phone alone. To qualify for a contract extension cell phone upgrade under this program, you'll usually need to be out of contract or have two or fewer months left in your contract. To investigate this opportunity, choose your cell phone carrier below.

To qualify for a contract extension cell phone upgrade, you'll usually need to have two or fewer months left in a two-year contract. You'll also need to accept a qualifying current rate plan. To investigate this opportunity, click the logo of your carrier below.


Cell Phone Upgrade Situation 3: Family Plan Contract Extension

You want to upgrade the cell phone on one or more lines in your existing family plan

It is now possible, in most cases, to upgrade individual lines in a family plan without extending the contract of every user on the plan. This is helpful since many people have family plans where each line has a different contract expiration date. The criteria outlined in Upgrade Situation 2 apply here. For example, you have a 5-line family plan and lines 3 and 4 are out of contract. You can upgrade the phones on just those lines, and extend the contract for two years on just those lines. To upgrade one or more lines on a family plan, call toll-free 1-866-352-2215.

Cell Phone Upgrade Situation 4: Existing Plan Add-a-Line

You want to add a line to an existing family plan or convert a single plan to a family plan by adding one or more lines

These upgrades are usually available. Whether the phone you want will be as inexpensive as with a new line of service varies by carrier and with the number of lines already on your plan. These upgrades are best handled by phone. Call toll-free 1-866-352-2215.

Upgrade Situation 5: Phone Only, No Plan

You just need or want a new cell phone and are not eligible for upgrade or want an unlocked phone

Unfortunately, an upgrade here will likely cost you a lot of money. In all the situations above, the cell phone carrier is subsidizing at least some of the cost of the phone. Here however, you'll likely be paying full retail to get a new phone. Choose your cell phone carrier below to see phones associated directly with it.


Alternately, if your carrier uses GSM technology (T-Mobile or AT&T), you can purchase an unlocked phone – a device that is independent of your carrier. You can then bring the device to them for activation. 

The most economical option to get a new or used replacement phone only is to find one on eBay.