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These carriers will offer you a free phone when you switch

Looking for a free phone when you switch carriers? You have quite a few deals to pick from across multiple carriers.
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Published onJanuary 26, 2024

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs Google Pixel 8 hero standing
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Today’s best smartphones are not exactly cheap. Most flagships start at around the $600-$800 mark for the base model, and many options exceed $1000. But what if you don’t have much cash to spend on a phone? While opting for a budget phone, like the Pixel 8a, is one solution, those in the US have another option. It’s possible to get some of the hottest flagships either for free or at a significantly reduced rate through your carrier.

Let’s take a quick look at all the carriers that offer a free phone when you switch to their network, as well as a few deals that apply to existing customers as well.

How do you get a free phone when you switch, what’s the catch?

You can’t expect something for nothing so how exactly do these carrier deals work? The exact terms and conditions will vary not only from carrier to carrier but even from phone to phone or plan to plan, though generally, they work mostly the same way. You typically have to either pay for the phone upfront and get reimbursed through monthly bill credits or you have to sign up for an installment plan and then each month you’re active with your carrier you’ll get a credit that brings the total down to zero over the length of the installment period. Most of these free phone deals will also require select plans to qualify. If a plan requires you to sign up for a new line you may also be asked to transfer an existing number to qualify.

If you decide to change providers at any time you’ll have to pay off the remaining balance on your “free phone” or you’ll have to wait until it’s paid off to leave.

Verizon

Verizon logo on smartphone with a colored background Stock photo 12
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Who’s eligible: Most deals require you to either switch from another carrier, add a new line to an existing account, or trade in a phone. The exact terms and conditions will vary and some offers will only be available for higher-tier plans.
  • Are trade-ins required? Many deals don’t require a trade-in, but it will vary. Those that don’t require trade-ins often do have restrictions on which plans qualify, though.

Verizon offers a wide variety of free phones for those who switch to Verizon or sign up for a new line, with dozens of options available at the time of this writing. However, there are some caveats to keep in mind. Any free phone offer that doesn’t require a trade-in will only be valid with select unlimited plans, typically higher-tier options like Unlimited Ultimate. In other words, if you are on Unlimited Welcome or another entry-level plan, you’re likely going to have to trade something in to get a phone for free. Even then, you’ll sometimes get better trade-in values if you have a top-tier plan.

Let’s start with some of the best Verizon deals that require you to add a new qualifying line or have a certain plan level, but don’t require a trade-in:

For those willing to trade in a device, you have even more options, including the Galaxy S24 and iPhone 15. Really Verizon tends to give its users good deals on older trade-ins so it’s possible to get just about any phone for a reduced rate, if not free. These are just some of the highlights. For a comprehensive look at the best Verizon phones you can get for free, head over to Verizon’s website.

AT&T

ATT logo stock image 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Who’s eligible: Most deals require you to either switch from another carrier, add a new line to an existing account, or have a higher-tier plan that qualifies. The exact terms and conditions will vary.
  • Are trade-ins required? Yes, all these promotions require a trade-in.

AT&T has a notably smaller selection of free devices typically, with only around a dozen options at the time of this writing. All of these also require a trade-in deal, unlike many of Verizon’s deals. Unlike the other two big carriers, most of these promotions don’t require a specific plan other than it needs to be unlimited and not an older legacy line.

Here’s a look at some of the best AT&T deals for free phones:

Of course, promotions change fast and it’s possible there could be others added to this list before we have a chance to update the guide. In that case, be sure to check out the AT&T website for a closer look.

T-Mobile

T Mobile logo angled MWC 2022
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • Who’s eligible: Most deals require you to either switch from another carrier, add a new line to an existing account, or have a higher-tier plan that qualifies. The exact terms and conditions will vary.
  • Are trade-ins required? Not typically, though you may have to trade in a device for a discount if you don’t have Go5G Plus or Next.

T-Mobile has a decent library of free phones on offer. It also offers the most flexibility in how you qualify. For example, the Google Pixel 8 is free on T-Mobile for those who add a new line of Go5G Plus or Next but if you’re an existing customer you can also trade in your device and get the phone for free if you have Go5G Plus or Next. Don’t have one of those fancier plans? You can still trade in a device for up to $500 off, which might not be enough to get the Pixel 8 free but it gives it to you at a significantly discounted rate.

Here’s a look at just some of the best T-Mobile free phone deals available:

That’s a look at just some of the better deals but be sure to check out the T-Mobile website for a deeper look.

Google Fi

Google Fi Wireless logo on smartphone with SIM card and SIM ejector next to it Stock photo 6
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Who’s eligible: All new Google Fi customers.
  • Are trade-ins required? No, free deals don’t require a trade-in.

Google Fi is easily one of the best prepaid carriers around and a large part of the appeal is that it feels a bit more like a traditional provider with perks like some of the best roaming of any carrier and a billing model that is a hybrid between post and prepaid depending on the plan you sign up for. It’s also a good place to get cheap or even free phone deals, though there are usually only a few available at a time. Even a few flagship-level phones are a big deal, as most prepaid carriers don’t offer free phone plans at all, outside of some services that may give you a very basic budget phone for free.

Right now Fi is offering up to $650 back on the Samsung Galaxy S24 series for those who sign up for a Flexible plan or Unlimited Plus.  That’s not quite free, but it does mean you’ll get a flagship for less than $250. Not into Samsung or looking for a truly free phone? While it’s not quite a flagship, you can currently get the Google Pixel 8a for free, spread out over 24 monthly bill credits.

To qualify you’ll have to sign up for Google Fi Wireless Unlimited Plus as a brand-new customer (or have been gone for more than 180 days). It’s also possible to trade in your phone for a few other devices, though these deals aren’t nearly as significant.

To sign up for Google Fi Wireless’ latest promotion you’ll want to head over to the Fi Website.

Boost Infinite

Boost Mobile logo on phone stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Who’s eligible: All new Boost Infinite users.
  • Are trade-ins required? No, free deals don’t require a trade-in initially.

The Dish-owned Boost Infinite is a bit different from Boost Mobile as it’s an actual postpaid carrier that’s attempting to compete with the Big Three. The good news is that Dish is trying hard to win customers and that means great free phone deals. You can get the following phones completely free:

While you can get all three Galaxy S models for free, only the base iPhone is free. If you want the Plus or Pro model, you can get it but you’ll pay a small fee every month for the duration of your payment plan. For example, that’s $2.78 a month taxes for the Plus or $4.72/month for the iPhone 15 Pro. Those who want the Pro Max will have to pay $10.28 a month. Keep in mind that you’ll also pay taxes on these fees, as that’s not included in the pricing.

There’s no trade-in required here at all and you’ll get great coverage as Infinite utilizes a combination of Dish’s 5G network, T-mobile, and AT&T for coverage. You will have to commit to Boost Infinite for three years or pay back what you owe, but that’s to be expected. It’s also worth noting that Boost Infinite allows you to trade in and upgrade your phone a year later, though you’ll basically restart the clock on how long you’ll have to stay on the network before you can leave.

You’ll want to head to the Boost Infinite website to learn more and to sign up for a free phone deal.

Metro by T-Mobile

Metro by T Mobile logo on phone stock photo 2
  • Who’s eligible: All new Metro lines that sign up for the $65 plan.
  • Are trade-ins required? No, free deals don’t require a trade-in.

Another prepaid carrier that often offers free phone deals is Metro by T-Mobile. While most of the options above focused on flagship phones (with maybe the exception of the Pixel 8a, which is mid-range), Metro focuses mostly on budget devices or older, used flagships.

If you want a new phone, you have nearly a dozen choices as of July 2024. The actual pool of devices can vary depending on the time of year and what’s happening in the industry. Below we’ve only highlighted the deals we feel are really worth it. For example, while you can typically get a Galaxy A03 for free, why would you do that when you can also get the more powerful A54 for free? So let’s jump in:

  • Moto G Power (2024) – You can get the Power free if you join Metro and bring your number to a Flex Up or Metro Flex Plus plan. You can also get in on this deal if you get a new number with a Metro Flex Plus plan.
  • Moto G 5G (2024) – Free when you bring your number to any Metro Flex plan, or get a new number with Metro Flex Up or Metro Flex Plus.
  • Galaxy A54 – You can get the year-old mid-ranger for free if you join Metro and bring your existing number and sign up for the Metro Flex Plus plan.
  • Moto G Stylus (2024) – Join Metro with your existing number and sign up for a Metro Flex Plus plan in order to get this phone for free.

While Metro is probably the least exciting of the “free phone when you switch” deals, it’s still a decent option for those on a budget who don’t mind older or more entry-level devices. You’ll want to head to the Metro website to learn more and to sign up for a free phone deal.

Does Metro have any Apple phones for free?

As you might have noticed, I didn’t list any Apple phones in the free section. Technically, you can get the iPhone 11 for free, but I would never recommend it. For one, the iPhone 11 is five years old. Most people only keep their phones for three to six years tops, and for many swaps happen much faster than that. Granted, Metro’s model is likely renewed and has had its battery replaced, so it would still work for a while, I just think there’s a better solution.

The two-year-old iPhone SE 3 ($429 at Amazon) might not be the perfect iPhone, but its SoC is a massive improvement over the aging chip inside of the iPhone 11 and it will be supported for much longer as well. Right now you can often find it in renewed condition for as little as $250.

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