How to Get a New Cellphone for Free

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Young woman with cellphone
Alissa Kumarova /

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If you need a new cellphone but you don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for it, I have some good news: You can get a free cellphone just by switching to a carrier like Cricket or Metro. You won’t get the latest models this way, so if you’re wanting a new iPhone XR or a Samsung Galaxy S10 for free, I can’t really help you. But there are a bunch of free smartphones that do all the basics — which, let’s face it, are pretty amazing at this point. And you can’t really complain if the phone is free, right?

Free phones from Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless is currently offering a number of free phones for new customers, but the deal comes with a few caveats:

  • You must port your number in from another carrier (AT&T numbers are not eligible).
  • You must activate a new line with Cricket on a plan costing at least $30 per month.
  • You must pay one-time fees (e.g., activation fee and other admin fees).

Getting a Cricket Wireless phone also means it’ll be locked to the carrier and you won’t be able to get it unlocked until you’ve had active service with Cricket for at least six months (with exceptions for military).

Samsung Galaxy J2 Pure

One of Samsung’s older Galaxy phones, the J2 Pure, offers a 5-inch display and an 8MP camera. It’s not quite at the level of the newer Galaxy models, but it more than delivers all the basic functions and has an awesome battery life.

Alcatel Tetra

The Alcatel Tetra, although not as popular as a Samsung Galaxy, is another sturdy phone that Cricket is offering for free for a limited time. The 5MP camera is good enough for basic use (as long as you don’t need super high quality photos), and the phone weighs in at just 150 grams.

Samsung Galaxy Amp Prime 3

If it’s battery life you need, then it’s battery life you’ll get with this free phone. Released just last year, the Samsung Galaxy Amp Prime 3 will give you up to 20 hours of talk time and over a whopping 20 days of standby time.

LG Fortune 2

LG is also included in Cricket’s mix of free phones. The LG Fortune 2 has similar specs to the Samsung phones with a 5-inch screen and an 8MP camera.

Free phones from Metro by T-Mobile

Metro by T-Mobile is also giving away free phones to new customers. Similar to Cricket, this deal has its own fine print:

  • You must switch to Metro from another carrier.
  • You must sign up for a plan costing at least $60 per month.
  • Must pay sales tax and a one-time activation fee.
  • Offer valid in-store only.

Note that your phone will be locked to Metro when you buy it. You can request an unlock once you’ve had at least 180 consecutive days of service on a Metro plan.

Moto E5 Play/Cruise

This Motorola phone is only about a year old, and it’s perfect for someone who wants a basic phone with a decent video camera. The camera resolution may only be 8MP, but it can still record videos in HD.

LG K30

The LG K30 is one of the best free phones if you want an awesome camera. Whether you are doing it for Instagram, want to send pics to your family or want to print them for your walls, the LG K30’s 13MP camera will do the trick.

Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime

This Samsung phone is another one that does everything you need a basic smartphone to do. With expandable memory up to 256GB, you won’t have to worry about your phone running out of space for your photos again.

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