The 3 Best Times to Buy a New Cellphone

Woman and children looking at cellphone
Photo by fizkes /

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So you want a new cellphone? With new models coming out all the time, it’s hard not to want to trade in your old phone for the latest and greatest out there, even if your current handset is only a year old.

If you want to upgrade, you may be able to save yourself some money just by buying your new phone at the right time. Timing is everything, right?

Here are the best three times to buy a new cellphone to save you the most money.

When new phones are announced

When new cellphones are announced by the big players, like Samsung and Apple, carriers will start discounting competitor models. For example, when Apple announced the iPhone 8, AT&T launched a buy one, get one free deal for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, as did T-Mobile.

Sprint and Verizon also offered their own discounts — up to 50 percent off the Galaxy S8 and S8+ — at the same time.

Yes, you’ll need to wait a while before you can get your hands on the latest model since Apple and Samsung announce their new phones at opposite times of the year, but you’ll be saving yourself a lot of money.

During preorder

If you’re an early adopter and want to be the first to get your hands on the newest cellphone out there, then keep your eye out for a preorder date — add it to your calendar and set a notification.

Not only do cellphone carriers offer discounts and special promotions during the preorder period, but you’ll also be guaranteed a phone come launch day — it’s a win-win.

Some common promotions and deals you’ll notice during the preorder period include:

If you’re happy with last year’s model, you’ll also find that they’re heavily discounted during the preorder period for new models. During the preorder for the Samsung Galaxy S9, AT&T had 2-for-1 deals for the Galaxy S8 and Sprint was offering $450 off the same phone.

The preorder period for iPhones is usually in September, and preorders for Samsung cellphones usually happen in February or March.

Before new phones are announced

If you’re happy to wait awhile before buying the newest cellphone model, then you can save a ton of cash if you hold off until the next year’s model is about to be announced. Yes, you’ll be waiting almost a year, but it will be worth it.

In the lead-up to new model announcements by Samsung or Apple, we’ve seen major carriers scrambling to get rid of old stock by discounting their cellphones — and we’re talking big discounts.

Last year, we saw buy one, get one free deals and up to $300 off the iPhone 7 about one month before the iPhone 8 and X were announced.

So, when should I buy?

The timing of your cellphone purchase will depend on which phone and model you want. The info below gives you a rough idea of the dates to mark in your calendar, but keep in mind manufacturers may change their launch and announcement dates.

If you need the latest model as soon as it’s available:

  • iPhone: During preorder (usually in September)
  • Samsung: During preorder (usually in March)

If you’re happy to wait for prices to go down:

  • iPhone:
    • When a new Samsung phone is announced: February or March
    • Before the next iPhone model is announced: August
  • Samsung:
    • When a new iPhone is announced: September
    • Before the next Samsung phone is announced: January or February

Of course, throughout the year carriers have several other promotions and special deals running — these are just some of the key dates to be aware of.

What’s your approach to cellphone purchases? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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