Best Phone Deals: Carrier Sales and Unlocked Phone Discounts



The days of being able to walk into your carrier’s store and get a new phone for $50 to $100 are gone, along with phone contracts, but that doesn’t mean that phone deals have disappeared. 

Over the past few years, carriers including Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have become far more aggressive with deals for both new and existing customers as they continue to push their 5G networks. These days it’s not out of the ordinary to find deals that can score you a new high-end phone for free, but you often need to be on one of the carriers’ higher-end 5G plans and agree to monthly bill credits over a 24- to 36-month period, which locks you into service and if you cancel before then you’re on the hook for the difference.

You can also save on with unlocked phone deals with direct discounts at third-party retailers like Amazon and Best Buy or by trading in your old device directly to the manufacturer, meaning you have plenty of places to look for phone deals. 

Read more: Best Phone Plan Deals

That’s why CNET is working with Navi to help cut through the confusion. Navi is an independent marketplace that aggregates information on service plans and phone deals to help consumers find the best choices and prices on the market. Below you’ll find deals for those who would rather pay outright for an unlocked phone as well as deals on phones for new and existing carrier customers who are adding lines, trading in phones and more.

Unlocked Phone Deals

If you don’t want to deal with monthly bill credits and would prefer to own your phone outright, you can still save some money on your purchase by looking around a bit. There are a few places where you can buy unlocked phones at a discount, though you’ll want to confirm that they are truly unlocked and not tied to any carrier or prepaid carrier before ordering. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite unlocked phone deals below.


If battery life is important to you, the Moto G Power is a great option, especially at this price. It’s advertised to get up to 3 days of battery life per charge, features a 6.5-inch display, has 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage inside. It works on all the major carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Simple Mobile, Mint Mobile, Google Fi and plenty of others. Priced at just $180, it’s a hard option to beat.


OnePlus has been making high-end Android phones for a while, but the company also sells some lower-cost entry-level unlocked phones. This one has a 6.49-inch display, 64GB of storage, a large 5,000-mAh battery and a triple camera system on the back. Unfortunately, it only works on Google Fi or T-Mobile’s networks, so you will need to ensure you are using one of those carriers before making the purchase.


While Apple’s iPhone SE is already the most affordable iPhone pick, starting at $429, you can knock its price down even further thanks to Apple’s trade-in program. In fact, Apple is currently offering up to $600 in credit with an eligible trade-in, so you could get it free by handing over the right device with any additional credit being made available on an Apple gift card.


You can snag select configurations of the Google Pixel 6 at a discount via Amazon right now. There’s no trade-in required or activation required, though there’s also no set end date for this discount, so it could disappear at any moment. 


The larger Google Pixel 6 Pro is also on sale right now with discounts as steep as $250 at Amazon. That drops the 128GB model as low as $649. It’s equipped with an impressive 12GB of RAM, as well as Google’s custom Tensor processor that’s optimized for Pixel phones. The 6 Pro also has an improved 6.7-inch OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate for incredibly smooth operation, and a 4x optical zoom lens for truly remarkable photos.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Carriers aren’t the only place that you’ll find a deal on the Galaxy S22 series. Amazon has discounts on all of the configurations available right now, with discounts of up to $200 depending on which one you pick. The bigger discounts are on the more expensive ones, but even the base model of the Galaxy S22 with 128GB of storage is $100 off right now with S22 Plus models seeing larger savings. You can also buy an S22 series phone directly from Samsung with up to $700 off via trade-in.

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As is the case with the affordable iPhone SE, you can also trade in your old for for money off an iPhone 13 series device at Apple. With as much as $600 up for grabs via trade-in, you could get one of the latest iPhone models from as little as $99. Carrier deals are also available via Apple if you prefer to finance your phone that way.


Score as much as $900 off your Galaxy Z Flip 4 preorder with trade-in direct at Samsung and get a storage upgrade at no extra cost. You can also get up to $200 in Samsung credit when you bundle Buds 2 Pro and Watch 5 or Watch 5 Pro with the Z Flip 4.


Score as much as $1,000 off your Galaxy Z Fold 4 preorder with trade-in direct at Samsung and get a storage upgrade at no extra cost. You can also get up to $300 in Samsung credit when you bundle Buds 2 Pro and Watch 5 or Watch 5 Pro with the Z Fold 4.

Carrier phone deals

Carrier contracts as we know them may not be around anymore, but these newer phone deals from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and more are similar in many ways. Through monthly bill credits, you can get a phone for next to nothing in many cases, but the stipulation is that you have to remain a customer for a set length of time while you’re receiving the credits, otherwise you’re responsible for the remaining costs and potentially more based upon the carrier. In addition, some carriers will only allow you to take advantage of these deals on specific plans, which are usually some of its more expensive 5G plans, so be sure to understand the monthly costs associated with switching before taking advantage of that “free phone” deal you see advertised.

Read more: Cheap Phone Plans, Compared

Apple’s budget-focused iPhone SE is available for the low price of $0 at Verizon with a new line on an unlimited data plan. The deal applies to the 64GB model and the discount is applied via monthly bill credits. You can up the storage capacity for just a few bucks per month.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

You can pick up the iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 Mini from free at Verizon thanks to up to $800 in trade-in credits. Better yet, you can even trade in an old or damaged phone and still be eligible for the discount. iPhone 13 Pro models are also eligible for up to $800 off with trade-in. A 5G Do More, 5G Play More or 5G Get More Unlimited plan is required. Switchers get a $200 bonus, too. 


Trade in your old Galaxy phone to AT&T and get up to $1,000 off your Galaxy Z Fold 4 preorder. The phone traded in can be from any year and in any condition, too. Better still, customers who preorder at AT&T will get a free storage bump — meaning double the storage space — plus a free Samsung case.

With this promotion, you can get the Galaxy Z Fold 4 for only $800 on a qualifying unlimited plan and, if you preorder, you’ll get the 512GB model for that price instead of the 256GB model. The $1,000 credit takes place over a 36-month period, and if you cancel service before the 36 months is over you’ll have to pay the remaining balance. Also be aware that credits begin within three bills and require that you pay all taxes and associated fees on the retail price up front. 


Trade in your old phone to AT&T and get up to $1,000 off your Galaxy Z Flip 4 preorder. You’ll also get a free storage upgrade there during this preorder phase, meaning you can get the 256GB model for free on a qualifying unlimited plan. 

James Martin/CNET

T-Mobile is offering new customers a great way to save on the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Mini and the iPhone 13 Pro Max right now with a trade-in credit of up to $800 toward the new device on a new line. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Looking for the latest Google smartphone? If so, T-Mobile has some great deals on both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro right now, with discounts ranging from $150 to $501 based on your current trade-in. If you’re a current T-Mobile subscriber, you can save between $150 and $300 on either device with a trade-in as old as the iPhone 6, but those who transfer a number to T-Mobile can save just over $500 on the Pixel 6 Pro. 

You will need to be on an Essentials, Magenta or Magenta Max plan in order to qualify for the discounts. The credits come in the form of 24 monthly bill credits. If you cancel or transfer service before the 24 months, you’ll be responsible for the balance.


Released in March 2022, the iPhone SE (3rd Gen) offers a familiar design with enhanced internals. For those looking to stick with Touch ID and have a phone that’s not three years old, this is the best bet. T-Mobile is offering new and existing customers up to $400 off the iPhone SE with eligible trade-in, but new customers without a phone to trade can still score up to $215 off the price.

The credits are spread across a 24-month period, but you do need to be on an Essentials, Magenta or Magenta Max plan in order to qualify.


If you don’t need the latest and greatest, buying a slightly older iPhone model is a great way to save even more money without making too much of a sacrifice. The iPhone 12 offers a lot of great features and is definitely still worth buying in 2022, especially when you can save as much as $730 off the price of one. In order to get the biggest discount, you’ll need to be adding a new line of service on an eligible plan, but existing customers can still save between $100 and $400 on the purchase with an eligible trade-in. 

T-Mobile requires customers to be on an Essentials, Magenta or Magenta Max plan to qualify and the bill credits are split across a 24-month period.

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