Did you know that the global smartphone market will grow by 9.5% over the next ten years? With the demand for mobile phones steadily increasing, the number of new devices from major brands will continue to grow. For people looking to buy their next phone, this trend introduces a unique dynamic. On the one hand, you have a ton of options to choose from; on the other hand, it can get overwhelming picking the one right for you.
Whether you’re all about buying the latest phones or your current phone is in desperate need of an upgrade, finding a great deal can be difficult. With so many brand names to choose from—and the technology and features in each phone continuing to improve—the choices are virtually endless. Couple this with the growing trend of new models hitting the market faster, and finding an awesome new phone quickly turn into a daunting task.
In this article, we’re diving into everything you should know before you go on your next deal hunt so you know where to find the best phone deals and what to consider when choosing which phones are the best options for you.
Phone Shopping 101
While you might be excited to snag that awesome new phone with the latest and greatest features there are a few key things to consider. First, let’s start with a background that can guide your next purchase.
The Best Deals Usually Have Specific Requirements
Usually, carriers will have several requirements you’ll need to meet to get the best deals. Phone trade-ins are among the most common of these. While trade-ins are probably something you’re already aware of, consider this: there's a big difference in terms of how much credit you'll receive from your phone depending on how old it is. Typically if you have a model that's less than 4 yrs old you'll get the most credit available. Moreover, most deals specifically require devices to be in “good” condition… meaning no cracked screens, no bends, no chips, etc., which is why we recommend you buy a good phone case too.
You may also need to either already be on or switch to a specific plan to get a newer phone for the best price. In most cases, you’ll need to enroll in premium (top tier) plans to qualify for the best phone deals. If you want to buy a new phone, you might need to switch to a new plan or consider an upgrade. This way, you get the best possible deals available to you!
Switching Plans is the Most Effective Way to Save Big on the Device You want
Are you wondering how to get a better phone deal in your next purchase? Switching plans could be a sure way of saving money! Carriers constantly look to increase their customer base. As such, they are always willing to offer incentives to entice you into buying new phones. Switching plans just before the release of newer phones makes sure you can max out on the promotional discounts and trade-ins carriers are willing to offer you. After a new phone series launch, usually, the promotional value of older phones allows you to enjoy discounts and incentives.
Currently, a Verizon customer who wants to switch to an iPhone 13 Pro Max would probably pay around double for them to stay with Verizon. In contrast, you'd only need to pay half the price to switch to AT&T or T-Mobile. This shows the often-underrated impact of changing plans when looking for a device.
You're Not Locked-In to a Specific Phone Plan
Most people assume that when a user switches plans, the plan must remain in place for two years. In reality, you only need to pay off the device you bought. If you buy a phone using an equipment installation plan (EIP), you only need to stay on your plan for the duration of that EIP in order to get the full promo value. However, you can also change between qualifying plans under your EIP, so if you think you’re stuck with what you have currently, the good news is that you have options!
There are a ton of different plan types you can choose from, but at a high level, here are the top plan types (note that the best deals are between Premium and Mid-Level plans).
Premium Unlimited Plan
Users who have high-data consumption rates can fit well into this plan. If you want the best phone deals in the market, you might want an unlimited premium plan. Premium unlimited plans include hotspots, streaming services, and other extra features.
Mid-Level Unlimited Plans
In some cases, users look for mid-data plans with extra features such as hotspot and streaming services. Mid-level unlimited plans include midrange data-consuming features. If you prefer a plan that is not too high on data yet not too low, this is a great deal for you.
Entry-Level Unlimited Plans
Some users prefer unlimited plans without extra features such as hotspots. You may consider mid-level unlimited plans if you only require a lower-than-average plan.
Capped Data Plan
The capped plan option is for users who want basic services. If you rarely use a lot of data, this is your match. Limited data plans are best for basic services where users don't desire extra features.
So How Do You Find the Best Phone Deals?
The phone market is always awash with new deals. But as you look, you need to consider certain factors before deciding to buy. Before narrowing down your options, consider these helpful questions to find the best phone deals for your specific needs.
Do I Buy a Locked or Unlocked Device?
As we mentioned earlier, you aren’t locked into a specific phone plan. The only thing that binds you is the particular device's payment plan. If you desire to switch plans, you might need to pay more upfront. Nonetheless, you'll have more flexibility if you wish to change plans. The same criterion applies to those who want to switch in search of better service.
Do I Need the Latest and Greatest Model?
The price of current phones tends to drop as new models of the same, or different brands hit the market. These newer versions come with cutting-edge features, which may justify their higher prices if that’s what you’re looking for. If you don’t need to be on the tip of the cutting-edge, you can save a lot of money choosing an older model while still enjoying some comparable features.
What's My Trade-in Value Worth?
It may surprise you that your old device could easily fetch a lot of value. But this also depends on where you look. It's essential to choose your trade-in options wisely. AT&T, for instance, currently offers as much as $800 off for a brand-new Samsung Galaxy S21 when traded for an old iPhone 7. Some trade-ins will offer different discounts for the same model. However, the same iPhone 7 can be worth less if you were to trade it in at Verizon.
Compared to the AT&T deal, these discounts may be less, so it's essential to compare the deals before making a decision.
When is the Best Time to Buy a New Phone?
Timing is everything when thinking of how to get a better phone deal. Phone prices fluctuate a lot depending on the seasons, and if you pay close attention, you’ll see when some carriers drop their prices significantly. Consider holiday promotions seasons–which usually start around November–alongside popular release times. Samsung usually releases their Galaxy series in the spring, while Apple releases the iPhone series in the fall, so if you’re looking for a great deal, try and time your purchase accordingly.
Will Switching Plans Save Me Money in the Long-Term?
The reality is most of the best deals in the market require you to switch to new plans. It's important to note, however, that the switch usually requires an unlimited plan. Knowing this, it’s important to consider the actual amount of money you need to pay over the same period if you were paying for your new device. You may end up paying more for the new plan compared to what you would need to pay when going for a new phone.
Sounds like too much work? We'll do it for you!
Choosing a phone can be a daunting experience—especially with the number of choices available to you. This is why we’re here! We believe there's a better way to keep you in the loop on how to get the best phone deals and flexible service plans.
That's why we put you in the driver’s seat of your wireless experience—with easy-to-use free services to find you the deals you’ll love without hassle.