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Best Cell Phone Deals January 2022
Here are the very best cell phone deals of the month, all in one place.
January is here, but we’re not going to jinx 2022 with any big resolutions or predictions. We’re just going to quietly go about our business—telling you all about the best cell phone deals on the market.
So what’s new in this new year? Not too much, it turns out. But that’s a good thing because you can still score an incredible deal on a brand new iPhone 13. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are offering basically free iPhones for new customers who trade-in eligible devices.
Read on to learn more about these amazing cell phone deals (plus a couple of deals from Mint Mobile and Boost Mobile).
- : Get a free Moto One 5G Ace phone when you switch to Xfinity Mobile
- : Save up to $800 on iPhone 13
- : Free iPhone 13 with trade-in
- : Buy one, get one on iPhone 13
- : Get 12 months of free service when you buy iPhone 11
- : Up to $180 off Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
The best baller, mid-range, and budget smartphones on major carriers
Looking for a little one-on-one guidance for choosing a smartphone? Check out this video from our smartphone guru Tshaka for some pro shopping tips.
Best Xfinity Mobile cell phone deal: Get a free Moto One 5G Ace phone when you switch to Xfinity Mobile
- Get a fast 5G smartphone free
- Uses Verizon's great network
- Available only to existing Xfinity home internet customers
Xfinity Mobile has a few great deals going on right now for new customers. (Remember, Xfinity Mobile is available only to existing Xfinity home internet subscribers.)
The deal we're highlighting is a free Motorola Moto One 5G Ace smartphone. This deal is available to new customers who purchase the device from Xfinity Mobile and transfer their numbers within 30 days. Customers will see credits applied over 24 months of the device payment plan. Offer ends January 10, 2022.
If you want to learn more about the Moto Ace, check out our video review.
For new customers who already love the phone they have, they can receive a $200 prepaid card when they switch to Xfinity Mobile and bring their own phone or device (BYOD). This BYOD offer from Xfinity Mobile ends December 21, 2021.
Best AT&T cell phone deal: Save up to $800 on iPhone 13
- Huge savings on the newest Apple iPhone
- Get great AT&T service
- Must switch to AT&T or add a new line
- Discount applied over 36 months
The iPhone 13 may have come out last year, but it’s still one of the finest phones around, with an incredible processor, good battery life, beautiful display, and a top-notch camera. You can get up to $800 off the iPhone 13 when you sign up for an AT&T unlimited data plan and purchase the phone on installments.
Some of the other devices that are eligible for this trade-in deal include:
- Apple devices: iPhone 8/8 Plus, iPhone X/XS, iPhone 11/11 Pro/11 Pro Max, iPhone 12/12 mini/12 Pro/12 Pro Max
- Samsung Devices: A71, A71 5G, Fold, Z Fold2 5G, Galaxy S9/S9+, Galaxy S10/S10+/S10 5G/S10e/S10, Galaxy S20/S20 Ultra 5G/S20+ 5G, Note9, Note10, Note10+, Note10+ 5G, Note20 5G, Note20 Ultra 5G, Z Flip 5G
- Google: Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 5
Best T-Mobile cell phone deal: Free iPhone 13 w/ trade-in
- Get an Apple iPhone 13 for free
- Get great AT&T service
- Must trade-in old device
We’ll keep highlighting this deal until the company changes it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? That seems to be T-Mobile’s approach, and we’re not complaining.
Plus, T-Mobile just rolled out a new concept called “Forever Upgrade,” which means that the value of your new iPhone 13 will be locked in at $800. You can upgrade to the newest iPhone every two years from here on out, maintaining that $800 value.
Best Verizon cell phone deal: Buy one, get one on iPhone 13
- Buy one, get one on the latest Apple phone
- Enjoy Verizon's amazing coverage
- Must sign up for payment plan
- Requires new line or plan upgrade
Valentine’s Day is coming up and you can say “I love you” with a brand new iPhone 13. But why should all the presents be for someone else? Score two iPhone 13s for the price of one with Verizon Wireless.
The fine print on this deal—you have to buy the device in installments and sign up for a new unlimited data plan.
Best Mint Mobile deal: Get 12 months of free service when you buy a Google Pixel 6
- Get one year of service free
- Enjoy cheap unlimited data
- Must be new customer and sign up for 12 months
Mint Mobile is already known for offering incredibly cheap cell phone plans. But you know what’s even cheaper than cheap? Free.
When you sign up for 12 months of service and buy an eligible new phone (like an iPhone SE, Google Pixel 6, or iPhone 11), Mint will throw in an extra 12 months of service without charge. Nothing like the peace of mind that comes with taking care of your cell phone bill for two full years in advance.
Best Boost Mobile phone deal: $180 off the Samsung Galaxy A71 5G:
- A great 5G phone for an awesome price
- Get Boost’s unlimited data plan
- Must pay for phone upfront
Boost Mobile offers powerful and affordable data plans on T-Mobile’s super-fast network. The carrier will sell you a new 5G Samsung phone (to take advantage of T-Mobile’s huge 5G network) for just $250.
Image Source: Boost Mobile
The A71 5G may not be the fanciest phone on the market, but it does the trick. You’ll get a great camera, a huge display, 36 hours of talk time, and, best of all, you’ll still have some cash in your wallet after you buy it.
Tips and tricks for finding the best cell phone deals
Here’s the golden rule of buying a new phone: never pay full price. There’s almost always a way to get the device you want with a discount, a BOGO deal, or some other promotional offer. Here’s what to look for when you’re shopping.
See if your carrier offers the latest phones for existing customers
Last year AT&T announced that it would start giving its existing customers some of the very same phone deals that it offers to new customers. Since then the other two major carriers—T-Mobile and Verizon—have followed suit.
Be sure to check your current carrier’s deals before running to a new company. It can help to actually call (so old fashioned) and tell a representative what you’re looking for (especially if you say you’re thinking of changing carriers!).
Look for refer-a-friend programs
You like your friends (most of the time) and you like saving money (all of the time), so why not put the two together? Many carriers—like Mint, Visible, and AT&T—will give you an account credit when you refer a friend.
While these account credits aren’t exactly phone deals, they do cut your monthly bill. Since many phones are bought on installments that you pay with your monthly bill, it’s basically the same thing.
Look for trade-in programs
Verizon is usually running some kind of incredible trade-in deal that will give you $800+ off your new device when you give up your old one. While not every carrier offers that kind of cash, most do have some sort of trade-in policy.
Remember, if you’re trading in an iPhone 6 with a busted screen, it’s going to be worth a lot less than a Samsung Galaxy S20+ that’s just a year old.
Consider switching carriers to get the new customer treatment
We talked about how some carriers are beginning to offer deals to existing customers. But this is the exception to the rule. In most cases, switching to a new carrier opens up a whole new world of phone deals.
Companies often save their best deals—like iPhone BOGO offers—for those who sign up for an unlimited data plan. Besides, switching to the right company can save you money and give you more data (depending on what plan you’re on now).
Factor free streaming subscriptions and other perks into the total savings
Cell phone companies like to throw in perks to get you to sign up for their plans. Some perks are boring, like 500 MB free data when you travel south of the border. But there are other perks that are, to be honest, freakin’ awesome.
AT&T will give you a free HBO Max subscription on certain plans. T-Mobile will hook you up with a Netflix plan. And Verizon plans often give you Disney+, Hulu, and other subscriptions! These may not be directly related to your phone purchase, but they sweeten the deal for sure.
Frequently asked questions about cell phone deals
Welcome to the FAQ section, where we answer all of your burning questions about love, life, and cell phones. Well, mostly about cell phones actually.
When is the best time to look for cell phone deals?
It depends on what you want. It’s well known in the industry that Apple tends to unveil its new devices in September of each year, while Samsung usually sticks to a January release date. So, if you want a new iPhone or Galaxy phone, then those will be the times you’ll see a flurry of deals on new models.
You’ll also see a good amount of deals landing around Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other holidays.
If you’re not interested in waiting for the right deal to land in your lap, then you can take the initiative by switching to a new carrier or adding a new line to your plan (to make it a family plan). Since pretty much every company has done away with restrictive contracts, it doesn’t really matter when you switch.
Should I switch to a different cell phone carrier to get a good deal on a cell phone?
The short answer is yes, unless you’re really happy with your current carrier.
Not only are the best deals usually saved for new customers, but many companies will also give you other incentives to “break up” with your current cell phone company. For example, T-Mobile will pay up to $650 for you to pay off your phone or phone bill with your old carrier when you switch over.
What are the best upgrade cell phone deals?
There is some incentive for folks to stay with their existing carrier. Most companies will offer upgrade deals every year or two. These deals can help you keep up with the latest models from Apple, Samsung, or Google, but they might not be as substantial as the deals for brand new customers.
If you think you should be eligible for an upgrade, give your carrier a call.
What are the best refer-a-friend cell phone deals?
Mint Mobile has one of the best referral deals around. You can get up to $240 of credit when you refer up to five friends. That’s enough credit to get you a full year on Mint’s 10 GB plan! Plus, each friend that you refer will get a $15 credit for themselves. Everyone wins.
Most companies have a referral program. So, if you’ve got friends looking for a new phone plan, be sure to ask your current carrier about their referral deals. You may be able to score some credit for a new phone or to help pay your bill.
What are the best cell phone trade-in deals?
That old iPhone 8 may seem totally worthless to you. But it could be worth a couple hundred bucks in the right context. Verizon Wireless probably has the most robust trade-in program, offering up to $800 (!) off a new iPhone 12.
Of course, trading in your old phone might not fetch as much as selling on your own using Facebook Marketplace.
What are the best smartphones?
There are several contenders for the best smartphone on the market. But after a lot of research and analysis, we’ve come up with three devices that clearly beat out the competition.
- Best overall performance: The Samsung Galaxy S21+ quite simply has everything. The best camera, a lightning-fast processor, an insanely beautiful display, 5G capability, and pretty much everything else you could want.
- Best overall value: If you want a phone that balances incredible performance with reasonable price, the iPhone 12 is the way to go. You’ll get the beautiful design and solid reliability of an Apple product for less than $1,000 factory price.
- Best for budget: Google has snuck into the cell phone market in recent years with some phones that rival the performance of Apple and Samsung but cost half as much. The Pixel 4A is no different. You can get this surprisingly powerful phone for under $400.