4 Easy Steps to Get a Free Cell Phone
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Whether you're taking advantage of an upgrade in an existing contract, signing a contract with a new carrier, or buying a pre-paid cell phone for short-term use, this article offers prudent advice to ensure that you get a great a product, and a great deal. Log in Social login does not work in incognito and private browsers. Please log in with your username or email to continue.
Tips and Warnings. Related Articles. Part 1 of Assess yourself as a consumer. From the nature of your device to the specs of your plan, there are an overwhelming amount of options when purchasing a cell phone. Conducting the right research beforehand can save time and give you a leg up in the purchasing process. Answer the following questions to determine the type of research you should conduct.
What's your budget? Do you have an existing cell phone plan, and if so, do you have a free upgrade? Are you looking to switch carriers, or to sign your first service contract? How is your credit? Are you willing to sign a service contract at all?
Research service carriers. Assuming you are willing and able to sign a contract, you should look into options of larger, and smaller, more local service carriers before researching your preferred device. This may seem backwards, but there are good reasons to prioritize researching your carrier: Carriers don't offer coverage everywhere. For example, until , Verizon did not offer service in Alaska,  X Research source so if you lived in Anchorage, it was ill-advised to waste time researching Verizon-exclusive products.
Carriers offer a wide array of contracts at a wide array of prices. Some carriers may simply be out of your budget. No use researching their products.
Talk to your neighbors and coworkers. Once you think you've pinpointed the ideal carrier, double check with people who spend time in the same areas as you. What carriers do they use? Are they satisfied with their service?
Are there particular places that your neighbors or coworkers don't get service? Consider a pre-paid cell phone. Pre-paid cell phones are available at a much larger range of retailers. They come with a set number of minutes sometimes with the option of purchasing additional minutes , and they are a one-time purchase, as opposed to a cell phone with a contract that you pay every month.
As an investment, a pre-paid cell phone doesn't make much sense, but depending on your circumstances, it can be a logical option. Consider what features are important to you in a cell phone. You've done the carrier research; now it's time to start thinking about what's important to you in the actual device.
Smart phones have gotten so sophisticated that it's impossible to list all their capabilities, but use the following features as a jumping off point for your consideration. This is fortuitous, because more basic cell phones are inexpensive, and require much less research to pick out. Most cell phones have cameras, but there can be a huge range of camera quality from one device to the next.
Media player Durability Wi-Fi Mac-compatibility. Research prices and consumer reports. Now that you know what features you're seeking in your new phone, you should take advantage of the multitude of online consumer report guides. Everyone knows about the iPhone, but that's not the only viable smart phone option.
Cross reference prices and features of available devices with the features you want. This should narrow down your list, and put you in a better position when you go to the store to buy a phone. Ask your family and friends about their phones.
Online research is great, but talking to people you trust can give you a whole new perspective. Take into account what you know about the people you're asking. Are they tech savvy? Are you? Do they share your priorities? Factor in the answers to these questions as you ask your friends about their experiences with their phones and whether they would recommend the devices.
Check which carriers support the devices you're interested in. But there are plenty of exceptions. If you've fallen in love with a certain model of phone, double check that a carrier supports it before taking the time to discuss contract options. Part 2 of Take a look at the inventory. Before you engage with a sales representative, take a minute to look around the store at the products on display. Does the store carry the same products you've been researching? If not, you've lost your advantage, and you may want to look elsewhere.
If you are familiar with the devices, compare their listed prices to the prices you've seen online. Talk to a sales representative. Eventually, you're going to have to talk to a salesperson. But remember, this person is trying to sell you something. Do reveal your contractual status. When you communicate with a sales rep, it's wise to keep some things to yourself.
With that said, you should be forthcoming about whether or not you have an existing contract. If you tell the salesperson you do have a contract with a certain carrier, and you don't, you may lose out on new-customer discounts. Don't reveal whether you've decided to sign a new contract. While it's logical to reveal whether or not you have an existing cell phone plan, you shouldn't be so forthcoming about your plans for the future. Telling a sales rep that you're committed to signing a new contract, or that you're committed not to, reduces your leverage as a consumer.
Remaining noncommittal will put the sales rep in the position of offering you the best deals available. Don't reveal how much you know about the different phones. There are a few reasons to play your phone knowledge close to the chest.
You might learn something from the salesperson's recommendations. Sometimes we're conditioned to see salespeople as enemies, but the reality is that they're often experts in their field, and they can offer valuable insights You might learn something about the salesperson.
If you've consistently read bad reviews about a device, and the salesperson recommends it, that tells you what kind of person you're dealing with—either incompetent, or insincere. Describe the features you want. After your initial interaction with the salesperson, this is a good segue into discussing specific devices. By describing your desired features, you won't reveal too much about your expertise, but you'll steer the conversation in the direction of the devices you want.
Make a choice in your head. Hopefully, by this point you've done enough research on carriers and devices that you're ready to move forward. But don't tell the salesperson just yet. Probe for better deals. This is when you reveal that you're an expert consumer. You've decided what you want, and the salesperson has probably quoted you a price; try the following strategies to see if you can sweeten the deal.
Tell the salesperson you've seen the device elsewhere, for a better deal, which could simply mean a better price, or with additional accessories—car chargers, Blue Tooth headsets, etc. Back this up with advanced knowledge of the product. Tell the salesperson you have a fixed budget less than the quoted price.
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