How to Find Free Cell Phone Plans That Actually Work

In 2023, not having a phone or a decent phone plan is unthinkable. You rely on a phone for everything, from basic everyday communication with friends and family to work needs. What would you use to google something quick at the supermarket if you didn’t have a good phone plan? What would you do while in the dentist’s waiting room? A phone plan is non-negotiable. 

But how to find the one that’s right for you? You might have even tried, but if you go online looking for one, you’ll quickly discover that you can get lost. Who knew that finding a phone plan that works for you could be difficult? It doesn’t seem like it would be so complicated, but it becomes an overwhelming task when the variety of options is so vast. Do you want minutes? What about texts? How much data do you use in a month? Have you ever heard of the paradox of choice? This is it in action. 

But it is, in fact, possible to find the perfect cell phone plan for your needs or even one of the free cell phone plans. You can even get a plan with a free phone. You just have to know what to look for and where to start looking to find the best options and not waste time on a wild goose phone chase. Here are a few ways of getting a free phone:

Get Free Cell Phones When Switching Carriers

If it’s coming around that time when you need to change your phone and you are in the market for a different carrier, then this is the ideal time to score a new phone. It’s the easiest way to get one, and many carriers offer this perk to new customers to attract them to their company and away from their competitors. Here are a few of the carriers and their requirements.

Free cellphones from different providers


Verizon is a strong contender in the free phone game because they do this often. Moreover, unlike other companies, they don’t require you to trade in your old phone. So you get to keep the old one and get the new one, too. Win-win!

Of course, like with all these programs, there is a catch. To get the free phone, you need to sign up for the service for 36 months, usually on an unlimited plan. That means unlimited calls and data, starting at around $55 per month. 

In other words, you’ll be paying it off in installments over that entire period. You pay for the bill, but the device payment is canceled out. Plus, if you decide to withdraw from the contract at any point over the 36 months, you will be required to pay in full for the phone you received.

In addition, your expectations need to be calibrated regarding what kind of phone you’ll get for free. It will not be the latest model, like a Samsung Galaxy S series or the newest iPhone. But you will likely get a great, 5G-capable phone, and it’s free of charge! In the past, Verizon has given away Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G UW, Motorola moto g pure, Samsung Galaxy A03s, Motorola edge 5G UW, or Samsung Galaxy A02s. 


Since it’s such a major player, AT&T is also a great way to get a free new phone. But if you’re looking to get a free phone from AT&T, you should know that you typically need to trade in another phone, expect not to get it completely for free. Especially if you want a recent phone (like the iPhone 14), you can expect a trade-in, plus signing up for an unlimited plan - that means unlimited calls and data for around $97 per month, including fees. 

However, there are also times when you can find phones free or heavily discounted if you sign up for an unlimited plan when you switch to Big Blue. The phones on this offer are not the latest model, so don’t be disappointed if you get a Samsung Galaxy S21 or an iPhone 12. 


T-Mobile is another company known for offering free phones, and their offers are readily available on the website if you wish to peruse them. The advantage here is that, unlike some of the other companies on this list, the phones they offer are newer, desirable models, and you don’t need to trade another phone for them. 

The downside is that to be eligible, you need to sign up for 24 months of payments

Metro by T-Mobile

Metro is owned by T-Mobile, but that doesn’t mean that they operate in the same way. T-Mobile does not typically offer free phones with no trade-ins willy-nilly, but that’s something more often encountered on Metro. 

The requirement to get a free phone from Metro is to buy and then activate the new phone, which automatically makes you eligible for a rebate for the cost of the phone. Voila, the device is entirely free. 

Please keep in mind that if you buy the phone online, you’ll have to pay for the phone yourself, but you’ll still get the rebate later once you activate the device. Once again, the phones you can receive are not the latest, most expensive models, but they’re great. Some of them have included Samsung Galaxy A12, OnePlus Nord N200 5G, Samsung Galaxy A32 5G, or Samsung Galaxy A02s.


Cricket also uses new free phones to incentivize new customers to use their service. What’s different from other companies is that Cricket also requires you to port in your existing phone number to get the free phone from them. 

You also need to activate a plan with a minimum price that is coordinated with the price of the free device you get. Lower-cost devices come in exchange for a lower-cost phone plan, but the more expensive devices are given out in exchange for more expensive phone plans. Among Cricket free phones, people have gotten Samsung Galaxy A02s, Motorola moto g play, Samsung Galaxy A03s, and Motorola g power. 

Trade-in for Free Phones

Of course, the good old phone trade-in is also reliable for getting a free phone. It’s not exactly free, though, since you’re swapping out another phone for it. But it’s one of the most straightforward methods. 

Especially if you’re looking for a free high-tier flagship phone, like a Samsung Galaxy S22, or even an iPhone 13, you’ll likely need to offer something in exchange. All major carriers usually offer this option: to trade in an old phone to cover the cost of the new phone - typically a base model of a flagship phone. In the past, T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T offered the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini for free on a trade-in basis. 

To get the new phone, you typically have to sign up for an installment plan to be paid monthly, where the carrier will give you credits for every month. 

Buy One, Get One Free Phone Deals

Are you still lusting after one of those flashy, brand-new phones? There is one type of offer you may not have considered before. BOGO (Buy One Get One) deals are offered by carriers occasionally, and it’s an excellent opportunity to score a brand-new device free of charge. 

The drawback of this is that you do need to purchase a device (typically the more expensive of the two). However, it’s a great way to get a free phone for a family member, a Christmas gift, or get a new phone with your friend and each pay half. 

Keep in mind that this is usually an offer that requires you to purchase a flagship model (such as an iPhone 13 Pro), and you will get the base model for free (in this case, iPhone 13 or an older model). 

Get a Free Government Phone

There’s also good news for people who find themselves in a tight spot. If you can demonstrate that you’re a low-income individual, you may be eligible through the Lifeline Assistance program for free cell phones and free cell phone plans. If you struggle to pay the phone bill monthly and can’t afford a new one, this program is aimed at you. 

The first thing you need to know is that if you’re already part of a government aid program, you may already be eligible for a free government phone. If you’re signed up for any of these programs, you don’t need to sign up again:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Tribal-specific programs
  • Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
  • Head Start
  • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit

To benefit from a phone via one of the government programs, your income needs to be lower or equal to 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. As a single-person household, your income needs to be below $12,760 per year to qualify. Every extra person in your household adds another $4,480 to that income threshold. The more people that share your household, the easier it is to get cheap or free cell phone plans and a free phone. 

Free cellphone plans from US Government

Cheaper Options for Free Cell Phones

But while cheap or free cell phone plans may be available through different means, if you want yours to include more than calling (like texting and wireless internet), there’s no way around it, and you must pay for the service. However, there is still good news: many carriers offer calling, texting, and wireless data for very affordable prices - most of them are under $30 a month. Smaller, lesser-known carriers are more likely to offer plans with no contract and unlimited data for affordable prices.

Tello: $29 per month

The biggest advantage of Tello is that there is no contract, and you get unlimited data. For $30, it’s not at all a bad deal. 

Boost Mobile: $5 per month

Boost is the most affordable option currently available, with a unique offer of just $5 per month and no contract, in exchange for 5GB of data. The downside is that this deal is limited to just the first three months. 

Mint Mobile: $30/month

Mint Mobile does not require a contract; you get unlimited data on your plan for $30 per month. It’s on the more expensive end of the list, but what you get in exchange is of very good value. 

US Mobile: $10 per month

$10 a month with US Mobile gets you 5 GB of data without a contract. There is also a $3.99 fee to pay upfront. With the whistleOut Exclusive, you can get $5 knocked off for six months with the promo code WOUT2USM. Pix customers also get 50% off the first month when they switch. 

Visible: $30 per month

While it’s not the lowest monthly payment on the list, Visible gives you a lot of bang for your buck. You get unlimited data, and there’s no contract. In addition, you can bring down the price to $15 per month for a year if you bring your phone and use their code 15OFF12. 

TracFone: $25 per month

$25 per month gets you 1 GB of data with TracFone. Like many of these other options, there is no long-term contracting bounding you. However, there is a $0.99 fee to be paid upfront. 

Conclusion - Summary

Finding a phone plan that works for you can be a pain. There are almost too many to choose from, and picking between all the options becomes an overwhelming chore. However, there’s something that can make your life easier - what if you were able to get a free phone with your phone plan? 

Did you know that there are quite a few different options for getting a free phone? Switching carriers is almost guaranteed to yield a free new phone - as long as you sign up for an unlimited plan for a set period of time. You can also trade your old phone in, take advantage of a BOGO offer, or even get a free phone through a government program if you can demonstrate the need. 

There is always a way to get a free phone if you’re willing to do some research and meet the requirements the carriers put forward.