Free Prepaid Cellular Phones

I want to get prepaid wireless service, and I'm wondering if there's somewhere where I can get free prepaid cellular phones?

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Aug 11, 2009
No Free Prepaid Cellular Phones
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

This is a good question, and I expect that many people are asking themselves the same question!

Unfortunately, as a general rule, wireless providers don't offer free prepaid cellular phones. In other words, unlike contract plans, you won't be able to walk into a standard store and see phones displayed as $0.

The reason why comes down to the topic of subsidies that postpaid providers offer when you sign a contact with them. You can find a detailed discussion about this topic here: Wireless Subsidies

However, there are some things to look out for:
1. Some wireless dealers may offer special bundles whereby the phone is either free or ends up being free. For example, they may sometimes offer the phone preloaded with some airtime (ex. $50) that essentially makes a $50 phone free.

2. Monthly unlimited plans that offer first month free often have the same effect as #1 above because a month of service costs $50 (for example).

3. You may be able to find a dealer that is offering a used phone for free if you sign up for a particular plan or load a certain number of dollars onto the phone once they activate it for you. In this case, they're getting commissions on the replenishment, and either bought the phone for very little, or got it free when someone upgraded in their store.

4. Carriers will sometimes have special promotions where they actually do offer a $0 phone with a new activation. Usually this has to do with them trying to get rid of old inventory that they can't sell. These are the types of deals you'll want to keep your eye out for. When I come across them, I also include it in the What's New section. You can subscribe to the RSS fee as well if that's how you prefer to keep in touch.

As a general rule, though, you're not going to be able to walk into a store any day of the week, and expect to find a bunch of $0 phone options. Sorry, but that's the nature of no contract prepaid. The good news is that you'll save a bunch of money on your plan!

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