The new Apple iPhone 15 smartphones were just announced are now available for pre-order. To celebrate the release of the newest iPhones and the iOS 17 operating system, most carriers, including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, are offering upgrade promotions with extra savings and signing bonuses. To benefit from some of the very best deals, you may need to switch carriers. Is this a good money-saving strategy? Keep reading to find out.
Phone upgrade options when you switch providers
Take a few minutes and explore the phone upgrade deals being offered, especially if you’re willing to switch carriers to get your hands on the. These deals are related to pre-orders for the new iPhones and are subject to change, so act fast.
The best Apple iPhone 15 deal at Verizon
If you want to become a new Verizon customer, you can get up to $1,000 off the price of an iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max with an eligible trade in, but you need to you finance the new phone for 36 months. When you do this, you’ll get a free 40mm Apple Watch SE (2022) and a free Apple iPad (9th Generation) by taking advantage of this deal (but only for a limited time). Alternatively, you can buy or finance any 5G iPhone and any eligible iPad from Verizon and get up to $280 in promo credits over 36 months, plus get a free 40mm Apple Watch SE.
Meanwhile, if you’re an existing Verizon customer, you can get up to $830 off when you purchase or finance (for 36 months) any iPhone 15 model when you trade in any old smartphone. Verizon will give you a free 40mm Apple Watch SE and iPad (9th Generation) for free. Of course, additional conditions may apply when taking advantage of these deals.
The best iPhone 15 deal at AT&T
Head over to the AT&T website if you’re already a customer or want to become one. Either way, you can take advantage of the same deals being offered on the new Apple iPhone 15 smartphones. For example, snag the iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro for free with an eligible trade-in, or finance the new phone for using the AT&T Next Up program, and for $6 extra per month (in addition to the monthly financing fee), you will be able to upgrade to the next iPhone in 12 months, instead of 24 or 36 months.
Without a trade in, get the iPhone 15 starting at $23.06 per month (for 36 months) or purchase the phone outright starting at $830. The price increases if you choose the 256GB or 512GB model. If you have your eye on the iPhone 15 Plus, your can finance it through AT&T for 36 months starting at $25.84 per month, or purchase it outright for $930. Again, the price increases if you opt for the 256GB or 512GB model. When financing the iPhone 15 Pro without a trade-in, the monthly payment starts at $27.78, or you can purchase this phone outright for $1,000. The price goes up if you upgrade to the 256GB, 512GB or 1024GB model. Whether or not you’re a new AT&T customer, without a trade in, you can finance the iPhone 15 Pro Max starting at $33.34 per month for 36 months.
If you have an eligible trade that qualifies you to receive the maximum trade in allowance, it’s possible to get the iPhone 15 for free (based on receiving $830 in service credits over 36 months). Alternatively, with an eligible trade-in, you can finance the iPhone 15 Plus for as little as $2.85 per month, or the iPhone 15 Pro Max for as little as $5.56 per month for 36 months.
AT&T has a deal for small businesses, too. When you purchase one of the new Apple iPhones on a qualifying installment plan (lasting 24-, 30- or 36-months) and add a new line, you will receive an additional $400 in bill credits. Additional conditions may apply when taking advantage of these deals.
The best iPhone 15 deal at T-Mobile
T-Mobile is offering the same iPhone 15-related deals to all new and existing customers. In addition to its regular plans, however, special discounts are being offered to anyone 55 and over, military and veterans, as well as to first responders.
If you have an older model phone you want to keep when you switch to T-Mobile, you can choose between three service plans: Essentials ($60/month, with 50GB of premium 5G data), Go5G ($75/month, with 100GB of premium 5G data), or Go5G Plus ($90/month, with unlimited 5G data). When you sign up for any of these plans, you’re eligible to upgrade to a new phone every two years. These plans all include unlimited unlimited talk and texting.
You can get the Apple iPhone 15 for free at T-Mobile with an eligible trade-in, or finance the phone starting at $34.59 per month for 24 months without a trade-in. Meanwhile, for the iPhone 15 Pro, T-Mobile is offering five different deals, such as getting up to $1,000 off (via 24 monthly bill credits, when you trade in an eligible device and choose between a Go5G or Go5G Next plan. Without a trade-in, the iPhone 15 Pro can be financed starting at $41.67 for 24 months.
There are also five different deals to be found at T-Mobile for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Without a trade-in, you can finance the phone for 24 months starting at $34.59 per month. With an eligible trade-in and Go5G Plus or Go5G Next service plan, you can get up to $1,000 off the phone via 24 monthly bill credits.
If you switch to T-Mobile as a new customer, in addition to whatever phone deal you’re offered, you may be eligible to get up an $800 prepaid Mastercard as a bonus. Additional conditions may apply when taking advantage of these deals.
How to choose the best wireless carrier
There are several routes to take when upgrading your existing smartphone. For example, you can opt for whatever upgrade deal your current carrier is offering and keep your existing plan; you can sign up for a new monthly plan with your existing carrier; or you can switch carriers altogether. Doing this might get you enhanced 5G coverage, a great deal on the new phone upgrade and potentially lower your monthly cellular service bill. There are also upgrade deals to be had if you purchase the new phone outright (instead of financing it), but still choose to change your carrier, for example.
Before changing up your service plan, crunch the numbers and read the fine print within the new contract to make sure the deal being offered will save you money immediately and over time. If you plan to finance the new phone and it’s being advertised for a really low monthly rate, pay attention to how many years the payment plan is for. The plans with the lowest monthly phone financing rates tend to extend for three years or longer. This could save you money now, but hamper your ability to upgrade your phone again next year or even in two years. Remember, 36 months is a three-year commitment. If you want to upgrade or cancel sooner, there may be fees and penalties. Also, the monthly financing fee for the phone itself is separate from the cellular service plan you need to actually use the phone.
One additional thing to consider is what the cellular provider charges for a smartphone protection plan. This is typically an additional monthly fee that covers repairs. Some also cover the phone against loss or theft. Compare the cost and benefits of the plan offered to AppleCare+ and other third-party phone protection plans offered by various insurance companies.
Switching your cellular service provider
Right now, cellular service providers are offering extra generous deals if you switch from your existing carrier to a new one. Yes, you can keep your existing phone number when you do this.
There’s a lot to consider before changing your cellular service provider. The most important thing to look at is the service’s 5G coverage area. Based on where you use your smartphone most often, make sure the carrier you plan to switch to offers full 5G coverage in that area. Take a look at the coverage maps offered by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile before you switch.
How to compare cellular service providers
If you’re being required to sign a new long-term contract in order to get a really sweet deal on a new iPhone, determine the cost of the monthly service plan and what it includes. Sure, unlimited calling and text messaging are all standard, but some cellular service providers that offer “unlimited” cellular data wind up throttling the speed of the connection after a predetermined amount of data usage. The slowed down connection speed could make even basic tasks like web surfing, checking email and using social media, for example, extremely frustrating (if not impossible).
As an incentive to upgrade your service plan or switch to a better one, many service providers throw in bonuses, like a memory upgrade on the new phone, a free phone case, a free smartwatch, a free subscription to a popular streaming service or a long-term price lock on your service plan. These bonuses are great, but only if you plan to utilize them.
Also, while all of the carriers offer discounts on family plans, some also offer special discounts for seniors, students, first responders, active military personnel (and veterans), employees of large corporations, or members of organizations like AAA or AARP. Be sure to ask what additional discount(s) you’re entitled to on both the new phone and your new monthly service plan.
What else you should know before switching phone carriers
If you’re already tied into a monthly financing plan for your old phone and still owe money on it, some carriers will pay it off for you if you trade it in. It’s important to get all the details on whether the entire amount you still owe (and any pre-payment penalties or other fees) will be fully covered, or if you’ll be responsible for paying the difference.
If you already own your existing phone outright, determine the amount the new service provider is offering for the trade-in. You need to know if this is an immediate discount off the new phone purchase, or if it will be issued as a series of credits on your cellular service bill stretched out over the first year or two of service, for example. You might get more money for your phone if you sell it privately.
Also, make sure you know the full rate you’re paying for your monthly cellular plan, with taxes and add-ons for a smartwatch or tablet with cellular capabilities (if applicable). While you might be saving money on the initial phone upgrade or purchase, will you be paying more over time for the new monthly service plan? Also be sure to ask about one-time activation or switching fees you may be responsible for.