The best cell phone deals for May 2022
Whether you’re looking for a price cut on a new iPhone or a trade-in promo on the new Galaxy S22, you’ll find all of this week’s best cell phone deals neatly lined up and compared right here on this page. We’ve picked out all of the best value options, regardless of carrier or device, to help our readers save some cash on their next purchase.
It’s a great time to be checking in too. We’re coming up to Memorial Day (one of the biggest sales of the year) and things are already starting to heat up at the major carriers. Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone SE 2022 are available for free right now at Verizon without the need for a trade and the Galaxy S22 series are at their lowest ever price at Amazon – all excellent cell phone deals to consider.
Generally speaking, you’ll find cell phone deals coming in two forms – first as an outright sale on an unlocked device, and secondly as part of a carrier-plan tie-in. The latter can be a bit tricky, involving new cell phone plans and also trade-ins on old devices, but the savings can be absolutely huge if you’re eligible. We’ve also included a third alternative option – cell phone deals from prepaid carriers. These smaller carriers don’t tend to offer huge savings on a device, but you’ll generally be scoring a much cheaper cell phone plan so it’s worth considering the switch for sure.
Which type of cell phone deal should you go for? Well, that will depend on your personal needs. If you’re looking for the latest flagship device and an unlimited plan to pair it up with then you’ll be well served by Verizon or AT&T’s latest promotions. If you’re looking for maximum flexibility or long-term savings, then it’s generally better to consider either buying a device unlocked and then going with a prepaid carrier, or buying a prepaid device directly from that carrier.
Note, all of the devices featured on our list have been personally reviewed by the staff here at TechRadar. They’re all fantastic picks in their own right and you won’t find any sub-par choices included. If you’d like to find out which is best for you we’d recommend checking our updated guide to the best phones for 2022.
Today’s best cell phone deals at a glance
- Free iPhone 13: with eligible trade-in and new unlimited line at Verizon
- Free iPhone 12 (no trade): free with a new unlimited data line at Verizon
- Cheap iPhone 12 (no trade):
$20.28$15/mo with unlimited plan at AT&T
- Mint Mobile: 6-months of free data with iPhone 13, iPhone 12, iPhone SE
- Visible Wireless: $200 gift card when you switch and buy a new iPhone SE
- Boost Mobile: $50 off new iPhone SE 2022
- Sony Xperia 1 IV: free Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds with pre-order at Amazon
- Galaxy S22 Ultra (unlocked):
$1,199$949 at Amazon
- OnePlus 9 (unlocked):
$729.99$599.99 at OnePlus
- Apple trade-in: save up to $790 on a new iPhone with a trade
If you don’t mind switching carriers, you can find many of the best smartphone deals from the big four. The major carriers will often let you split the cost of the phone into monthly payments anywhere from 18 to 30 months, and sometimes longer. The deals they offer frequently cut the price of the phone in half, sometimes even offering the phone for free.
To get these deals, you’ll generally need to be adding a new line and signing up for a specific mobile plan. But, as long as you’re planning to get an unlimited data plan anyway, they can make it a lot more affordable to pick up a brand new phone.
If you’d like to deep dive into specific carriers, we’ve got some great content for you in the form of our Verizon deals and AT&T deals pages. There you’ll find a full list of what’s available, including discounts on plans and even free phones.
Deals on unlocked smartphones aren’t always the most eye-popping, as they tend to offer only small cuts to the retail price. Occasionally you’ll find a major deal on a new smartphone, usually late into the one-year refresh cycle for that brand. We’ve seen this kind of price drop commonly for Samsung flagships, but they aren’t frequent and rarely match the up-front discounts carriers offer.
However, the savings you get from unlocked cell phone deals can be hidden. That’s because an unlocked phone will let you freely move between carriers, so you can always choose the mobile plan that suits you. This can make your savings add up over time, as you won’t be stuck on an expensive data plan for 24 months as you pay off your phone on an installment plan.