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Here's how to get an iPhone 13 (almost) free

Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile roll out great deals on Apple's new iPhone
Apple Event
Posted at 8:40 AM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 11:40:50-04

If someone offered you a free iPhone 13, a lot of us would shrug it off these days, figuring it was some scam.

But believe it or not, some of these offers are legitimate and pretty good, according to an analysis by CNET.com.

The ads are everywhere right now for Apple's new iPhone 13, some claiming you can get the hot new phone for "$0."

But how can a carrier give away an $800 phone for nothing?

Of course, they can't.

But CNET says you shouldn't just ignore these offers advertised by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. (If you don't see a $0 promotion, look for the "get up to $800 when you trade your phone in" offer)

They want your business or continued business and honestly give you a big discount on the new phone.

CNET explains it all depends on your trade-in and current plan. In most cases:

  • You must have a recent iPhone X, 11, or 12 in good working condition. That's right; my 3 1/2-year-old iPhone 7 doesn't qualify.
  • You must have an unlimited data package or agree to a new one.
  • You agree to pay for your "free" phone with a 36-month installment plan.

Hidden fees to watch for

So why would you have to pay for a free phone? Because we all know that you are still paying for it over time, albeit at a good discount.

So from the Doesn't That Stink file: All the extras that make that free phone anything but free.

  • Activation fee: $30 to $50.
  • Tax: $10.
  • Case and screen protector: $40.

And, of course, the fact that you agree to pay for your current or new unlimited plan for the next three years, which is how the provider makes money off that (almost) free phone.

That's $100 right off the top, plus an agreement to stick with your carrier for 36 months, which stinks if you were hoping for free.

And don't even dream about terminating the contract after a year, or you will be asked to pay for that shiny new phone and pay some more.

So are these excellent deals?

No one is simply going to hand you a new iPhone 13 completely free. That's like a guy on the sidewalk tossing you $800 or $900 cash.

But if you want the newest phone, CNET says these promotional deals can be worthwhile.

So give them a look, so you don't waste your money.

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