Yes, you can get a free prepaid cell phone or no-contract phone from a couple of different companies online. This is a surprise because there’s no contract to tie you down. True, these phones, with one or two exceptions, are not really high-end phones, but they do the job.
The companies take the risk that if they give you a free phone with the purchase of and airtime card that you’ll be inclined to stick with them for a while even without a contract. So let’s start, naturally enough, with . . .
Tracfone offers the reconditioned ZTE Whirl 2 and ZTE Paragon free with airtime purchase. These are Android 4.4 or 4.3 phones with 3.5 inch, and 4.0 inch screens, respectively.
Net10 offers the Alcatel A521L Pop Star free when you purchase it with one of the monthly airtime cards which start at $35.
Earlier they also offered the LG Optimus Dynamic (review of Tracfone version) and the Huawei Glory with the purchase of an unlimited monthly airtime card.
Straight Talk currently offers quite a few free phones with the purchase of airtime cards:
The smartphones requires the $45 or higher monthly plans.
AT&T is offering the ZTE Maven 2 free when you sign up for a new line of service and make at least a $30 payment for airtime.
Note: When you go to the offer page, the price is still listed as $39.99 but drops to zero once you add the minimum $30 payment. You are restricted to using this phone on the Gophone plan for at least six months before you can switch it to another phone. After that, I assume you can switch it to another AT&T plan or switch to another company.
Shipping is also free.
Prepaid Plans › Free Phones w. Airtime Purchase
In addition to choosing the right plan, there are a few other ways of saving money. One thing you can do is look for promo codes for phone and airtime purchases.
Promo Codes from Tracfone help you save money and get more minutes.
The sister brands, Net10 and Straight Talk also sometimes have these codes, but not as often.
If you are interested in smart phones, and who isn't these day, these are now available for $100 or less without a contract. These are not the high-end models, but still, I think one or two of them have a basic front-facing camera.