There are various options for those looking to buy a cheap cell phone. Sales in the traditional sense don’t really apply to cell phones, since you usually also have to arrange a contract. Those buying unlocked cell phones at full price without a contract might find that certain stores have sales, but it’s probably not worth hanging around for.
Far more feasible is to find a cheap cell phone available as part of an offer. You’ll often see a popular model advertised for a surprisingly low price through a cell phone operator, such as T-Mobile, AT&T, or Sprint. This is a great way to reduce the initial outlay involved in purchasing a cell phone, but be sure to consider the offer in terms of the so-called total cost of ownership (TCO). In other words, look at how much you’ll pay over a year or over the length of the contract. You might find that it’s cheaper to just buy an unlocked phone separately and sign up for a cheap cell plan that doesn’t come with a free or discounted phone.
If you’re just in the market for some hardware, you might find some good bargains from surplus clearance companies. Surplus devices are new goods but that have been on the market for some time; retailers tend to try to sell them on for little profit or even at cost in order to make way for newer, more-profitable products. Surplus clearance companies often also deal in refurbished cell phones, whereby used cell phones have been returned to the factory and serviced. The devices will look almost new and will come with a warranty — but they’re usually significantly cheaper than buying new cell phones.
There’s also a huge market for second-hand cell phones. Look on online auction sites and in the classified section of local newspapers, for example. Buying second-hand cell phones is a risky business — they’re often still pretty pricey and they won’t usually come with any warranty. If it breaks, you’ll just have to buy a new one. This is one benefit of buying a cell phone as part of a cell phone plan — you’ll get free replacements if the device fails, and many companies will offer you a free upgrade every one or two years.