Should you buy a T-Mobile phone on Black Friday?
Yes. An unlocked phone will give you a lot more freedom to switch carriers but you can get a great phone for a low price if you're willing to sign up for 24 months of payments with T-Mobile. Most unlocked phones will work with T-Mobile's full network, including 5G, but will require you to pay much more upfront. T-Mobile can spread out your payments if you're willing to stay with the service.
Get the most out of the T-Mobile network for a low monthly cost with support for T-Mobile's full network including 5G. Save with 24 monthly bill credits especially with a new line.
Black Friday can be a great time to finally make the jump to a new phone whether it comes straight from T-Mobile or if it's designed to work with any carrier. Luckily, if you're on T-Mobile, pretty much any unlocked phone will work on the network and there are a wealth of deals on Android phones. If you want to use 5G, just make sure your new phone supports bands n71 and n41 at a minimum. That's most of them though. If you are fine with LTE, there are even more great options to choose from but keep in mind that T-Mobile's network really shines brightest with 5G.
T-Mobile has been hard at work all through 2020 building one of the biggest 5G networks with constant improvements in speed and coverage. If you're getting a T-Mobile phone, your best bet is to get one that supports 5G. Luckily, there are a ton to choose from in 2020 whether you're looking at the value-oriented Google Pixel 4a 5G or the fantastic Galaxy S20 FE 5G. Both of these phones will work great on T-Mobile's network whether you have 5G coverage today or are still working with LTE.
All of T-Mobile's plans support 5G and the vast majority of T-Mobile based MVNOs like Mint Mobile also work with 5G for no extra cost. The only thing you need to use 5G on the T-Mobile network is a 5G capable phone. If you're ready to experience 5G, it's a great time to get a new phone and T-Mobile is the right network.
The majority of T-Mobile's deals are simple bill credits applied over 24 months. For some of the better deals, you will need to trade in an eligible phone which typically includes phones from Samsung, LG, Google, OnePlus, or Apple as old as the Galaxy S7 or iPhone 7. Trade-ins must also be in good condition. Finally, almost every one of the best deals requires a new line or a new account. If you're ready to add a new family member to your account as a holiday gift, you're in luck. If you want to upgrade your phone, you're likely better off looking for an unlocked deal.
If you need to get an iPhone for someone on your account, you may need to sign up for 30 months of bill credits with the iPhone 12 with a trade-in. You can also get an iPhone SE for 50% off with 24 bill credits when you add a line.
Grab an unlocked phone instead
One issue with getting a specific T-Mobile phone deal is that you probably need to commit to 24 months of service to get the full discount. If you are looking to get a great deal on a phone only to switch to an MVNO in a few months, you're out of luck. You'll need to finish paying off the phone's remaining balance to leave. Still, with a good trade-in deal or even by selling the phone second hand, you may come out ahead though it's a bit of extra work.
Another big reason to go with an unlocked phone is if you're already on T-Mobile. The best deals are typically reserved for new lines or people that are switching to the service. While you can still probably get a solid deal with a trade-in upgrade, it might be worth it to get an unlocked phone with the option to switch carriers or even sell your phone if you find you want to upgrade even sooner than 24 months.
Great deals on phones for Black Friday
There are a lot of Black Friday deals on Android phones and pretty much all of them are compatible with T-Mobile. Buying an unlocked phone typically means paying for the full phone all at once but will let you take your phone to another carrier if you want a change.
If you're looking for a couple of Samsung devices and a new line, you're in luck. Buy one and get the other for $1000 off on most high-end Samsung phone including the Galaxy S10, S20 series, Note 20 series, and even the Z Flip and Z Fold 2 phones. Naturally, you'll get this discount over 24 months with bill credits but it's still an awesome deal with a lot of flexibility.
The Galaxy S20 FE 5G is a great refresh of the S20 series with a focus on the features that are most important for most people. Even with a lower base price, this is one of the best Android phones you can get. With a new line, you can get this phone for just $99 with 24 monthly bill credits.
Google's Pixel 4a 5G is an upgrade to the 4a in every way with a bigger screen, battery, and a faster processor. Of course, it also has 5G support. Get one for 50% off when you join with 24 monthly bill credits. Make it free when you trade in an eligible device.
OnePlus phones are known for cutting through the noise and delivering a great phone with high-end features for a great price. The 8T+ has a 120Hz display, a 48MP camera, and a massive 12GB of RAM. Get it 50% off with 24 monthly bill credits on a new line.
Is Black Friday the right time to buy a new phone?
Some of the biggest names in Android announce their new flagship phones at the beginning of the year, such as Samsung's Galaxy S series. Even considering that, some of the best Android phones you can still get were released at the beginning of 2020. These phones should have no problem working well for another couple of years.
There are a lot of phones that were released recently and still hold up well. The Galaxy S20 FE refreshes the S20 series with a lower price by focusing on the features that are the most important to most people. With technology, there's always the promise of the next big thing but the most important thing is finding the phone that has the best features for you and not worrying too much about raw CPU power and camera resolution.
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When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.