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Replace Your Cell Phone

How to cheaply replace a broken, lost stolen or drowned cell phone?

Buy a used phone from a cellular phone dealer. Company stores sometimes will have used phones available for sale. The only way to know is to ask. If one store doesn't have one, go to the next.

Buy a new or used phone online. Smart buyers have picked up on using sites like eBay. to get a replacement phone relatively cheaply or to locate hard-to-find models. Online phones are often “unlocked,” meaning that the same phone can be used on the networks of T-Mobile, Cingular Wireless or other companies that use the GSM standard. The online route also gives buyers access to the latest and greatest models that often haven't been introduced in the United States. For example, eBay sellers are offering RAZRs that can handle data at higher speeds and take higher resolution photos than the RAZRs sold through official T-Mobile and Cingular channels.

See if the company will repair it, even if it's not covered by warranty. Some companies have started offering programs for walk-in repairs.

Switch companies. If you've been thinking about changing your service provider, now's the time. Your new company will love you and give you the steep discounts that your existing company originally provided. The downside is that wireless companies charge fees for canceling a contract early.

Buy a prepaid phone and then use it as a replacement on your phone plan. 7-Eleven sells the Speak Out Wireless Service with basic phones that work on Cingular's GSM network. After you use up the introductory minutes that came with the phone, pull out its SIM card and install the one from your dead phone.

Recycle it. Get rid of your old cell phone at Collective Good, RipMobile or OpGratitude.

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Revised: 06/07/2008