How to Get a New Phone Before Your Contract Is Up

By Mandy Slake

If you've damaged or lost your phone and you're still under contract to your cellular carrier, you'll need to get a new phone quick or you'll be paying for service you're not getting. While your options are more limited than someone who is not under contract, you do have some choices on how to get a new phone while under contract.

Step 1

Call your carrier and ask how soon you can upgrade before your contract ends. Some carriers will allow you to upgrade your phone within a certain amount of time before the contract is up. They want you to sign a new contract instead of waiting for it to run out.

Step 2

Pay retail price for the phone from your carrier or dealer. This is the most expensive option, but you can get a new phone at any time, if you pay full retail. Retail prices on phones range anywhere from $50 for basic cell phones up to $600 or more for Smartphones.

Step 3

Purchase a phone from another source. You can buy phones off auction sites, unaffiliated stores that sell cell phones or local classifieds message boards. You can get a good deal this way, but make sure the phone is compatible with your carrier's network.

Step 4

Cancel your service and sign up with another carrier for a free or discounted phone. Note that you may have to pay a hefty cancellation fee to your original carrier. The fee can more than make up for any savings you receive on the phone, so consider carefully before choosing this option.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are buying your phone used, get the phone's ID number or serial number before you buy it. Call your carrier to make sure that the phone can be activated. Stolen phones and phones connected to accounts with past due balances cannot be activated by the original carrier.