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A free iPhone SE is yours when you switch to MetroPCS

There are a few strings, of course, but it's still a $350 iPhone more or less for free. Plus: Two sweet bonus deals!

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read

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An iPhone SE can be yours for free when you switch to MetroPCS.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Ah, the ol' free-phone-when-you-switch gambit. Carriers have dangled that carrot for as long as I can remember. But the "stick" was usually a two-year contract and a hefty monthly rate.

Not today: For a limited time, MetroPCS is offering a free iPhone SE (32GB) when you switch from from another carrier and sign up for an unlimited plan. That same phone purchased directly from Apple  will cost you $349.

Granted, MetroPCS has long been selling the iPhone SE for $149, so in some respects you're saving $149 and in some you're saving $349. Either way: Free iPhone! (You can also choose from an assortment of Android models.)

Well, sort of. Here's what you need to know about this deal:

  • You can switch from any carrier except T-Mobile . (MetroPCS is a T-Mo MVNO, and T-Mo obviously doesn't want to lose customers from one of its own.)
  • You must visit a local MetroPCS store to take advantage of this deal.
  • You'll have to pay $150 (plus tax) for the iPhone SE at the time of purchase. You'll get that back in the form of bill credit -- though it's not immediately clear over what span of time. (Three months? Six?) The sales tax is not refunded. Update: I've heard from several sources that this is not a bill credit; at the time of purchase, you simply pay for sales tax and your first month of service. I've reached out to MetroPCS for confirmation and will update the post again once I get an answer.
  • You'll also have to choose a MetroPCS unlimited plan, which will run you $50 per month (or $60 if you want mobile-hotspot). That's pretty competitive, especially given that it includes unlimited streaming and has no added fees or contract.

Speaking of plans, MetroPCS gets even more competitive as you add lines of service. Make it two, for example, and now it's $40 per line per month. Or get four unlimited lines for just $100 per month, about as good as it gets.

I haven't tried this carrier myself, so if you have any experiences to share -- pro and/or con -- please do so in the comments section.

As for the iPhone SE, obviously that model may seem a little dated to some. But not everyone needs (or even wants) a huge screen, especially given the price of getting one. Read CNET's iPhone SE review to learn more.

My take: A free-after-bill-credit iPhone and unlimited service for $50/month is absolutely worth considering.

Your thoughts?


Step on, weep, step off. No? Just me?


Bonus deal: Still fighting the battle of the bulge? I know I am. (Will likely kick off another DietBet in the near future, so stay tuned!) Needles to say, a decent scale can help you measure your progress.

Like this one: For a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get this Innotech Digital Bathroom Scale for $11.99 when you apply promo code DEAL1919 at checkout. Prefer the white model? Use promo code DEAL1819.

Both versions have a big, backlit LCD and extremely favorable reviews (and the white one has lots of them -- over 1,800). They normally sell for $20-23. What's not to like?


Geekeep's gooseneck lighter doesn't run on gas; this sucker's electrical. 


Bonus deal No. 2: One of my favorite little gadgets of 2017 is back -- with an even lower price. Geek Provider (via Amazon) has this Geekeep Electric Arc Rechargeable Lighter for $11.99. Update: The price is now up to $12.99 -- still an excellent deal, IMHO.

It looks like a traditional gooseneck lighter, but instead of boring old fire, it creates a little Tesla-coil-like arc you can use to light candles, grills, sparklers and whatever. And that arc is wind-proof, so it's great for outdoors. (In your face, nature!)

I grabbed one of these last time around (different brand, virtually identical product); it's cool as hell.