Black Friday phone deals: The best offers from last year and what to expect in 2020

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Nov 13, 2020 — 7 min read

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The day after Thanksgiving is one of the most highly anticipated shopping days of the year, and for 2020, that trend is likely to continue. Black Friday has traditionally been one of the best times to buy electronics in general and cellphones in particular. There will be plenty of Black Friday phone deals if you’re looking to upgrade to a new cellphone this year.

In this guide, we’ll look at the best Black Friday cellphone deals for 2020, some of the best Black Friday phone deals last year, when deals will be announced and where to find the best deals.

The best Black Friday cellphone deals of 2020

Whether you’re looking for an iPhone, a Samsung or another Android device, there will be cellphone deals on Black Friday for you. A few of these include:

Samsung Galaxy Note 20: Save $250 at Best Buy 

This unlocked phone normally goes for $1,000. To get the full $250 off and pay only $750 for this phone, it must be activated on the day of purchase. If you wait to activate it, you’ll pay $800 and only get $200 off. Specs include 5G speed, 128GB of storage, 6.7-inch screen, 26 hours of usage time, ultrasonic fingerprint ID, a 64 MP camera, S Pen and Samsung Notes, 60Hz screen refresh rate and the Android 10 operating system. 

Samsung Galaxy 220+ Plus 5G: $222 off at Amazon

This phone comes with 128GB of storage and normally retails for $1,200 at Amazon, but for Black Friday, you can get it for $978. Specs include a 6.7-inch screen, 34 hours of usage time, a 64 MP camera, fingerprint and facial recognition and the Android 10 operating system.

iPhone 12 Pro: Up to $700 in bill credits at AT&T 

This deal applies when you add a new line or upgrade an existing line to unlimited service on a monthly payment plan and trade in an eligible smartphone. Normal retail price is $1,100 for 128GB, $1,200 for 256GB or $1,400 for 512GB. Specs include a 6.7-inch screen, 80 hours of usage time, a 12 MP camera and the iOS 14 operating system.

iPhone 11 Pro Max: Buy one, get one $1,000 off at Verizon 

This deal requires a new line, monthly payments and an eligible plan. The iPhone 11 Pro Max usually retails for $1,100 for 64GB of storage, $1,250 for 256GB and $1,450 for 512GB of storage. Specs include a 6.5-inch screen, 18 hours of usage time, a 12 MP camera and the iOS 13 operating system.

Google Pixel 5: Buy one, get $700 off at Verizon 

Conditions include a new line, monthly payments and an eligible plan. Specs include 5G speed, 128GB of storage, a 6.0-inch screen, 26 hours of usage time, a 12.2 MP camera and the Android 11 operating system.

OnePlus 7T Pro 5G: $200 off from T-Mobile 

You’ll also receive a free pair of true wireless OnePlus Buds (retails for $79) with this deal. The McLaren Edition normally retails for $900, but through T-Mobile, you can get it for $700. Specs include a 6.7-inch screen, a 48-MP camera and the Android 10 operating system.

Sony Xperia 1: Get $252 off at Amazon

This unlocked phone normally sells for $950, but for Black Friday, is available for $698. Specs include 128GB of storage, a 6.5-inch display, a 12 MP camera and the Android 9 operating system.

When will Black Friday phone deals be announced?

For 2020, Black Friday falls on November 27, the day after Thanksgiving, while Cyber Monday is on November 30.

Last year, many Black Friday deals were announced in the beginning of November. This year, some stores started releasing their Black Friday ads in October.

As with most other things in 2020, COVID-19 is affecting the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. Many stores that have previously been open and started their in-person Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day are holding off until the Friday after Thanksgiving this year. If you’re shopping for phone deals, some of the stores that will be closed on Thanksgiving Day include Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Costco, Sam’s Club, Simon Property Group malls and outlets, Target and Walmart.

Due to in-store shopping changes this year caused by the social distancing required due to COVID-19, it may be easier to get your cellphone deals on Cyber Monday.

Sale dates for a few stores include:

  • Amazon — Sales began with a Holiday Dash sale that runs through Thursday, November 19. The retailer has not announced if its Black Friday sales will start before November 27.
  • Best Buy — Black Friday sales start Sunday, November 22. Cyber Monday sales start on Saturday, November 28, but the store is also running several other sales in November.
  • Target — Rather than limit itself to a day, Target is celebrating Black Friday month year, with sales throughout the entire month of November. The store guarantees it will match an item’s price if you can find it at a lower price in Target before December 25.
  • Walmart — Like Target, Walmart is also offering deals through the entire month of November. In-store sales began on Wednesday, November 4, while online sales began on Saturday, November 7. Among the cellphones included in this sale are the iPhone SE 64GB, iPhone XR 64GB, iPhone XS, iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, which went on sale on Saturday, November 14.

The best Black Friday phone deals from 2019

Each of the major cellphone carriers offered Black Friday deals in 2019.

AT&T deals in 2019

AT&T offered a free phone for every new line. Among the phones included in the offer with the iPhone XR (current retail price of $500), Samsung S10e (currently $600), LG G8X Thinq (currently $700) and Google Pixel 4 (currently $800).

Sprint deals in 2019

Sprint customers could get up to 80% off on several iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models. In April 2020, Sprint merged with T-Mobile, so there will not be any Sprint-specific deals in 2020.

T-Mobile deals in 2019

T-Mobile offered a buy one, get one free on the Samsung Galaxy S10 (currently $500) and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 (currently $950) for both new and current customers when they activated a new line.

Verizon deals in 2019

Verizon offered a buy one iPhone XR, get one free with a new unlimited plan. Verizon also offered a $400 rebate on the new iPhone 11 with an unlimited plan and a discount of $750 on Samsung phones for people who moved their service to Verizon.

You could also find deals on unlocked phones you could take to any carrier.

Google Pixel 3a

In an alternative to Apple and Samsung phones, customers could save $100 on the Google Pixel 3a. Although it normally retailed for $399, it was available through Google for $299.

OnePlus 7 Pro

The OnePlus 7 Pro was offered at an even greater discount, with a $150 savings, dropping its price from $699 to $549 at OnePlus.

Samsung Galaxy S10e

Amazon led the discounts for this model, offering a savings of $200, coming in at $550 instead of the normal price of $750.

The cellphone deals we expect to see for Black Friday 2020

Cellphones have always been in demand on Black Friday and this year will be no different. With the newest Samsung Galaxy S20 and the new iPhone 12 from Apple released in October, you’ll have a good selection of the newest models and their immediate predecessors.

Expect to find deals on both phones from the big-name carriers and unlocked phones you can activate with any carrier.

There are generally three types of deals to choose from. The first is a flat discount. For example, you can save $250 off the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 from Best Buy. This type of discount is common on unlocked phones.

The second offer is a discount off a phone but typically comes with conditions. Typical conditions include trading in your old phone, signing up for a new line, signing up for an unlimited plan or all three. You’ll get this type of offer from mobile carriers.

The third type of offer is for a free phone, which always comes with conditions, such as transferring your service to a new carrier, signing up for a new line, trading in your old phone or upgrading to an unlimited plan. Like the previous offer, these deals are from carriers.

Look for deals to be announced earlier this year and last longer. Some retailers and carriers have already started their Black Friday deals. Many of the deals will last longer than Cyber Monday, potentially even longer than Cyber week, which is the full week following Cyber Monday.

Also, look for significant savings on older model phones. While many people want the newest phone model, you should be able to find great deals on the iPhone 10, iPhone 11 or older Samsung Galaxy models. Retailers and carriers want to move these models out of their inventory, so if you don’t need all the latest bells and whistles, you may be able to find a great deal.

If you’re willing to pay a higher monthly fee for your mobile service with one of the major carriers, like AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon, you’re more likely to find a great deal, such as a buy one, get one free. And, if you don’t mind switching to a new carrier, you’re likely to find the best deal available.

If you want to go with a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that offers lower monthly rates, like Boost Mobile, Consumer Cellular, Cricket, Mint Mobile, Spectrum, Straight Talk, TracFone, Virgin Mobile, Visible or others, you’ll be limited to a discount-only offer, and the deals may not be as good as from the major carriers.

Where to find the best phone deals on Black Friday

You’ll be able to find great cellphone deals on Black Friday from the three major carriers — AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. You’ll also be able to find deals from major retailers, like Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart.

The bottom line

Black Friday phone deals are typically the best you’ll find all year. No matter what brand or model of phone or which carrier you use, you’ll be able to find deals that can save you hundreds of dollars. And, depending on the offer, you may even be able to get a free phone.

By Laurie Garrison

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