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The 10 best AT&T phone deals right now

To kick off the new year, AT&T customers, new and existing, can reap the best deals on the latest smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Google, and more.

Whether they're foldable, curved, big, or small, our phones are devices we rely on probably more than any other gadget in our life. Naturally, we're always looking for the best deal we can find for a better phone, with new processing power, storage upgrades, camera improvements, and connectivity to entice us into upgrading our devices. 

And with the 2023 kickoff, there's no better time to refresh your hardware so you can best tackle the year ahead.

You may have seen AT&T's commercials that tout how the carrier doesn't differentiate who qualifies for which deal based on whether you're an existing customer or not -- and it's true! The deals below apply to all customers, new and old alike, and we've broken down the fine print so you can shop with confidence. 

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is easily one of the most powerful phones the market has seen. Holstering a 200MP wide camera, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, and a 6.8-inch dynamic AMOLED screen, the S23 Ultra provides a little more competition to the iPhone.

To take advantage of this offer for up to $1,000 off the newest flagship Galaxy phone, you must purchase the phone under a 36-month installment agreement with an unlimited plan. From there, you'll receive your trade-in value in bill credits within three months of the purchase of the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

In addition to the discount price of the phone, you can get twice the storage for free with a pre-order of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. That means you can get the 512GB model instead of the 256GB version for absolutely no cost if you pre-order.

Apple's latest iPhone line includes four models: The iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are the top-of-the-range options, featuring 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch OLED displays respectively, an A16 processor, 6GB RAM, four cameras, and up to 1TB storage.

Over at AT&T, you can get a discount of up to $1,000 on a new iPhone 14 Pro model when you trade in an eligible device. The amount awarded depends on what device you trade in and its condition, and the discount is issued via bill credits over up to 36 months. 

Similar deals also exist for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro. Plus, you can choose between 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage options, depending on your needs.

To get this deal, you need to be a part of or enroll in an AT&T Unlimited plan.

Just yesterday Samsung announced its Samsung Galaxy S23 line of phones featuring the S23, S23+, and the flagship S23 Ultra. While the newest wave of Samsung smartphones haven't hit the market yet, AT&T is offering pre-order deals that allow new and existing to get the S23 and S23+ for up to $1,000 off with an eligible trade-in.

The biggest difference between the S23 and its predecessor is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor which provides faster speeds, battery life, and GPU performance. In addition, changes to the cameras on the S23 line of phones have improved low-light photography to reduce glare and blur in nighttime photos.

With the purchase of the S23 or S23+ and a qualifying installment plan (min. $75/mo. unlimited plan), you can trade-in your eligible device for up to $1,000 in bill credits. The credits will be applied to your bill within three months after the trade-in is completed and will be distributed equally over the installment agreement. 

New and existing AT&T customers can get up to $800 off Samsung's top-of-the-line handset when trading in an eligible Samsung device. The list of acceptable trade-ins includes A-series, S-series, and Z-series phones. As long as the device is normally valued at more than $35, which is everything that falls under the three product lines, AT&T will offer the $800 evaluation. 

The rest of the buying process is nothing new: You must be under a qualifying installment plan (36 months, any unlimited plan). But the discount is easy to claim: Just mail your old device to the carrier and AT&T will apply the discount through monthly bill credits, starting within three bills after the trade-in is complete.

The Pixel 7 Pro, Google's latest flagship smartphone, is also on sale at AT&T. With this deal, you can get the new handset for up to $800 off with a qualifying trade-in. The main call-out is that AT&T only carries the 128GB model, so you won't find the 256GB or 512GB options that Google typically offers.

As with many of AT&T's deals, the discount will be issued via bill credits over a period of up to 36 months. You also need to sign up for or upgrade to an AT&T Unlimited plan to take claim these savings.

AT&T is offering a range of deals on the latest Samsung smartphones: The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4. Let's start with the Z Flip. 

Right now, you can get a discount of up to $800 on a new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 if you trade in an eligible device. The Flip 4 with 128GB of storage typically retails for $999, while the 256GB model retails for $1,059. Of course, you'll have to either select or upgrade to an AT&T Unlimited plan to claim this offer.

Google Pixel 6a Display
Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

Google's Pixel 6a debuted last year but remains a top pick in ZDNET's best cheap 5G phones list. Not only does the Android offer a smooth and bloatware-free experience, but it carries Google's computational prowess for great-looking photos and a reliable voice assistant for on-the-go tasks.

Right now, AT&T is offering the mid-range Pixel for just $2 per month when you register for a 36-month installment plan and are under an eligible unlimited plan. That totals up to $72 before tax, which is fantastic for a deal that doesn't require any trade-ins. The promo applies to both the Charcoal and Sage colorways with 128GB of on-board storage.

Other AT&T deals to consider

AT&T constantly runs promotions on a wide variety of phones. The phones featured in this list are solid devices at a great price, but there's nothing wrong with these other deals listed below, either:

Top Best Buy deals

These are the best AT&T deals on smartphones that Best Buy currently offers:

Best Walmart deals

These are the best AT&T deals on smartphones that Walmart currently offers:

How did we choose these AT&T phone deals?

AT&T runs seasonal campaigns on the latest smartphones every year, including at the start of it. Still, just because every smartphone model is on sale doesn't mean they're worth sharing and investing in. We pick the handsets that have been tried and tested, reviewed in full, and highly recommended by ZDNET's team of subject-matter experts.

Does AT&T offer deals for existing customers?

It's true, carriers are the most aggressive with their offers when it's year-end and new customers are shopping around for services to switch to. Still, AT&T has done a fairly balanced job of pushing promotions for new and existing customers, including all the deals we have listed above. If you've been a loyal customer, I'd even recommend reaching out to your local AT&T provider to see if there are any exclusive deals just for you.

Is it cheaper to buy a phone online or in-store?

In general, there is no difference in how much money you save whether you shop online or in stores. Instead, deciding between the two really boils down to your preference for transactions. With how complicated carrier phone deals can be, you may be better off heading down to the local AT&T store and consulting with a product expert to help you navigate the fine print. Otherwise, shopping online can be faster and more convenient.

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