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How to Get a “Free” iPhone From Your Telco in Singapore

Ryan Ong

Ryan Ong

Last updated 13 September, 2016

If you're willing to skip this year's new iPhone, you can life-hack your way to next year's iPhone and get it for free.

These days, smartphones are obsolete within less than two years of their release. Keeping up is becoming a financial nightmare. It seems as if you’ve barely taken your iPhone out the box, when tech websites already scream at you to buy the next one.

Well here’s one strategy to keep the costs of your next iPhone between low and “free”:

Skip One Iteration So One Phone Can Pay for the Other

When it’s time to renew your phone plan, you will usually have an opportunity to buy a new phone. Most telcos will give you a steep discount for it. That’s because telcos don’t really make money off selling you the phone; they make money off selling you the phone line.

Now if you don’t care for a new phone just yet, you can use this to subtract the cost of the next new smartphone.

For example, say your contract is due for renewal next month, at about the same time as the iPhone 7 launch. But you don’t want to switch to the new iPhone yet, probably because you don’t want to pay $159 for wireless earphones.

You can renew the line and get the new iPhone 7 anyway, then sell it. You should get close to the full price since it’s brand new (check around electronics shops - if you have the right paperwork, many may be willing to buy from you). Save the money you get from the new phone, and save it to buy the iPhone 8 or iPhone 7S, whatever comes out next.

If you are willing to skip every alternate iteration, you can greatly offset the cost of your smartphone this way.

Compare Telco Giveaways During Holidays

M1, SingTel, and StarHub tend to offer a wide range of promotions around Christmastime. This might be flat out discounts, or this might include freebies like game consoles. Before pouncing on the discount - which is the most obvious kind of freebie to pick - check the prices of other giveaways.

For example, a $500 discount may sound really impressive. But if the giveaway is a new Xbox or Playstation, you may want to check the going rate online. Odds are you can sell it for more than $500. Coupled with the sale of your old phone (if it’s not too old), you can shave more than two-thirds off the price of a new one.

But I Want the Newest iPhone!

If you’re a techie and you must have the latest gadget, you’ll have to bargain for a discount. The next time you get a phone, ask for a handset discount. Many telcos have vouchers that subtract 20 to 50 per cent off your next phone.

One common trick is to get your siblings, parents, children, friends etc. to sign up at the same store. Then tell the store manager that, since four or five of you are all buying lines at once, could you have a handset voucher (even if it’s not offered)? If it’s refused, try shopping somewhere else for a line.

If you want to switch your telco but have discount vouchers, you may be able to“cash them out” before changing.

First, check if the discount voucher can be used by someone else. If so, you just need a willing friend or relative to help you. Have your friend or relative buy their new line and phone using your discount voucher, and then ask them to reimburse you the discounted amount in cash. This effectively “converts” the voucher to money for you.

Then go to the new telco you want, and get another line.

Use the Right Credit Card to Pay for the Phone

In any event, remember to pay for the iPhone with the right credit card. A cash rebate card, for example, will ensure that you shave off at least 3% from the retail price.


Try the American Express True Cashback Card, which gives you 3% rebate the first S$5,000 you spend on the card. If you prefer to pay in instalments, use a cash rebate card like the OCBC Cashflo Card, which stretches large payments up to 6 months at 0% interest. And unlike most credit card instalment plans, this card actually gives you 1% rebate on your instalment payments.

You can compare the best credit cards on

Read This Next:

5 Best Credit Cards to Use for Large Purchases

Everyday Items and Services in Singapore with Invisible Costs


Ryan has been writing about finance for the last 10 years. He also has his fingers in a lot of other pies, having written for publications such as Men’s Health, Her World, Esquire, and Yahoo! Finance.


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