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iPhone 4S: Pay as you go or contract?

Is it cheaper to buy an iPhone outright in the longrun?

There is no denying the iPhone 4Ses desirability. It's a fantastic phone that we all want. Even those who say they don't, deep down, probably do (including me). If there is one problem with the phone however, it's that its pretty expensive and finding the best deal isn't an easy task.

You can get the phone for free on some contracts, but this does mean that you end up paying a small fortune by the time the contract is completed. On the other hand you can always buy a phone outright and it on a pay as you go basis. Which is great if you don't want to be tied down to a lengthy contract, but it does mean you'll have to fork out a lot of money to buy the phone first. So take we recommend you look at what we've found out there to make sure you get the best deal.

Best iPhone 4S contract deals

At the time of writing (7/12/11) the best contract deal available in the UK is with Tesco Mobile. Tesco offer the iPhone 4S on a 12 month contract for £25 a month providing you pay £335 upfront for the phone. The total price of the contract works out at £635 or £52.92 a month. With this deal you get 250 minutes, 500 text and 1GB of data, you also get the 16GB iPhone 4S.

If, however, you don't want to spend anything upfront and are happy to commit to a longer contract. Then mobile network 3 offer you the device free, but you have to sign up to a 24 month contract at £35 per month. The overall cost of this option works out at a whopping £840. But you will get unlimited texts, 1GB data and 500 free minutes a month as part of the contract.  

Pay as you go

In order for an iPhone 4S to be operational you're going to need to top up your pay as you go phone regularly enough to qualify for unlimited data. Bearing this in mind, the best pay as you go deal available is with the mobile network GiffGaff; providing you buy the handset direct from Apple for £499 and then top up your phone with £10 at least once a month. This will then give you unlimited data and texts as well as 250 mins. Spread out over a year, the total price of buying an iPhone 4 this way works out at £619.


£619 - PAYG - 12 months - GiffGaff
£635 - Contract - 12 months - Tesco
£840 - Contract - 24 months - 3


Note: Before you purchase a phone, it is worth investigating which network the majority of your friends are with too - if you plan on calling certain people a lot, then being on the same network as them and therefor qualifying for getting free or discounted calls could make a significant different to your monthly bill.

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