Why I chose to buy my new iPhone off contract

Mark Stammers's picture

Yes I like my gadgets. I make no apologies for lusting after the latest and greatest technology, and the new iPhone 4s is very definitely high on my must-have list.

I'm currently halfway through a two-year contract deal with O2, which initially cost me £45 per month. It was more than I really wanted to spend but it meant my handset cost was greatly subsidised by my carrier. This time around, I decided I wanted the freedom to hunt out the best deals from all of the phone companies. That meant buying the phone at full cost directly from Apple. Initially it seems an expensive option, with no subsidy to soften the blow and a great big charge hitting my credit card, but there are advantages too.

Saving one: Call & Data Charges

iPhones bought directly from Apple are unlocked, which means you can use them with any carrier you like and find the cheapest deals on calls and data. You can even abandon the big guns and try a 'virtual carrier' (meaning they use another companies network) like giffgaff.com. Giffgaff is run by its own members and offers deals that the larger networks do not offer. They use O2's phone network.

Saving two: Freedom to switch

If you are tied into an 18 or 24-month contract you can only look on enviously if another carrier starts offering a better deal. Off contract you can switch to your heart’s content.

Saving three: Trim those roaming charges

If you take your phone abroad on holiday or for business you will pay your network’s expensive roaming charges. With an unlocked phone you can buy a pay as you go SIM card at your destination and save a great deal.

Saving four: Resale

If you plan to upgrade your handset regularly you probably will be selling your old handset to partially finance the new one. Whether you use one of the many mobile recycling sites or Ebay you will get much more money for an unlocked phone than one still tied to an individual carrier.

Your Comments

doing it this way, how do you find data charges; are they expensive? I have a 3S and use the data element a lot. My worry is that my contract is up in January and the contracts I see advertised now only offer data on around the 500mb mark - mot enough for me as I usually hover around 1gb - 1.5 gb a month.



Mark how reliable is the coverage? I'm on O2 now and its good - is it just the same?


yes i know, i know....but where do you buy it from please?
cheaper than £500?

Obviously data allowance vary in amount and cost from network to network. Giffgaff.com (which I mentioned in my blog) offers unlimited data. Of the more traditional providers I believe the Three network offers unlimited data on its "one plan" for £30 per month.

Alan, coverage as you know varies from network to network. All the big carriers have a coverage map on their websites showing where their coverage is good and bad. If you were referring to giffgaff (it sounds like i'm heavily promoting theses guys but really its just because they are fairly new and offer good deals) they run on the O2 network so the coverage will be exactly the same as you have now.

With a brand new phone just launched you are very unlikely to get any discounts on the unlocked price (unless you buy on contract and lock yourself in for 18 to 24 months).

Apple will sell you the 16Gb Iphone 4s for £499 which is just under your stated £500

Is it true that an unlocked phone locks to the first carrier used

I love Iphones

I sold my iPhone a couple of weeks ago on Tulsa classifieds and bought a new Android phone that in my opinion are better and cheaper than any iPhone. I also heard a lot of thing about giffgaff, they are new and make very good deals, plus they run on O2 network and you don`t have to worry about signal strenght.

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