The iPhone 4S goes on sale today and there are multiple options available for customers wanting to purchase the new Apple product. But where can you get hold of the cheapest one?
Buying the phone on its own
Buying the phone directly from the Apple store will cost you £499 for 16MB, £599 for 32GB and £699 for 64GB. This means you won't be tied into a long contract.
Prices for the new iPhone will be slightly cheaper when buying directly from the US (Prices to be confirmed in November), so if you're planning a holiday over there it's worth popping into an Apple store, but unlocked models won't be available until November.
Buying it as part of a contract
Orange, Vodafone, Tesco, O2 and T-Mobile have all released prices for the phone, and these vary depending on the package of minutes, texts and data you require.
If you don't want to pay for the new phone, the cheapest contract you can sign up to costs £43 a month for two years with Three Mobile.
If you're happy to pay for the handset, the cheapest 12-month contract comes from Tesco for £25 a month and an £335 upfront fee. This works out around £52 a month over the year and comes with 250 minutes, 5,000 texts and 1GB of data.
Orange offers one of the cheapest overall monthly contracts for £20 a month, but this has an upfront cost of £310 and only includes 50 minutes and 50 texts and 100MB.
Vodafone has one of best value for money 18-month contracts, which includes 600 minutes, unlimited texts, and 500MB of data. It will cost £41 per month and £99 for the handset. Orange and O2 offer almost identical contracts, but are both slightly more expensive over the full term of the contract.
Although the cheapest deals look tempting, many might not provide the package you need and you'll end up going over your monthly allowance and paying out more. It's important to look at what's included and compare this with what you will need before paying out.
Mark Stammers is already the owner of an iPhone 4S. Read his blog to see why he chose to buy his off contract
Average monthly price plans for the iPhone 4S 16GB
Tesco is offering a 12-month contract for £335 plus £25 a month for 250 minutes, 5,000 texts and 1GB of data.
Total cost for 12 months = £635.
Total cost for 18 months = £835
For 24 months the initial charge goes down to £235 for the same plan.
With O2 a 12-month contract will cost you £239.99 upfront and £36 a month for 600 minutes, unlimited texts and you can buy a monthly 500MB bolt on for £6 on top of this.
Total cost for 12 months = £743.99
Total cost for 18 months = £855.99
An 18-month contract with the same plan will cost you £99.99 upfront.
If you want a 12-month plan with Vodafone it will cost £41 a month plus an upfront cost of £359 for 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data.
Total cost for 12 months = £851
Total cost for 18 months = £837
For an 18-month plan this is still £41 a month but the upfront cost goes down to £99.
Orange provides an 18-month plan for an upfront cost of £229.99 and monthly charge of £35 a month. This includes 600 minutes, 500 texts and 500MB of data.
Total cost for 18 months = £859.99
Total cost for 24 months = £963.99
For a 24-month contract the initial cost is £99.99 with monthly payment of £36. This includes 600 minutes, 3,000 texts and 500MB of data.
T-Mobile only offers a 24-month contract on the new model and for £35.75 a month, and £99.99 for the phone, you can get 600 minutes, 500 texts and 500MB of data.
Total cost for 24 months = £957.99
Three Mobile only offers a 24-month plan and for £35 a month with a £49 upfront cost you can get 500 minutes, 5,000 texts and 1GB of data which is £889 over two years. If you pay £99 upfront you can get 2,000 minutes, 5,000 texts and unlimited data which is £939 over two years.
Total cost for 24 months = £889 (with upfront charge of £49) or £939 (with upfront charge of £99)
How can offset the cost of getting the latest iPhone?
You can save extra money by using a cashback website like Quidco to buy the new Apple product. Currently you can get £109 back with Three Mobile, £40 from Vodafone, £50 with T-Mobile and £30 with Orange on selected contracts.
If you're already an iPhone customer check with your provider before upgrading to the new model as most have special offers for existing customers. Selling your current model will also provide some capital to go towards the new phone. For example, for the iPhone 4 16GB you can get £272 from fonebank, £266.02 from envirofone and £260 from RPC recycle.