Why I chose to buy my new iPhone off contract

14 October 2011

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.