Samsung Galaxy S4: a guide to UK tariffs

Published by Mark King on 26 April 2013.
Last updated on 26 April 2013

The device can be bought on a contract costing as little as £30 a month, depending on the length of contract and the amount paid upfront for the phone.

Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at, said: "The Samsung Galaxy S4 is the most eagerly awaited handset of the year so far, but getting your hands on it could cost you if you don't do your homework. The majority of customers will need to sign up to a lengthy contract to avoid paying upfront for the handset, however costs and usage vary by provider so consider your needs."

The handset will have super-fast 4G capability, as well as 3G, but bear in mind only EE has a 4G service operating at present, which is why it is generally the most expensive network operator - certainly when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Vodafone, O2 and Three are all set to introduce their 4G services later this year and many commentators believe the cost of 4G plans will drop significantly as a result - at present, EE has no competitor and therefore no incentive to keep 4G costs down.

So which provider should you go for?

"Internet addicts who want to make use of the S4's fast browsing features should opt for the Ultimate Internet 500 plan from 3," suggests Baliszewski.

"This gives you all-you-can-eat data - an important factor if you want to avoid hefty excess data penalties - with 500 minutes, 5,000 texts and just £49 for the handset.

"For customers who prefer to use their phone the old fashioned way - for talking and texting - T-Mobile has a tariff that will cost £36 per month and give you 2,000 minutes with unlimited texts and unlimited data as well. There is, however, an upfront cost for the handset of £99."

Here's our guide to the tariffs announced to date:


Tesco Mobile is giving away the S4 free for on a £30 a month contract if you take out a two-year deal, although this price only includes 500MB of data and comes with 250 free minutes and 5,000 free texts. For £35, you'll get 750 minutes and 1GB of data, rising to 1,500 minutes and 2GB of data for £40 a month, and finally 3,000 minutes and 3GB of data for £45 a month.

O2 will give away a handset for as little as £37 a month over two years, with 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 750GB of data.

At Vodafone, you can get a free phone if you spend £42 a month over two years, but that comes with unlimited calls and texts as well as a generous 2GB of data.

Virgin Mobile, 3 and EE are not offering free handsets.


At EE, monthly tariffs on 24-month deals start from £31 a month, but that price requires you to buy the phone at an upfront cost of £269.99 and only comes with 500MB of data (all its tariffs have free calls and texts). As the upfront cost comes down, so the monthly price increases (£179.99 for the phone with a monthly cost of £36, for example). EE thinks the sweet spot for customers is an upfront fee of £79.99 and a monthly tariff of £41, coming with 1GB of data. But you can get the phone for as little as £19.99 upfront if you're prepared to spend a whopping £76 a month.

Vodafone's monthly deals range from £42 a month for a free handset and 2GB of data (all monthly tariffs have unlimited calls and texts); £47 for a free handset with 4GB of data; or £37 a month for an upfront fee of £69, but this comes with just 1GB of data.

Virgin Mobile's cheapest monthly deal is £38 for 200 minutes, 500 texts and 500MB of data but the handset will cost you £99 - that falls to £69.99 if you spend £38 a month for the same benefits. Arguably its moist popular monthly tariff will be £99 upfront and a £41 a month deal for unlimited texts, 600 minutes, and 1GB of data. But Virgin TV or Broadband customers will get £5 a month off these prices.

Three offers monthly tariffs at either £35 or £37 a month with a £49 upfront cost, both with unlimited data but with the more expensive tariff offering increased calls of 2,000 minutes a month instead of 500 minutes.

O2 has the lowest monthly tariff at just £22 a month for 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 750MB of data - but you'll have to spend £399.99 for the phone. The free handset at £37 a month for the same benefits is probably its best deal for non-heavy data users.

Tesco Mobile offers arguably the best deal at £35 a month, with a free handset, for 750 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data.


We've crunched the numbers to calculate the total cost of plans from the leading mobile phone network operators. They are:

For 500MB of data:

Tesco Mobile: £720, at £30 a month with a free handset
3 Ultimate Internet 500: £889 at £35 a month, a £49 phone and unlimited data
O2 (750 MB): £888, at £37 a month with a free handset
Virgin Mobile Starter: £963, at £36 a month with a £99 handset
EE: £1,103.99, at £31 a month with a £269.99 handset + 4G services.

For 1GB of data:

Tesco: £840 at £35 a month with a free handset
O2: £947.99 to £1,008, depending on whether you buy a £299.99 or a £179.99 handset
EE: £1,063.99, at £41 a month with a £79.99 handset
Virgin Mobile Essential: £1,083 at £41 a month with a £99 handset
3 Ultimate Internet 500: £889 at £35 a month, £49 for the phone, 500 minutes and unlimited data.

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