The best way (read the cheapest way) to own an iPhone 5, or any mobile phone in that matter, is to buy it outright and get the SIM card separately. But in reality not everybody has got 5/6/700 quid cash or credit in their disposal. For these people, they don’t have any other choice but to go for contract, spreading the cost of ownership across a fix period of time.
So, for the launching of the latest iPhone from Apple, naturally all UK networks simultaneously releasing their list of tariffs for the iPhone 5.
As usual, with 5 major UK networks listing a number of tariffs with different prices and things you get for that price, there bound to be an information overload, especially if you want to compare which one is the best suited to your requirements.
To make this decision simple, I’ve made a Google Spreadsheet containing information of all available tariffs from all UK networks. I also include a simple calculation of the Total Cost of Ownership by the end of the contract.
Having been able to compare all the offerings for all networks on the same place has revealed some interesting facts and trends, for example:
1. No more 18 months contract, all networks now offer 24-month contract only. With exception of Vodafone which also offer 12-month contract as well as the 24-month.
2. Minutes and Texts have no value anymore with most tariffs have unlimited minutes and unlimited texts. As a matter of fact O2 and Orange have gone all unlimited for all their tariffs.
3. Data however is still a pain in the ass! Only Three and surprisingly T-Mobile has gone all unlimited, whereas other networks only offer it on the highest tariff. O2, the first network in the UK to carry the iPhone and used to offer unlimited data is now only offer maximum 1Gb, even on its most expensive tier! I think that’s just ridiculous!
4. The lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is owned by Vodafone with its set of 12-month contract (TCO – £781).
5. For 24-month contract, the lowest TCO is owned by O2 (TCO – £873.99), although for a bit more monthly payment but much much cheaper handset price and unlimited data (O2 only offers 1Gb), I would go for the next on the list, a tarrif from Three network (TCO – £895) .
6. You can actually get an iPhone 5 for FREE, albeit for the 16Gb variety.
7. For the 64Gb capacity, the cheapest one you can get is from O2 (£69.99) in exchange of an outrageosly expensive monthly payment (£63). Again the next in line is from Three (£109) for 40 quid a month (don’t forget the unlimited data).
One thing to remember is that these prices are for a new contract, i.e. if you were not a customer of that specific network. If you are a customer of that network and you are eligible for an upgrade, I suggest you call their sales team and negotiate for the best price you can get. Threatening to leave often works wonder :)
You can access the spreadsheet via this link.