Shopping for the best smartphone deals can be complicated. With different networks offering similar-looking contracts at wildly different rates it can often feel like you are missing out on the best offers.
But there are ways to pick out a bargain and key things to look for when considering a mobile phone contract.
We have picked some of the best mobile phone deals for the top of the range for October. With the launch of the new iPhone 8 and the iPhone X coming soon, these are some of the best phones you can buy now at the best rates.
There have been plenty of changes this month, with the new iPhone on sale and the Google Pixel out of stock in many places, with a new model anticipated on October 4.
This month’s best mobile phone deals:
iPhone 8: Free upfront, £29 per month with 1.2GB of data, 300 minutes and unlimited texts with Virgin Mobile
iPhone 8 Plus: £270 upfront, £32 per month with 3GB of data from O2.
iPhone 7: £110 upfront with 3GB of data for £27 per month with O2.
iPhone 7 Plus: £150 handset for £29 per month including 3GB of data with O2.
iPhone SE: free upfront for £15.99 per month with 1GB of data, 600 minutes and 5,000 texts from iD.
Samsung Galaxy S8: £100 upfront with 3GB of data from £27 per month with O2.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: free upfront for £29 per month with 8GB of data from Three.
Samsung Galaxy S7: £50 upfront for £22.99 per month with 5GB with EE.
OnePlus 5: £9.99 upfront with 1GB of data for £41 per month with O2.
HTC U11: Free upfront for £37.99 per month with 1GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts with EE.
Google Pixel XL: Still available on Carphone Warehouse from £30 per month with Vodafone.
How to pick a good mobile phone deal
Trying to find the very best smartphone contracts is overwhelming. Many providers only offer deals for a limited time and there can be huge price disparities between different networks.
Right now, some of the best value deals you can find are on EE and Three, although O2 and Vodafone both have deals on larger data packages. Some of the best SIM only deals can be found with iD, Sky and Virgin. The best iPhone 8 deal around right now that we can find is on Virgin Mobile.
Another challenge is working out just how much a contract will cost in total, considering the upfront fee and monthly costs. It can be helpful to add together these two prices together when comparing rates.
It is also worth shopping around and comparing contracts or asking your provider to try and match a better deal you have found online.
You should also consider how much data you plan to use, as this can often add to the final cost of the phone. Many providers may want you to take out 10GB or 20GB of data, but will you actually use it?
Where can I find the best mobile phone contracts?
While you might prefer to buy a phone through one of the major providers, many of the best deals are actually available through third party retailers. Websites such as Mobiles.co.uk, which is part of Dixons Carphone, and retailers such as Carphone Warehouse are safe to use and offer exclusive prices that you won’t find on the main networks.
Several of the main carrier providers don’t market all handsets on their websites, in these cases discount retailers are the best place to find them.
For a more flexible option, GiffGaff allows you to pay for your phone by buying packages of data and minutes each month. It lets customers switch or downgrade their data plan more easily than with other providers.
This month’s best SIM only deals:
Instead of picking up a smartphone contract on its own, you could consider buying the handset outright and turning to a cheap SIM card deal instead. These can provide you with more minutes and data, while adding the flexibility to choose your own own.
iD: 1GB of data with 500 minutes and 5,000 texts from £5 per month.
Plusnet: 2.5GB of data, 1,500 minutes and unlimited texts from £7 per month.
Virgin: 4GB with 1,500 minutes and unlimited texts from £9 per month.
Three: 4GB of data with all you can eat minutes and texts from £9 per month.
Three: 12GB of data with all you can 600 minutes and unlimited texts from £14 per month.
Vodafone: 8GB of data with unlimited calls and texts with Spotify, Sky Sports and NowTV for £17 per month.
EE: 18GB of data with unlimited minutes and texts from £18.20 per month.
GiffGaff: Unlimited data with unlimited calls and text from £20 per month.
What should you look for in a mobile phone contract?
- Minutes: Most mobile phone deals come with unlimited calls and texts, but make sure you check as some cheaper deals have limited minutes.
- Data: If your only data usage is rarely checking emails you may need as little as 1GB of data. Most people will require 2GB or more, particularly if you are a regular user of Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram. Significantly more will be required for those who want to stream videos or music.
- Roaming charges: Following changes to roaming charges, you are now billed in the same in any EU country as you would in the UK. Some providers offer global roaming packages, which provide better international rates across continents.
- Benefits: Mobile networks often include added perks in their packages, such as discount cinema tickets or priority for music events. O2 Priority offers tickets, entertainment and food discounts, EE has six months of Apple Music, while with some Vodafone deals you can get discounted access to apps such as Spotify.
- Cashback deals: Some third party providers use cashback offers to cut monthly phone bills. This requires the buyer to claim back some of their money in several installments across the life of the contract to secure a lower price.
Best iPhone deals
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
The new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are now on sale and, although a lot of networks have hefty prices on the new devices there are a handful of deals for the phones. The iPhone 8 features wireless charging, an incredibly fast processor and Apple’s new iOS 11 software. You can get the 4.7-inch version from as low as £29 per month on Virgin with 1.2GB of data, although this is on a 36 month credit deal, so you are locked in.
The iPhone 8 Plus, which has the added dual camera and a 5.5-inch screen, is on sale from O2 for £270 up front at £32 per month with 3GB of data.