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back to article iPhone 4S pay-monthly tariffs compared

Apple's latest smartphone, the iPhone 4S, goes on sale in Blighty at the end of the week. All the UK's major networks will offer it. So which of them have the best deals? Most contracts are based on a two-year commitment and significantly vary, not only in price but in terms of what you get for your wonga. We've taken the …

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Coat

If...

Samsung have their own way, the iPhone 4S could become unavailable, thus making it priceless...

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Bronze badge

Thanks

That's a helpful article. It tempts me to switch from O2 to 3 because they're doing £109 cash back through Quidco. I'd save myself £5 per month off my current contract and it'd only cost £20 up front.

I seem to remember 3 had poor coverage, though. Is that still true?

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Three coverage

I've found it pretty good - much more 3G coverage than O2 for example. Driving from London to Plymouth a few weeks back, I had 3G on Three right down the M4/5 corridor, where as my old man on O2 had only GPRS except when we went past a big town.

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Imy

Quidco

Quidco is actually tracking @ £149.98 for the 32GB/64GB iPhone 4S on The One Plan.

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Asking about coverage isn't much use as it will depend where in the country you are. Rounds these parts O2 is as good as a chocolate teapot lacking 3G, and even Edge anywhere away from cities. With 3 on the other hand I get a 3G connection, or the very occasional fallback onto Orange 2G, everywhere I got a 2G with O2.

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Silver badge

The potential problem with "3" is lack of 2G coverage where they think 3G is good enough to disable the roaming to 2G. Which can be a serious problem with the piss poor performance of 3G in buildings.

Other than that though O2 is still playing catchup on 3G coverage and "3" has given more consistent coverage than O2 for me for the last 2 years. It's amazing how often I pull the phone out in pubs, get no signal and the staff automatically assume I'm on O2!

You should definitely try to test coverage where you expect to use it but O2 has let me down a lot more than "3" so far.

However... I assume you have acceptable O2 coverage now so you have another option, get a SIM free iPhone and switch to giffgaff. A painful £500+ now but if you can make use of their pseudo contract bundles it's a no-brainer for data hungry phones. Just annoying they've given up on PAYG and the service is pretty bare bones, both in supported products and actual customer support.

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And 2 years from now.....

Mephistophiles shuts down Hell due to a lack of souls. Apparently the department that offers deals for mortal souls has been driven out of the market by telcos.

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WTF?

I don't get it

Why rush out now and spend way over the odds for the iphone 4S? If you want the iphone experience then just get the iphone 4 and a much more sensible price. It gives you access to the whole apple eco system and interface with the same screen quality and decent camera. If you want a top spec phone get the latest Android handset like the Galaxy S2 at a much lower price or wait until the top spec quadcore phones in the same price bracket are likely to surface in a couple of months. If you want both, then by all means spend through the nose for one, but at the very least wait until people have actually had a chance to review it and then make an educated choice.

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Boffin

invest 10 minutes sticking it all in a spreadsheet

it's easier to compare the TCO across 2 years comparing the different tariffs, contract lengths and companies.

I'm getting o2 simplicity because I get a discount on o2 broadband which is nearly as good as Be.

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Fully agree. It takes about 15 minutes to pull together (see my example below)

I was looking for the cheapest and shortest contract. In the end I pre-ordered last Friday with Vodafone

£399 upfront

12 month contract

£36 per month

300m/unlimited texts/500MB data

£59 rebate on the November bill

TCO - £772

I also am tracking to get another £40 QuidCo which should bring the TCO to £732.

Comparing plans around the £30 to £35, the TCO for the other providers were 3 - £915 (One Plan, 24 months, £105 QuidCo), Orange £1014 (£31 pm, 24 months), T-Mobile - £1005 (£31pm, 24 months). O2 is the second cheapest @ £793 (£31pm + £6pm for 500MB data, no QuidCo).

Hope that helps anyone looking to buy.

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So what i can tell from the chart is that if you want an iPhone, prepare to be ripped off?

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yep...

just got a new SE Xperia (not an Arc, don't want something that big!), and checked out what iPhone prices were like... same tariff gets you an iPhone.... 3Gs.... so, that's the same calls, texts, internet usage, and an old phone.

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Headmaster

A perfect example of the Apple Tax

On launch day, a Galaxy S2 from O2 was £69 for handset on £21.50 a month for 300 minutes and unlimited texts. Bolt on £6 a month for 500MB data, that's a total contract cost of £729. Adding the same data plan to the iPhone 4S tariff, the S2 owner ends up paying £159 less for a phone that is at least equivalent to the 4S in every department, with more texts and minutes and data inclusive.

The Apple logo: now worth 22% of the value of your phone.

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Just had a quick look on Vodafone

For a 32GB 4 or 4s, the costs are the same for a 12 month contract, 18 & 24 month contracts show a £60 increase in handset cost only. Ultimately it's going to end up with a decision on spec and contract length but I suspect that for a lot of people an iphone 4/4s with cost about a grand over the term.

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FAIL

Wow, that pricing is from another dimension.

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Go

Or...

Buy sim free. I splashed out £500 for a new unlocked iPhone 4 last summer. Looking on eBay, I'll get at least £300 when I sell it, possibly nearer £350.

£200 depreciation over 15 months and a £15 per month sim only tariff seems like a good deal to me. And if the Nexus Prime turns out to be sufficiently tempting, I'll loose little or nothing selling my iPhone 4S in a month or two. Simples.

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Very True

Iphones hold value incredibly well, an old 3GS will still fetch over £100 second hand.

The same cannot be said for other handset makes.

I'd still much prefer the Nexus Prime over the new iphone tho, it looks amazing.

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But you still lose

The little losses will keep building up, if in the meantime the iPhone 5 comes out all singing and dancing you might get a tenner for it.

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Anonymous Coward

"The little losses will keep building up, if in the meantime the iPhone 5 comes out all singing and dancing you might get a tenner for it."

Unlikely - today the lowest price that the entry 8GB 3G model goes for is £80, that’s 3.5 years after it came out. When I sold mine, the iPhone 4 had been announced and pre-orders were being taken – so it was two years old - but I still managed to sell it for a little over the handset price on the contract I was first on (if I had been bothered to sell it on eBay I could have got more, but I’ve had so many friends who have had trouble selling various phones online, I decided not to).

I have monthly rolling sim-only deal, which until they pull the plug on it, I have unlimited data, MMS counts as pack of my text allowance and I have more free texts and minutes than I know what do with. I’m intending to trade-up after 2 years and the combined cost of the sim and a sim-free 32GB iPhone 4 works out as just over £35 per month, which I think isn’t bad value for money. If I do the same with the next model, as I’m intending to get the lowest storage device, as long as I get £100 for my old iPhone 4, I’ll be looking at the same amount.

However, when it comes to the value of older iPhones, the higher storage ones have a greater rate of depreciation – e.g. the 16GB 3G will often only get you a tenner more than if you were flogging an 8GB one.

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Don't worry

The UK government just released 75bn quid in anticipation of the new iPhone 4S tariffs.

Credit where it's due...

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Stop

"""The pick of the bunch for me is Three's One Plan"""

However, you don't point out that Three do not offer visual voicemail - where you can see a list of the voicemails you have received, who called you, when and how long the message is.

Instead, you have 90s style voicemail - "Press 3 to delete this message, press 7 for the next message, press star to accidentally override your greeting with 'erm, what did I just press?'".

Well, it pissed me off after I switched from O2 to Three. AFAICT, only O2 and Vodafone have visual voicemail.

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HulloMail

You can use a service like HulloMail for visual voicemail on 3. I use it on T-Mobile because they charge for access to your own voicemail.

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WTF?

I can't believe O2 don't include data in their package.

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It's not a tariff even worth considering, but allows them to claim the lowest cost to getting an iPhone 4S - even if it's useless.

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Facepalm

Craptastic table

Nice one Reg. That table has to be the most useless one I've seen for a while; you have compared tariffs at the low and high ends without consideration of the packages that PEOPLE ACTUALLY USE.

To quote another dunderhead: 'Good Grief'.

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WTF?

Not sure where these prices came from.

The prices I see on 3's website don't correspond with this table...

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Silver badge

I HAVE THIS VISION.....

of LEMMINGS heading toward the edge of a cliff blinded by the light of an iphone 4S screen.

I was going to use the moth to the flame metaphor but lemmings is more apt.

YOU WANT TO BE A MUG, buy the iPhone 4S.

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Headmaster

Except...

Unfortunately the whole 'lemmings charging off a cliff' thing is nonsense.

The moth metaphor would have been OK. Sheep is also an option, but would make you sound like an arse.

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Thumb Up

Price Matrix for all plans pls?

Would be great if you or someone could do this matrix for all price plans/tarrifs to show total contract lifetime cost for easy comparisons.

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Tesco mobile...

Tesco have released their plans too.. which actually appear to be pretty good value!

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Bronze badge

Useless!

I'm guessing that most people don't choose the cheapest or priciest plans. I found Voda offered the BEST plan for me. O2 not including data is borderline fraud.

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Tesco are the cheapest

See MSE iPhone cheap-o-meter for proof

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/cheap-iphone

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