The iPhone 4S hit the shops a couple of months ago and it’s the perfect Christmas present with its a new dual-core 1GHz A5 processor, Siri and the massively upgraded camera. Last week we took a look at the best deals available for the low-end 16GB version but today we’ve analysed more than 100 tariff options and rounded up the very best deals on the 32GB model.
Total cost of ownership
As we explained last time, the best way to compare prices across networks and between contracts and PAYG is by calculating the Total cost of ownership. This is simply the overall amount you’ll have to pay for your new iPhone 4S and can be found by adding the initial cost of the handset to the monthly price of the plan multiplied by the length of the contract (in months). Or, if you speak maths:
Total cost of ownership = costhandset + costmonthly tariff × tcontract length
Going SIM-free involves a large upfront payment followed by a far cheaper PAYG tariff while, conversely, contracts usually have subsidised (or even free) handsets with pricier charges over the following months. Because it accounts for both factors, looking at total cost of ownership is the best way to compare the available options.
For example, imagine you want to buy a 32GB iPhone 4S with a plan that includes at least 300 minutes and you’ve narrowed your choice of network down to just O2, Giffgaff and 3 as your main options. The cheapest deals available from each are as follows:
O2 – £270 upfront then £29/month for 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 100MB data.
giffgaff – £599 upfront then £15/month for 400 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data.
Three – £219 upfront then £30/month for 300 minutes, 5000 texts and 500MB data.
If we compare these from a total cost of ownership point of view, it’s immediately obvious which choice is best.
The O2 plan costs £270 for the phone but then you must pay £29/month for a 24 month contract which adds up to another £696. The total you have to pay over two years is a pricey £966.
The tariff on Giffgaff is a bit better as although you must splash out a huge £599 for the phone, you only pay £360 over the 24 month contract making a total of £959. And for your money you get 400 minutes instead of 300 as well as unlimited data and unlimited texts.
However, 3 turns out to be the best deal in this example. The iPhone 4S 32GB handset will only set you back £219 and then, even paying £30/month your total over two years is just £939 which beats both O2 and Giffgaff.
iPhone 4S 32GB price comparison
In this comparison we’ve looked at all the deals available for the iPhone 4S 32GB version from the major UK networks (O2, 3, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone) as well as the cheapest PAYG alternative from Giffgaff using their incredible value goodybags. We’ve also broken it down into separate sections for inclusive minutes, texts and data so you can see which deal is best for you. Don’t forget to also keep in mind the coverage in your area for the network you want to go with – our network coverage maps will let you know how good the signal strength is.
Best iPhone 4S 32GB deal by minutes
At least 200 minutes
If, however, you only need as little as 200 minutes a month, Giffgaff is the obvious winner being much much cheaper than the alternatives with a total cost of ownership of just £839 over two years.
You just need to order your £599 iPhone 4S 32GB then request a Giffgaff micro-SIM with £5 free credit. Next, log in to your account and buy the £10/month goodybag. This gives you 250 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data every month.
At least 300 minutes
If however you need 300 minutes a month, 3‘s offering is the best. The total is only £939 for a 24 month contract.
At least 400 minutes
For 400 minutes a month, Giffgaff charges back into the lead with a price of only £959 in total.
Again, you have to buy your £599 iPhone 4S 32GB then order a Giffgaff micro-SIM with £5 free credit. Next, simply get the £15/month goodybag for 400 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data every month.
At least 500 minutes
3 has the easily best offer for a 500 minute contract with a total cost of ownership of £979.
For your money not only do you get the iPhone 4S 32GB but you also get 500 minutes, 5000 texts and 1GB data. The one-off cost is £139 for the phone and the monthly fee is £35/month. ⇒ Get this deal now ⇐.
At least 600 minutes
Finally, if you’re more talkative and you want to have 600 minutes every month, O2 is the best choice for you with a total cost over 24 months of £1016.
3‘s tariff follows closely behind with a total of just £1029 (£13 more over 2 years). Arguably, it’s actually a much better deal due to the huge monthly allowances you get.
The price of the 32GB iPhone 4S handset is £189 but for your £35/month you get the incredible One Plan. This affords you a huge 2000 any-network minutes, 5000 3-to-3 minutes, 5000 texts and completely unlimited all-you-can-eat data. ⇒ Get this deal now ⇐.
Best iPhone 4S 32GB deal by texts
No matter whether you need only 100 texts, 5000 texts or even unlimited texts, the graph clearly shows that Giffgaff is your best bet with a total cost of ownership of just £839 over two years.
First just buy your 32GB iPhone 4S for an initial cost of £599 then order a free Giffgaff micro-SIM with £5 free credit. You can then get the £10/month goodybag that will give you 250 any-network minutes every month as well as unlimited texts and unlimited data.
An alternative for 100-500 texts
For 500 texts a month or less, O2 also offer some very competitive deals. For example, if you want a 500 text allowance you can get an iPhone 4S 32GB for a total cost of ownership of just £844.
Best iPhone 4S 32GB deal by data
Again, no matter how much mobile internet you use, Giffgaff are clearly the cheapest deal for an iPhone 4S 32GB at only £839 for 24 months which works out to total cost of only about £30/month including buying the phone.
Simply order your £599 iPhone 4S 32GB then request a Giffgaff micro-SIM with £5 free credit. Once it’s activated you just need to buy the £10/month goodybag that will give you unlimited data every month. You also get 250 minutes every month and unlimited texts.
An alternative for 100MB data
If you only need as little as 100MB data, O2 also have a decent offer with an iPhone 4S for a total cost of only £844.
Once again, Giffgaff have come out as easily the best deal for buying the newest iPhone with some massive savings compared to other networks when you look at total cost of ownership. That is as long as you can find an unlocked SIM-free iPhone 4S in stock, of course!
O2‘s iPhone 4S packages are a great budget option. While they aren’t quite as cheap as Giffgaff’s and the monthly allowances are much lower, they are often much more competitive than the high-street competition. However, do be aware of their high price for anything more than 100MB data and check their coverage in your area before buying though.
Finally, an honourable mention must go to 3’s iPhone 4S on the fantastic One Plan . This is an amazing offer for mobile-addicts with 7000 minutes to 3 mobiles and other networks, 5000 texts and truly unlimited data. 3 is also a great choice as they have easily the best 3G network in the country so you can always stay connected to a mobile internet connection. Check out their UK coverage maps to see for yourself.
That’s it again. Just like with the iPhone 4S 16GB version, there are plenty of incredible deals regardless of your need for minutes, texts or mobile data – you just need to look through all the options available which is exactly we did for you 🙂 Our look at all the iPhone 4S 64GB tariffs is coming up soon.