Now it’s been out in the UK for a while, you’ve probably made your mind up whether you need to upgrade or whether you’ll try and stick around for a price drop or the next best thing. While there’s no chance of it going down in price, if you’ve seen enough of the iPhone 5 by now to know you Just Must Have It, we’re here to help.
As always, they range of different tariffs available is pretty intimidating for new buyers. Even if you’ve decided that you need the iPhone 5 and what capacity you want, there are still 100s of options to sort through. And when you have a range of different offers all with varying allowances for minutes, texts and data not to mention vastly different prices, it can become overwhelming. Worst of all, it’s not immediately obvious whether you’re better off paying more up front for a lower monthly rate with a certain about of included calls or less for a slightly higher monthly rate with a completely different set of bundled minutes. And that’s not even considering weighing up SIM free versions against other models. With so many different options on PAYG or with contracts in the UK how on earth can you possibly decide the best one for you?
Total cost of ownership
As always, the key is Total cost of ownership. Many people aren’t aware that there’s a metric you can use to fairly compare different tariffs across networks with different allowances. It even allows a comparison between contract offers and PAYG.
All you need to do is to calculate the Total cost of ownership. This is just the overall amount you’ll have to pay over the course of your whole contract (or for the equivalent length of time on PAYG) for your new iPhone 5. You work it out 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
As the SIM-free option involves a large upfront payment followed by a far cheaper PAYG tariff while contracts usually have subsidised (or even free) handsets with pricier charges over the following months, this is the best way to compare the available options.
Quite often you’ll find that even if you get the iPhone 5 “free” on a certain deal, it will actually end up costing you £100s more than if you’d gone for an equivalent contract with a lower monthly cost but a higher initial handset price.
For example, O2 offer the 64GB iPhone 5 on a 24 month contract with 5 options – ranging from £63/month to £26/month and with initial handset outlays of between £450 and £70. All these options come with exactly the same allowances – unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of mobile data.
If you think it sounds a good idea to get the iPhone 5 for “only” £70 you should work out the total cost of ownership – if you have to pay £63 per month for 24 months on top of this (making a total of £1204), your total price over 2 years would be £1274. However, if you chose to pay the £450 price for the phone upfront, you only have to pay an additional £624 making the final amount you pay just £1074. It psycholgically seems a lot to pay £450 for a phone but you save £200 over two years by doing this – almost half that £450! So, you can clearly see that you can save a huge amount by just running some simple calculations before buying.
iPhone 5 32GB price comparison
This is a really thorough comparison. We’ve looked at every deal available for a 32GB iPhone 5 on a 24 month contract (these offer the best value) from every single major UK network (O2, 3, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone). Then we’ve gone further and even included the lowest priced PAYG deal. Then, we’ve crunched all the numbers for you and even presented it with pretty bar charts.
When looking for the cheapest iPhone 5, we’ve been careful to think about how people use their phones and what they really need as well as what they want. Because of this, we’ve broken things down into sections so if you know you need a lot of minutes or you often run up big data bills, you can see where the best savings are for you. As always, don’t forget to check out our network coverage maps to see what sort of signal you’ll get in your area.
The absolute cheapest iPhone 5 32GB deal in the UK
Orange and T-Mobile
Don’t forget, as we mentioned last time, the only way you can get 4G for the next few months is if you go with EE (i.e. Orange and T-Mobile). If that’s a big reason for getting the iPhone 5, you might want to choose them even if they are more expensive. Although, it does now look like the delay for other networks isn’t going to be too long.
Orange are not great for offering a dirt cheap price on the iPhone 5. Having said that, the tariff is quite generous as you get unlimited calls and texts and 1GB of mobile internet. This will set you back a total of £1084 which is made up of £220 for the handset followed by £36 every month.
T-Mobile can’t really do much better. Well they can – £1 better. The total cost will be £1083 over two years. That’s the same £36/month but “only” £219 up front for the phone. The deal is slightly different, you get the Full Monty with unlimited minutes, texts and data. For many this will be obviously preferable and will make it nonsensical to choose Orange.
The next best deal for the cheapest 32GB iPhone 5 possible comes from Vodafone. For a total of £1061 they will give you 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of internet and the iPhone. The price is broken down to £269 for the phone followed by a £33 monthly bill.
You can do pretty well by choosing O2. If you just want a cheap iPhone 5, they have a fantastic offer. If you pay £360 up front you then only will be charged £26/month and you#ll get unlimited calls and texts and 1GB of mobile data. This makes a total cost of ownership of only £984 over 24 months. Probably worth saving up for the high handset cost.
Three have a very competitive offer. They will give you the handset for just £89 and then you need to pay £37/month. Over two years this comes to just £977 for the phone and you get 500 minutes, practically-unlimited 5000 texts and unlimited data.
While the Three offer is really good, it can be beaten. If you’re intent on paying the absolute lowest amount for the iPhone 5 you need to look at PAYG options. At the moment, the cheapest deal comes from Giffgaff.
You just need to order a free Giffgaff nano-SIM (which comes with £5 free credit if you use our link) and then buy the handset SIM-free for £599. Then choose a goodybag for £10/month which will give you unlimited Giffgaff-to-Giffgaff calls, 250 any-network minutes, unlimited texts, and 1GB mobile data. (If you prefer you can go for truly unlimited internet £2 extra). If you account for the £5 bonus you get from ordering through our site, the total price you’ll pay over two years will be just £834.
By going PAYG you don’t get locked into a contract and you’ll save £250 cheaper over than choosing Orange or T-Mobile and well over £100 compared to any contact network!
The cheapest iPhone 5 32GB with unlimited calls
*minutes aren’t truly unlimited, but 2000 any-network plus 5000 Three-to-Three is close enough for us.
Unfortunately Giffgaff don’t offer unlimited minutes on any plan any more so we can’t include them.
Vodafone’s best deal comes to a total of £987 if you want unlimited minutes. You’ll also get unlimited texts 1GB of mobile internet but you have to pay £99 for the handset followed by £37/month.
Despite the allure of super-fast 4G data, high users of their phone to make calls won’t be happy on Orange. You have to fork out £36/month to get unlimited minutes and that’s on top of £220 for the iPhone itself. You don’t even get unlimited data – just unlimited texts and 1GB allowance. This makes the total cost of ownership at £1084.
Once again, T-Mobile’s deal is almost exactly the same. This time the phone costs £219 and the monthly charge is still £36. This makes a total of £1083 but at least you get unlimited everything – calls, texts and data.
Three’s One Plan is a great deal. Even if you don’t exactly get unlimited calls and texts, 2000 UK minutes plus 5000 Three-to-Three minutes plus 5000 texts will be effectively unlimited for almost everyone. And of course you get unlimited data with tethering allowed. The price is another strong point – the phone will only cost £89 and then you have to pay £39/month to make a total cost of ownership of £1025.
O2 absolutely destroys the competition though. If you need a large calls allowance they will give you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of mobile internet for just £26/month. Over two years this comes to only £984 with a £360 up front cost. Once again, if you save up just a little more, you can get some amazing deals – this could save you £100 compared to the other options.
The cheapest iPhone 5 32GB with unlimited data
Vodafone and O2
Enough of praising O2. They are well known for having poor data coverage and that’s just as well if you go for them – not only do they not offer 4G yet but they data allowance is pitiful. They don’t even offer an unlimited data tariff. The same goes for Vodafone. As mobile internet is becoming a bigger and bigger part of smartphone use and with the 4G connectivity of the iPhone 5, this is really disappointing. 1GB hasn’t been much for years now and more and more people are finding they require the freedom that unlimited internet tariffs allow. It’s hard to see a future for these companies if they haven’t realised what a mistake this is yet.
Orange have recently started offering an all-inclusive deal with completely unlimited calls, texts and mobile internet. As you can expect though, it’s not cheap. You have to fork out a gargantuan £51/month every month and that’s on top of £40 for the iPhone itself. The total cost of ownership comes to a massive £1,264.
For once, T-Mobile’s tariff differs significantly from Orange’s and is far superior for it. You only need to pay £36/month to get unlimited calls, texts and data. The up front cost is £219 which makes a total over 24 months of £1083. You should pick this over Orange every time.
Three have always been well known for being strong for data both in terms of pricing and coverage and their iPhone tariffs are no different. You can get 500 minutes, 5000 texts and unlimited data for a total outlay of only £978. This includes an initial cost of £89 plus a monthly contract price of £37.
But if you want really big savings, you need to check out Giffgaff again. Your total cost of ownership can crash down to just £882 if you order a SIM for free with £5 bonus credit then buy an unlocked iPhone 5 for £599. The £12 goodybag gives you 250 UK minutes, unlimited Giffgaff-to-Giffgaff calls, unlimited texts and unlimited data. Pretty damn amazing, huh? Once again, by actually running the total cost of ownership calculations you can save £100s – this is over £400 cheaper than Orange’s deal.
Phew – thank you for getting to the end of this. Now you know how to get the cheapest deal on the 32GB iPhone 5 – just use the links in the article to go straight through to all the deals we’ve mentioned and look forward to your new gadget 🙂
We hope that you now understand how total cost of ownership can help you save money and why it’s the best way to compare tariffs. Let us know if you’ve used it to buy your new phone whether it’s an iPhone or not. And remember to sign up to our newsletter tons of mobile deals, hints, news and, of course, for our next article on the best deals on the cheapest possible 64GB iPhone 5. Please also feel free to ask any questions in the comments.