With three new iPhones on the horizon, mobile providers are rushing to get pre-orders up and give people the option to drop a bundle on one of Apple’s new smartphones.
The iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X are big business, and prices are always higher on the latest models. Regardless of which handset you choose there will be options for double-digit or even unlimited data allowances.
Dig further though and you can find smaller bundles – such as 1GB deals, which for many will be enough. As we’ll explain, opting for one of these less hefty bundles could save a fortune on the overall cost of the phone.
Best mobile phone providers – see which provider has the most satisfied customers.
Do you have too much data?
We asked over 1,200 Which? members how they manage their data and how much they use, and the responses were startling. Of those on a contract, 43% try to save data by leaving it switched off, and 53% used only wi-fi.
This might seem extreme – but it seems to do the trick. We also asked how much data people used and found that 53% were using less than 250MB per month.
Given that most providers offer a minimum of 1GB it’s fair to say that many of us either aren’t making the most of our data, or are getting contracts with too much of it in the first place – which could mean you’re spending far more than you need to.
We explain how to monitor your data so that you can find out how much you need, and offer tips for cutting down in our guide to keeping track of your data and minutes.
What deals are providers recommending for the iPhone 8?
We looked at EE, O2, Vodafone and Three to find out which plans they were offering and recommending for the iPhone 8.
According to EE, its bestselling plan for the iPhone 8 is an extremely expensive one that comes with a ridiculous 100GB of data. A lot of people wouldn’t chew through 100GB in a year, let alone in a month.
Over the course of two years, this £68 per month deal would cost you £1,642 if you include the £10 upfront fee. It’s also the only plan that EE shows when you click through to the pre-order page. Finding the other plans involves digging around the website far more than we’d expect.
Doing so reveals an alternative, far cheaper option with 1GB of data, which would be more than enough for many of those we surveyed. The saving? £390.
Vodafone’s ‘bestselling’ plan is pricey, but it’s not the most expensive one on offer. For £60 per month with a £30 upfront fee you get 16GB of data per month, plus a bonus 10GB thrown in. A total 26GB is still significantly more than most people need.
Vodafone’s most expensive deal gives you 60GB to play with every month – representing 24 times the amount of data that 53% of the people we surveyed used each month.
Choosing Vodafone’s 1GB package would save you £526 over the 60GB deal.
Three takes a different tack on its pre-order page by showing you the cheapest deal first. Unusually the 500MB deal in question doesn’t have unlimited minutes. If you make a lot of phone calls, the 300 a month you get with this deal may not be enough.
Three is one of the few providers to offer unlimited data deals, though the cost is huge. You’ll pay just shy of £2,000 over the course of two years.
The 1GB offering is £46 a month with a £99 upfront fee. That clocks up a total of £1,203, and a saving of £724 on the unlimited deal.
Try to pre-order the iPhone 8 with O2 and it will tell you that its pay monthly contracts start at £63 per month with a £30 upfront fee. That is the lowest upfront fee, but if you view all O2’s tariffs you’ll find that this deal is far from the cheapest that it offers.
The £63 contract is for O2’s 20GB per month data deal, but there are deals with single-digit data that will suit most users.
The most data O2 offers is 50GB and it has two contracts with this amount. The first has a lower upfront fee of £30 followed by a whopping £88 per month, totalling £2,142. The second has a £120 upfront fee then £84 per month for a total of £2,136, making it slightly cheaper to pay more upfront.
You’re better off getting less data though. You could either pay £190 upfront then £43 per month, or £100 upfront then £47 per month for one of O2’s 1GB deals. The total cost over 24 months for these contracts are £1,222 and £1,288 respectively – almost £1,000 cheaper than the 50GB contract.
The cheapest way to buy the iPhone 8
If you can afford it, there’s always the option to buy a phone outright. This can often be the cheapest route since you aren’t paying any interest on the phone.
A new iPhone 8 will set you back £699, but the monthly cost of the Sim can be significantly lower than getting the phone and Sim on a contract.
Unlimited data is much more than most people need, and Three’s regular 24-month contract is understandably expensive at £1,927. But Three also does an unlimited data Sim, which is just £29 a month. That means the total over 24 months, including the £699 for the phone, is £1,395 – that’s £532 cheaper.
If you really want to keep the cost to a minimum, you won’t get much better than a Sim-only plan of £9 a month for unlimited minutes and messages and 4GB of data. Surprisingly, it’s also Three who offers this great value deal. Add the £699 cost for the phone, and you’ll be paying just £915 in total.
Prices correct as of 19 September.