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Updated: 21 Jan 2022

Best mobile phone and Sim-only deals in the sales

See our pick of the best mobile phone deals on contract and Sim-only to find out how to bag a bargain on an Android handset or iPhone
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Which?Editorial team
Mobile phone deals

We've rounded up the latest mobile phone deals in the sales to help you find and compare the best prices right now.

With new smartphones launching every week, and stiff competition between the biggest manufacturers and contract providers, there are often great mobile phone deals to be had on the most expensive handsets (including Samsung and iPhone). Whether you choose a pay-as-you-go, a Sim-free deal, or just want a cheap contract or to buy a handset now, we'll show you some of the top deals around.

Already got a handset in mind? Use our mobile phone reviews to see how it scores in our tough tests. 

Best mobile phone and contract deals in the sales

When looking for the best mobile phone deal, you need to decide whether to buy a new phone on contract or pay for the phone outright and buy a Sim separately (and then you'll need to navigate the various deals from Sky, Tesco, Vodafone and more). Our mobile phone deals service does all the hard work for you. 

Find out more and head to Which? Mobile Switch to compare phones and Sim-only contracts.

Best iPhone deals

Get an iPhone 12 at a decent discount, or pick up an older model at a bargain price, including the popular iPhone SE.

Our Pick: Apple iPhone 12 64GB – was £799, now £669

Apple iPhone 12
  • 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display
  • 5G compatibility
  • IP68 certified meaning it is waterproof up to six meters deep for 30 minutes

We like: Lovely display

We don’t like: Short-charge battery life isn't the best

It's rare to find a discount on an iPhone, especially one of the latest 5G versions, but you can get a great deal on this model now since the iPhone 13 series has come out. It has some fancy features including waterproofing and wireless charging, plus it's the first iPhone range to come 5G ready. See if it matches up to its impressive specs by reading our Apple iPhone 12 review.

The current cheapest deal for a Sim-free version with 64GB of storage is £669.

Buy now for £669 at ChitterChatter.

Or browse for the best contract deals on the Apple iPhone 12

More Apple iPhone deals to consider:

Best Android phone deals

Android phones have a number of attractive discounts on handsets now – proving you don't need to spend a fortune on a big brand.

Our Pick: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE – was £599, now £417

  • 128GB of storage
  • 6.5-inch screen
  • Three rear cameras

We like: High-quality OLED display

We didn’t like: Average battery life

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE doesn't come with 5G, but it has a powerful processor with a large 6.5-inch AMOLED display. It comes with 6GB of Ram and 128GB of storage, but if you need more space, this can be expanded via the micro-SD card slot. Check our Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review for the full test results.

Buy the Cloud Navy version now at Amazon for £417.

Or browse for the best contract deals on the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE.

More Android deals to consider:

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 5G – was £769, now £629. A 5G-enabled smartphone with a powerful processor and a 6.2-inch screen. Buy it now from Amazon or Appliances Direct, or read our Samsung Galaxy S21 5G review.
  • Samsung A52s 5G – was £409, now £324. A 5G mid-range phone from Samsung that punches above its weight. Buy it now in white from Amazon, or read our Galaxy A52s 5G review.
  • Oppo Find X3 Lite 5G – was £379, now £299. Powerful Snapdragon 765G processor with 8GB of Ram and 128GB of internal storage, plus a 32Mp wide-lens front camera. Buy it now at Argos, Currys and John Lewis or read our Oppo Find X3 Lite 5G review.
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10s - was £229, now £169. No 5G, but still an impressive range of features for a cheaper model. Buy it now from Xiaomi or read our Xiaomi Redmi Note 10s review.
Mobile phone providers

Best Sim-only deals

If you're buying a phone outright, you'll need a Sim card. Here's our pick of some of the best low, medium and high data deals doing the rounds in the sales.

Best low data Sim-only deals 

You shouldn't pay for data you don't need, so if you're a particularly light user, opt for a cheap monthly contract that gives you the ability to switch around as circumstances change. Here are some highlights:

Lebara Mobile 7GB of 5G data for £3.49 per month. This contract comes with unlimited minutes and 5G speeds. Although the contract offers the first three months half price for new customers, it will increase to £6.99 thereafter. It's still worth considering as this is a one-month contract, meaning you can have three months of cheap high data, with the freedom to look elsewhere. If you want to know more about the provider first, read our Lebara Mobile review.

Asda Mobile 6GB of 4G data for £5 per month. Asda offers double data for three months at 6GB with unlimited minutes. although, after three months, it drops down to 3GB. This is not ideal, but you can cancel at any time so that you can get three months of cheap data then shop around for a new deal. Asda's customers weren't entirely satisfied with all aspects of its service in our regular survey – our Asda mobile review has more.

iD Mobile 8GB of 5G data for £7 per month. This sim contract with 8GB of 5G data and unlimited minutes is a great deal. Even better is that this contract includes data rollover. Read our iD Mobile Review if you want to see how customers rate it.

Best medium data Sim-only deals

Suppose you use your mobile data fairly frequently but don't require large amounts of data for data-intense activities such as HD downloading or streaming. In that case, these deals could be suitable. Here are some highlights:

iD Mobile 15GB of 5G data for £8 per month. If you're looking at the higher data range of medium data deals, this offering from iD Mobile could suit. The deal includes unlimited minutes and data rollover. This is the better option for iD's low and medium data deals, as the other is £7 per month for 10GB. Our iD Mobile review reveals how well it did in our survey.

O2 Mobile 15GB of 5G data for £8 per month. This great deal comes with 5G data, unlimited minutes and texts as a 12-month fixed contract. Plus, you'll receive special offers with O2 Priority. If 15GB isn't enough, you can pay £10 a month for a 20GB contract. Read our O2 Mobile review to see how customers rate it.

Best high data Sim-only deals

High data deals are ideal for those who need it for continuous connectivity, downloading, streaming and hotspot usage. These types of deals will often require a 12-month contract, so consider how committed you want to be and how much data you're likely to use. These are some highlights:

Plusnet - 30GB 4G data for £10 per month. A great deal that offers unlimited minutes and texts. Also, this offer comes with a £30 reward card and 2GB extra for existing broadband customers. However, it does not offer 5G. If you want to discover more about the provider first, read our Plusnet review.

Three 100GB of 5G data for £12 per month. This deal offers a huge amount of data, unlimited minutes and is only available as a 12-month contract. If 100GB still isn't enough, you can pay £16 per month and get 5G unlimited data. Read our Three review to see how customers rate it.

iD Mobile Unlimited 5G data for £16 per month. A great deal that includes unlimited minutes and texts with super fast 5G data, on a rolling monthly contract. Read our iD Mobile Review to see how it fared in our survey.

Not found one that's quite right for you? Browse all the best Sim-only deals on Which? Mobile Switch.

Best mobile phone contract calculator

A key question will be whether you buy outright or on contract. How much each will cost overall can be difficult to work out, so use our calculator below to discover the best deal for you.

Pros and cons of pay-monthly contract mobile phones

With a traditional pay-monthly contract, you pay a fixed minimum monthly fee by direct debit, which is made up of paying for the phone (usually through a credit agreement, meaning you get credit checked) and the Sim itself, with an allowance of calls, texts and data. You'll have to commit to a period of time, typically two years. Depending on your plan, there may also be an upfront fee, which is something worth considering if you're set on a contract. 

What are the advantages of monthly contracts? 

  • Free/cheap phones With a monthly contract, you'll get a wide choice of free or subsidised handsets, which is ideal if you fancy an upgrade. 
  • Good value Paying in advance for a fixed amount of minutes, texts and data can be much cheaper than topping up a pay-as-you-go phone. 
  • Hassle free You’ll never get cut off because you’ve forgotten to top up your credit. 
  • Can build your credit score Paying off a mobile phone contract monthly can be a good way to build your credit score. Bear in mind that missed payments or defaulting can make your credit score drop. 

Are there any drawbacks with pay-monthly contracts?

There are a few. As mentioned, you may end up paying more overall, so you'll need to weigh this up against the appeal of a lower upfront cost.  

Pay attention to the length of the contract. Most last two years, but some can last three, in order to keep the monthly cost looking attractive. You should also make a note of when your contract ends. Some providers continue to charge you the full monthly cost, even after your contract has been paid off. 

If you exceed the minutes, messages or data in your bundle, additional charges can be significant. It's especially important to be aware of this while roaming. Most providers now set a default 'cap' to prevent this, but if you remove it in order to continue using your phone, costs can quickly spiral out of control. For more, read our guide on how to keep track of your minutes and data, and our guide on EU roaming and international calls. 

Consider network reception with a great mobile phone deal

Signal is another consideration. If you know that a particular network is good for your area, you may want to stick with it, but move to a different provider. Or if it isn't, it could be time to move. 

Here are the core networks the virtual providers use:

  • O2 Giffgaff, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile
  • Vodafone Asda Mobile, Lebara, TalkTalk, Voxi
  • EE BT, Plusnet, Utility Warehouse, Virgin Mobile
  • Three iD Mobile, Smarty Mobile

When it's time to switch mobile phone provider

If all else fails, it might be time to switch. Outside the big four – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – a wide range of operators are now competing for your business, and some offer great-value Sim-only deals. Switching is easy and you should be able to keep your old number.

Arming yourself with a price you could get elsewhere is an important haggling tactic. Compare mobile phone contracts and Sim-only deals to find out how much you could be paying.

Smaller mobile networks consistently do better than the big four (EE, O2,Three and Vodafone) in our mobile networks survey. Read our guide to the best and worst UK mobile networks to find out more.

Best mobiles

How to get the best mobile phone deal on popular brands

Generally, you'll find the best deals on mobile phones at retailers such as Amazon, Currys and John Lewis, rather than on the manufacturer's website. However, knowing when the best sales are for specific mobile phone brands can be useful if you're trying to find the best deal on a specific model you want. 

iPhone deals

It's notoriously tricky to bag an iPhone on a budget – even older iPhones don't tend to see too many discounts. They hold their value better than older Androids, so you often see them on the second-hand market.

However, if you look in the right place at the right time, you can get some money off. Retailers such as Amazon and Argos occasionally bring their prices down, although you should make sure you're buying a new rather than refurbished handset.

New iPhones usually launch in September, so the end of the year is a good time to look for the previous models, particularly as the Black Friday and Christmas sales roll in.

Apple also offers a trade-in scheme, so you can knock down the price of a new handset slightly if you're upgrading from an older iPhone.

Browse all our iPhone reviews to see how all of Apple's handsets scored in our lab tests.

Google mobile phone deals

Google launches its flagship phones in October, so it's worth putting a Pixel on your shortlist late in the year.

You'll see the biggest bargains on older handsets, but even more recent phones can get some early discounts at major retailers such as Carphone Warehouse and Laptops Direct.

See if it's worth investing in a Pixel by reading our Google Pixel reviews.

Samsung mobile phone deals

If you're after a Samsung Galaxy on a budget, you might be tempted by some of its reasonably priced handsets from its A, J and M ranges. Mid-range models have come on leaps and bounds over the past few years, and spending £300 to £400 can get you a slim, stylish and powerful model that may not look too different from a high-end version.

If you have your eyes on the premium prize, though, it could be worth holding out for a top-of-the-range Galaxy S or Note series. Samsung's S series usually launch in the first quarter of the year, with the first discounts on the latest handsets beginning in the summer. It's worth keeping an eye out on Amazon Prime Day in July.

Phones in the Note range tend to launch in August, so new models are ripe for a decent discount when Black Friday rolls around. If you miss out, the Boxing Day sales are a good time to buy, too.

We've reviewed more than 40 Galaxy phones. Pick your perfect model in all our Samsung phone reviews.

Mobile phones and security updates

Deals on phones are more common when they've been out for a little while, but depending on the brand and handset, this could mean they won't be receiving security updates for much longer. Check our security update calculator for models you're interested in buying in our guide to mobile phone security