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14 October 2021

Best mobile phone deals

Looking for a bargain on a mobile phone? Our mobile phone experts have picked the best iPhone, Android and 5G mobile phone deals.
Which?Editorial team
best mobile phone deals

Deals updated: 1 October 2021

We have found the latest mobile phone deals 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 contact 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, sim-free deal, or just want a cheap contract or to buy a handset now, we have the best deals for you. 

We've done the heavy lifting for you – read on to see our expert picks on the latest mobile phone deals, and tips on how to haggle for the best mobile phone deal. 

Best mobile phone and contract deals for October 2021

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 (including deals from Tesco, Vodafone, Sky and more). Our mobile phone deals service does all the heavy lifting for you to help you find the best deal. 

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

Best iPhone deals

This month's bargain hunt reveals the iPhone 12 range is still attracting decent discounts – it's definitely a series worth keeping an eye on now the iPhone 13s have launched. 

Apple iPhone 12 64GB

Apple iPhone 12
  • 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display
  • 5G compatibility
  • IP68 waterproofing

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 this latest 5G version, but you can get a great deal on this model this month. 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 of the iPhone 12 with 64GB of storage is £679.

Buy now for £679 at Amazon

Apple iPhone 12 Mini 64GB

Apple iPhone 12 Mini
  • Smallest and cheapest iPhone 12 model 
  • 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display 
  • IP68 waterproofing 

We like: Lovely display 

We don’t like: Battery life

This smallest and cheapest model in the iPhone 12 range normally sells for well over £600, but can currently be had for £569.

Read our Apple iPhone 12 Mini review to see if it's the right phone for you. 

Buy it now for £569 at The Big Phone Store

Best Android phone deals

Samsung, OnePlus and Motorola also have attractive discounts on handsets this month – proving you don't need to spend a fortune on a big brand.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G 128GB

  • 128GB of storage
  • Includes Samsung's powerful Exynos 2100 processor
  • 5G ready
  • 6.2-inch OLED display

We like: Excellent cameras for photos and videos, beautiful display, fast processor

We didn’t like: Battery life isn't as good a previous Samsung S launches

The S21 5G is the 'standard' model in the S20 series – but this is still Samsung's flagship range, and as such, it's a powerful and capable phone. See what it’s like to live with in our Samsung Galaxy S21 5G review.

Depending on which colour you choose, you can currently find it on Amazon from around £640 – a nice discount on the usual price of £770.

Buy it now at Amazon where the 128GB model is available from around £640.

OnePlus 8T

  • 128GB of storage
  • Powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor
  • 5G ready
  • 6.6-inch OLED display

We like: Easy to use and quick to charge

We didn’t like: Photos taken with the flash have hard contrast and look unnatural

OnePlus has been taking on the flagship phones from Apple and Samsung with its latest releases, but the 8T is a more modest handset from its mid-range line. It offers at lot of the benefits of its more expensive cousins, however, such as a clean, snappy Android experience and the super fast charging that has become synonymous with the OnePlus brand. Check our OnePlus 8T review for the full test results.

OnePlus itself is currently offering £100 off – £449 instead of £549, plus you can get an extra 50 euros off that price using the code shown on the page linked below.  

Buy it now at OnePlus for a shade over £400.

Motorola Moto G 5G Plus (64GB)

Motorola MotoG 5G
  • Large 6.7-inch Full HD+ display 
  • 5G ready 
  • Four rear and two front cameras

We like: Bright display, easy to use

We didn’t like: Takes a while to charge

It’s powered by the Snapdragon 765 processor and you get a hefty 5,000mAh battery, 6GB of Ram and 64GB of storage with this phone. The best price you can find at the moment is £215 ­– an £85 saving on its RRP.

But you should read our Motorola Moto G 5G Plus review to see if it comes through on performance.

Buy the 64GB version of this phone now for £215 from Amazon

The best time to find mobile phone deals

Although deals and discounts can vary year-round, generally you'll find the best time to buy a handset at a great price is a month or so after its successor has been released. The model you're after will almost always come down in price, despite being scarcely a year old.

Release dates are, of course, subject to change, and you should always do your research before buying, but you can expect new flagship handsets to be released at the following times of year:

  • Apple iPhone September
  • Google Pixel October
  • OnePlus June
  • Samsung Galaxy S April

Other popular handsets are less predictable than the ones listed above, so may need a little extra vigilance. If you're interested in further savings, you could consider avoiding new phones altogether and look at refurbished models instead. Buying refurbished can save you money on a phone that's in great condition, but always ensure the used mobile phone you're buying is still receiving security updates.

See our guides to How to buy second-hand or refurbished mobile phone and Mobile phone security: why phones over two years old could be a risk.

Black Friday mobile phone deals

Speaking of a good time to buy a phone, you'll inevitably see plenty of mobile phone deals in the Black Friday sales. Everyone gets involved, from retailers, to contract providers, to the brands themselves.

But as with many other products, not all deals are as good as they seem. Always do your research, shop around and check price history at sites like CamelCamelCamel, if you're shopping on Amazon. 

We'll be flagging the best discounts at this time of year on mobile phones and a wide range of other products, so keep an eye out for our Black Friday news and advice.

Five tips on haggling for the best mobile phone deal

There's far more competition in the mobile providers market than there used to be, which makes it easier to haggle for a better deal. If you're out of contract, you should always shop around to see if you could pay less. Based on a survey of 5,000 people, we found that mobile phone customers that haggled saved an average of £72 on their annual bill – and the majority told us it was easy. You could also be offered other incentives to stay – including extra data or minute, or a new handset.

Not keen on haggling? Follow our five-step plan to get you started: 

1 - Know your limits

Haggling for the best deal with your mobile provider takes a bit of preparation. The first thing you need to do is work out how many minutes, texts and how much data you use per month. If you don't know this already you can find out from your previous bills. 

2 - Shop around and compare mobile phone deals

Next, find out how much you could be paying for this size of bundle with other providers by searching around online for good Sim-only deals. These may be on a rolling monthly contract, or a longer 12 or 18-month contract, though it's always better to stick with the former when possible. Note down the prices and what you get in the bundle.

Explore mobile phones and and Sim-only contracts and find out how much you could save.

3 - Call your mobile phone provider

Call your provider and tell them you'd like a discount on your mobile phone contract. You could explain that you don't think you're getting the best deal, based on your research, and give them some examples to build your case. If the discount isn't as big as you'd like, use the other mobile phone deals you've found online as evidence that you could pay less elsewhere.

4 - Good deal? Don't forget to read the small print

If your provider has come back with a deal you're happy with, check to see if this involves you signing a new 12 or 18-month contract. Often a provider will offer a reduction provided you sign up with them for a longer period, which isn't ideal. It's preferable to stick with a rolling monthly contract, which offers more flexibility.

5 - No mobile phone deal? What to do next

Your provider isn't willing to budge - but all is not lost. The next stage is to say that you want to cancel and switch to another provider. Ask to speak to the cancellations or retention team, who are often able to give you a better deal. If you still don't have any luck, you can tell them you'll think about it and end the call, just in case they get back in touch to improve their offer. At this stage though, it may well be worth switching. 

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 PC World 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 are 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 phone.

New iPhones usually drop in September, so the end of the year is a good time to look for the previous models, particularly as seasonal 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 Black Friday shortlist for a double whammy of deals.

You'll see the biggest bargains on older handsets, but even the latest Google Pixel 5 handset has some discounts on major retailers such as Laptops Direct and Carphone Warehouse.

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

Huawei mobile phone deals

From 2020, new Huawei phones don't have access to Google services. This means for many they won't be a popular choice (and they can't get a Which? Best Buy either) but it does mean you can find some deals on their previous premium phones, such as the Huawei P30.

You're best off looking on Amazon for deals on a Huawei handset. Just make sure you buy from Amazon itself rather than Marketplace for longer warranties and tighter consumer protections.

Find out more about Huawei's Google-less handsets in our guide to buying a Huawei phone, or see all our Huawei smartphone 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-£400 can get you a slim, stylish and powerful model that may not look too different from a high-end cousin.

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 Galaxys. Pick your perfect model in all our Samsung phone reviews.

Mobile phone contract deal

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 are 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 mobile phone handsets, 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?

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

Pay careful 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. 

When it's time to switch mobile phone provider

If all else fails, it may be time to switch. Outside the big four - O2, Vodafone, EE and Three, a wide range of operators are now competing for your business, and some of them offer great value for money on 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 and find out how much you could be paying.

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

Best mobile phone deal looking

What else do I need to consider?

Finding a good deal on a phone isn't just about the cheapest price – there are a range of other things to consider.

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 on our guide to mobile phone security 

Phone network

Picking the right network is important – get it wrong and you could be stuck with it for two years. To help you choose the right network, every year we ask thousands of mobile phone customers what they think of their provider. This survey is the largest of its kind in the UK – to see the results, read our guide to the best and worst UK mobile networks for more.

Check your bundle

You'll also need to pick the right bundle, and know how many minutes, messages and how much data you typically use. Have a look at your previous mobile bills as a guide, and try to find a plan that matches your typical use. Remember – the cost of calls, texts and data that exceed your inclusive minutes can add up. 

If you find that you've over or underestimated how much you need, contact your provider. You may be able to switch to a different plan, though it's less common to be able to downgrade. Our guide on how to keep track of your mobile data and minutes can help.

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