Is the iPhone 5 the best smartphone out at the moment?
Welcome to the final instalment of our three-part series about how to save money buying an iPhone 5
. In the previous two episodes
we conducted the most thorough analysis yet of all your different options (PAYG
and contract) to work out how to get the best value for money on a new iPhone. Today we’ll be specifially looking at the top-of-the-range 64GB
version – if you’re interested in the 32GB
versions, click over to read the articles about them.
The iPhone 5 has been out now for quite some time and it’s selling fast. In fact, it’s the second most popular phone in the country at the moment and Apple are having trouble trying to keep up with demand. By now you probably know whether or not you want to upgrade. And hey, it’s Christmas – now’s the perfect time to treat yourself to a new phone (or, more likely, ask Santa very nice to let you cash in all the good deeds you’ve done of the year). Of course, we’re here to make sure you get the best deal possible.
Total cost of ownership
In trying to find the absolute best price for an iPhone 5 in the whole of the UK, a key concept we introduced is that of Total cost of ownership. A big problem with buying a new phone is that there are just so many choices across all the networks.
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. How can you compare all the different price plans fairly?
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 for each option. 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 psychologically 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 64GB price comparison
So we’re finally here. The big boy – the lucious 64GB iPhone 5. 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). We haven’t included EE because all their offers are the same as those from Orange and T-Mobile except more expensive. We’ve already gone into detail about why it’s not worth paying more for 4G but the aim of this guide is to pay the least amount possible and that simply rules them out.
What we have done, is even delved into the lowest priced deals possible including PAYG too. 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 64GB deal in the UK
Orange and T-Mobile
Unfortunately, Orange and T-Mobile are the most expensive for the iPhone 5 with Orange being marginally worse. Much of this is because they don’t offer any lower-end tariffs at all – just expensive unlimited tariffs. With Orange, you can get unlimited calls and texts and 1GB of mobile internet for £36/month. This makes the total cost of ownership £1134 including £270 for the phone itself.
T-Mobile‘s pricing is almost identical. The total cost of ownership is just £1 less at £1133 over a 24 month contract. The monthly charge is still £36/month but the handset fee is £269 instead. Having said that, the allowances are much better – you get the Full Monty with unlimited minutes, texts and data. Clearly this is better than Orange in every way.
Coming in next is Vodafone. They’ll give you an iPhone 5 64GB For a total of £1121. This includes 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of internet and the price of the handset. You’ll have to pay £329 upfront followed by £33 every month.
O2 aren’t too bad a choice if you just want to get your hands on the iPhone 5 for a low price. You’ll have to pay £450 for the handset but you’ll be saving overall in the long run as the monthly charge is just £26. For your money, you’ll allowance will be unlimited calls and texts and 1GB of mobile data. The total cost of ownership of the whole contract is £1074.
Three‘s tariff is pretty decent as they will only charge £109 for the handset. If you don’t have lots of cash available for an upfront payment, this is by far your best option. You’ll have to pay £40/month over the life of your contract but this is almost comparable to the other networks. Over 24 months, your total cost of ownership will be £1069 and you’ll get 500 minutes, practically-unlimited 5000 texts and unlimited data. If you want 2000 minutes instead, you can pay just £2/month extra making the total £1117.
Can you do better than the offer from Three? not easily, but it is possible. By going PAYG you can get a super-cheap deal for the iPhone 5. Probably your best option 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 £699 (gulp). 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). Make sure you get the SIM from our link as it will give you a £5 bonus and make the total price you’ll pay over two years only £934.
By going PAYG you don’t get locked into a contract and you’ll save up to £200 compared to the contact networks!
The cheapest iPhone 5 64GB 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 here.
Vodafone are worst of the bunch for this with a minimum total cost of ownership coming to £1177 for the 64GB iPhone. As well as your unlimited minutes, you will also have an allowance containing unlimited texts and 1GB of mobile internet. The price is broken up into a charge of £37/month plus £289 for the handset.
If you are persuaded by EE’s adverts for super-fast 4G data, you better be willing to pay for it. All their rates are about £5 more than Orange and T-Mobile’s laid out below and none of their tariffs include unlimited data. We won’t bother to go into it any more…
Orange will charge you £36/month to get unlimited minutes plus another £270 for the iPhone itself. For your money, they will give you unlimited texts and 1GB allowance. The calculated cost over a two year contract is a mighty £1134.
T-Mobile offer a pretty-much identical tariff. Their phone price is £269 instead but the monthly charge is the same at £36. This makes a total cost of ownership that comes to £1133 but, unlike with Orange or EE, you do get unlimited data as well as unlimited minutes and texts.
Three‘s fantastic One Plan is a really good choice and great value for money too. You don’t quite get unlimited but we’d say it’s close enough at 2000 UK minutes plus 5000 Three-to-Three minutes plus 5000 texts every month. This might as well be unlimited. Best of all you also get unlimited data with tethering allowed. The total cost of ownership will come to £1117 – this is made up of a £109 charge for the phone added on to a £42/month contract.
O2 offers by far the best deal if you just want to make sure you get unlimited minutes. You can pay just £26/month and still get unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of mobile internet. You will have to pay £360 for the iPhone itself by over 24 months the total cost of ownership will be just £1074. If you can afford the high handset fee, this can save you tons.
The cheapest iPhone 5 64GB with unlimited data
Vodafone, O2 and EE
Unfortunately, Vodafone, O2 and EE cannot be included in this section as none of them offer an unlimited data tariff. You heard us right – in this day and age, they are still capping bandwidth allowances on mobile internet. Never mind the fact you’re paying £1000 for a mobile phone, they are still going to cripple your iPhone despite it being the age of the internet.
A smartphones increasingly rely on mobile internet (and we increasingly rely upon them) this is incredibly 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 only just introduced an option for unlimited data for some of their contracts. Unfortunately, it’s very expensive to get is with them. For completely unlimited calls, texts and mobile internetyou have to pay £51/month a month – shocking, eh? Even worse, you still have another £130 to pay up front for the handset. For this deal, your total cost of ownership will an exorbitant £1,354.
Thankfully, T-Mobile best effort is a lot better. The monthly charge has dropped to £36/month and you’ll still get unlimited calls, texts and data. The price of the phone itself is £269 and your two-year total for the contract is £1133. Clearly Orange is no competition with this.
Three are one of the best mobile networks for internet. Thankfully, as well has having great 3G coverage, the pricing for their unlimited data iPhone 5 tariffs isn’t bad either. You can get 500 minutes, 5000 texts and unlimited data with a total cost of ownership of £1069. You’ll have to pay £109 for the phone plus a monthly contract price of £40.
For the best possible deal with unlimited internet, you’ll need to go PAYG. You can make some really massive savings by going with Giffgaff instead of an expensive contract with the big mobile networks. In fact, you can literally save £100s. Over the 24 month time period, you’re looking at a total cost of ownership of only £982 if you order a SIM for free with £5 bonus credit then buy an unlocked iPhone 5 for £699. The £12 goodybag gives you 250 UK minutes, unlimited Giffgaff-to-Giffgaff calls, unlimited texts and unlimited data. That’s fantastic compared to all your other options. It’s also over £300 cheaper than Orange’s best deal and really shames the competition.
So that’s it from us. We’ve looked at the iPhone 5 16GB, the iPhone 5 32GB and now the 64GB version too. We think these are the most thorough analyses of how to save money on this amazing handset anywhere on the internet. Hopefully you’re now thinking more in terms of total cost of ownership when comparing tariffs.
Anyway, enough from us – thanks for reading and we really hope we’ve helped you understand the tariffs better and, more than anything, save some money As always, please also feel free to ask any questions in the comments.