Cheapest way to get an iPhone 5 on a UK 4G plan – a 12 month contract?

With EE being the only 4G enabled network in the UK, it’s fair to say the carrier could have charged as much as it wanted for its plans. And, you could argue that the Orange and T-mobile birth child has done exactly that. By only giving 500MB of data on a £36 per month contract, you’ll probably only make it through a week before getting over charges.

That said, if you need fast mobile download speeds on your iPhone 5, there’s nowhere else to go. Of course, if you’re outside the select few cities with LTE online, then this doesn’t really apply. But, if you do live in one of the UK’s major cities, what is the best way to get an iPhone 5 and paying as little as possible?

It’s fair to say that when it comes to mobile contracts, we often go for whichever one offers us the phone for free initially, regardless of monthly cost or total cost over the term of our plan. If you really want to save money in the long term, that’s completely the wrong way to think about it. Especially if you want resale value to play a part in your money saving efforts. To make it easier, I’ve done some number crunching and found the cheapest way (in total) to get yourself an iPhone 5, on a 4G plan with EE.

To make it clear: “Total Cost” is the monthly cost multiplied by the number of months you’re contracted plus the upfront device cost.

16GB iPhone 5

32GB iPhone 5

64GB iPhone 5

As you can see, in every single case, a 12-month plan is always going to cost you less in the long run. That said, you’d be hard pushed to find many people comfortable with paying £66 per month on a phone. In those cases, for the sake of saving £20 per month, it could be worth considering going for the lowest monthly rental and paying as much as you can upfront. It’s also worth noting that if you need more than 500MB data, there’s no point going for the cheapest plan because you’ll soon find it ends up costing you an arm and a leg if you go over your allowance. You’re better off paying a few pounds a month extra on your plan than choosing the wrong plan and getting stung with huge bills every time you download a few videos too many.

Another reason to go for a 12-month contract is that you’ll be able to upgrade to the latest phone in a year and/or you’re more than likely to still get a good amount of cash for your iPhone 5 if you decide to sell it. Even if you go down the phone recycling scheme, I’d be very surprised if you didn’t get around £250 for a fully operational used iPhone 5 in twelve months. I’ve just sold my iPhone 4S to O2 for £230. So, if you take that off the price you’ve paid, you’ve saved some more cash.

I hope you’ve found this article interesting or -at least – useful. If you want to ask me anything about UK plans/networks, feel free to tweet me: @TiP_Cam.


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