iPhone 4 Pay As You Go vs Contracts

Obviously I need the new iPhone.  Need one, d’you hear? But where previously the pay as you go deal, though an upfront expense, has been great value for me (as someone who never uses the phone to call) things have changed.  Previously the upfront price from O2 included 12 months of unlimited data which could then be bought for £10 a month (and a £15 a month top up paid for that, £5 of calls, and snagged 100 minutes and 100 texts into the bargain).

This evening I’ve been doing some calculations which I will share in case any of you are in the same situation: namely, you hardly ever call or text (75 minutes and 100 texts would be more than ample).  I’ve looked at 02, Orange and Vodaphone. (I wanted to include Orange PAYG prices, but I couldn’t find any info on data costs with this. And I’m assuming O2 have got their 18 month and 24 month handset costs back to front.)  I’m also working on the basis I’ll keep the phone for 2 years, so it would be worth getting locked into a 24 month deal for cheaper monthly costs.  All costs are calculated over 24 months.

O2 Pay and Go

£599 for the handset (unlocked from Apple), £240 for 24 months of calls (£10 worth, 40 – 188 mins depending on call patterns), texts (300) and data (500Mb). No lock in. Total £839.

O2 Simplicity

£599 for the handset (unlocked from Apple), £360 for 24 months of calls (300 minutes), texts (unlimited) and data (500Mb). 12 month lock in. Total £959.

O2 Pay Monthly

£299 for the handset, £600 for 24 months of calls (100 minutes), texts (unlimited) and data (500Mb). 24 month lock in. Total £899.

Orange Pay Monthly

£269 for the handset, £720 for 24 months of calls (150 minutes), texts (250) and data (750Mb). Total £989.

Vodaphone Pay Monthly

£309 for the handset, £600 for 24 months of calls (75 minutes), texts (250) and data (1Gb). 24 month lock in.  Total £909.

Tesco Pay and Go

£569 for the handset, £240 for 24 months of calls and texts (for say 30 minutes and 40 texts), data (1Gb). Total £809.

Tesco Pay Monthly

£429 for the handset, £240 for the first 12 months of calls (250 minutes), texts (ulmited) and data (1Gb), then 12 months PAYG with any provider, say £120 for O2 as above. 12 month lock in. Total £789.

Tesco monthly would be a great deal if (a) they had any stock in and (b) I wasn’t getting a discount on my broadband with O2.  So would their PAYG, if I really didn’t make many calls.

It looks like O2 Pay and Go may still suit me best so long as my calling requirements remain modest… But there’s not so much in it now.

Updated 18th June: corrected with official Vodafone pricing, which makes the handset £29 dearer.

Updated 20th August: Tesco pricing.

About Simon Wood

E-learning officer, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more…

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