How to Find the Cheapest iPhone Deal in the UK
Consumers can save hundreds of pounds by choosing the right service provider and buying the device directly from Apple.
Apple Inc.'s latest iPhone went on sale Friday, drawing strong initial interest from buyers with sold-out pre-orders for some models and queuing outside stores.
The biggest changes to the iPhone 15 involve improvements to its rear camera system and the replacement of the Lightning port with a USB-C connector.
The iPhone 15 Pro model is also cheaper than its predecessor. Built of lightweight materials with a faster chip, it sells in the UK for £999 ($1,225), which is £100 less than the £1,099 initially charged for the iPhone 14 Pro. The top-end iPhone 15 Pro Max costs £1,199.
Still, there is even more money to be saved when buying an iPhone 15 if you shop smart. We look into the ways below:
How to save money on the new iPhone
Consumers can save hundreds of pounds on an entry-level phone with an unlimited airtime plan by buying the device directly from Apple and paying separately for a SIM-only coverage contract, according to analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence.
The cheapest iPhone 15, with a 6.1-inch display and 128GB of memory, is £799 when bought directly from Apple. The company also offers an interest-free finance plan, where payments can be spread over two years at £33.29 a month. A SIM-only contract from EE with unlimited data works out at £630 over two years, or an average of £26.25 a month, taking the total spend to £59.54 a month.
Getting the same iPhone and coverage in a bundle from EE would cost an average of £69.11 a month, equating to a premium of £230 over the lifetime of the contract.
Similar price differences can be seen at Vodafone and O2. Only at network Three can you buy a bundle that's more cost effective than buying the phone and SIM separately, saving £73 over two years.
“The almost identical cost of bundles across EE, Vodafone and O2 suggests none of them are aiming to gain share from the latest Apple refresh,” said Bloomberg Intelligence industry analyst Matthew Bloxham.
Further money can be saved by returning your old iPhone when you upgrade. Again, some of the best offers are available directly from Apple. The company offers consumers up to £350 for trading in a 128GB iPhone 13, which compares to £316 from O2, £314 by Three, £295 by EE and £295 by Vodafone. This pattern broadly holds over other iPhone models too.
“Apple is also the best option for UK consumers planning to trade in their current device when upgrading to the latest iPhone,” wrote Bloxham. “The carriers' trade-in schemes are more flexible though, allowing customers to get money back on Android smartphones against the purchase of a new Apple device.”
Cheapest iPhone 15 deals
The network Three has some of the cheapest deals for iPhones. It offers an iPhone 15 with 128GB of memory and unlimited data for a total of £1,266 over 24 months, working out to an average of around £53 a month. Getting the same phone and amount of data through separate contracts would work out at £1,339 over 24 months, or an average of £56 a month.
Prices differ significantly between networks, with Vodafone charging as much as £1,659 over 24 months for both the phone and service. That would be nearly £400 more than Three's bundle deal.
However, it should be noted that these figures are calculated from today's prices, which are typically tweaked within the contract to increase with inflation. Some people might be able to get their phone bill down even further, too: EE offers 20% off the cost of SIM-only plans for students.
If you'd prefer a cheaper contract still, an older version of the iPhone will be better value, as will a refurbished model.