Let’s be honest, times are hard. The next smartphone you buy will probably be bought in one of two different ways. You’ll either get an unlocked phone or you can get a contract handset and sign up for two years or so.
Getting out of that contract, by the way, does take a bit of confidence on your part if you intend on doing it. When I left Orange I was tempted by their retentions team. They offered better and better deals then, even after getting my PAC code, I received multiple calls from the network with further deals to keep me on their network. Another call was made to me a day before I used my PAC to offer a £6 deal which I could “perhaps let a friend use if even if you want to move elsewhere”. Networks are extremely keen to keep you in a contract. Extremely keen.
If you do want to get a SIM free phone and get yourself a SIM-only deal then you’ll get the freedom to move networks and switch up an down plans as you need. Getting the phone is the hard part though, because smartphones, generally, are expensive. This is the main reason people plumb for a “free” phone from a network, even though it’s not free. We covered a few cheap smartphones last week, and they’re definitely an option you should consider. You can now get a pretty high-spec phone for a lot less and they’ll perform brilliantly.
But, if you’re after that latest must-have gadget then you’re back to considering a contract again. It’s usually the only way to afford it. However, Expansys are now pushing out their finance deals to include all smartphones over £300 with only iPhones excluded. The finance is 0%, so you get the benefits of paying in small chunks whilst also being able to switch your network or plan as and when you want. Spread the costs over 10 months and pay just 10% deposit.
Take the HTC One for example. That’s £479.99 SIM-free, which is…a lot. Pay that in one go if you have the money, but if you want to break it down then you pay £48 up-front, 9 payments of £43.20 and a final payment of £43.19. Yes, if you’re paying £15 for a SIM-free contract this is going to mean you’re paying a smidge less than £60 per month for 10 months, which is more than a £37 contract (as an example), but after 10 months your monthly outgoings go way back down to £15 again.
Based on these figures (which I know are plucked from the air somewhat), let’s compare this..
HTC One on Orange – Panther 41. 900 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB internet.
£41 per month for two years.
Total cost after two years – £984
HTC One from Expansys – £479.99 total.
Three SIM with unlimited data, 5000 texts and 2000 minutes. £15 per month. (12 month contract)
Total cost after two years – £839.99
That’s a saving of £144.01, plus you get a whole lot more for your money on the unlimited plan. More data, more calls and.. Hey, who’s going to send more than 5000 texts a month eh?