Buying an iPhone 5 on contract vs buying SIM-free: there’s not much in it

The iPhone 5’s out, but if you’re buying one can you save cash by going SIM-free? The answer’s yes, but the difference isn’t as big as you might expect.

Take Orange: the 32GB iPhone 5 is £219, then £36 per month over two years. That’s £864, so the total cost of ownership over two years is £1,083.

SIM-free from Apple, the same phone is £599. The pick of Three’s SIM-only deals is £12.90 a month, so that’s £309.60. Total cost, £908.60. There’s a difference, but over two years it’s not a huge amount: it’s just over £7 per month.

Remember too that you can get some cash back by trading in your existing phone (shop around though – trade-in prices vary widely) and you might be able to wangle a discount if you upgrade with your current provider.

4 thoughts on “Buying an iPhone 5 on contract vs buying SIM-free: there’s not much in it

  1. Squander Two says:

    Also, join Quidco and check them before buying. You can always get a good £50 or so just for signing up to someone’s contract — there are even cashback deals on the SIM-only contracts. I got £160 cashback for buying my Lumia and haven’t shut up about it since.

  2. PaulM says:

    The only thing about the quidco offers on Orange is that the
    ones I’ve seen exclude iPhone contracts. But you’re right about the total cost of ownership, there seems less in it than before. I’ve always bought the phone outright and used giffgaff (£10 per month at the minute for unlimited data) works out at about £100 or so cheaper over 2 years. The other good thing about buying from the Apple store is that it’s unlocked straight from the box – it’s also easier to get it swapped out at the Apple store as well.

  3. Gary says:

    Orange appears to have changed again: Quidco’s now saying that Orange’s iPhone deals exclude the 5, as do vodafone’s. Three’s doing £101 cashback on The One Plan.

    It’s all very complicated :)

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