The cheapest way to own a Smartphone

I have just started the 4th year of owning my iPhone 5s 32gb. It’s holding up well and I hope to get another couple of years out of it. I thought a bit differently when purchasing my phone and I believe this is the cheapest way to own a Smartphone.

I purchased my phone outright from the manufacturer, Apple. It was unlocked, so I wasn’t tied to any network and this meant I was free to select the cheapest deal. I had read great things about GiffGaff and a family member had been with them for a couple of years, so they were able to benefit from me switching too (as GiffGaff is run by its members, they pay you for introducing new people). I chose a 30 day, rolling SIM contract which I am free to change each month to suit my usage. Best of all GiffGaff email you with details of your best plan, or you can switch to Pay-As-You-Go at any time.

So, let’s crunch the numbers.

  • Upfront cost of unlocked handset £524.17
  • I’m currently on their lowest priced bundle, paying just £5 a month for calls, texts and data.

The //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=minimaexposu-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B00F3J4B5S&asins=B00F3J4B5S&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>iPhone cost, split over 4 years works out at £10.92 per month, so with the bundle on top I’m paying just £15.92 per month. £191.04 per year and that’s £764.16 over 4 years, not a lot more than the cost of the phone! O2 were the cheapest nearest competitor when I was purchasing, but buying outright won hands down on a new phone.

O2 are still selling the //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=minimaexposu-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B00F3J4B5S&asins=B00F3J4B5S&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>iPhone 5s, but only a 16gb model and they want £15 a month for that, plus £9.99 upfront. They’ll also tie you in for 2 years. But, it’s not really a fair comparison as I bought the newest model. So, let’s say you want an //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=minimaexposu-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B01LW1VU9E&asins=B01LW1VU9E&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>iPhone 7 the minimum cost is £45.00 a month (on the cheapest data package!), plus £9.99 upfront. You’ll be paying £1090 over the 2 years they’ll tie you in for. Then you’ll probably have to pay someone to unlock it, if you want to move away.

You’ll only pay £599 to buy the same phone outright, unlocked direct from Apple. So let’s compare that over 2 years for a fair comparison, adding £5 a month for your basic bundle. £719 is your cost of ownership, saving yourself an enormous £371! More if you keep your phone for longer, as there will be absolutely no need to upgrade it. But if you’re a serial upgrader for whatever reason, then you’ll still get a decent trade-in/ re-sale price for your phone. So my advice, if you want to do this (or for anyone really) is to buy a screen protector and great case so you keep your phone in pristine condition!

You don’t have to purchase an //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=minimaexposu-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B00F3J4B5S&asins=B00F3J4B5S&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>iPhone, to be honest – I probably wouldn’t again. My other have has an Android phone, a //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=minimaexposu-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B01IF51GYU&asins=B01IF51GYU&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>Motorola ‘Moto G’ and it’s been very good. We bought it outright on Amazon for £160 a couple of years ago, plus £11 on a //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=minimaexposu-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B014IX0202&asins=B014IX0202&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>memory card. Although it hasn’t been quite as reliable, it broke once and had to go away to be repaired. But you can expand the memory.

I might even go so far as to suggest that you might want to put some of the cost of buying a phone outright on a credit card, if you can’t wait to save up (which is what I would advise), since you can see how great your savings are! GiffGaff also sell phones now, which they didn’t when we were buying and I would imagine they have a competitive offering. If you would like to sign-up to get GiffGaffed, then you and I will both receive £10 credit – twice as much as usual. This great deal only lasts until 31st January 2017, so you’d better get moving!

My final word on this subject – don’t forget to go through a cashback site, wherever you decide to purchase from!

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