iPhone 4S: Best contract deals in the UK

The iPhone 4S is nearly here, looming ominously over our bank balances, ready to strip us of our hard-earned cash, and repaying us with extra megapixels and processing power. 

Picking up an iPhone 4S and not accidentally paying top dollar looks like it could prove difficult, particularly given that every electronics store from here to Timbuktu plans on stocking the thing. Thankfully Pocket-lint has come to the rescue and picked out the best deals we can find from the major networks (in the UK, not Timbuktu) so that you don't pay over the odds.

Best iPhone 4S deals on Vodafone

Vodafone's vital statistics include a 3-month unlimited data test drive when you sign up and 750MB of data to play with on the more expensive contract deals. You also get access to 12-, 18- and 24-month plans with the handset so you can upgrade when Apple releases its next gadget. 

iPhone 4S 16GB

From the looks of it your best bet with the entry level iPhone 4S, if paying a rather large monthly phone bill isn't a problem, is to opt for it on the 12-month plan, with £139 up front cost. You will get yourself 1200 minutes, 750MB of data and unlimited texts to play with. The total cost of owning an iPhone 4S should work out at £751, compared to a £46 per month contract where the phone is free but you are bound to 24 months, which would set you back £1104 in total.

iPhone 4S 32GB

The same theory as above applies to every single one of the iPhone 4S memory sizes on the Vodafone network. £51 per month, however, is quite a lot to deal with, so say you want to pay less monthly but more on the handset, the best value option would be to stump up £399 to start with and then face just a £26 per month phone bill. You do have to deal with just 100 minutes, 500 texts and a puny 250MB of data though.

iPhone 4S 64GB

So you have opted for the grand master, the 64GB offering, with enough memory to fit an absurd amount of music and apps on board. All that memory comes at a premium, with an unlocked 64GB version of the iPhone 4S coming straight from Apple costing £699. The best deal we can see is taking the middle ground, stumping up £219 for the handset and then £46 per month on an 18-month contract. That is going to cost you £1047; less than a 16GB where you have opted to take the handset for free. 

Check out Vodafone's iPhone 4S pre-order page here

Best iPhone 4S deals on Three

Pick up an iPhone 4S on Three and you have one obvious immediate bonus: unlimited data. This is a big incentive for serious smartphone users, especially if you fancy taking advantage of all the iPhone 4S has to offer, assuming you know that Three offers good connectivity in your area. 

iPhone 4S 16GB

Three likes to keep it simple with its price offerings, keeping up a does-what-it-says-on-the-tin approach to things. Essentially you need to decide whether you want unlimited data or not - if you don't, go for the £35 per month and £49 up front cost. That is easily the cheapest and will total £889 over 24 months. You can pay £99 for the handset and £35 per month to get hold of unlimited data, that will mean a total price of £939.

iPhone 4S 32GB

Going for the meatier memory doesn't necessarily mean stumping up much more cash. This one is a total no brainer. £35 per month, £189 up front, 2000 minutes, 5000 texts and unlimited data. This will set you back £1029 over 24 months.

iPhone 4S 64GB

We have to tip our hats to Three for keeping it simple here. The largest memory iPhone is the same sort of price range as the previous two. You want the £35 per month middle ground, same minutes as the 32GB offering, but with an up-front cost of £279, totalling £1119. 

Check out Three iPhone 4S pre-order page here.

Best iPhone 4S deals on Orange

Orange goes in for the unlimited texts option on its lower priced packages, so it is worth considering if you are a serious texter. You also get access to Orange's Wi-Fi setup, which gives you unlimited data to play with provided you can access it. 

iPhone 4S 16GB

Going for the £46 per month deal seems to be a trend emerging across all networks and in Orange's case it's no exception. You are looking at picking up a 16GB iPhone 4S for free with 900 minutes and unlimited texts. The total price will be £1104.

iPhone 4S 32GB

Things naturally get a tad more expensive with the 32GB option, from what we can see it is best to save on the contract and stump up for the handset. You want to pay out £36 per month and then £219 for the handset. That will get you 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data to play with. Total price? £1083.

iPhone 4S 64GB

It looks to us like going in for the 64GB iPhone 4S is the best way to go in terms of value, it also means you get the most memory to play with. In Orange's case go for the £41 per month and £219 for the handset, it totals £1203.

Check out Orange's pre-order page here.

Best iPhone 4S deals on T-Mobile

T-Mobile grants you access to things like its Flexible Booster offerings, which means you get to call other T-Mobile users for free or enjoy things like reduced price calls to the US. You also get 750MB of data to use. 

iPhone 4S 16GB

It's the return of the £46 per month special, or in T-Mobile's case £45.96. You get plentiful minutes, 1200 to be precise and 500 texts as well as a single flexible booster. The handset itself is free. Expect this to set you back £1104 over 24 months.

iPhone 4S 32GB

Same again for the 32GB version really, albeit with a £139 price tag on the handset. Expect this to be £1243. 

iPhone 4S 64GB

Yet again the £46 option looks like the one to go for. T-Mobile clearly knows exactly what they want you paying. This time round the total runs to £1239, only a small amount more than the 32GB and well worth the extra pennies to grab the double memory. 

Check out T-Mobile's pre-order page here.

Best iPhone 4S deals on O2

O2 has had a long history with the iPhone and has a nice little network infrastructure setup that provides a decent balance between customer support and the odd freebie. You have got access to things like O2's Priority Moments and unlimited Wi-Fi. Current O2 customers also gain access to a 12-month contract on the iPhone 4S. 

iPhone 4S 16GB

The cheapest we can see on O2's 16GB offerings is going for the £15.50 per month for 24 months and then paying out £299 for the handset. This will total £671 over the full term of the contract and is one of the cheapest ways we can see of getting hold of an iPhone on a contract. If you would rather get yourself a few more minutes each month then why not look at something like the £36 per month deal, with £49 up front cost for the handset. Current O2 customers will get it for free saving themselves the £49 on a new contract.

iPhone 4S 32GB

The difference between monthly pricing on O2 with its 24-month, 18- and 12-month contracts is relatively slim, so we decided to opt for a short-term deal here and dish out £139 for the handset on a £46 per month contract. That gets you 1200 minutes to play with and unlimited texts as well as 500MB of data for an extra £6. The total reaches £691.

iPhone 4S 64GB

Going for the 64GB on O2 doesn't look like too bad an idea. In fact it looks like it is providing the best value for money/memory ratio on any of the networks. Easy one this one, go for the 12-month, £46 per month with the handset costing £209. That totals up at £761.

Check out O2's pre-order page here.

The winner

We've got to admit, all this network related mathematics has our brains slightly fried. It is almost impossible to choose one single contract as an overall winner because there is so much involved in signing up for a new mobile phone. 

You need to think of it like buying a new gold fish: you are probably going to have to put up with feeding it every week and will get bored, but you can't get rid of it. Whatever happens it is going to be an expensive and painful process, after all you are opting for one of the most desirable pieces of technology currently on the market and the networks know this. 

So you need to think, what do I want? Loads of data = Three. Perks, bonuses or already a customer = O2. Decent service and reception plus good customer support base and data test drive = Vodafone. A formidable contract with the chance to change what you get from it = T-Mobile. Every single one of these networks provides decent quality service and reception but you do want to check if you have coverage in your area.

Ultimately we think that the best thing to do is save up a bit of extra cash and splash out at first. Then you will have major savings made over the term of the contract in the amount you spend each month. 

Worked out any better deals? We want to know!



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