Vodafone has launched a new price plan that allows you to swap your smartphone every 12 months for the latest model. Like O2 Lease launched last year by one of its network peers, Vodafone Red Hot is essentially a leasing agreement whereby you rent the mobile device on a monthly subscription, which also gives you talk plans and 2GB of data a month.
Unlike O2 Lease, however, Vodafone will be marketing Red Hot much more aggressively. It told Pocket-lint: "We're really going for it big time - with TV ads, the lot."
The idea is simpld: you sign up for a 12-month contract and get a phone that either doesn't cost anything up front or only a minimal amount. You pay a set fee each month for the device, get your tariff on top and Bob's your uncle. You then hand it back at the end of the year because the phone doesn't technically belong to you.
What that means is that you can then sign up for a further 12-months and get the very latest model of handset. And so on and so forth.
For example, sign up now and you could get a Samsung Galaxy S III for £47 a month. For that, you also get unlimited calls and texts and 2GB of data. At the end of the 12-month period, you can swap the device for, say, a Samsung Galaxy S IV and away you go again.
There are caveats. As you don't actually own the phone, you will have to hand it back at the end of the year. Plus, if you damage or lose it, that may come at further expense.
Currently, Vodafone is offering the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on Red Hot plans. The iPhone 5 will cost from £59 a month, the SGS3 from £47 and the Note 2 from £52.
You can find out more at vodafone.co.uk/redhot. The plan is currently available in Vodafone stores only, not online.