The iPhone 5C is now available to pre-order directly from Apple, as well as through the UK’s various networks, but how much will it cost you? Let’s break down the numbers.
If you want an unlocked iPhone 5C, then you can pre-order directly from Apple right now. The 16GB model will cost £469, while the 32GB model bumps the price up to £549. It looks like there’s still plenty of stock available, as none of the colour options have “sold out” just yet. Delivery is still expected on September 20th for all models.
All the carriers offering LTE have thrown up their own pre-order pages for the handset, but some are better value than others. All these numbers are based on 24-month contracts.
EE, for example, is offering the iPhone 5C for £110 on a £31 a month contract, which will net you 1GB of LTE data and unlimited minutes and texts. If you want more data, the monthly cost will shoot up, but you won’t have to pay as much for the phone. None of EE’s tariffs, however, will get you the phone for free. The network does have good extras, though, including two for one cinema tickets on Wednesdays, plus unlimited streaming music from Deezer.
O2 seems to be the most expensive network. You’ll get 1GB of data of its £22 a month price plan, and pay an additional £25 a month to get the phone for free, for a grand total of £47 a month.
Vodafone, as we discovered recently, is the best value for money. Paying £42 a month will get you 2GB of data, plus 4GB of “bonus” data for the full length of the contract if you sign up before the end of October. Unlimited minutes and texts are a given, and you’ll only have to pay £19 upfront for the phone. On top of that, you’ll get a choice between free Spotify access or Sky Sports streaming. And remember: the first three months of the contract come with unlimited data.
What if you don’t care about LTE? You can still get the phone on regular 3G tariffs.
Three won’t give you the iPhone 5C for free, as all of its plans require an upfront cost of £49. The cheapest tariff for the iPhone 5C is Ultimate Internet 500 at £37 a month, offering all you can eat data, 500 minutes, and 5000 texts. More expensive plans will only give you more minutes.
T-Mobile is roughly the same price, but you’ll get more minutes and texts. Its £32 a month plan, for instance, will give you unlimited data and texts – plus 1000 minutes – with an upfront cost of £90 for the phone. The £37 a month tariff, meanwhile, drops the upfront cost down to £50 while increasing minutes to 2000.
Orange is the somewhere in the middle, but restricts your data usage. Unlimited minutes and texts are available on both the £32 and £37 a month plans, but you only get 500MB and 1GB of data respectively. The upfront cost for the handset is £70 on the £32 a month tariff, and £30 on the £37 a month plan.
O2 falls in line with Orange. The 16GB iPhone 5C will cost you £30 upfront on O2’s Refresh tariff, with a two-year payment plan of £20 for the phone and £17 a month – £37 in total – for the main tariff, offering 1GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts. Increasing your data allowance to 2GB or 4GB will raise the tariff price to £22 a month and £27 a month.
Vodafone seems to be the cheapest of the networks, but only by a small margin. Its £37 a month 3G tariff, for example, will give you the same 1GB of data and unlimited minutes/texts as everyone else, but you’ll only have to put down £19 for the phone itself. If you increase data to 2GB or 4GB – £42 and £47 a month respectively – then you’ll get the phone for free.
So, who should I go with?
Anyone who needs LTE should go with Vodafone. The data allowance and added value extras simply can’t be matched by any of the other carriers. EE’s £46 a month tariff with 10GB of data, however, is the next best option, especially with the network’s expansive 4G coverage.
People happy to stick to 3G should go with Three for its unlimited data and robust network. But if you don’t want to pay anything for the phone at all, then Vodafone is the only way to go – you’ll have to cough up more each month for the privilege, though.