The Best Mobile Phone Deals of 2021 in the UK

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The right mobile phone deal can combine the handset of your dreams with enough minutes, texts and data to suit your lifestyle. Those who are prepared to shop around can have it all, at a price to suit their budget. Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you and brought together some of the best mobile phone deals of 2021 right here.
Last update: October 2021

Is it time for you to upgrade your handset? Are you tired of paying over the odds on your phone tariff? Perhaps your contract is coming to an end and you want to see what the best deals are? At Broadband Plans, we don’t just help you to find the best broadband deal for your home, we can also help you choose the perfect mobile phone deals for your needs.

With so many different networks, handsets, tariffs and contract types to choose from, it’s hard to know which is the best fit for your needs. Let’s take a look at some of the best mobile phone deals on the market today…

Who has the best mobile phone deals right now?

If you’re looking for a contract that includes a new handset, you’ve probably already strolled down the newly-reopened high street to check out the deals. Mobile phone deals are offered by both networks and third-party retailers. Retailers generally offer better deals than you’ll get from the manufacturer’s website. The price you pay will depend more on the handset you choose than your actual plan. If you want a top-of-the-line new iPhone, you can expect to pay a premium for one, or have to sacrifice data, minutes or texts to get one affordably.
Here we’ll take a look at some of the best deals offered by the UK’s most trusted networks.

EE

EE (formerly Orange) is owned by BT, and bills itself as the UK’s best network for 5G. Some of their best current deals include:

Apple iPhone XR (64 GB)

This deal comes with no upfront costs and an affordable monthly cost. For £29 per month you get:

  • No upfront payment
  • 25GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • 24 month contract

This deal is brought to you by BuyMobiles.

Samsung Galaxy S10

This deal combines a low monthly cost with an affordable upfront payment and a great handset. For £50 upfront and £32 per month, you get:

  • 10GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • 24 month contract

This deal comes directly from EE.

Apple iPhone SE (64GB)

If you want a great iPhone deal with a low monthly bill, you can take advantage on this iPhone SE deal for just £17 per month with an upfront cost of £149. For this you get:

  • 2GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • 24 month contract

This deal is brought to you by Affordable Mobiles.

O2

O2 have some very attractive extras including rewards for PAYG customers, bolt-ons for flexibility, and access to O2 Priority which gives users access to exclusive discounts. Here are some of their best current deals:

OnePlus Nord (128GB)

This deal proves pretty definitively that the name value of your handset can really drive up your prices. This is an excellent mid-range handset at a fantastic monthly price. For no upfront cost and just £23 per month you get:

  • 20GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • 24 month contract

This deal comes from Buy Mobiles.

Google Pixel 5 (128GB OLED)

This deal combines a great handset with a manageable monthly payment, generous data allowance and no upfront costs. For £37 per month, you get:

  • 100GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • 24 month contract

This deal comes from Buy Mobiles.

Apple iPhone XR

This deal combines a great iPhone with affordable monthly payments and a very respectable data allowance. If you don’t mind paying £29.99 upfront, you can get all of the following for £26 per month:

  • 40GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • 24 month contract

This deal comes from Buy Mobiles.

Vodafone

Vodafone are one of the UK’s biggest networks, and have recently branched out into the broadband and digital entertainment market. As such, some plans will give you a year’s worth of access to Spotify Premium, Now TV or Sky Sports.
Here are some of their best deals on the market right now:

Samsung Galaxy S21 (32GB)

This is a really good deal on a great handset with low monthly costs and no upfront payment. There’s even a free Amazon Fire 7 tablet thrown in!
For £21 per month you get:

  • 50GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • 24 month contract

This deal comes from Mobiles.co.uk

Google Pixel 4a OLED

Another very affordable deal with no upfront payment on a very respectable mid-range handset with a stunning OLED screen. For just £20 per month you get:

  • 30GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • 24 month contract

This deal comes from Mobiles.co.uk

Apple iPhone 11

If you’re part of the “iPhone or nothing” crowd, this is a very reasonable deal on the iPhone 11. For £49 upfront and £31 per month you get:

  • 25GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • 24 month contract

This deal comes from Carphone Warehouse.

3

3 claims to be the UK’s fastest 5G network and is known for its range of affordable tariffs with generous data allowances. Let’s take a look at a few of their best deals:

Apple iPhone 12 mini

A small and lightweight handset that’s heavy on functionality, this comes with a low upfront cost of £49.99 and £31 per month. For this you get:

  • 100GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • 24 month contract

This deal comes from Mobile Phones Direct.

Apple iPhone XR

Another great iPhone deal with a generous data plan and manageable upfront cost of £49.99. For £36 per month you get:

  • 100GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • 24 month contract

This deal comes from Fonehouse.

Huawei P30 Pro

A feature-rich handset with a dazzling OLED display, the Huawei Pro is a great handset available at a low monthly price with no upfront costs. For £32 per month you get:

  • 100GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • 24 month contract

This deal comes from Chitter Chatter.

What is the best mobile deal in UK?

As we can see, there are lots of great deals on contract phones. But these are by no means the only great mobile phone deals in the UK. Here we’ll look at some of the best deals for a range of contracts.

What is the cheapest mobile phone plan?

When it comes to contract phones, the more you pay upfront, the less you pay monthly. This can save you money on interest. However, if you’d rather not pay anything upfront, here are 5 of the best monthly deals:

  • Vodafone Google Pixel 4a OLED (£20 per month)
  • Vodafone Samsung Galaxy S21 (£21 per month)
  • O2 One Plus Nord (£23 per month)
  • EE Apple iPhone XR (£29 per month)
  • 3 Huawei P30 Pro (£32 per month)

How long is a mobile phone contract?

Most mobile phone contracts today are 24 months long. This allows customers to comfortably manage monthly costs on the handsets they want. However, you may be able to get a shorter contract (thereby saving you money on interest). If you’re adamant that you want the latest handset, however, you’re likely to find yourself on a longer 36 month plan, especially if you’re averse to upfront costs.

What is the best Pay As You Go mobile phone deal?

A Pay As You Go mobile phone deal is a good option for those who’d rather not be tied to a contract. You won’t get the same generous data, minute and text allowances that you’ll typically get from a SIM-only deal, and of course you’ll have to either use your existing handset or buy one SIM-Free.
The cheapest PAYG deal is EE’s 1p mobile which does exactly what it says on the tin. Calls are 1p per minute, texts cost 1p and data is charged at 1p per Mb. However, you’ll be disconnected if you don’t top up at least £10 every 4 months.
Other cheap deals include:

  • Asda Mobile (4p per minute / 4p texts / 4p per Mb of data)
  • 3 (10p per minute / 10p texts / 5p per Mb of data)
  • Lebara (25p per minute / 19p texts / 9p per Mb of data).

How long does Pay As You Go last?

As long as you want it to. Because you’re not tied to a contract, you can keep topping up as and when you like. Essentially, a Pay As You Go SIM will last as long as your handset, or until you decide to upgrade.

What is the best SIM-Free deal?

A SIM-Free deal is where you buy the phone without a SIM card, so you’re only paying for the handset itself. Although you’ll have to pay for the handset upfront, at least you know you’re not wasting money on interest.
Some of the best current SIM-Free deals include:

  • Xiaomi Poco X3- £169 (Mi.com)
  • Motorola Edge- £400 (Motorola)
  • Google Pixel 4XL- £543 (Argos)
  • Samsung Galaxy S20- £719 (Amazon)
  • Apple iPhone 12- £724 (Amazon)

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Is it better to pay monthly contract or pay SIM free?

A SIM-only or Pay As You Go mobile deal can save you money if you already have a handset. But if your handset is no longer operational, or you just really want to upgrade, you’re left with two choices. Do you get a pay monthly contract or do you buy a phone SIM free?
Neither is inherently the right or wrong choice, but it’s important to understand your options.

Pay monthly pros and cons

A pay monthly mobile phone deal allows you to get a high-spec handset with little or no upfront cost. The more you can afford to pay monthly, the less you’ll have to pay upfront. Keep in mind, however, that you will be charged interest on your handset. When your contract has expired, your handset is yours to keep, or upgrade as you see fit. Keep in mind that you will likely need to pass a credit check when getting a pay monthly contract.
We’ve compiled the pros and cons in the table below:


Pay Monthly Pros Pro Monthly Cons
Affordable access to the latest handsets Payments are subject to interest
Usually comes with unlimited minutes and texts You will pay more over time
Generous data allowances It can be hard to get off the upgrade bandwagon
Flexible range of tariffs from a number of networks Monthly bills can be high if you insist on the latest handset
If you're flexible on the handset you want, you can find a great deal at a great price You'll be on a longer contract and pay more interest if you want to keep up with the latest handsets


SIM free pros and cons

When you buy a new phone SIM free, you know that it’s yours from the day you take it home, and that you’re not tied into a contract. However, the cost may be prohibitive for some. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of SIM free mobile phone deals…


SIM Free Pros SIM Free Cons
You own the phone outright & can do whatever you like with it Upfront costs may be prohibitive, especially for the latest handsets.
The phone is "unlocked" so you can choose any network you like, and change as often as you want Paying outright on a credit card may cost more in interest than financing.
You can choose a SIM-only or PAYG deal to suit your needs and usage
Your monthly bills will be lower because you're not paying to finance your handset
When travelling overseas you can simply put a local SIM card into your phone to save money


Pay monthly contract vs SIM free

If you can afford to buy a SIM free phone outright, this is definitely the most cost-effective option in the long run, and will give you the flexibility to switch tariffs and network whenever you like. You can also use multiple SIMs for different nations if you need to travel internationally often. However, not everyone can afford to do this.

Do I own my mobile phone after my contract?

Yes. Your contract includes network charges along with the cost of financing your phone. As soon as your contract is finished, the handset is yours.

Comparing mobile phone deals

There are so many mobile phone deals on the market that choosing the right one for you can be really bamboozling. If you have your heart set on a specific handset, you may have to make some sacrifices in terms of tariff, costs and contract length. However, if you have an open mind you’ll be able to find a great deal. Just make sure you keep the following in mind…

Monthly and upfront cost

You’ll need to find a balancing act between what you can afford to pay upfront and what you can afford to pay monthly. As tempting as it may be to kick the proverbial can down the road, you don’t know what your finances will look like in 2 or 3 years time.

Contract length

If you want that shiny new handset that just came out, you’ll likely have to stay on a longer contract to make it viable. And that inevitably means paying more in interest.

Data, texts and minutes

Most tariffs today offer unlimited minutes and texts. But your data allowance can be another key factor. While you certainly don’t want to find yourself with too little data, it’s easy to overestimate how much you’ll really need. Most of us rarely need more than 5 GB of data per month.
And if you can find a deal that will allow you to rollover unused data from the previous month, so much the better!

New contract deals vs upgrades

Once your contract expires, if you want a new handset or to change your tariff, you may be wondering whether it’s best to upgrade or start a new contract from scratch.
Upgrading may limit you to the same network, but there are no credit checks, and you may be able to get a great deal if you can be flexible with the kind of handset you want.
However, a brand new contract will give you more options in terms of both tariffs and handsets, but you will likely have to pass a new credit check.

What happens if I’m rejected for a phone contract?

If you’re rejected for a phone contract, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to miss out on the handset of your dreams. Try offering to pay a deposit. This will offset the retailer / network’s risk and allow you a little more negotiating power.
Alternatively you could try:

  • Getting a SIM-only deal with your existing contract
  • Switching to a Pay As You Go SIM
  • Getting a “bad credit” contract with a specialist provider
  • Taking steps to improve your credit like paying off credit cards or becoming an authorised user on someone else’s credit card.

Person opens the box of a brand new mobile phone

What phone contract is best for me?

As we’ve seen there are lots of different phone contracts out there. In order to choose the right one for your, you need to be honest with yourself about your needs. Do you really need the latest handset? Can you realistically afford to pay the upfront and monthly costs if you get it? Do you really need to keep upgrading every 2-3 years, or will your current handset be perfectly adequate for a few years more?

Choosing the right mobile phone deal

To help you choose the right mobile deal, we’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of each…

Contract


Pros Cons
Get a brand new phone with little or no upfront cost Payments are subject to interest
A wide range of tariffs and plans to choose from You can find yourself perpetually on the upgrade bandwagon
You keep your phone when you've paid your contract You need to pass a credit check for new contracts


SIM free


Pros Cons
You own the handset outright Cost prohibitive for many (especially for newer models)
Costs less in the long run with no interest payments
Total freedom to choose network and tariff


SIM-only


Pros Cons
Generous minutes, text and data allowances at a low monthly cost No finance available on handsets
Shorter and more flexible contracts You'll need to stick with your existing phone or buy a new one outright
Many networks also throw in attractive add-ons Less flexibility than with Pay As You Go

Pay As You Go

Pros Cons
No contract No finance available on handsets
Free to switch whenever you like You'll need to stick with your existing phone or buy a new one outright
The ability to control your spending and when you top up May be more expensive than a SIM-only deal for those who use a lot of minutes or data


Is it better to pay upfront or monthly for a phone?

Generally speaking, it’s better to pay upfront. You only pay for the phone itself and don’t pay a penny on interest. However, this option may not be viable for everyone. Especially those who have to have the latest model handsets.

Let Broadband Plans find the perfect mobile phone deal for you!

Still not sure what the right mobile phone deal is for your needs? The Broadband Plans team are here to help! We take the time to get to know your needs before helping you choose the ultimate mobile phone deal for your needs and budget.
Want to know more?
Give us a call today on 0330 054 0020!

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0330 054 0020

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FAQ

How long does a contract mobile phone deal last?

Most mobile phone contracts last for 24 months. After this, the phone is yours to keep. Some newer handsets, however, may require a 36 month contract.

Do I have to pay an upfront cost for a contract phone?

Not always. However, some handsets and tariffs will require an upfront payment. The more you can pay upfront, the less you’ll pay each month, and the less you will potentially pay in interest.

Do you have to turn in your old phone when you get an upgrade?

You don’t have to. However, your provider will buy the phone back from you and this will save you money on your tariff or save you from paying any upfront costs. So it’s probably in your best interests to turn in your old phone, even if it’s not in the best shape.

Do I need a credit check for a mobile contract?

Most of the time, yes. You will need to pass a credit for the finance involved in a mobile phone contract. If you fail a credit check, you may be able to secure the phone you want by offering to pay a deposit. You generally don’t need to pass a credit check when upgrading.

Do I own my mobile phone after my contract?

Yes. Your monthly tariffs are based on your network costs, minutes, texts and data as well as the cost of financing your handset. When your contract is over, the handset is paid off and it is yours to keep.

Is EE better than O2?

It depends what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for fast internet, EE wins hands down. EE has much broader 5G coverage and its 4G speeds are over twice as fast as O2’s at an average of 32.5Mbps. However, O2 offers better customer incentives and rewards such as O2 Priority.

 

Updated on 20 Jul, 2021

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Alex

Consumer Broadband Expert