back to article iPhone 4 operator contracts compared

With Apple's iPhone 4 officially going on sale today, Reg Hardware thinks it's perfect time to compare network pre-pay tariffs to see how Orange, Vodafone et al match up. We've compiled the cheapest and most expensive deals each network has to offer into the following tables. 12-Month Contracts iPhone 4 Tariffs 18-Month …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Capped Wifi on Tesco iPhone 4?

    I hardly think Tesco would impose a 500MB fair usage policy for wifi use on its £45pm iPhone 4 contract, idiot!

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Capped Wifi on Tesco iPhone 4?

      We checked with Tesco and Tesco told us, yes, it does impose a 500MB limit.

  2. Jon Hulatt

    Wiener alert

    Surely pre-pay means PAYG- contracts are post-pay.

  3. Wasn't me

    Fair Usage 750Gb for Orange?

    I think you will struggle to use up all your free bits (pun intended).

  4. Jerome 0

    Total cost

    The Tesco 12 month deal looks like the best bargain. Total overall cost of £669, as opposed to about £800 or £900 for the other contracts. Only 12 months, but perfectly timed to get yourself an iPhone 5 next year, without having to buy yourself out of your contract like all the other chumps.

    Still, most people will be put off by the initial outlay, since it's much easier to stick your head in the sand over a huge monthly bill than a one-off payment. How about adding a "total cost" column to the table, so everyone can see how ripped off they're getting?

    1. It'sa Mea... Mario

      Yeah but no..

      Seeing as the total cost includes a varying amount of texts, minutes & wifi allowence - total overall cost for the phone is not quite as simple as you make out..

      1. Jerome 0

        But yeah

        The Tesco deal I was referring to has unlimited texts, unlimited wi-fi, 1GB data (the best of any of the deals) and 250 minutes (the best of any of the comparable deals). Obviously if you need more (or unlimited) minutes you need to pay considerably more.

        I was merely talking about the cheapest way to get your hands on the new iPhone, complete with a contract that would satisfy 90% of people's needs.

  5. D@v3
    Thumb Down

    The problem with three

    They may be offering (what seems like) a very good deal, and at that price for a 32gb, I'd be tempted to hit a 24 month contract.

    If it wasn't on 3.

    When my O2 contract ended, I jumped ship to 3, and had nothing but problems, fortunately, it was a 1month contract, so I jumped back as soon as I could.

    I can see in a couple of months, all these people that have been sucked in by the great deals from 3 are going to start causing havoc with their network, much the same as happened with O2 when the 3G came out.

    I was going to take a walk into town this afternoon to see if I could pick one up from o2, but after reading about the signal and screen problems, I might wait a bit.

  6. Matt D

    Fuller comparison by David Forster

    A chap called David Forster has compiled a pretty useful Google Docs sheet with pricing from O2, Orange, Voda and Tesco (sure he'll update it with 3 pricing in due course). It confirms that Tesco is cheapest and given they're the only people doing a 12 month contract, a rather nicer prospect. Shame they peer on O2's crummy 3G network...

  7. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Better layout ?

    It would have been nice if you'd managed to layout those comparision tables differently, so it would be easier to compare the deals across carriers.

    I know you have a house style/format, but occasionally you can break it for special reasons.

  8. Chad H.


    Just a suggestion for next time - Would have been nice to see a "total cost of contract" (ie months X tarrif + Handset cost) figure in these as well to aid comparison.

  9. Mabit
    Thumb Up

    I-Phone on 3

    I believe that 3's network will be able to take the I-Phone and its data usage very well, as all 3's mobiles have always allowed the internet and as the UK's only dedicated 3G network they are more than able to cope.

    Been with 3 for years with MBB and Phone(HTC Hero) never had a problem and they have just shy of 12000 masts for 3G I cant see them falling into the same situation as O2 as it was a 2G network with 3G stuck on.

    May not get the I-Phone 4G but may get a 3Gs from them at £25 a month and only £129, install the 4G software and I am not loosing out much except a front facing camera.

    This may finally make 3 a serious contender with the Big 4

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      3's network

      As 3's network is being combined with the 3G networks of Orange and T-mobile, why not take advantage of the cheaper prices?

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Also losing out on...

      You're also losing a much much better camera.

      HD video recording.

      Massively higher resolution screen.

      Gyroscope (useful for GPS applications to keep track of your heading when you go into tunnel).

      Faster CPU.

      Better battery life and capacity.

      Don't get me wrong, if I could find a 3GS for about £150-200 I'd get one. But when a 3GS is about £300-400 new you might as well pay £499 and get an unlocked 16GB model. The 3GS will only be supplied in an 8GB model soon.

  10. Adam Williamson 1

    Another suggestion

    Stopf buying into the carriers' 'fair usage policy' nonsense. Don't write 'unlimited' with an asterisk and stick the 'fair use policy' number under the table. Just put the number in the table as the limit. It ain't unlimited if there's a limit. Seems pretty obvious.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Gadget Show

      It's time for the gadget show to intervene with a campaign.

      After all, ISPs were saying 8MB broadband and people were only getting 1-2MB in many cases.

      Unlimited is a stupid word to use for a limited service. The marketing people are lying and I think the advertising standards people should intervene.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I used a 3GS (unlocked O2 Pay and Go) with 3.... I have nothing but praise for the firm, worked brilliantly. I can watch catchuptv whenever I want, tether my phone to netbook.

    Won't be going the iphone 4 route I don't think, I'll go the 3 bargain £15 a month rolling contract they have introduced.

  12. Paul Swindlehurst

    Has anyone checked these sums?

    The tesco 12 month, £35 (most expensive) plans look a lot more expensive than they actually are.

    16GB handset = £229

    32GB handset = £299

    12 month contract = 12 x £35 = £420

    So totals are 16GB = £649 and 32GB = £719, but they are in the table at £929 & £999 respectively.

    Not checked any others, but that one jumped out straight away, as tescos 12 month contracts look to be the best deals ATM.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I feel like a right idiot for asking this, but I take it that the Wi-Fi data caps are for using BT Openzone areas and are not telling you that you can only use 500Mb on your own home broadband.

    It must be, because there's very little uproar about this.

  14. Fandroid

    An alternative to the usual...

    Everybody should go check out the UK's biggest secret:

    They don't do contracts and are sim only but if you have your own phone, the sim only deals (for smartphone owners especially) are pretty compelling.

    If you buy one of their goodybags - essentially 30 day contracts - you get the following:

    £10 - 100 mins / unlimited txts / unlimited internet

    £15 - 300 mins / unlimited txts / unlimited internet

    £35 - unlimited calls / unlimited txts / unlimited internet

    Two points a) they are a MVNO, piggybacking on o2's network and b) unlimited REALLY DOES mean unlimited, no FUP in place.

    Unless you really need a subsidised phone - or you have a pathlogical hatred of o2's network - I don't see any downside to switching to giffgaff...

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