iPhone 5c, 5s: Where's the cheapest place to get them in the UK?

Summary:UPDATED: With separate pricing for 3G and 4G data, iPhone 5c and 5s buyers will have to sift through a lot of information to find which deal suits them best.

Vodafone, EE, Three and O2 are taking pre-orders from today for the 4G-compatible iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, but only Vodafone's and EE's LTE networks have LTE support from Apple.

O2

O2 is taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5c today, with upfront prices starting at £600 for both the 16GB and 32GB versions, while 4G tariffs are £5 per month higher than 3G tariffs on comparable plans.

O2 confirmed to ZDNet that the 16GB and 32GB iPhone 5c models will indeed cost the same, making the 32GB model better value on that network.

For customers that pay the full £600 for the iPhone 5c, O2 is offering a 1GB per month 3G data plan with unlimited calls and text over 24 months for £17 a month. The same 3G deal with an upfront cost of £29.99 comes with a bill of £37 a month, consisting of a £20 a month phone repayment plan and £17 for network services.

Meanwhile, a 5GB a month 4G plan with unlimited text and minutes costs £42 a month with an upfront cost of £99. O2 has also released pricing for the iPhone 5s, but will not be taking pre-orders until 20 September.

According to O2, the 16GB iPhone 5s on a two-year, 1GB 3G plan with unlimited minutes and texts will cost £37 a month with an upfront cost of £119.99. On a 5GB 4G plan with unlimited text and voice, the iPhone 5s will cost £47 a month with a £119.99 upfront cost.

O2 launched its LTE services in August, but Apple is yet to support its network, which currently operates in London, Leeds and Bradford . According to an O2 spokesman, the issue is expected to be resolved within weeks and to make up for the lack of support, it's offering a £5 discount on iPhone 5c 4G tariffs for one month. 

"iPhone 5s and 5c will connect to our 4G network over the coming weeks. This is based on when Apple say they can enable the iPhone 5s and 5c to pick up our 4G signal. Customers who buy iPhone 5s and 5c on 4G tariffs before 4G is enabled, will get £5 off their bill for one month. They'll still be able to use their enhanced data allowance on our 3G HSPDA network as normal," the spokesman told ZDNet.

The two LTE networks Apple's iPhone 5c currently supports are EE and Vodafone.

Vodafone

Vodafone's '4G ready' plans for the iPhone 5c will offer customers access to its 4G network once it's rolled out to their areas —  it's currently just available in London, Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham, and Sheffield.

Unlike O2, Vodafone has separate prices for the 16GB and 32GB models. The iPhone 5c 16GB model starts at £42 a month on a two-year '4G ready' 2GB per month data plan with an upfront cost of £19.

A 4GB a month data plan on a two year contract will cost £47 a month with no upfront cost, while the 8GB a month plan costs £52 a month with no upfront cost.

The the iPhone 5c 16GB with a 2GB monthly data allowance on its 3G network meanwhile will cost £42 a month but has no upfront cost for the phone.

Monthly tariffs for the 32GB iPhone 5c cost the same as the 16GB model, but carry higher upfront costs, which decline as data allowances rise. For example, the 32GB iPhone 5c on a 2G per month '4G ready' plan costs £42 per month over two years with an upfront fee of £129.

The same deal on a 4GB plan costs £42 a month with an upfront fee of £79, while the 8GB plan costs £52 a month with a £19 upfront fee.

For the 5s, Vodafone is offering both 3G and 4G packages. The cheapest 4G 24-month contact will see users pay a minimum of £47 a month for 6GB data with an upfront fee of £79 for the 16GB device, £149 for the 32GB and £229 for the 64GB, while the most expensive monthly tariff, at £57 for 12GB of data, brings an upfront fee of £19, £49 or £99 for the equivalent devices.

Twelve-month plans cost £5 per month extra for the same data allowances, and larger upfront device fees, which range from £149 to £379.

For 3G, plans range from £42 per month with 1GB of data to £52 with 4GB. With a £42 per month package, the 16GB will set you back £79, the 32GB £149 and the 64GB £229. For the £52, those numbers are £19, £49 and £99.

Twelve-month plans cost £47, £52 and £57 for 1GB, 2GB and 4GB of data, with upfront device fees of between £379 (the 64GB 5S on the £47 tariff) to £149 (the 16GB on the £57 plan).

EE

EE, the UK's first 4G nationwide network , offers a simpler pricing structure for the iPhone 5c. It has several payment options, but for the 16GB model, it's recommending the 1.5GB data allowance, which costs £36 a month with unlimited call and text with an upfront fee of £69.99. Its 10GB per month plan costs £46 with an upfront fee of £9.99.

EE is also charging a higher upfront fee for the 32GB iPhone 5c, and is recommending the 2GB data allowance and unlimited call and texts, which costs £41 a month with an upfront fee of £109.99. The 1GB allowance costs £31 a month and carries a £209.99 upfront fee for the phone, while the 10GB allowance costs £51 a month and has a £59.99 upfront cost.

EE's T-Mobile and Orange brands are also offering the iPhone 5c. T-Mobile is offering the iPhone 5c 16GB with unlimited data for £32 a month with a one-off payment of £89.99, while Orange is asking for £37 a month for 1GB of data and unlimited call and text with an upfront cost of £129.99.

Three

Finally, Three UK, is also taking orders for the iPhone 5c. Three plans to launch its LTE network in December and will not charge extra for 4G data once it arrives. The iPhone 5c 16GB model will cost £41 a month with an upfront cost of £49 for an unlimited data. The same deal for the 32GB model will cost £46 a month with an upfront fee of £49.

Further reading

Topics: iPhone, 4G, Apple, EU, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones, United Kingdom

About

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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