The best phone contract deals get you a shiny new smartphone, buckets of data and often an attention-grabbing freebie for an affordable monthly cost. But, with all of the major mobile providers competing for your custom, finding the best phone contract deal for you can be daunting. That’s where we come in.
We’ve scoured the web to bring you the best offers on the market to suit any budget. Below, you’ll find a short buyer’s guide that outlines the key considerations such as contract length, upfront costs, 5G coverage and so on, followed by the very best phone contract deals on the market.
We’ve concentrated on the devices that we think are most worthy of your hard-earned dosh and will be regularly updating the list to reflect new releases or discounts. To make things simpler, we’ve also separated the Apple and Android savings.
Read on to bag yourself a brilliant bargain.
How to find the best phone contract deal for you
There’s a lot to bear in mind when signing up for a new pay-monthly contract and the flood of information can be bewildering. To help, we’ve sorted the most important factors into bite-size chunks.
How long should the contract be?
Phone contracts usually last 24 months, but 12 and 36-month contracts are also available. The benefit of a longer plan is that you’ll pay less per month, but you’re tied in for a longer time. Similarly, a year-long contract will be pricier, but you’ll be free to switch sooner.
As you’ll see from our list below, the very best phone contract deals tend to last for 24 months and this is the contract length we’d recommend for most users.
How much data do you need?
Nowadays, you can get a plan from 500MB all the way up to unlimited data, with lots of increments between. If you love to stream, browse or game on your phone, we’d suggest looking at a 100GB, 200GB or unlimited deal for peace of mind.
If, on the other hand, you only really use your handset for occasional videos, Google Maps and scrolling through social media, you might be able to get by with, say, a 10GB or 25GB contract. Anything less than this and you’ll likely incur extra fees.
Do you live in a 5G area?
5G delivers screamingly-fast speeds across large sections of the UK, particularly if you sign up for a Three or EE deal. To check if you’ll be able to take advantage of 5G, go to the mobile network’s dedicated coverage checker, where you’ll be able to enter your postcode.
READ NEXT: The best mobile networks in the UK
How much should you pay upfront?
Certain phone contract deals look incredible – until you see how much you’ll have to pay upfront. This one-off fee largely depends on the age of the handset and who you’re buying from.
As a rule of thumb, the newer the smartphone, the higher the upfront cost. This isn’t always the case, though, and mobile networks often waive the cost as part of a limited-time deal. Meanwhile, third-party retailers such as Affordable Mobiles are a lot likelier to forgo an upfront fee.
Should you buy from a third-party retailer?
Speaking of which, some of the best phone contract deals come courtesy of third-party retailers such as Affordable Mobiles and Mobiles.co.uk. These sites let you pick the phone, amount of storage, length of contract and, importantly, the mobile network, giving you greater flexibility.
The main caveat is that you’ll be missing out on the fantastic freebies that mobile networks frequently throw in when you buy from them directly. In recent months, we’ve seen laptops, smart speakers, smartwatches and even games consoles bundled with a phone for no extra cost.
The best phone contract deals: Apple iPhone
Here’s an outstanding, no-nonsense offer on Apple’s cheapest handset, the updated iPhone SE 3. We’re fans of the phone’s neat, pocket-friendly design, excellent performance, decent camera and 5G compatibility.
With this deal via Affordable Mobiles, you’re getting the 64GB version of the iPhone SE 3 with 100GB of Three data for an eye-boggling £24/mth on a two-year contract, with just £19 to pay upfront. That’s a bonkers bargain for such a new handset.
Read our full iPhone SE 3 review for more details
Contract length: 24 months; Mobile network: Three; Upfront cost: £19; Lifetime cost: £595
The smallest, and most affordable, member of the iPhone 13 family impressed us with its boosted storage (the base model now comes with 128GB, rather than 64GB), tweaked cameras and longer battery life.
This deal, again from Affordable Mobiles, gets you the 128GB version of the iPhone 13 mini with 100GB of Three data for £37/mth, with nothing to pay upfront. That’s a stonking offer.
Read our full iPhone 13 mini review for more details
Contract length: 24 months; Mobile network: Three; Upfront cost: £0; Lifetime cost: £888
It’s fair to say that the standard iPhone 13 didn’t blow us away as an upgrade, but it’s nonetheless a stellar smartphone. We particularly liked its more generous storage, camera tweaks and more vivid display.
When you combine it with unlimited Three data for £52/mth and a free £200 prepaid Mastercard if you’re new to the mobile network, you’ve got an unmissable deal.
Read our full iPhone 13 review for more details
Contract length: 24 months; Mobile network: Three; Upfront cost: £50; Lifetime cost: £1,298
The iPhone 13 Pro is yet another barnstorming phone from Apple, with a sumptuous OLED display with a refresh rate of 120Hz, a respectable battery life and a brilliant set of cameras.
This particular deal from Mobiles.co.uk nabs you the 128GB version of the phone with a massive 250GB of Vodafone data for an ultra-competitive £53/mth after cashback, with nothing to pay upfront.
Read our full iPhone 13 Pro review for more details
Contract length: 24 months; Mobile network: Vodafone; Upfront cost: £0; Lifetime cost: £1,272
Like the rest of the iPhone 13 lineup, the focus is mainly on useful, iterative improvements with the iPhone 13 Pro Max. That said, they all add up to an excellent smartphone that boasts more battery stamina, a phenomenal camera array and a silky 120Hz screen.
With this magnificent Mobile.co.uk deal, you’re being treated to 250GB of Vodafone data for a jaw-dropping £51/mth, with an upfront fee of £99.
Read our full iPhone 13 Pro Max review for more details
Contract length: 24 months; Mobile network: Vodafone; Upfront cost: £99; Lifetime cost: £1,323
The best phone contract deals: Android
The Nokia 1.4 is our pick of the ultra-budget smartphones, serving up a big battery life increase on its predecessor and a stylish design. Although not without faults (such as micro-USB charging and no NFC), it’s still ludicrously good value.
And it becomes even more so when paired with cheap data via this Fonehouse deal. You’re getting the 16GB Nokia 1.4 with 16GB of data for a mere £15/mth, rather than the normal £21/mth. There’s no upfront fee and you’ll automatically get the £155 saving after 90 days.
Read our full Nokia 1.4 review for more details
Contract length: 24 months; Mobile network: Vodafone; Upfront cost: £0; Lifetime cost: £360
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 is our favourite budget smartphone and it’s easy to see why: it boasts an excellent screen and stylish design for well under £200.
So why not pair it with an equally head-turning data offer from iD Mobile? This deal gets you the 128GB version of the handset with 25GB of data for just £18/mth on a two-year plan. Or you could step up to 50GB for £19/mth or unlimited data for £21/mth. Best of all, there’s nothing to pay upfront with any of the plans.
Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 review for more details
Contract length: 24 months; Mobile network: iD Mobile; Upfront cost: £0; Lifetime cost: £432
It’s safe to say that we were impressed with the Google Pixel 6 when we first got our hands on it, awarding it five stars and a Best Buy award. This “force to be reckoned with”, as we described it, delivers simply incredible cameras and punchy performance for a rival-undercutting price.
Once again, iD Mobile will help you make the most of this exceptional handset by serving up the 128GB model with unlimited data for just £33/mth on a two-year plan, with nothing to pay upfront.
Read our full Google Pixel 6 review for more details
Contract length: 24 months; Mobile network: iD Mobile; Upfront cost: £0; Lifetime cost: £792
The OnePlus 10 Pro is a phenomenal phone with one flaw: no IP rating for dust or water ingress. If you can look past that, however, you’ll get a beautifully designed handset with camera tech from Hasselblad and fistfuls of other flagship features.
This doozy of a deal comes courtesy of Affordable Mobiles: pick up the 128GB version of our favourite phone for value with 100GB of Three 5G data for £45/mth, with £40 upfront. What’s not to like?
Read our full OnePlus 10 Pro review for more details
Contract length: 24 months; Mobile network: Three; Upfront cost: £55; Lifetime cost: £1,135
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a spectacular smartphone from its crisp, vivid display to the handy S Pen and cracking cameras. Our only major complaint was with the high asking price, but this deal from Three makes that a moot point.
If you sign up for a 24-month contract, you’ll the 128GB model with 100GB of data for £54/mth, as well as six free months of the streaming service Disney+. Phew!
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review for more details
Contract length: 24 months; Mobile network: Three; Upfront cost: £30; Lifetime cost: £1,326
6. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 (128GB) with unlimited data for £55/mth PLUS Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 earphones worth £139
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is our favourite folding phone, combining durability with scintillating performance and value for money. No wonder we gave it five stars and a coveted Best Buy award in our review.
Three is offering a golden opportunity to pick up the 128GB version with unlimited 5G data for £55/mth on a two-year contract, with £30 to pay upfront. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll get a pair of the active noise cancellation-toting Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 earbuds worth £139.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 review for more details
Contract length: 24 months; Mobile network: Three; Upfront cost: £30; Lifetime cost: £1,350