There was a time when the easiest way to buy cellphones was to just come into town and buy it in a store. Now you are struck by the massive choice of stores both on the street and with a plethora of websites, overnight deliveries and online discounts – how we are missing the good old days!
But while all of this competition has given you a lot of choice when it comes to buying your phones, that means it’s hard to know where to go now. Which websites are legitimate? Who offers the best prices? And where can I buy the cheapest iPhones?
As much as we would like to say that it’s as simple as “go here for that” or “this is the place for the cheapest phones” … it doesn’t quite work like that. But what we can tell you is which sites are the best and which are each of their USPs.
We’ve created a full list of websites worth checking out below with a little more information on what each one does best. Then you can just choose a retailer and buy your dream phone or contract.
The best websites to buy phone contracts in the UK:
When most people think of phone retailers in the UK, Carphone Warehouse will be the first to think. It sells the widest range of handsets on most UK networks and frequently offers special promotions. However, this is rarely the cheapest option.
A brand belonging to the Carphone Warehouse family, Mobiles.co.uk often has some of the cheapest prices. It will be a solid place to look for anyone trying to bring a handset for a lower price.
We are combining these two websites because they are extremely similar. They both belong to the same company and both offer similar telephone contracts. Where they really tend to thrive is in their ability to offer Big Data plans at surprisingly affordable prices.
When you go directly to a network, prices tend to go up. Three on the other hand often has their best prices directly on their website. However, Three saves much of its best deals for affiliate brands, which means you’ll have to go through a link. Take a look at our guide to the best mobile phone deals to see what we mean.
This is the network that most people will choose, but going directly to the site will rarely guarantee you the best price. Instead, browse the websites above to compare EE options. However, the network can sometimes withdraw strong promotions, just be sure to use it with other choices when buying a new phone.
Fonehouse is another third-party retailer and tends to offer many free phone plans in advance, deals on the latest handsets, and sometimes budget prices on older handsets. It often offers some of the best prices on the market.
Where Virgin is at the best price with phones, it’s on its 36-month contracts. If you don’t mind extending possession of your phone for another year, it could get you one of the cheapest prices on a high-end handset and sometimes even a free gift.
Similar to Virgin, Sky thrives in the 36-month contract area. Come back to 24 months and you will find that the prices increase quite strongly
Direct mobile phones:
Like many third-party retailers, Mobile Phones Direct offers a number of more affordable network contracts. Where it shines best is in its unlimited data phone contracts and the inclusion of cashback or free gifts.
Phones without a SIM card: the best retailers to cross
Many of the retailers we mentioned above also offer phones without a SIM card, but the best prices tend to come from big brands:
Come on … everyone knows about Amazon. The sales industry giant frequently offers great deals on phones without a SIM card. Wait until Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday and you can take advantage of a greatly reduced price.
Like the rest of the SIM-less options here, Argos will often find themselves offering the lowest prices on the best handsets. But where Argos really shines is in its same day delivery and click and collect the options.
It often has the best prices, like all these other partners without a SIM card, but it also offers a purchase system now, pay later which will be attractive to many. Proceed with caution, because if you don’t pay on time, you’ll earn interest.
All of these options without a SIM card rotate to consistently offer higher prices, which means that none really stands out from the price. However, for John Lewis, the inclusion of a two-year warranty on most phones is a welcome addition.
Refurbished phones: who offers the best second hand?
When it comes to renovating, there are two options: websites that fair get refurbished and the above retailers who also offer refurbished prices. Websites like Envirofone and Music Magpie are specially designed to offer refurbished phones, giving different prices depending on quality, network, etc.
General retailers, such as those mentioned above, also offer refurbished phones. They are much more locked in nature. They will all be of A quality, backed by guarantees and generally under contract.
All in all, if you are planning to renovate, it is best to browse a number of sites in both categories to find the best price and specifications for you.
What is the difference between networks and retailers?
You will notice that in the list of contracts above there were both network sites – EE, Three, Vodafone and O2 – as well as third party retailers – Carphone, Mobiles.co.uk etc.
While it can be reassuring to buy directly from a network, it is generally much more expensive. Excluding Three, we rarely see any of the networks offering higher prices and you will find that you are much better off going through a third party site mentioned above.
Where is the best place to buy iPhones?
Surprisingly, the best website to get a new iPhone is do not directly via Apple. Going directly to the original site will greet you with some of the highest prices on the market, so use the sites above instead.
For contracts, we tend to see the best deals from Three, Mobiles.co.uk, Affordable Mobiles and Fonehouse. On SIM-free, prices tend to be the same on most handsets.
If you go to Amazon, you can often find a reputable third-party retailer offering discounted iPhone prices, be sure to find one with a high rating that has been well reviewed.