Best Place To Buy An iPhone 5s: UK Mobile Networks & Tariffs Compared

June 8th, 2014

The iPhone 5s is available to buy from five UK networks: EE, O2, Tesco, Three and Vodafone. We compare prices on each of the five networks to find the UK’s cheapest deal for the iPhone 5s.

iPhone 5SApple’s iPhone 5s is currently the most popular smartphone available in the UK. The iPhone 5s has a thin and lightweight design and contains the latest hardware from Apple including a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, a 64-bit A7 processor and an 8 megapixel Apple iSight camera.

In the UK, the iPhone 5s is currently available to buy from five different networks. Combined, there’s nearly a hundred tariff options across the five networks with varying amounts of minutes, texts and data. In this article, we’ve compared the price of the iPhone across the UK’s major networks. We’ll highlight the UK’s cheapest deals, the tariffs to go for and the tariffs to avoid.

Cheapest Deals: At A Glance

At present, the iPhone 5s is available to buy from five UK networks: EE, O2, Tesco Mobile, Three and Vodafone.

At a glance, here’s the cheapest tariff on each of the five networks:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
Tesco75050001GB£0.00
upfront
£34.00
per month
£816.00
Three600Unlimited2GB£29.00
upfront
£33.00
per month
£821.00
EE1,000Unlimited1GB£349.99
upfront
£19.99
per month
£829.75
O2UnlimitedUnlimited2GB£49.99
upfront
£38.00
per month
£961.99
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£99.00
upfront
£37.00
per month
£987.00

The cheapest available tariffs for the 16GB iPhone 5s. All tariffs are 24 months in length and include at least 1GB of data (in 2014 we wouldn’t recommend choosing a tariff with less than 1GB of data). The total cost is how much you’d pay over the 24 month period. It’s calculated from: total cost = upfront cost + (24 x monthly cost). The monthly line rental may increase in line with inflation.

Our Recommended Network: Three

ThreeThree is our recommended network for buying the iPhone 5s. For £35/month plus £19.66 upfront, you’ll get 600 minutes, unlimited texting and 2GB of 4G internet. You also get unlimited free calls to 0800 numbers and access to the Feel At Home offer (no extra charges for using your iPhone abroad in 11 other countries such as the USA, Italy and Australia). The total cost of ownership is £859.66 over 24 months.

According to figures published by EE, the average smartphone user consumes 1.4GB of data every month. It’s partly for this reason we recommend Three’s tariff with 2GB of data included. Whilst cheaper deals are available on EE and Tesco, they only include limited amounts of data.

If you normally talk more than you browse, an alternative option gives you unlimited calls and 1GB of internet at the exact same price. For heavy downloaders, all-you-can-eat data is available on the tariff for £3/month extra (£38/month plus £19.66 upfront).

View More Details On The Recommended Tariff »

To check Three’s coverage for your area, please use the coverage checker on their website. If you’re switching to Three, you may also find it helpful to consult our guide on transferring your phone number to Three.

Recommended Alternatives

16GB iPhone 5s: Full Tariff Listing

The following table shows all available tariffs for the iPhone 5s (16GB version):

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
EE500Unlimited500MB£419.99
upfront
£14.99
per month
£779.75
Tesco75050001GB£0.00
upfront
£34.00
per month
£816.00
EE500Unlimited500MB£339.99
upfront
£19.99
per month
£819.75
Three600Unlimited2GB£29.00
upfront
£33.00
per month
£821.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£29.00
upfront
£33.00
per month
£821.00
EE1,000Unlimited1GB£349.99
upfront
£19.99
per month
£829.75
Vodafone100Unlimited100MB£279.00
upfront
£25.00
per month
£879.00
EE500Unlimited500MB£279.99
upfront
£24.99
per month
£879.75
EE1,000Unlimited1GB£289.99
upfront
£24.99
per month
£889.75
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£9.00
upfront
£37.00
per month
£897.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£299.99
upfront
£24.99
per month
£899.75
Tesco2,00050002GB£0.00
upfront
£37.50
per month
£900.00
EE1,000Unlimited2GB£349.99
upfront
£22.99
per month
£901.75
Three600UnlimitedUnlimited£9.00
upfront
£38.00
per month
£921.00
Vodafone300Unlimited250MB£229.00
upfront
£29.00
per month
£925.00
Tesco3,00050004GB£0.00
upfront
£39.50
per month
£948.00
Vodafone600Unlimited500MB£169.00
upfront
£33.00
per month
£961.00
EE1,000Unlimited2GB£289.99
upfront
£27.99
per month
£961.75
O2UnlimitedUnlimited2GB£49.99
upfront
£38.00
per month
£961.99
EEUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£299.99
upfront
£27.99
per month
£971.75
EE500Unlimited500MB£229.99
upfront
£30.99
per month
£973.75
EE1,000Unlimited1GB£239.99
upfront
£30.99
per month
£983.75
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£0.00
upfront
£41.00
per month
£984.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£99.00
upfront
£37.00
per month
£987.00
EE500Unlimited500MB£9.99
upfront
£40.99
per month
£993.75
EE500Unlimited500MB£129.99
upfront
£35.99
per month
£993.75
EEUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£249.99
upfront
£30.99
per month
£993.75
EE1,000Unlimited1GB£139.99
upfront
£35.99
per month
£1,003.75
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£0.00
upfront
£42.00
per month
£1,008.00
EE1,000Unlimited1GB£29.99
upfront
£40.99
per month
£1,013.75
EEUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£149.99
upfront
£35.99
per month
£1,013.75
EEUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£39.99
upfront
£40.99
per month
£1,023.75
O2UnlimitedUnlimited2GB£0.00
upfront
£43.00
per month
£1,032.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited2GB£600.00
upfront
£18.00
per month
£1,032.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£49.99
upfront
£40.99
per month
£1,033.75
EEUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£299.99
upfront
£30.99
per month
£1,043.75
EE1,000Unlimited2GB£239.99
upfront
£33.99
per month
£1,055.75
EEUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£199.99
upfront
£35.99
per month
£1,063.75
EEUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£9.99
upfront
£43.99
per month
£1,065.75
EEUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£249.99
upfront
£33.99
per month
£1,065.75
Tesco3,00050006GB£0.00
upfront
£44.50
per month
£1,068.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited5GB£39.99
upfront
£43.00
per month
£1,071.99
EE1,000Unlimited2GB£139.99
upfront
£38.99
per month
£1,075.75
EEUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£149.99
upfront
£38.99
per month
£1,085.75
EEUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£39.99
upfront
£43.99
per month
£1,095.75
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£99.00
upfront
£42.00
per month
£1,107.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£9.99
upfront
£45.99
per month
£1,113.75
EEUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£299.99
upfront
£33.99
per month
£1,115.75
EEUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£69.99
upfront
£43.99
per month
£1,125.75
Tesco3,00050008GB£0.00
upfront
£47.00
per month
£1,128.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£0.00
upfront
£47.00
per month
£1,128.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£0.00
upfront
£47.00
per month
£1,128.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£199.99
upfront
£38.99
per month
£1,135.75
O2UnlimitedUnlimited5GB£0.00
upfront
£48.00
per month
£1,152.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited5GB£600.00
upfront
£23.00
per month
£1,152.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£229.99
upfront
£38.99
per month
£1,165.75
O2UnlimitedUnlimited8GB£19.99
upfront
£48.00
per month
£1,171.99
EEUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£9.99
upfront
£48.99
per month
£1,185.75
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited9GB£0.00
upfront
£52.00
per month
£1,248.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited8GB£0.00
upfront
£53.00
per month
£1,272.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited8GB£600.00
upfront
£28.00
per month
£1,272.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited13GB£0.00
upfront
£57.00
per month
£1,368.00

All tariffs are 24 months in length. The total cost is how much you’d pay over the 24 months of the contract. It’s calculated from: total cost = upfront cost + (24 x monthly cost). The monthly line rental may increase in line with inflation.

If you’re changing network and want to keep your old phone number, see our guide to using a PAC Code.

Before ordering, you should consult an online coverage checker. Choose your network to see their online coverage map:

About the iPhone 5s

The iPhone 5s is Apple’s latest flagship smartphone. Released in September last year, it remains the UK’s best selling handset despite heavy competition from Android-based rivals such as the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8.

Key features of the iPhone 5s include its slim and lightweight design, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, the 64-bit Apple A7 processor and the 8 megapixel iSight camera with dual-LED flash. The iPhone 5s comes with version 7 of the iOS operating system. iWork and iLife are included on the handset and there’s over a million other apps available for download in the App Store.

The handset compares as follows to the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8:

Apple iPhone 5s
Samsung Galaxy S5
HTC One M8
Release Date2013, High End2014, High End2014, High End
SoftwareApple iOS 7.0Google Android 4.4Google Android 4.4
Display
Size4.0-inch display5.1-inch display5.0-inch display
TypeLCDOrganic LEDLCD
Resolution1136x640 pixels1920x1080 pixels1920x1080 pixels
Pixel Density326 pixels per inch432 pixels per inch441 pixels per inch
Camera
Rear Camera8 megapixels16 megapixels4 megapixels
LED Flash
Front Camera1.2 megapixels2.0 megapixels5.0 megapixels
Internals
Processor1.7GHz dual-core2.5GHz quad-core2.3GHz quad-core
Internal Storage16/32/64GB16/32GB16/32GB
External Storage Up to 128GB micro-SD Up to 128GB micro-SD
Handset Weight112g145g160g
Battery1,560mAh (10 hours talktime)2,800mAh (21 hours talktime)2,600mAh (20 hours talktime)
Mobile Networks
3G Networks Up to 42Mbit/s Up to 42Mbit/s Up to 42Mbit/s
4G Networks
SIM Card TypeNano SIMMicro SIMNano SIM

For more information on the iPhone 5s, please see the Apple website. For an in-depth review, we recommend reading either the Techradar, Anandtec or Verge reviews.

    

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About Ken

Ken Lo

I'm a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005 with the aim of demystifying mobile technology for the rest of us.

Before writing about mobile technology, my background was in space & atmospheric physics. I have also worked in software development. Nowadays, I help companies to explain mobile technology to their customers. Please check out my portfolio or get in touch for more information. I'm also on Google+.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 27 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. May said:

    Ken,

    I read an article today at the Standard in London that EE is not working so well as the marketing launch was, and on top of that, it is more expensive. Not sure if a monthly fee is worthwhile than pay as you go, if one have broadband at home already.

  2. Helen Ayres said:

    Hello Ken

    What news on the iphone 5 *64Gb* tariffs?

    Thanks!

    Helen

  3. Ken Lo
    Ken said:

    Full disclosure: Article updated with iPhone 5 tariff details.

  4. alice said:

    so how do i purchease the bolton is there a number i could rring? and when can i buybthe bolton

  5. ballswinger said:

    Just for reference, the cheapest deal offering a free iPhone 4S has now dropped to just £41 per month on a 24 month contract on Vodafone with the CPW group of websites which include e2save, onestopphoneshop and mobiles.co.uk.

    This is obviously for the 16Gb edition but is available for both the black and the white colour schemes, can be found here.

    However, for value for money it is worth holding out for Tesco Mobile to launch their iPhone 4S deals as they will be offering a 12 month contract that beats all competition for total expenditure over the contract period although you will obviously be paying an upfront cost for the phone.

  6. Omer said:

    This is very useful. Thank you very much for the efforts.

  7. Ken Lo
    Ken said:

    Just updated everything with 20% VAT. Also we have a brand new version of the comparison tool. Let me know what you guys think :)

  8. where_is_my_iphone said:

    I think Three just released theirs as well… http://www.three.co.uk/Phones/iPhone

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Thanks; you're right. Update coming ASAP

  9. channygold said:

    Could you do business tariffs as well? Would be handy to try and encourage the boss!

  10. channygold said:

    Ken – Three have announced their tariffs. Could you also add Total Cost of Ownership to the Table?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi there,

      Well noticed! Yep update coming soon… as well as info about the Total Cost of Ownership. For the time being, the calculator over at http://cow.neondragon.net/iphone/ has this information.

      Ken

    2. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Ok, Three's tariffs are now up! The comparison site will show you Total Cost of Ownership for each tariff, considering any excess call/text costs.

  11. ed said:

    needs updating!

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Thanks Ed – update for the iPhone 4G will be coming once all of the networks have released information on their tariffs.

    2. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Ok, iPhone 4 tariffs are here!

  12. Jenny said:

    I’m currently on O2 but am thinking of switching to Orange as I think they have better 3g coverage in my area. My only worry is with the ‘Fair Usage’ limit on internet use. Is 750MB a lot or am I going to find myself paying extra? I often watch youtube clips and stuff on my phone and receive a lot of emails.

  13. Ken Lo
    Ken said:

    Hi guys,

    Updated the prices to the post-VAT cut prices (at 17.5%) on both this page and the price comparison tool.

    It’s worth nothing that Orange and Tesco haven’t increased the price of their PAYG iPhone. They might be absorbing the VAT increase… which would mean they now beat O2 price-wise. Alternatively, they haven’t yet updated their price and you’ll be charged more at the checkout. Double-check before buying!

    Ken

  14. Ken Lo
    Ken said:

    Theres an update on the way for the VAT cuts. At the moment, Orange is still advertising pre-VAT cut prices so I have left O2 prices at their pre-VAT cut levels for ease of comparison. See the article log for details of page updates.

  15. gareth said:

    any news on a 3 uk iphone release date (if any)? im on the network and am very happy with it and its services, although am prepared to leave 3uk for an alternative network if 3uk dont provide the iphone 3gs. it is annoying it has not yet reached 3uk, seeing as it is on the 3 network in other countries, such as ireland and austrailia.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Gareth,

      Afraid not. Three have said they would like to stock an iPhone in 2010 but nothings been set in stone yet. We don’t know whether 3 are even in negotiations with Apple yet.

      Ken

  16. Ken Lo
    Ken said:

    Dear all,

    You can now use our comparison tool to automatically compare prices amongst 23 iPhone tariffs:
    http://cow.neondragon.net/iphone/

    The tool will calculate the total cost of ownership of the iPhone for each of the tariffs listed here and help you decide which one presents the best value for money.

    Regards

    Ken

  17. seb said:

    when I look at O2, Orange and Vodafone pricing it remind me the definition of the word Cartel more.

    cartel [(kahr-tel)]

    An association in which producers of a similar or identical product try to obtain a monopoly over the sale of the product.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_fixing

  18. Bob said:

    Ken on the Tesco £20 a month tariff after 12 months the unlimited download and internet ends and you have to start paying for the down loads, do you see this as a big disadvantage.

  19. Paintball Kolbudy said:

    I am trying to transform the prices to my country, well i must say it is much cheaper abroad. European Comission is trying to force the prices th the right track, this far 50% success.

  20. Ken Lo
    Ken said:

    Thanks David; I’ve amended the article. Also added info. about Orange’s fair usage policy.

  21. David said:

    I think you’ve missed one of the O2 contracts – having looked at their website, it looks as though they do have a £30 18-month contract, just not a 24-month one.

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