Apple iPhone 5c Price Comparison: UK Mobile Networks & Tariffs

September 26th, 2013

Looking to buy an iPhone 5c? Our price comparison guide shows the full cost of 98 tariffs from 7 UK mobile networks.

iPhone 5CApple’s mid-range smartphone, the iPhone 5c, has landed in the UK and is now available on seven mobile networks. The iPhone 5c maintains most of the specifications from the iPhone 5. You’ll get the same 4-inch Retina display, the same Apple A6 processor and the same 8 megapixel camera found on last year’s device. What’s different about the iPhone 5c is it’s brand new design: it uses plastic casing and is available in a choice of five different colours: green, blue, yellow, red and white. The iPhone 5c is also 4G-enabled and can be used on any of the UK’s 4G networks (a suitable 4G tariff is also required).

The iPhone 5c can be purchased on contract from one of the following networks: EE, O2, Orange, Tesco, Three, T-Mobile and Vodafone. In total, consumers in the UK have 98 tariffs to choose from of which 24 are compatible with 4G.

In this guide, we’ll compare all of the 98 tariffs available in the UK. We’ll show the full cost of each tariff over 24 months and discover how each tariff compares against its rivals. We’ll also highlight the best deals available on each mobile network. For those who want to buy an iPhone 5c without getting a contract, a SIM-free iPhone 5c costs £469 when bought directly from Apple.

Our Recommended iPhone 5c Tariffs

Our recommended price plans for the iPhone 5c are as follows:

  • Best Value Plan for Average Users.
    O2 Refresh: 600 minutes, unlimited texts, 750MB data (3G-only)
    £129.99 upfront cost, £27 monthly cost (£778 over 24 months)

    o2For the majority of users, we don’t think a 4G price plan is really worthwhile. Although 4G can offer faster download speeds, very few applications actually require those speeds. Furthermore, the costs are higher and coverage is limited when using 4G. This means for most people, 3G will remain a much better option. A typical user of the iPhone 5c will be best off on O2’s 3G Refresh plan. For £27/month plus £129.99 upfront, you’ll get 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 750MB of 3G data. The total cost of ownership is £778 over 24 months.

  • Best Value Plan with Unlimited Internet.
    The Full Monty 27: 500 minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited data (3G-0nly)
    £169.99 upfront cost, £27 monthly cost (£818 over 24 months)

    tmobileIf you’re a heavy data user, we recommend the T-Mobile Full Monty 27 Plan. You’ll get unlimited internet as well as 500 minutes and unlimited texts. The tariff costs £27/month plus £169.99 upfront. This gives a total cost of £818 over 24 months.

  • Best Value 4G-Ready Plan.
    EE 1GB plan: Unlimited calls, unlimited texts, 1GB internet (3G and 4G)
    £109.99 upfront cost, £31 monthly cost (£854 over 24 months)

    EE LogoFor a 4G-ready plan, EE currently has the most extensive coverage across the UK. They also have the lowest available prices. Most users should probably opt for the 1GB/month plan. For £31/month plus £109.99 upfront, you’ll get unlimited calls, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet. Over 24 months, the total cost of ownership comes to £854. For a 4G plan on rival networks, expect to pay substantially more. 4G plans start at £937 on Three, £988 on O2 and £1,027 on Vodafone.

For a full list of UK price plans, keep reading below as we’ve listed all of the tariffs on each UK mobile network. Price plans have been sorted in order of total cost of ownership (i.e. the total amount you’d pay over 24 months). The cheapest price plans have been listed first with more expensive plans being listed later on. To find the most appropriate price plan on each network, simply go through the list and stop at the first price plan which meets your needs.

EE: iPhone 5c Tariffs

EE LogoEE is the UK’s largest 4G mobile network. All of their iPhone 5c tariffs are 4G-enabled and EE provides 4G coverage in over 100 towns and cities. To check whether 4G is available where you live, enter your postcode on the EE coverage checker. 4G technology allows you to obtain download speeds of around 15Mbit/s. This is around twice the speeds found on the newest 3G networks.

All of EE’s price plans include unlimited calls and unlimited texts. You simply need to choose the amount of data you need. For 4G users, we recommend a plan with at least 1GB per month. The 1GB plan will cost £31/month with an upfront cost of £109.99. The total cost of ownership is £854 over 24 months.

Tariff Minutes Texts Data 4G Upfront Cost Monthly Cost Total Cost of Ownership
500MB plan Unlimited Unlimited 500MB £189.99 £26.00 £813.99
1GB plan Unlimited Unlimited 1GB £109.99 £31.00 £853.99
1.5GB plan Unlimited Unlimited 1.5GB £69.99 £36.00 £933.99
2GB plan Unlimited Unlimited 2GB £29.99 £41.00 £1,013.99
10GB plan Unlimited Unlimited 10GB £9.99 £46.00 £1,113.99
20GB plan Unlimited Unlimited 20GB £9.99 £51.00 £1,233.99

O2: iPhone 5c Tariffs

o2O2 is offering the iPhone 5c on their Refresh tariff. In total, you can choose between four 3G-only tariffs and three tariffs that are enabled for 4G. Each tariff has a choice of four purchase options: you can either choose to pay more upfront or you can pay more each month for the duration of your contract. To find the cheapest purchase option, compare the “total cost of ownership” figures in the table below. Depending on the purchase option selected, there can be a difference of up to £70.

If you choose a 4G tariff, you’ll need to live in London, Leeds or Bradford to benefit from the higher speeds. You’ll also receive access to the O2 Tracks application as an additional bonus.

For O2’s cheapest iPhone 5c tariff, opt for the 3G-only deal with 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 750MB of data. You’ll pay £27/month plus an upfront cost of £129.99. The monthly cost of £27 consists of £12 for airtime and £15 for the handset. Over 24 months, you’ll pay a total of £777.99.

Tariff Minutes Texts Data 4G Upfront Cost Monthly Cost Total Cost of Ownership
O2 Refresh (£12 airtime, £15 handset) 600 Unlimited 750MB £129.99 £27.00 £777.99
O2 Refresh (£12 airtime, £20 handset) 600 Unlimited 750MB £29.99 £32.00 £797.99
O2 Refresh (£12 airtime, £10 handset) 600 Unlimited 750MB £279.99 £22.00 £807.99
O2 Refresh (£12 airtime, £0 handset) 600 Unlimited 750MB £529.99 £12.00 £817.99
O2 Refresh (£17 airtime, £15 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 1GB £99.99 £32.00 £867.99
O2 Refresh (£17 airtime, £10 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 1GB £229.99 £27.00 £877.99
O2 Refresh (£17 airtime, £20 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 1GB £29.99 £37.00 £917.99
O2 Refresh (£17 airtime, £0 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 1GB £529.99 £17.00 £937.99
O2 4G Refresh (£22 airtime, £15 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 1GB £99.99 £37.00 £987.99
O2 Refresh (£22 airtime, £15 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 2GB £99.99 £37.00 £987.99
O2 4G Refresh (£22 airtime, £10 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 1GB £229.99 £32.00 £997.99
O2 Refresh (£22 airtime, £10 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 2GB £229.99 £32.00 £997.99
O2 4G Refresh (£22 airtime, £20 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 1GB £29.99 £42.00 £1,037.99
O2 Refresh (£22 airtime, £20 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 2GB £29.99 £42.00 £1,037.99
O2 4G Refresh (£22 airtime, £0 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 1GB £529.99 £22.00 £1,057.99
O2 Refresh (£22 airtime, £0 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 2GB £529.99 £22.00 £1,057.99
O2 4G Refresh (£27 airtime, £15 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 5GB £99.99 £42.00 £1,107.99
O2 Refresh (£27 airtime, £15 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 4GB £99.99 £42.00 £1,107.99
O2 4G Refresh (£27 airtime, £10 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 5GB £229.99 £37.00 £1,117.99
O2 Refresh (£27 airtime, £10 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 4GB £229.99 £37.00 £1,117.99
O2 4G Refresh (£27 airtime, £20 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 5GB £29.99 £47.00 £1,157.99
O2 Refresh (£27 airtime, £20 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 4GB £29.99 £47.00 £1,157.99
O2 4G Refresh (£27 airtime, £0 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 5GB £529.99 £27.00 £1,177.99
O2 Refresh (£27 airtime, £0 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 4GB £529.99 £27.00 £1,177.99
O2 4G Refresh (£32 airtime, £15 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 8GB £99.99 £47.00 £1,227.99
O2 4G Refresh (£32 airtime, £10 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 8GB £229.99 £42.00 £1,237.99
O2 4G Refresh (£32 airtime, £20 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 8GB £29.99 £52.00 £1,277.99
O2 4G Refresh (£32 airtime, £0 handset) Unlimited Unlimited 8GB £529.99 £32.00 £1,297.99

Orange: iPhone 5c Tariffs

orangeOrange is offering the iPhone 5c on a choice of 22 plans. For many people, the most suitable plan might be Panther 26: £26/month plus £149.99 upfront for 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 750MB of internet. Over 24 months, the total cost of ownership is £773.99. This is a fairly competitive offering but is bested by O2’s Refresh plan which offers three times the number of minutes at virtually the same price across 24 months.

If you’re a heavy data user, you’d be better off choosing an iPhone 5c on EE or T-Mobile (EE, Orange and T-Mobile are different brands of the same company). For 1GB of internet per month, Orange customers will be looking to pay at least £894 over 24 months (this is for the Panther 36 deal with 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data). On EE, the same deal is available with unlimited calls. This will cost just £854 over 24 months: a saving of £40. EE customers also have access to 4G. Finally, T-Mobile has a 1GB deal for just £622 over 24 months. This is limited, however, to just 50 minutes and 250 text messages. T-Mobile users also lack access to EE’s 4G network.

Tariff Minutes Texts Data 4G Upfront Cost Monthly Cost Total Cost of Ownership
Dolphin 10.50 30 500 100MB £299.99 £10.50 £551.99
Canary 10.50 100 500 None £299.99 £10.50 £551.99
Panther 15.50 50 Unlimited 250MB £249.99 £15.50 £621.99
Canary 15.50 200 Unlimited None £249.99 £15.50 £621.99
Dolphin 15.50 100 Unlimited 100MB £249.99 £15.50 £621.99
Dolphin 20.50 200 Unlimited 100MB £199.99 £20.50 £691.99
Panther 20.50 100 Unlimited 500MB £199.99 £20.50 £691.99
Canary 20.50 300 Unlimited None £199.99 £20.50 £691.99
Dolphin 26 400 Unlimited 250MB £149.99 £26.00 £773.99
Panther 26 200 Unlimited 750MB £149.99 £26.00 £773.99
Canary 26 500 Unlimited None £149.99 £26.00 £773.99
The Works 27 Unlimited Unlimited 250MB £149.99 £27.00 £797.99
Panther 31 400 Unlimited 750MB £69.99 £31.00 £813.99
Dolphin 31 600 Unlimited 250MB £69.99 £31.00 £813.99
The Works 32 Unlimited Unlimited 500MB £69.99 £32.00 £837.99
Panther 36 600 Unlimited 1GB £29.99 £36.00 £893.99
The Works 37 Unlimited Unlimited 1GB £29.99 £37.00 £917.99
Panther 41 900 Unlimited 1GB £29.99 £41.00 £1,013.99
The Works 42 Unlimited Unlimited 3GB £29.99 £42.00 £1,037.99
Panther 46 1,200 Unlimited 1GB £9.99 £46.00 £1,113.99
The Works 47 Unlimited Unlimited 5GB £9.99 £47.00 £1,137.99
The Works 52 Unlimited Unlimited 8GB £9.99 £52.00 £1,257.99

Tesco: iPhone 5c Tariffs

Tesco MobileTesco Mobile is offering the iPhone 5c on a choice of two tariffs: a £35.50 tariff which comes with 1000 minutes, 5000 texts and 2GB of internet and a £39.50 tariff which comes with 3000 minutes, 5000 texts and 3GB of internet. Uniquely, amongst all of the networks, there’s no upfront cost for an iPhone 5c on either tariff.

For most users, we’d recommend the £35.50/month deal. This comes with 2GB of internet which should be more than enough for the majority of users. The total cost of ownership is £852 over 24 months. Please refer to the Tesco website for full details of their tariffs.

Tariff Minutes Texts Data 4G Upfront Cost Monthly Cost Total Cost of Ownership
Tesco £35/month 1,000 5,000 2GB Free £35.50 £852.00
Tesco £39/month 3,000 5,000 3GB Free £39.50 £948.00

Three: iPhone 5c Tariffs

ThreeThree is offering the iPhone 5c on a choice of three tariffs. Surprisingly, they have the highest cost of entry amongst all of the UK networks: a departure from the past when Three was the cheapest network for iPhone deals. For most people, the most suitable tariff will be Ultimate Internet 500. For £37/month plus £49 upfront, you’ll get 500 minutes, 5000 texts and all-you-can-eat data. The total cost of ownership is £937 over 24 months.

If you’re looking to tether from your phone, you’ll need to choose The One Plan tariff. This costs £41/month plus £49 upfront giving a £1,033 total cost of ownership over 24 months.

All of Three’s price plans include access to 4G at no extra charge. Three will launch their 4G network at the end of this year. In the meantime, you’ll have access to Three’s Ultrafast 3.9G network.

Tariff Minutes Texts Data 4G Upfront Cost Monthly Cost Total Cost of Ownership
Ultimate Internet 500 500 5,000 Unlimited £49.00 £37.00 £937.00
Ultimate Internet 1000 1,000 5,000 Unlimited £49.00 £39.00 £985.00
The One Plan 2,000 5,000 Unlimited £49.00 £41.00 £1,033.00

T-Mobile: iPhone 5c Tariffs

tmobileT-Mobile has some of the most competitive iPhone 5c deals here in the UK. For people who care more about data than calls and texts, we’d recommend the Pay Monthly 16 standard tariff. For £15.50/month plus £249.99 upfront, you’ll get 50 minutes, 250 texts and 1GB of internet. The total cost of ownership is just £622 over 24 months: a substantial saving over the deals offered by most other networks.

Heavy data users should choose The Full Monty 27 plan. For £27/month plus £169.99 upfront, you’ll get 500 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet. At a total of £818 over 24 months, this is the cheapest unlimited data plan available in the UK. T-Mobile does not offer a 4G service.

Tariff Minutes Texts Data 4G Upfront Cost Monthly Cost Total Cost of Ownership
Pay monthly 7 basic 50 100 250MB £349.99 £7.00 £517.99
Pay monthly 11 basic 50 250 250MB £299.99 £10.50 £551.99
Pay monthly 16 standard 50 250 1GB £249.99 £15.50 £621.99
Pay monthly 16 basic 100 Unlimited 250MB £249.99 £15.50 £621.99
Pay monthly 21 standard 100 Unlimited 1GB £199.99 £21.00 £703.99
Pay monthly 21 basic 300 Unlimited 250MB £199.99 £21.00 £703.99
Pay monthly 26 standard 300 Unlimited 1GB £149.99 £26.00 £773.99
Pay monthly 26 basic 600 Unlimited 250MB £149.99 £26.00 £773.99
The Full Monty 27 500 Unlimited Unlimited £169.99 £27.00 £817.99
Pay monthly 31 standard 600 Unlimited 1GB £89.99 £31.00 £833.99
The Full Monty 32 1,000 Unlimited Unlimited £89.99 £32.00 £857.99
The Full Monty 37 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited £49.99 £37.00 £937.99
The Full Monty 42 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited £29.99 £42.00 £1,037.99

Vodafone: iPhone 5c Tariffs

vodafoneVodafone offers the iPhone 5c on a choice of 3G and 4G tariffs. The 3G tariffs tend to offer much better value: the average user should choose the Vodafone Red plan which comes with unlimited calls, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet. This costs £37/month plus £19 upfront giving a total cost of £907 over 24 months.

An additional benefit of choosing a 4G tariff is the bundled inclusion of free entertainment. With a Vodafone Red 4G-ready plan, you’ll gain a free subscription to Spotify Premium (worth £9.99/month) or Sky Sports Mobile TV (worth £4.99/month). The free subscription lasts for 6 months on the “Vodafone Red 4G-ready” plan and for 24 months on the “Vodafone Red 4G-ready L” and “Vodafone Red 4G-ready XL” plans.

Tariff Minutes Texts Data 4G Upfront Cost Monthly Cost Total Cost of Ownership
Vodafone £29/month 300 Unlimited 250MB £149.00 £29.00 £845.00
Vodafone £33/month 600 Unlimited 500MB £79.00 £33.00 £871.00
Vodafone Red Unlimited Unlimited 1GB £19.00 £37.00 £907.00
Vodafone Red L Unlimited Unlimited 2GB Free £42.00 £1,008.00
Vodafone Red 4G-ready Unlimited Unlimited 6GB* £19.00 £42.00 £1,027.00
Vodafone Red 4G-ready L Unlimited Unlimited 8GB* Free £47.00 £1,128.00
Vodafone Red XL Unlimited Unlimited 4GB Free £47.00 £1,128.00
Vodafone Red 4G-ready XL Unlimited Unlimited 12GB* Free £52.00 £1,248.00

* Includes 4GB of extra data. This is available to customers who sign up before the 31st October. From November 1st, new customers will receive 2GB on “Vodafone Red 4G-ready”, 4GB on “Vodafone Red 4G-ready L” and 8GB on “Vodafone Red 4G-ready XL”.

About the Total Cost of Ownership

The total cost of ownership is the amount that you’d pay over the entirety of your contract. It takes into account the upfront cost as well as subsequent monthly payments. It’s calculated as follows:

Total Cost of Ownership = Upfront Cost + (24 x Monthly Cost)

The total cost of ownership is the best way of comparing mobile price plans. It shows you how much each tariff costs over the long run. It’s an important figure because some contracts charge more upfront whereas others contracts charge more later on. By looking at the total cost of ownership, we can consider the full picture.

Alternatives

Instead of buying an iPhone 5c on a 24-month contract, it’s possible to buy the phone SIM-free for £469. Providing you buy your phone directly from Apple, it’ll be unlocked for use on any UK mobile network. This means you can take full advantage of SIM Only deals: either the 3G variety or the 4G variety. Depending on the tariff you choose, the total cost of ownership might be lower over 24 months.

Like this tip? Get the most from your mobile phone...

  • Discover brand new ways to use your mobile phone
  • Techniques to get more out of your mobile phone for less
  • Be the first to learn about new mobile technology

Enter your email to receive free regular Ken's Tech Tips:

About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Leave a Reply

E-Mail Notifications: By default, I'll drop you an e-mail when there's a reply to your comment. If you don't want to receive such a notification, please select the "Don't Subscribe" option from the dropdown menu above.