UK’s Cheapest iPhone 8: SIM-Free & Contract Deals Compared

September 20th, 2017

Apple’s iPhone 8 is available to buy either on a SIM-free & unlocked basis or on a 24-month contract. We compare the UK’s cheapest deals.

The iPhone 8 is Apple’s latest smartphone. Defining a “new generation of the iPhone”, the iPhone 8 has an all-glass design and is engineered to be both water and dust resistant. With a 4.7-inch True Tone display, the iPhone 8 also comes with an improved 12-megapixel camera, an Apple A11 Bionic processor and support for wireless charging.

In the UK, the iPhone 8 is available to buy either on a SIM-free & unlocked basis or or a 24-month contract. Mobile networks offering the iPhone 8 on contract include BT Mobile, EE, giffgaff, iD Mobile, O2, Tesco Mobile, Three and Vodafone.

In this article, we’ll compare the cost of buying an iPhone 8, both on a SIM-free basis and on a 24-month contract. We’ll also compare the features available when you use the iPhone 8 on each UK mobile network.

In the UK, there are two ways to buy an iPhone 8:

  • SIM-Free & Unlocked. You can buy the iPhone 8 outright for a one-off fee starting at £699 for the version with 64GB of storage. This will allow you to use the iPhone 8 on any UK mobile network (e.g. you can choose a SIM-only deal or you can order a free Pay As You Go SIM card).
  • Pay Monthly. You can buy the iPhone 8 on a 24-month contract with airtime included. Prices start from around £45/month plus £100 upfront.

SIM Free & Unlocked

The simplest way to buy an iPhone 8 is to get it outright on a SIM-free basis. With this option, you’ll need to pay the full cost of the handset upfront. However, you’ll get an iPhone that can be used on any UK mobile network, so you’re then free to choose the best value SIM card to use in that iPhone.

Over the long-run, this can save you substantial amounts of money compared to a 24-month contract. For instance, if you were to get a £10/month SIM-only deal or Pay As You Go bundle, your total cost of ownership would add to about £940 over 24 months. For comparison, even the cheapest 24-month contracts will start from £1,100 over 24 months.

You can buy a SIM-free iPhone 8 from the following retailers:

Retailer iPhone 8 (64GB) iPhone 8 (256GB)
John Lewis £699.00 £849.00
Argos £699.00 £849.00
Carphone Warehouse £699.00 £849.00
Currys PC World £699.00 £849.00
Very £699.00 £849.00
Apple £699.00 £849.00

Apple has fairly strict controls over the pricing of a SIM-free iPhone 8 so it’s fairly rare to be able to find a discount on the recommended retail price (£699 for 64GB and £849 for 256GB). In practice, this means you might want to choose your SIM-free retailer based on other factors like ease of collection & delivery or the level of customer service available with that retailer.

If you’re ordering your iPhone 8 on a SIM-free basis, you’ll need to order your SIM card separately. For more information, see our recommended SIM-only deals and our guide to free Pay As You Go SIM cards.

Pay Monthly Contract

  • BT Mobile
  • EE
  • giffgaff
  • iD Mobile
  • O2
  • Tesco Mobile
  • Three
  • Vodafone

If you’d like to buy the iPhone 8 on a 24-month contract, you can currently choose from deals on BT Mobile, EE, giffgaff, iD Mobile, O2, Tesco Mobile, Three and Vodafone.

Key factors you should consider when choosing a mobile network include:

  • The amount of data you want on your plan. You can get an iPhone 8 contract with anything between 500MB (0.5GB) and 100GB of data per month. Data allowances and prices will vary across mobile networks.
  • The level of coverage available where you live & work. This should be a key consideration when choosing your next mobile network. Remember to check the coverage before ordering your new iPhone, or read our in-depth guide about the topic.
  • Other features available on the mobile network. For instance, EE offers Apple Music on their iPhone 8 plans and is the only mobile network compatible with the new Apple Watch Series 3.

In the following tables, we show the cheapest available deal on each mobile network for an iPhone 8 with various amounts of data. We recommend reading on to the rest of the article for information about the coverage and features available on each mobile network.

With 1GB of Data

If you’re a fairly light user who mainly uses wi-fi (e.g. when you’re at home or in the office), it’ll sometimes be possible to choose a plan with 1GB of monthly data. In the following table, we show the UK’s cheapest deals for an iPhone 8 with at least 1GB of data per month:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
iD Mobile2,0005,0002GB£99.99
upfront
£43.99
monthly
£1,155.75
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£99.00
upfront
£46.00
monthly
£1,203.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£70.00
upfront
£48.00
monthly
£1,222.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited1GB£119.99
upfront
£47.00
monthly
£1,247.99
EEUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£99.99
upfront
£47.99
monthly
£1,251.75
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£100.00
upfront
£57.00
monthly
£1,468.00

* The total cost over 24 months is given as an approximation for ease of comparison. It doesn’t include out-of-allowance charges or mid-contract price rises. We’ve approximated the total cost as upfront cost + (24 x monthly cost).

With 2GB of Data

For the average user, we’d typically recommend choosing a tariff with at least 2GB per month. The following table shows currently-available deals with at least 2GB of data:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
iD Mobile2,0005,0002GB£99.99
upfront
£43.99
monthly
£1,155.75
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£99.00
upfront
£50.00
monthly
£1,299.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited3GB£119.99
upfront
£50.00
monthly
£1,319.99
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£30.00
upfront
£54.00
monthly
£1,326.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£99.99
upfront
£52.99
monthly
£1,371.75
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£100.00
upfront
£57.00
monthly
£1,468.00

* The total cost over 24 months is given as an approximation for ease of comparison. It doesn’t include out-of-allowance charges or mid-contract price rises. We’ve approximated the total cost as upfront cost + (24 x monthly cost).

With 4GB of Data

For heavy users, we’d recommend a tariff with at least 4GB of data. The following available tariffs would be suitable for this purpose:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
iD Mobile2,0005,0004GB£99.99
upfront
£45.99
monthly
£1,203.75
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£99.00
upfront
£50.00
monthly
£1,299.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£30.00
upfront
£54.00
monthly
£1,326.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited5GB£119.99
upfront
£54.00
monthly
£1,415.99
EEUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£49.99
upfront
£57.99
monthly
£1,441.75
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£100.00
upfront
£57.00
monthly
£1,468.00

* The total cost over 24 months is given as an approximation for ease of comparison. It doesn’t include out-of-allowance charges or mid-contract price rises. We’ve approximated the total cost as upfront cost + (24 x monthly cost).

With 8GB of Data

If you’re regularly using features like tethering or portable wi-fi hotspot, it can be worthwhile choosing a plan with even more data. At present, the best value deals with at least 8GB of data are as follows:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
iD Mobile2,0005,00010GB£109.99
upfront
£49.99
monthly
£1,309.75
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£79.00
upfront
£55.00
monthly
£1,399.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£49.99
upfront
£57.99
monthly
£1,441.75
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited16GB£20.00
upfront
£60.00
monthly
£1,460.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited10GB£119.99
upfront
£58.00
monthly
£1,511.99
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£50.00
upfront
£62.00
monthly
£1,538.00

* The total cost over 24 months is given as an approximation for ease of comparison. It doesn’t include out-of-allowance charges or mid-contract price rises. We’ve approximated the total cost as upfront cost + (24 x monthly cost).

It’s worth noting that not all tariffs will allow you to tether. For instance, iD Mobile doesn’t allow you to tether on their plans and Three only allows you to tether on Advanced price plans. You should therefore check all of these details if it’s a feature you’re likely to use on your handset.

Cheapest Deals By Mobile Network

BT Mobile

BTBT Mobile offers the iPhone 8 on a range of tariffs, with customers living in a BT Broadband household getting a £5/month discount on their plan.

Key benefits of choosing BT Mobile include the extensive 4G network provided by EE and the monthly spend caps that allow you to prevent “bill shock” on your account. You’ll also get unlimited access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots included, and access to the BT Sport app on plans with at least 6GB of data.

The following table shows iPhone 8 tariffs available on BT Mobile:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
BT Mobile400Unlimited500MB£250.00
upfront
£47.00
monthly
£1,378.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£100.00
upfront
£57.00
monthly
£1,468.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£50.00
upfront
£62.00
monthly
£1,538.00

In the table above, we’ve shown the full price for non-BT Broadband households. If you’re living in a BT Broadband household, you’ll qualify for a £5/month discount on the prices above. Over 24 months, this will reduce the total cost of ownership by £120. You may also benefit from a reward card and from a Family SIM discount.

Order iPhone 8 from BT Mobile » Check Coverage on BT Mobile »

The BT Mobile website has full information about their iPhone 8 tariffs and about the benefits of their network. You can also read our in-depth review of BT Mobile and comparison to EE.

EE

EEEE claims to be UK’s “biggest and fastest” mobile network with 99% population coverage on 4G. Customers joining EE get double-speed 4G as standard (up to 60Mbps), with customers on 4GEE Max also getting access to 4G+ coverage (up to 90Mbps).

Customers buying an iPhone 8 on EE will get six months of free Apple Music (worth £9.99/month). There’s also inclusive access to the BT Sport application (for 24 months on 4GEE Max, or 3 months on all other plans). EE is also the only UK mobile network to have support for the Apple Watch Series 3.

The following table shows iPhone 8 tariffs available on EE:

TariffMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
4GEEUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£99.99
upfront
£47.99
monthly
£1,251.75
MaxUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£99.99
upfront
£52.99
monthly
£1,371.75
MaxUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£49.99
upfront
£57.99
monthly
£1,441.75
MaxUnlimitedUnlimited25GB£49.99
upfront
£62.99
monthly
£1,561.75
MaxUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£9.99
upfront
£67.99
monthly
£1,641.75

Please note: on EE, your monthly price will increase every April in line with RPI inflation. For this reason, the stated ‘total cost over 24 months’ is only an approximation.

Order iPhone 8 from EE » Check Coverage on EE »

The EE website has more information about their iPhone 8 tariffs and the benefits of their network.

giffgaff

giffgaffUnfortunately, giffgaff is not selling the iPhone 8 on their phone store at launch. However, you can still decide to buy the iPhone 8 elsewhere on a SIM-free basis, which can then be used with one of giffgaff’s SIM cards.

For instance, giffgaff provides a £10/month goodybag with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data. Combined with the purchase of a 64GB iPhone 8, the total cost of ownership would be approximately £939 over 24 months (£699 upfront for the handset plus £240 for the monthly goodybags).

Order SIM card from giffgaff » Check Coverage on giffgaff »

giffgaff uses O2 as their network coverage provider (so customers on giffgaff and O2 will get the exact same coverage).

iD Mobile

iD Mobile Logo GreeniD Mobile is the own-brand mobile network from the Carphone Warehouse, making use of 3G and 4G coverage from Three. Key features of iD Mobile include data rollover and capped contracts. However, the use of tethering and portable hotspot is unfortunately not permitted on iD Mobile.

The following table shows iPhone 8 tariffs available on iD Mobile:

TariffMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
iD Mobile2,0005,0002GB£99.99
upfront
£43.99
monthly
£1,155.75
iD Mobile2,0005,0004GB£99.99
upfront
£45.99
monthly
£1,203.75
iD Mobile2,0005,0006GB£119.99
upfront
£47.99
monthly
£1,271.75
iD Mobile2,0005,00010GB£109.99
upfront
£49.99
monthly
£1,309.75

Order iPhone 8 from iD Mobile » Check Coverage on iD Mobile »

For more information, please read our full review of iD Mobile. Alternatively, see the official iD Mobile website for information about their tariffs.

O2

O2O2 is offering the iPhone 8 on a 24-month Refresh plan, with a free screen replacement on selected tariffs.

With O2 Refresh, your monthly payment is split into two parts. For instance, a £63 monthly payment could break out as £28 for the device and £35 for the airtime. You can upgrade to a new handset at any time by paying off the remainder of your Device Plan. Also, on some of the more expensive tariffs, you could be eligible for O2’s “yearly upgrade programme” which allows you to trade-in your handset after 12 months usage.

A key benefit of joining O2 is you’ll get access to the O2 Priority app. This gives you a number of exclusive offers such a free coffee from Caffè Nero on Tuesdays and exclusive access to entertainment tickets before general release.

The following table shows iPhone 8 tariffs available from O2:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
O2UnlimitedUnlimited500MB£139.99
upfront
£43.00
monthly
£1,171.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited500MB£29.99
upfront
£48.00
monthly
£1,181.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited1GB£119.99
upfront
£47.00
monthly
£1,247.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited1GB£9.99
upfront
£52.00
monthly
£1,257.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited3GB£119.99
upfront
£50.00
monthly
£1,319.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited3GB£9.99
upfront
£55.00
monthly
£1,329.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited500MB£999.99
upfront
£15.00
monthly
£1,359.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited5GB£119.99
upfront
£54.00
monthly
£1,415.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited5GB£9.99
upfront
£59.00
monthly
£1,425.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited1GB£999.99
upfront
£19.00
monthly
£1,455.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited10GB£119.99
upfront
£58.00
monthly
£1,511.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited10GB£9.99
upfront
£63.00
monthly
£1,521.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited3GB£999.99
upfront
£22.00
monthly
£1,527.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited5GB£999.99
upfront
£26.00
monthly
£1,623.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£119.99
upfront
£63.00
monthly
£1,631.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£9.99
upfront
£68.00
monthly
£1,641.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited10GB£999.99
upfront
£30.00
monthly
£1,719.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited30GB£119.99
upfront
£68.00
monthly
£1,751.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited30GB£9.99
upfront
£73.00
monthly
£1,761.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£999.99
upfront
£35.00
monthly
£1,839.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited30GB£999.99
upfront
£40.00
monthly
£1,959.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited50GB£119.99
upfront
£88.00
monthly
£2,231.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited50GB£9.99
upfront
£93.00
monthly
£2,241.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited50GB£999.99
upfront
£60.00
monthly
£2,439.99

With O2, the airtime portion of your monthly payment increases every year in line with RPI inflation. For this reason, the ‘total cost over 24 months’ is only an approximation.

Order iPhone 8 from O2 » Check Coverage on O2 »

For more information, please see the O2 website for their iPhone 8 tariffs and for the benefits of their network.

Tesco Mobile

Tesco

At present, Tesco Mobile is allowing customers to register their interest in buying an iPhone 8 on their network.

On Tesco, the iPhone 8 will be offered on an Anytime Upgrade tariff. Like with O2 Refresh, your tariff will be split into two parts: one part for the handset and another part for the airtime. You’ll be able to change your phone at any time by paying off the remainder of the handset plan.

Order iPhone 8 from Tesco Mobile » Check Coverage on Tesco Mobile »

Three

ThreeThree offers the iPhone 8 on a choice of two types of tariff: either an Essential or Advanced price plan.

On Essential price plans, you won’t have access to tethering or portable hotspot. You’ll also only have Feel At Home in Europe (Feel At Home Around The World is reserved for Advanced price plan customers). For customers choosing the fully featured Advanced price plan, it’ll be possible to tether and to roam at no extra cost in 60 destinations.

The following table shows iPhone 8 tariffs currently available from Three:

TariffMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
Essential Plan300Unlimited500MB£99.00
upfront
£42.00
monthly
£1,107.00
Essential PlanUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£99.00
upfront
£46.00
monthly
£1,203.00
Essential PlanUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£99.00
upfront
£50.00
monthly
£1,299.00
Advanced PlanUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£79.00
upfront
£55.00
monthly
£1,399.00
Advanced PlanUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£79.00
upfront
£55.00
monthly
£1,399.00
Advanced PlanUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£79.00
upfront
£60.00
monthly
£1,519.00
Advanced PlanUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£79.00
upfront
£65.00
monthly
£1,639.00
Advanced PlanUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£0.00
upfront
£79.00
monthly
£1,896.00
Advanced PlanUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£79.00
upfront
£77.00
monthly
£1,927.00

With Three, your monthly bill will increase with RPI inflation. For this reason, the ‘total cost over 24 months’ is only an approximation.

Order iPhone 8 from Three » Check Coverage on Three »

Three’s website has more information about their iPhone 8 tariffs. There is also some information about the benefits of choosing their network.

Vodafone

Vodafone

Vodafone offers the iPhone 8 with included entertainment on selected price plans (either Spotify, Sky Sports Mobile TV or Now TV). The included entertainment plan lasts for up to 24 months, and is worth up to £9.99/month depending on the package you choose.

The following table shows iPhone 8 tariffs currently available from Vodafone:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
Vodafone500Unlimited500MB£150.00
upfront
£44.00
monthly
£1,206.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£70.00
upfront
£48.00
monthly
£1,222.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£30.00
upfront
£54.00
monthly
£1,326.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited16GB£20.00
upfront
£60.00
monthly
£1,460.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£30.00
upfront
£60.00
monthly
£1,470.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited40GB£20.00
upfront
£66.00
monthly
£1,604.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited32GB£20.00
upfront
£66.00
monthly
£1,604.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited60GB£20.00
upfront
£72.00
monthly
£1,748.00

On Vodafone, your monthly bill will increase in April of each year in line with RPI inflation. For this reason, the ‘total cost over 24 months’ is only an approximation.

Order iPhone 8 from Vodafone » Check Coverage on Vodafone »

On Vodafone’s website, you’ll find more information about their iPhone 8 tariffs and about the key benefits of choosing their network.

About the iPhone 8

The iPhone 8 is Apple’s latest smartphone. Described by Apple as a “new generation of iPhone”, it has a 4.7-inch True Tone Retina HD display and a 12 megapixel camera. Other key features include a 64-bit Apple A11 Bionic processor, support for wireless charging and the iOS 11 operating system.

The iPhone 8 compares as follows to the iPhone 8 Plus and Galaxy S8:

Apple iPhone 8
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S8
Release Date2017, Flagship2017, Flagship2017, Flagship
SoftwareApple iOS 11.0Apple iOS 11.0Google Android 7.0
Display
Size4.7-inch display5.5-inch display5.8-inch display
TypeLCDLCDOrganic LED
Resolution1334x750 pixels1920x1080 pixels2960x1440 pixels
Pixel Density326 pixels per inch401 pixels per inch570 pixels per inch
Camera
Rear Camera12 megapixels12 megapixels12 megapixels
Auto-Focus
Flash Quad-LED flash Quad-LED flash LED flash
OIS
Front Camera7.0 megapixels7.0 megapixels8.0 megapixels
Internals
ProcessorApple A11 BionicApple A11 BionicExynos 8895 Octa
Speed1MHz dual-core &
1MHz quad-core
1MHz dual-core &
1MHz quad-core
2.3GHz quad-core &
1.7GHz quad-core
Internal Storage64/256GB64/256GB64GB
External Storage Up to 256GB micro-SD
Handset Weight148g202g155g
Battery1,821mAh (14 hours talktime)2,675mAh (21 hours talktime)3,000mAh
Mobile Networks
3G Networks Up to 42Mbit/s Up to 42Mbit/s Up to 42Mbit/s
4G Networks
SIM Card TypeNano SIMNano SIMNano SIM

For more information about the iPhone 8, please see Apple’s official website. Alternatively, for more information about the deals available on each network, please see the BT Mobile, EE, giffgaff, iD Mobile, O2, Tesco Mobile, Three and Vodafone websites.

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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.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 32 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. miles said:

    Hi Ken
    the cheapest way to get hold of an iphone 7 32gb model is from Giffgaff. £28.47 x 24 + £25 up front + £10 first month goodybag =£718.28
    You can cancel the goodybag as soon as you receive the phone and pay off the phone at £28.47 month over 24 months.
    All giffgaff phones come unlocked and you can use whatever sim you want in it.
    I personally use 3 pay as you go at 3p min 2p text and 1p mb which is extremely cheap. I text alot and mainly use home Wifi which works out at roughly £4 per month. 3 coverage is great in London and ideal for me.
    Obviously other peoples usage is different

    Kind Regards

  2. Ken said:

    Hi all,
    Just a quick note to say we’ve updated the page for the iPhone 6s. Comments below still refer to an older version of the iPhone.
    Ken

  3. anon said:

    Interesting to note the cheaper EE deals are *not* available in the apple store – I tried to buy an iphone 6 today in an apple store and their equivalent contract was about £100 higher. EE had the cheaper deals in store, but had less stock.

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