Contract deals with nothing to pay upfront have much to recommend them. Not least because they allow you to get a top smartphone for a far, far more affordable price by paying it off over two years.
Best no upfront cost phone deals this week
Need a bit more help choosing a deal? We've got you covered.
For the table above, our experts have handpicked the best phone deals with no upfront cost on offer this week. We've chosen to bring these deals to your attention because we think they represent great value.
That might be because they come with generous monthly allowances on a network that stands for its high quality coverage and fast speeds.
Or because the deals offer great freebies, such as a free voucher or a free subscription to a video streaming service.
Either way, you can rest assured you're getting a standout deal.
What does the term 'no upfront cost phone' mean?
What it means is that you sign up to a contract that has no charge today. The phone itself is given to you 'free' - that is, you get it without paying anything upfront right now.
Instead, the cost of the phone is spread out over the course of your contract. It's incorporated into your bill along with your monthly tariff on a SIM.
Sometimes, the bill is even split up in two, so you can see how much you've paid towards the handset and pay it off whenever you like. O2 Refresh, Sky Mobile Swap, and giffgaff contracts work a little like this.
Find out more with our one-stop guide.
Which manufacturers offer no upfront cost phones?
Mobile networks and retailers offer phones on no upfront cost deals from just about every manufacturer.
Whatever you need from your phone, there's a good chance you can find a plan with nothing to pay upfront from a range of manufacturers, including:
iPhone deals with no upfront cost
iPhones don’t come cheap - this we know. But going for a slightly older iPhone model can often save you a lot of money.
And just as importantly, it's easier to find deals with no upfront cost.
Which networks offer no upfront cost contracts?
If a network offers contracts on handsets, there's a very good chance they'll offer them with no upfront cost. But it depends what deals and phones they have available at the time.
The best option is to compare all your options using the tables above. You'll find deals from networks including:
Can I get a phone contract with no upfront cost and a bad credit history?
It's possible, but not always. All phone contracts require a credit check first, but some sellers are more lenient than others.
If you have a poor credit history, start by finding a contract with no upfront cost that you like the look of, and sign up. You might get lucky.
No dice? Try a smaller network or reseller, an older phone, a cheaper handset, or a second-hand or refurbished model. You're more likely to pass the check with these.
If you're rejected again, unfortunately your best bet may be to buy a cheap phone outright and get a rolling SIM-only deal to use with it.
What's good about no upfront cost phones?
- You won't have to find a big lump sum that could be hundreds of pounds
- You can spread the cost of the phone out across the contract, making it more manageable
- It's a great way to get the latest phone without breaking the bank
What's bad about no upfront cost phones?
- Paying nothing upfront means your monthly bills are a little higher
- There's less choice over phones, contracts, and networks
- You need to pass a credit check to get one
- You may not be able to get the very latest phones with no upfront cost
Is it cheaper to get a phone contract with an upfront cost?
We've crunched the numbers and found that there's negligible savings to be made by paying up front. If you save anything at all.
Generally if you compare contracts with no upfront cost with those that demand some payment upfront and that have the same monthly allowances, you'll find that your total outlay is the same over the course of your contract term.
However, if you can afford to pay a bit upfront you'll have less to find each month. So if you're not great with money and you've got cash to hand, it could be smart to pay a lump sum to begin with for lower premiums.