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How do I choose a mobile phone offer?

With a variety of cheap phone deals available from leading UK networks, it can be difficult to know which one to pick. There’s a host of offers whether you’re buying your first phone or upgrading your existing plan. So, which is the best deal for you?

Smartphone deals come in all shapes and sizes. Contract phones, SIM-only discounts and unlimited data plans are just some factors to consider. And which network do you choose – Vodafone, Virgin Mobile, Sky Mobile or the variety of other top mobile phone providers?

To make life simple, YesPhones have everything covered. Below, you’ll find a host of information to make selecting your next phone deal simple. Plus, there’s a range of tips and answers to any burning questions to guide you through what to look out for.

What’s the best type of mobile phone deal?

There’s no right or wrong answer when choosing the best mobile phone deal, as it all comes down to what suits your needs. However, there are five common options, each with different features. If you’re stuck on what you need out of a phone deal, we delve into each below:

Contract phone offers

If you’re looking to get the latest handsets along with a great mobile phone tariff, then a monthly contract phone could be a good option. The reason why you pay monthly in this deal is the cost of the handset is split over the contract period. For example, if you go for an Apple iPhone 14 on a 24-month contract, the device price is divided into equal payments over the term. In addition, your mobile tariff is also added to this monthly amount. Due to the cost of handsets, especially the newest models, a contract deal will typically be the most expensive option when choosing a new smartphone.

SIM-only contract mobile deals

Don’t need a new handset but want to upgrade your tariff and take advantage of great offers? Then a SIM-only contract could be for you. This type of mobile phone deal provides a great range of tariffs that include calls, texts and all-important data allowance for a fantastic price. With this option, you are still tied into a contract, usually 12 months, but it’s typically less than a contract mobile. So you can switch more easily to get the best prices.

SIM-only rolling contract offers

If you don’t need a new phone and want more flexibility with your tariff, why not look at a SIM-only 30-day rolling contract? This isn’t like a standard contract where you’re tied in for months. Instead, enjoy a great mobile deal that rolls over unless you choose something else. While you might not get the same cheap prices as a 12-month SIM-only deal, the benefit here is you can switch tariffs quickly and don’t have to commit if you don’t want to.

Pay-as-you-go SIM deals

These mobile phone offers are a great way to have complete control and flexibility over your calls, texts and data. But there is a slight downside – value for money. As this tariff requires you to top-up your phone, you add money to it whenever you need it. This option has higher tariff prices, and data can cost considerably more than a contract deal. However, there is a feature where you can buy bundles that give you call, text and data allowances, which offers better value for money than just topping up.

Alongside pay-as-you-go SIM tariffs, some networks offer a handset deal with a PAYG deal. If you’re not looking for the latest devices, this could be a good option. But getting the latest phones will cost nearly as much as buying the phone outright.

Selecting a network

Whether you’re picking a new phone contract or want to upgrade your existing one, it’s a good idea to look around to see what’s on offer. With switching networks easier than ever before, you have more choices on tariffs and phones to get the right fit for you.

When it comes to choosing a network, the most obvious contenders will fall into whether you can get a signal at home, work and around your most visited places. While Wi-Fi is available in many locations, losing data or signal in areas you’d typically expect connectivity is still frustrating.

With that in mind, looking at each network and how each compares for coverage and download speeds is a great starting point. Below, we look at how some of the leading networks stack up:


The EE network provides some of the UK’s fastest and most comprehensive 4G coverage. Plus, with 5G on the horizon, it’s already providing connectivity with impressive speeds in cities including London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and Manchester, along with many others. Of course, the rate you get essentially depends on the phone and tariff. But most 4G services see up to 60Mbps download speeds and above in specific locations.


Three provide 4G cover for 91% of the UK and 99% with 3G included. Again, 5G is moving further throughout the country, and speeds are expected to increase substantially once up and running. However, at the moment, Three download speeds come in around 25Mbps, so slightly less than other providers.


O2 is another leading mobile provider that covers 99% of the UK for 3G and 4G. It’s also started the 5G rollout and is expected to expand further throughout the next few years. Download speed is also pretty good at around 30Mbps.


Covering around 97% of the UK with 4G connectivity puts Vodafone in good stead against other networks. 5G is also expanding, and roaming is available on all its pay monthly contracts. In addition, download speeds are reasonable at around 21Mbps.

Other mobile networks such as giffgaff, Tesco Mobile, Talk Mobile and Sky Mobile use the leading providers 3G and 4G networks. So these will have similar connectivity and coverage depending on the parent network.

What features do you need on your new mobile phone?

Do you love a specific mobile brand, or are you interested in trying something new? Making this decision can be challenging. However, considering what features you need could make the decision easier. Let’s take a look at what to look out for:

Operating system

This is often an important factor because it also depends on what other devices you are syncing to at home. The two operating systems to decide between are iOS (basically anything Apple) and Android (anything not Apple). It’s often a toss-up between whether you’re a PC or Mac user and which you prefer for ease of use.

Screen size

Mobile phones have substantially grown in size over the past decade, and unlike old phones, most screens now take over the front of your entire phone. So the question is, how big do you need it? If you use your phone for a number of apps, then a bigger screen can accommodate more and is typically easier to navigate. The downside is whether you need the device to sit in your pocket. If so, picking a smaller screen may work out better.

Camera quality

Everyone is snap-happy these days, so choosing a mobile phone offer that comes with a high-quality camera is a priority. Many of the big brands have amazing features, from portrait modes to panoramic settings, plus numerous filters to get the right shot. Among the favourites are Apple, Google and Samsung, and it’s worth testing them out to get a feel for their capabilities.

Battery life

With all the processing capabilities, apps running in the background and spending hours scrolling on social media, you’ll need a phone with good battery power. Most devices have ample battery life unless you’re, of course, using it 24/7. If you need some reassurance, try to stick with phones that will stay charged for around 10-12 hours. That way, you’ll have plenty of juice for the day.

Storage space

Apps, images and videos all take up space on your phone. So, how much storage do you really need? Most of the latest phones provide 32GB and above, which should be ample. There’s also the option of cloud storage on your devices, which can help organise everything. It’s worth bearing in mind, the more storage space the phone has the more expensive it’ll be.

What mobile phone is right for you?

Picking a new mobile phone deal includes many factors such as tariff, coverage and download speeds. But for many, the device is the star of the show. So, it’s handy to select the best option based on your preferences and lifestyle needs to get the right one.
Among the big-name brands like Apple, Samsung and Google, there are others that also provide a host of state-of-the-art features. Below, we check out some of the favourites:

Apple iPhone

Of course, you’ve probably heard of one of the most popular phones on the planet – the Apple iPhone. This device has a simple interface and intuitive operating system, which syncs with your other Apple products, such as the iWatch, iMac and MacBook. Unfortunately, these phones are one of the more expensive options on contract and PAYG. But older models are still pretty good and come in at a lower price.

Samsung Galaxy

Another contender for the most popular device spot is Samsung’s Galaxy range. This brand has been fiercely providing an alternative to the iPhone for many years, and it’s been hit for its tech and camera quality.

Google Pixel

Hot on the heels of Apple and Samsung is none other than the global tech giants, Google. The Pixel is a great cheaper alternative, yet it still has impressive camera quality and streamlined apps, as you’d expect. Unlike its rivals, this phone comes in at a lower price, so contracts are cheaper, and PAYG options are more affordable.


Still going strong in the phone market, Motorola offers you a budget-friendly device with the option of premium models if you’re looking for more pizazz.


While this brand may have stepped back from the spotlight since Apple and Samsung took centre-stage, they’re far from fizzling out. Nowadays, you’ll find more budget-friendly options such as the XR20, which is described as the best-rugged phone on the market. Perfect if you’re prone to dropping them!


Sony is a household name in electronics, and the brand has lots of loyal fans that love its phones. These devices come in around the middle of the price range, but some top-end options, such as the Xperia 1 IV, could prove a rival to the latest iPhone.

Frequently asked questions

Who has the best phone deals right now?

Smartphone offers are constantly changing, so finding the best deal for you depends on a number of factors such as device price, calls, texts and data tariff. Fortunately, searching for the right deal with YesPhones’ great prices is super easy.

Can I get unlimited data phone deals?

Yes! Many network tariffs offer a wide range of deals, including unlimited data, text and calls.

Do I have to pay anything upfront?

Sometimes, some of the best contract phone deals have a small upfront cost. This is typical when looking at expensive handsets and the latest devices. If you choose SIM-only deals, there are no upfront costs to pay.

What’s the cheapest mobile phone deal?

Again, this depends on what you’re getting for your money. It’s simple to search our deals and sort them into the lowest price first. But does the cheapest plan have everything you need? By comparing mobile phone deals based on calls, texts and data criteria, you’ll find the most affordable deal perfect for your needs.

What is the best smartphone?

Fortunately, the mobile phone market is awash with fantastic smartphones featuring the latest tech. So, it’s impossible to narrow down the best option because it depends on what you’re looking for. Samsung, Apple, Google and Sony all provide intuitive devices with handy apps and high-quality cameras. The hard choice is deciding which suits your needs best.

Do I need a credit check for a contract phone deal?

Yes. Contract phone deals all require a credit check before you take out the agreement. Other deals that need a credit check include SIM-only contracts and SIM-only rolling contracts (excluding giffgaff and SMARTY).

Are pay-as-you-go phones cheap?

PAYG has always been a flexible and cheap option for owning a mobile phone. However, the range of models in this category often limits the capabilities and technology you’ll get on the device. These phones are often great budget devices with basic features. You can opt for newer models, but the upfront cost will be much more expensive. This option may provide more value for money by buying the device unlocked outright.

Are SIM-only deals better value than PAYG phones?

On the whole, SIM-only contracts offer great calls, texts and data deals if you sign up for a 12-month contract. In comparison, PAYG tariffs tend to be more expensive. However, you can buy bundles of data, text and calls to get better value.