Mobile phones with no upfront cost

Get a phone with nothing to pay upfront

The great thing about contract deals is that you can spread the cost of an expensive phone like the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S8 out across two years - and in the case of these plans, you won't have to hand over a thing besides your usual monthly bill.

For some people, it's an effective way to get a phone while managing their costs but, as with anything, there are pros and cons to this type of plan. Here’s everything you need to know about finding a phone at no upfront cost:

How to find a no upfront cost deal

It’s easy. Simply use the comparison engine at the top of this page to compare deals with no upfront cost. Use the filters to set your preferences, including listing specific phones, data allowances, maximum monthly bills and more.

If you want a bit more of a steer, you can use our guide to mobile data to work out how many megabytes you'll need a month.

Should I get a phone at no upfront cost?

There are plenty of reasons to get a mobile plan that doesn’t force you to pay for the mobile straight away. For example, it:

  • Makes initial outlay manageable - some people can’t afford to splurge a load of cash all in one go, and this type of plan alleviates that concern.
  • Spreads the cost - phones are expensive, and splitting the cost into monthly bills makes it a lot easier for the average person to absorb that cost, even if you do end up paying more in the long run.
  • Makes top end phones more immediately affordable - speaking of expensive, have you seen how much an iPhone runs you these days? Splitting up the cost puts flashy phones like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy family within reach for people who otherwise couldn’t afford it.
  • Lots of great phones available - if you want to save even more money, there are loads of mid-range or budget handsets available at no upfront cost. They may not have the flash and sizzle of the flagships, but many as still truly excellent devices.

Is there any reason why I shouldn’t get a no-upfront cost mobile deal?

As with anything in the world of mobile, there are drawbacks to this sort of deal. Here are some of them:

  • Monthly bills will be higher - Although you have less to shell out immediately, your monthly bill will be higher than those deals that do require initial expenditure. That’s the trade-off.
  • You’ll pay more in the long run - you’ll notice we’ve been twisting in circles to avoid using the phrase ‘free phone’too much. That’s because it isn’t. You’ll usually pay more than the value of your handset over the course of your contract.
  • Long contracts - Contract lengths can be up to 24-months on these types of deal. That will be fine for some people, as it spreads the cost out, but it also means you won’t be able to change phone or switch to a better offer for quite some time.

What phones can I get at no upfront cost?

Plenty of phones are available at no upfront cost, including the priciest flagship handsets like iPhones and Samsung Galaxies. Naturally, the more expensive the phone, the more you'll pay each month.

Some of the phones available on no upfront cost contracts are:

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  1. If I switch, can I keep my mobile number?

    Yes you can. All you have to do is ask your old network for your Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) before your contract is up. Then give the PAC - likely a nine-digit number - to your new provider and you’ll usually be able to use your old number within a working day.

    For more info, see our guide: Can I keep my mobile number?

  2. How do I switch mobile contracts?

    First, pick a new mobile contract by comparing different packages on our site, and click through to sign up to one that looks good.

    Then, simply contact your current provider to cancel, and switch to the new contract. Providers should walk you through the process when you sign up.

    Compare mobile deals here

  3. Can I use my mobile phone abroad?

    It is possible to use your phone abroad, but before you can do so you may have to activate roaming with your network operator. Different countries incur different charges, but your operator should send you a message about roaming prices upon your arrival. And remember, unlike at home, you may be charged for receiving calls as well as making them.

    If you're travelling within the EU, you can use your usual monthly allowance at no extra cost - whatever network you're with.

    See our guide to using your phone abroad for more info.

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