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Refurbished mobile phone deals

Should I buy a refurbished phone?

We’re all familiar with refurbished living rooms and refurbished shops, but did you know you can refurbish a mobile phone too?

It doesn't involve tearing down the wallpaper and chucking some throw cushions around, but it can involve you saving money on your mobile plan. Here's how.

What is a refurbished phone?

You may also know them as refreshed or reconditioned phones. Put simply, a refurbished mobile phone once belonged to someone else, but has been restored to its factory settings and given a thorough check and repair.

There are all kinds of reasons why someone would have got rid of the phone, such as:

  • The phone had a fault and needed to be sent back (and it's now been fixed)
  • The owner upgraded to a new phone and recycled or sold their old one
  • The owner changed their mind a few days after buying the phone, and sent it back
  • It was a company phone which isn't needed any more

And so on.

Are refurbished phones any good?

Refurbished phones differ from 'used' or second-hand models in that they've been checked over and tested by an independent party. You're not just buying someone's used and scratched-up mobile - instead you'll get a phone which has been sent away, repaired, wiped clean, had its OS reinstalled from scratch, and thoroughly tested.

Nonetheless, some refurbished phones will certainly have a 'used' appearance, whether that's just a scratch or two or some more intense signs of wear.

Where can I get a refurbished iPhone or Android?

The short answer is that you can compare refurbished phones right here on broadbandchoices. Simply take a look at the results grid, and make sure that the 'Include Refurbished' filter is ticked. As for where those come from...

Cheap refurbished phones

The main advantage of a refurbished handset is the money you'll save by opting for one. Because it isn't fresh from a factory, you can get it a lot cheaper than a new model.

But that's just the start of your savings. Purchasing a phone outright means you'll need a SIM-only deal. These usually work out quite a bit cheaper than phone contracts overall, especially as you have more of a chance to upgrade, downgrade, or otherwise change your plan if you pick one with 30-day terms.

See our best SIM-only deals this month

Pros of refurbished phones

  • It's quite a bit cheaper
  • Plans are more flexible, since you can go SIM-only
  • It will have been thoroughly tested and should function as new
  • You'll have more control over which mobile network you choose
  • Recycling phones is better for the environment

Cons of refurbished phones

  • Refurbs can still have hardware problems and faulty parts
  • Their quality can really vary - you won't always know if you're getting a pristine handset or one covered in chips and scratches
  • Warranties and insurance aren't as clear-cut
  • Most available refurbished handsets are old models

Compare mobile deals


  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.

  4. What’s the difference between Android, iOS, and Windows Phone?

    The four main smartphone platforms are:

    Android: created by Google, this is the most used smartphone platform in the world. Different versions usually have food-based names - for example, Android 8.0 is known as Oreo. Apps are available from the Google Play Store. While the store is packed full of great apps, there’s less control over quality than Apple or Microsoft’s marketplaces.

    iOS: Apple’s iPhones and iPads use iOS as their operating system. It’s reliable and intuitive, but can’t really be customised. The App Store is home to thousands of programs, including games and productivity tools.

    Windows Phone: Based around constantly updating tiles and large icons, Microsoft’s platform is an impressively easy system to use. Apps are available to download from the Windows Phone Store. These days, very few mobiles run on the Windows Phone platform.