How Much Is an iPhone 4S Going to Hurt My Wallet?

By Sam Gibbs on at

iPhone 4S pre-orders and prices are trickling in for most of the UK networks so it's that time again -- trawl through the networks, compare the costs, do the calculations and finally, hopefully, discover that yes, your pay-cheque will cover it.

Needless to say, whatever you go for, the iPhone 4S is going to set you back a pretty penny, but here's the latest at the time of writing. Brace yourselves, this is where it gets ugly.



You're stuck with 24 month contracts from Orange right now Orange have 24-month contracts ranging from £20-61 per month. The iPhone 4S ranges from £519.99 to free depending on your tariff and model.

For instance the iPhone 4S 16GB is going to set you back £309.99 on the £20 per month contract, which comes with just 50 minutes and texts, and only 100MB of data -- unless you practically don't use the thing, certainly not worth getting.

More useful tariffs in the middle range, £36 a month, nets you an iPhone 4S 16GB for £99.99 with 600 minutes, 'unlimited texts', and 500MB of data. To get a free iPhone 4S you're going to have to push your tariff to £46 a month. The 32GB iPhone 4S demands a significant premium on all tariffs over the 16GB model, but is still available free on a £61 a month contract. As for the 64GB version it's a case of, if you have to ask you probably can't afford it, unfortunately.

Although Orange has yet to publish its 18-month tariffs and pricing, it has a handy-dandy table of the various 24-month tariffs, price points and models, so if you're an Orange fan, get yourself over there now and register your interest.



Like its brother Orange, T-mobile's only showing 24-month contracts right now, whether that'll change later is unknown. Anyway, what's the damage?

The iPhone 4S 16GB starts from £239.99 on a £25.54 a month contract, which nets you 100 minutes and texts, 500MB data, plus a 'Flexible Booster' addon, which can be used for unlimited texts or various call options.

To get one free you're going to have to pony up for the £45.96 per month tariff, which gets you 1200 minutes, 500 texts and 750MB of data, as well as the same addon options as above. The 32GB iPhone 4S is going to cost you £379.99 on the lowest tariff, but is still available free if you're willing to fork out £61.27 a month. The top-of-the-line 64GB version is going to set you back between £449.99 and £99.99, so whichever way you look at it, it's a pricey proposition.



Rather oddly -- must be something to do with available stock -- Three only has the 32GB and 64GB variants available for pre-order online, with the 16GB iPhone 4S only available in stores.

All contracts are 24 months with online prices for the 32GB ranging from £219 on a £30 a month contract to £139 on a £40 contract. The 64GB variant will set you back £309 on the lowest tariff reducing down to £229 for the highest available online contract.

If you're after unlimited data, Three still offers 'all-you-can-eat' data on their One Plan tariffs, so they're worth checking out if you're a heavy data user. Who knows how much data Siri's going to eat up with real world use.



Voda's got good news for those with an aversion to signing your life away for two years as they're offering  12, 18 and 24-month plans. Prices start at £319 for the 16GB iPhone 4S on their base-level tariff of £36 on a 12-monther, but can be had for £139 on a £51 12-month tariff. Bumping up to 18 months you get the iPhone 4S for £359 for £31 per month, but it's free for £51 per month. Signing up for 24 months nets you a free iPhone 4S for £46 per month.

If you're after the 32 or 64GB models they're available from £439 and £519 respectively. The 32GB can be had for free on a £62 24-month contract, where as the 64GB is not available for free at all on any length of contract.

Vodafone's got a nice little configurator system that shows you at a glance how much the latest iPhone will set you back.

Update: Vodafone has lowered some of their handset prices on their 18 and 24-month contracts as well as bundled the iPhone 4S into their Data Test Drive, so they might be worth looking at again if you haven't already plunked down your pre-order.


The bottom line

Right now, if you're averse to 24-month contract, Vodafone is your friend. If not you can pick up the 16GB iPhone 4S for as little as £45.96 on T-mobile with no upfront costs, which also benefits from 750MB of data, lots of texts and minutes and the support of the Orange network too. It's not a cheap proposition whichever way you slice it, and so it might be worth looking at ponying up the full £500 for the SIM-free iPhone 4S and sticking your own SIM in it. Three for instance have great PAYG plans with unlimited data with a £15, 30-day addon. Options, options, options.

Update: O2 have released their pricing (thanks Adam).


Nice to see O2 join the iPhone 4S party; better late than never.

The good news is that if you're an existing O2 customer you're not forced into staring down the barel of a 24-month contract, but if you do sign your life away for 2 years that tariffs start from as little as £15.50 a month for which you get 100 mins and 500 texts. You will have to shell-out £300 for a 16GB iPhone 4S and buy a data bolt-on that start at £3 for a paltry 100MB (but you can tether it!). O2's also allowing existing customers to save the £50 fee for the iPhone 4S on 900 minute contracts (£41 for 18-months).

For non-O2 customers, you're fixed to 18 or 24-month contracts. For 18-months of your mobile-life you get tariffs ranging from £21 to £62 with the 16GB variant of the iPhone 4S available for free on £46 per month and up. You can also grab yourself 32GB's of iPhone 4S for free if you're willing to shell out £62 a month, but that doesn't even include data.

O2's offerings are many and with three contract lengths to choose from there's meant to be something for everyone, so before you plunk down your pre-order, make sure you check out O2's options.

Update: Tesco Mobile's announced its iPhone 4S pricing; sent to us by Matt from Gadget Venue. Cheers!


Tesco Mobile

Traditionally one of the cheapest ways to get your hands on an iPhone, the MVNO has now unveiled its tariffs and stuck up a 'register your interest' form.

The good news is that Tesco has options for both 12 and 24-month contracts, which all come packing 1GB of data, 5000 texts and unlimited BT Openzone Wi-Fi access on your iPhone. Signing your life away for two years knocks off £100 from the cost of an iPhone 4S. Contracts range from £25 to £45 per month, with the 24-month £45 a month contract gifting you a free 16GB iPhone 4S.

Prices for the handsets themselves slide down from £495 for the 64GB variant on the lowest tariff, with the 16GB iPhone 4S costing you just £135 on a 24-month, £35 a month contract that gives you 750 mins worth of nattering.