Best student phone deals for going back to school or university

We remember it as if it were yesterday, one of our favourite days of the year - the big back-to-school September shopping trip to WHSmith or Partners to stock up on a new leather pencil case, immaculate set of fineliners and yet another geometry set that you'll end up using roughly once all year.

And if you're off to university, you'll probably already have kitted yourself out with new bedding, kitchenware and washing-up bowl - the essential bit of kit for both keeping your dishes clean and catching late night vomit projectiles.

Unsurprisingly, mobile phones have become another must-have staple of campus and college halls. If you're in the market for a new mobile phone deal, we've picked out the best cheap handsets that would suit a student budget in our comparison tool.

Then, below that, we'll tell you about the phone discounts and offers available to students from retailers and networks - proof that there's more to your NUS card than getting an extra hamburger with your Extra Value Meal.

Best cheap phones for students

Let's face it, the money you get from your student loan or those shifts you're pulling at your local Co-op aren't quite going to afford you an iPhone 8. But that doesn't mean you have to end up with an old brick. Check out TechRadar's handy comparison tool to pick out an affordable new phone.

SIM only deals

We know it's nice to have new things, but if you're on a budget then sometimes you have to make do with old gadgets and hand-me-downs. Popping a new SIM card into an old phone is a really cost effective way of keeping in touch with your mates and family.

If you head to our best SIM only deals page, you'll see that monthly tariffs are available from as little as £4 per month - probably not much more than you'll pay for a pint these days at the students' union bar. Pop that in to an old unlocked phone off eBay or from our pick of the best SIM-free handsets and you're laughing.

Cheap phone deals from Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile has been heavily pushing its range of budget phone handsets in time for the new term. As well as excellent prices on cheap smartphones such as the Nokia 3, Samsung Galaxy J3 and Moto C.

And to shave off an extra £3 from your Tesco Mobile contract bill, you can install the Tesco Xtras app to your phone. You get a rather intrusive advert every time you open the home screen, but you might think the savings worth it. Plus, you can cap the bill to make sure you don't overspend on calls, texts and data each month.

Check out the latest phone deals from Tesco Mobile by clicking the link.

Cheap phone deals from giffgaff

Similar to Tesco, giffgaff is also focusing on offering low priced phone deals on handsets and contracts in the back-to-school buying season. It has boosted its £18 SIM only goodybag by 50% from 6GB to 9GB data. While also reducing the cost of cheaper handsets like the Huawei P10 and Sony Xperia X Compact, as well as pre-owned and refurbished handsets.

Check out giffgaff's phone deals here.

Adam Marshall

Adam was formerly the Content Director of Subscriptions and Services at Future, meaning that he oversaw many of the articles TechRadar produces about antivirus software, VPN, TV streaming, broadband and mobile phone contracts - from buying guides and deals news, to industry interest pieces and reviews. Adam has now dusted off his keyboard to write articles for the likes of TechRadar, T3 and Tom's Guide.