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Best mobile phone deals and contracts in the UK for March 2021

mobile phone deals
(Image credit: Future)

Mobile phone deals are one of those big investments we have to make sometimes, forking out either on a SIM-free handset or an all-in long contract so when you pile all of that money in, you want to know you're getting the right choice for you.

Which mobile phone deals are best?

- Best for Apple: iPhone 12
- Best for Android: Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
- Best for camera performance: Google Pixel 5
- Best for Apple on a budget: iPhone SE
- Best high-end performance on a budget: OnePlus 8
- Most powerful phone: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra / iPhone 12 Pro Max

So when you're choosing, what should you look for? What kind of price is acceptable and do you really need a flagship? These are all questions we look to answer in this dedicated guide.

For those that already know what device they want, this will be easy! Simply scroll down to the charts below to see the best mobile phone deals and contracts in the UK right now.

Still unsure, left in a daze trying to decipher the lingo of phones? That's where we come in. In this guide, we've broken down data caps, network privileges and other factors you need to consider.

And if you're in the position where you know you want one of the big three handsets, we have some dedicated guides to help out there. Head straight to our iPhone deals guide, Huawei phone deals or our Samsung phone deals for a more detailed look.

Compare iPhone deals:

For most people, Apple will be the obvious number one choice for a new phone. It reigns supreme as the UK's most popular option even with its higher than average prices!

And the good news for those interested in Apple is that there is actually a very diverse range of options right now. The recent introduction of Apple's new iPhone SE brought with it some exceptionally low prices to rival Android, while keeping some high-end specs.

Other popular choices include the iPhone 11 thanks to its blend of affordability and market-leading features or for the true big-spenders, the iPhone 11 Pro Max - Apple's priciest and best phone yet.

iPhone 12 deals / iPhone 12 Mini deals
Apple's latest and greatest is here! Bringing with it 5G connections, a brand new processor and smart upgrades to the camera, the iPhone 12 is all-round the best iteration of the iPhone. It even throws in clever new tricks like magnetic connections while wirelessly charging.

iPhone 12 Pro deals / iPhone 12 Pro Max deals
While the iPhone 12 and Mini are certainly impressive, for some even better specs will be needed. Go for the iPhone 12 Pro or Pro Max and you'll receive an additional camera lens and a huge boost in a number of key areas like battery life and screen size. Overall, these are Apple's two most powerful smartphones.

iPhone SE deals
Apple's latest cheap phone, the iPhone SE is the 2nd generation of Apple's cheap device. It brings a lot of impressive specs from 2020 including Apple's A13 Bionic chip, 4K video, portrait mode and a lot more. However, alongside this it manages to massively drop the price thanks to the iPhone 8 design.

iPhone 11 deals
The cheapest of Apple's ex-flagship trio, the iPhone 11 is an excellent phone to go for. It sports a dual camera set-up, an ultra fast CPU, IP68 rating and a 3110mAh battery and that's not even scratching the surface of what this phone can offer! And even more impressive, it comes in at a lower RRP than the iPhone XR.

iPhone 11 Pro deals / iPhone 11 Pro Max deals
Along with the iPhone 11, we also got two other devices - the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Pro Max blends some impressive features with a (relatively) affordable price. You get a triple camera setup, a beefy 3190mAh battery and a host of other features. Or, for a slightly larger spend, you can get the iPhone 11 Pro.

iPhone XR deals
Along with the iPhone 11, we also got two other devices - the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Pro Max blends some impressive features with a (relatively) affordable price. You get a triple camera setup, a beefy 3190mAh battery and a host of other features. Or, for a slightly larger spend, you can get the iPhone 11 Pro.

iPhone XS deals / iPhone XS Max deals
The iPhone X was a massive leap for Apple so the iPhone XS didn't have to change much to impress. It made tweaks to the camera technology, added an extra 1GB of RAM and introduces a mighty 512GB storage model. Perhaps the 6.5-inch Max model is more exciting, especially considering how much it has come down in cost.

Compare Samsung phone deals:

Apple might be the most popular but when it comes to Android, no one is beating Samsung. The brand has gone from strength to strength in recent years and it's new S20 range is proof that Samsung is doing great things right now.

Where Samsung really shines is in the massive amount of choices it offers. For those with no budget, the S20 range or soon to be released Note 20 range will offer top of the line specs.

But Samsung also has its more affordable 'A' range including the A71, A51 and A80. Or if you don't mind falling back a year or two, the S10, S10 Plus and even S9 offer some excellent prices these days.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE deals
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is the latest addition to the S20 range. It brings the range way down in price, bringing affordable specs to Samsung's top devices. You get most of the key specs of the other devices but at a far lower price.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra deals
Samsung's latest and greatest Note device, the Note 20 Ultra lines up perfectly to compete with both the S20 Ultra and Apple's iPhone 11 Pro Max. While it is extremely expensive, it is easily one of the market's best smartphones, hitting all of the big specs, wielding a stylus and going all out on cameras.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 deals
While the Note 20 Ultra is an incredible device, it has a price tag that really reflects that. With that in mind, the Note 20 is the perfect solution. Yes, it is by no means as powerful and in fact falls short in a few areas like with its lack of a curved display and the lower quality resolution but all round, this feels like a high-performing handset.

Samsung Galaxy S20 deals / Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus deals
Samsung's latest launch, the Galaxy S20 is the more affordable of the new trio. While it has a smaller battery than the Ultra or Plus, coming in at 4000mAh, it doesn't lag behind in most other areas. The same 5G compatibility, similar triple camera lens set-ups and the same processor/12GB Ram combo, you're even still getting that 120Hz display

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra deals
It's got an over-the-top name and a massive price tag to match but the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra currently represents one of the most powerful phones on the market. Whether it's because of the massive battery, decked-out processor or the incredible camera abilities, if you can stomach the price, it doesn't get much better than this.

Samsung Galaxy A71 deals
A lot of things about this phone are similar to last year's A70, it has just been refined. Most importantly, the camera set-up has been given a complete rejig, now landing you 4 lenses...yes, 4 lenses just on the back of the phone. That's alongside the high definition screen, hefty battery and surprisingly powerful processor all for a low price.

Samsung Galaxy A51 deals
This really is a lot like the A71 above, just cheaper. There's once again an impressive over-haul of the camera set-up, an improvement to battery life, screen quality and resolution. And, of course most importantly the smallest pin-hole camera Samsung has done yet...

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 deals
The latest Note device - the Samsung Galaxy Note 10. This impressive work horse phone packs in the full use of Samsung's S pen, a giant battery and a powerful processor. A quick glance through this device's specs show it is aimed at the gamers, creatives and power users of the phone world.

Samsung Galaxy S10 deals / Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus deals
Samsung's Galaxy S10 has fallen a year behind with the new Galaxy S20 devices holding Samsung's flagship position. It offers an excellent all-round performance, some tremendous specs and even a top-of-the-range camera. And the plus side of the Samsung Galaxy S10 right now is that due to its age, it has come way down in price recently.

Samsung Galaxy A80 deals
With all of the 'S' series devices Samsung makes, it is easy to forget about all of the excellent 'A' devices out there. Most recently, the A80 - a device that mixes affordability with specs to bring you perfect mobile phone deals. For a more affordable, high-end Samsung, look no further.

Compare Huawei phone deals:

Huawei really tripped and fell into 2020, getting hit by the Google ban, restrictions on 5G and more. And yet, despite all of these barriers, Huawei still manages to offer some awesome devices.

The brand's latest devices - the Huawei P40 and P40 Pro - have no access to the Google apps but offer some of the best specs around right now.

Fall back to the year before and the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro now have much lower prices to pay while still going big on features. And the even better news, they still have access to Google's apps and features.

Huawei P40 Pro deals
Huawei's latest and greatest device, the Huawei P40 and P40 Pro are some of the best handsets out there right now. It offers an excellent camera, powerful processor and battery and a whole collection of other specs to match Samsung and Apple's best.

The only issue with the Huawei P40 is its lack of access to the Google apps. You can't use YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail or another of other similar apps owned by the Android creators.

Huawei P30 deals / Huawei P30 Pro deals
No longer the newest option from Huawei, the P30 Pro now sits a year behind in Huawei's line up. However, despite this it is still the best option from the brand. It costs less than the P40, it offers pretty similar specs and most importantly still offers access to Google's apps.

The P30 is the younger brother to the P30 Pro and while it takes a bit of a dive in terms of features, cutting out the likes of wireless charging and dropping down to water resistant instead of water-proof, the massive drop in cost makes it worthwhile. It still has all of the brilliant features of the P30 Pro, like 30x zoom and a massive battery but without the blinding price tag.

Huawei P30 Lite deals
The Huawei P30 and P30 Pro a little bit too expensive? Consider the P30 Lite as a more affordable phone deal. Almost halving the overall, the P30 Lite is a cut down version of the companies most recent run of phones. You still get the triple camera set up and tonnes of internal storage but lose out on a few other features like a big battery and in-screen fingerprint.

Compare Google, OnePlus, Oppo and more:

While Apple, Samsung and Huawei are the three big names everyone thinks of when it comes to phones, there are loads of other excellent brands out there to consider.

OnePlus and Google have been doing big things recently, bringing the competition to Apple and Samsung. Google continues to have one of the best camera performances on the market, while OnePlus has quickly rocketed up the list with awesome screens, battery lives, cameras and even low prices.

Looking past those two, the likes of Oppo, Xiaomi, Sony and Motorola have been hiding in the background, offering flagships and budget devices alike.

Google Pixel 5 deals
The Google Pixel 5 is Google's best device yet. It offers an awesome camera performance, high-end processor, improved battery life and a host of other impressive features. In essence, it takes all of Google's best features and sorts its issues.

Google Pixel 4 deals
After Google managed to win the public over with three generations of top camera phones, hopes were high for the Google Pixel 4. For those wanting a camera phone to compete with the best out there, this will be the way to go. It will be no surprise to hear that this is Google's best phone yet.

Google Pixel 4a deals
The Google Pixel 4a is the latest device from Google, providing high-end camera specs at a bargain price point. While it doesn't provide all of the high-end specs of a flagship, it does go big on camera performance and brings with it Google's clean Android experience.

Google Pixel 3 deals
The Google Pixel 3 has now been replaced by the Google Pixel 4. Despite this, there is still a lot of great offers to be had on this older phone. It can provide you with a truly incredible camera performance without costing you all that much. However, in a lot of other categories, the Google Pixel 3 does struggle like with a weaker battery and processor.

Google Pixel 3a deals
If the Google Pixel 3 or 4 above were just a little bit too expensive, the brand new Google Pixel 3a series is a cheaper alternative. You're still getting the high-end camera quality but the price is cut way down. Although with that price cut you are losing out on a few features like wireless charging.

OnePlus Nord deals
With this recent launch, OnePlus joined the world of cheap phones. It comes at more than half the cost of most flagships these days while providing some truly high-end specs and features. You're getting a stylish design, a powerful processor, strong camera performance and a whole lot more.

OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro deals
The latest devices from the brand, the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro are the ideal option to compete with the likes of Samsung, Apple and Google flagships. It features an impressive camera, a high-end display and with both models, a 90Hz refresh rate. If you go for a contract though, you will only be able to get it with Three.

OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro deals
The OnePlus 7T and the larger and more powerful 7T Pro are perfect for those who want powerful devices...but aren't all too interested in the flagship prices they carry. These handsets aren't going to be as strong as the above OnePlus 8 but they will certainly hit all of the marks you're looking for with strong specs in the camera, battery, processor and more.

SIM only deals and SIM-free mobile phones:

What is a SIM only deal?

Sometimes, you don't really want a phone contract. Maybe it's too long, maybe you've found an offer somewhere that makes it cheaper to buy just the handset or, maybe your existing contract has finished and you're not ready to say goodbye to your old device yet.

In this case, you can simply get the SIM on its own. With SIM only deals, you can either get one on a pay as you go basis (not advisable unless you rarely use the internet or calls/text) or get a contract.

When you get a SIM plan, you are simply maybe a much lower monthly fee for just your calls, texts and data. These can be on 1-month rolling contracts, 12 months or even 24 months.

Much like phone contracts, there are a lot of different providers who offer SIM plans but some of the best are:

How do SIM-free phones work?

A SIM-free mobile phone is exactly as the name suggests - a phone lacking a SIM. Buying a SIM-free device is in most cases cheaper than getting a phone contract but it does require a large upfront spend.

That's because you're paying the full price of the handset upfront. Then you can simply buy a SIM plan or put in one you already have. In almost all cases, this is the cheapest option as long as the upfront cost isn't too hard-hitting for you.

How do I go about selling my old phone?

When it comes to investing in a new phone contract, you'll want as much cash backing you as you can and that's where selling your old phone comes in handy. But where can you sell it and how much can you get for an old phone?

As far as phone recycling services go, SellMyMobile is one of the best. It brings in a collection of phone recycling services so you can compare a host of prices. It brings in TrustPilot scores, amount of days until you'll get paid and more.

We have a full guide on how to sell your phone if you want to find out more.

How to switch phones and keep your number:

mobile phone deals

Text to switch: can I keep my mobile phone number when I change contracts?

For the longest time, it has been a massive pain to switch your number. This required calling your network and having a tedious chat about PAC codes. Now, thanks to a new ruling from OFCOM, you can simply text to get your PAC code. 

The new Text to switch feature means you can simply send a free text with the word 'PAC' to 65075. Your provider will then need to reply within a minute, sending you a PAC code that will last for 30 days.

The response sent to you must also include information about any early termination fees or pay-as-you-go credit balances. You can then give your PAC code to the new network you're joining. 

You can now also text 'INFO' to 85075 to get information about your contract. This includes what charges you might need to pay or if you can end your contract early.

You can now also request your new PAC code via your online account with your network. Like the texting option, your network must respond within a minute. If you have more than one number linked to your account (e.g family accounts) you must request your PAC online. 

Networks, data caps and storage sizes: what's best?

What phone network is the best for my new mobile phone deal?

Each phone network has it's own advantages and disadvantages, there isn't necessarily a wrong choice it just depends on what's most important to you. Whether that be free rewards, good signal, cheap prices or good roaming options. Loyalty may be an admirable trait but we advise going for the phone network which has the best deal on the device you're looking for, you can't go too wrong no matter which network it is. 

mobile phone deals

Nobody else can come close to EE's 4G speeds in the UK. So if you rely on fast internet while away from WI-Fi, then an EE phone deal is the obvious choice. Plus, EE gives you three free months of BT Sport (or more if you get a Max plan) when you sign up, as well as six months of Apple Music. The EE coverage checker will confirm how strong it is where you live.  

If you've been holding out for the 5G phone revolution it looks like it has finally arrived and EE is at the forefront, offering a host of 5G SIM only deals.

mobile phone deals

mobile phone deals

The biggest lure to O2 is the network's Priority rewards. From 2-4-1 dinners and free coffees to first refusal on big gig tickets, O2 is the network for regular goodies. Plus, they have 1,000s of Wi-Fi hotspots in shops and cafes that you can connect to. Use the O2 coverage checker to see whether you'll be able to access 4G and then decide if an O2 phone deal is for you.  

mobile phone deals

mobile phone deals

Good news for jet-setters - with a Vodafone phone deal, you can use your data, calls and texts allowances in 50 countries around the world without charge (except on its Basics tariffs). But things really start to get good when you splash out on its bigger Red Entertainment data plans, as Vodafone will give you your choice of a NOW TV Entertainment Pass, Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile subscription. Click to check if Vodafone covers your home

Vodafone now offers unlimited data SIM only deals and 5G enabled SIMs, giving competition to both EE and Three on their respective niches.

mobile phone deals

mobile phone deals

Three remains the king of the big data mobile phone deals, and still the only one of the big four networks to offer unlimited, uncapped, all-you-can-eat delicious data. We also like that with a Three phone deal you can use 4G to make calls and texts via the dedicated Three inTouch app, and you can connect to Wi-Fi in the London Underground if you ever find yourself in the capital. Its Wuntu app gives weekly perks, too. But 4G coverage isn't as strong as the other networks - check whether your postcode is covered with the Three coverage checker.  

mobile phone deals

How much data do I need for my phone deal?

  • 1GB Some networks offer 500MB plans, but realistically we think you should get at least 1GB. It won't be much more expensive (if at all) and will afford you a little bit of Google Mapping, WhatsApping and emailing when you need them.
  • 2-3GB If you like to scroll through your social media feeds and emails while out and about without fear of extra cash to pay on your monthly bill, then up your data.
  • 4-8GB The likes of Spotify and Apple Music have promised us all our favourite tunes wherever we roam. Kit yourself out with a bit more data and you'll have plenty for music streaming and the occasional video, too.
    10-16GB This should be more than enough for most users. Loads of data for streaming music, downloading podcasts and enjoying social media videos. Because there's no such thing as too many cats falling into bins.
  • 20-30GB Big data for the big phone user. Perfect for watching Netflix videos, downloading content and streaming loads of music. And these plans often have extra freebies thrown in, too.
  • Unlimited once a luxury that only the Three network could offer, all four networks now offer unlimited data. However, Three and Vodafone tend to have the best prices if you're looking at contracts.

mobile phone deals

mobile phone deals

How much memory do I need on my phone?

You're likely to be one of two kinds of person:

Person 1: You like all your photos, music, downloads and other media to be saved directly on to your phone. If that sounds like you, 16GB or 32GB handsets may not be enough and you should use our comparison chart to find the most affordable 64GB, 128GB or 256GB models.

Person 2: You're a stream demon. You've got subscriptions to Spotify and Netflix and you save all your Word docs and snaps into the cloud. Save your money and go for a cheaper, lower memory handset.

OK person 3, calm down - you fall somewhere between the two, right? If you can afford to get a smartphone with more memory, that is probably safest. But don't forget that most phones do allow you to insert an additional SD card if you run out of space - most phones apart from iPhones, that is.

So there you have it - we hope that you're now fully prepared to go ahead and finally commit to one of the UK's best mobile phone deals. Now you're equipped with all the information, you can head back to the top of this page and narrow down the deal for you.

iPhone SE deals
Apple's latest release, the iPhone SE is the 2nd generation of Apple's cheap device. It brings a lot of impressive specs from 2020 including Apple's A13 Bionic chip, 4K video, portrait mode and a lot more. However, alongside this it manages to massively drop the price thanks to the iPhone 8 design.