One of the main issues with the latest generation of mobiles is how expensive they have become, with flagship handsets from Apple and Samsung priced at £600 or more and contracts from major providers can coming in at as much as £50 per month.
If all you need is a simple device to take away this summer or you only plan to skim emails, WhatsApp and texts on your device you may not need the latest smartphone with a powerful processor.
You can still get a great device for less than you might think, no matter how hard your network pushes you to pick up the latest model. Here are some of the best budget smartphones you can get in September for the best cheapest rates.
Cheap mobile phone deals for September
Nokia 3310: £79.99 upfront (for 12 months at equivalent £6.66 per month) with 100MB, 300 minutes and unlimited texts with Virgin Mobile.
Samsung J3: £10.00 per month with 500MB of data, 300 minutes and unlimited texts with Three.
Nokia 3: £12.00 per month with 500MB of data, 500 minutes and 5,000 texts with Tesco Mobile.
Sony Xperia XA1: £13.99 per month with 300 minutes, 5,000 texts and 500MB of data with iD.
Moto G5:£14.50 per month with 500MB of data, 500 minutes and 5,000 texts with Tesco Mobile.
iPhone SE: £16.99 per month with 1GB of data, 600 minutes and 5,000 texts from iD.
Great SIM only deals this month include Three’s £9 per month deal for 4GB of data.
iD: 1.5GB of data with 250 minutes and 5,000 texts from £5 per month.
Sky:500MB data with unlimited minutes and texts from £5 per month.
Virgin: 600MB with 300 minutes and unlimited texts from £6 per month.
Plusnet: 3GB of data, 500 minutes and unlimited texts from £8 per month.
Three: 4GB of data with all you can eat minutes and texts from £9 per month.
Three: 8GB of data with all you can 600 minutes and unlimited texts from £15 per month.
Vodafone:16GB of data with unlimited calls and texts with Spotify, Sky Sports and NowTV for £19 per month.
GiffGaff:Unlimited data with unlimited calls and text from £20 per month.
EE: 10GB of data with unlimited minutes and texts from £20 per month.
Where can I find the cheapest mobile phone contracts?
If you want a bargain mobile phone deal you either want to pick up a cheap SIM-free phone and then add in a cut-price SIM card, or you can turn to a budget phone provider such as Carphone Warehouse and other sites such as Mobiles.co.uk.
Retailers like these often have exclusive network deals that are not advertised by the major providers or marketed on their websites. Tesco Mobile also has many great offers on bargain phones and uses O2’s network for solid coverage.
While many leading network deals offer huge amounts of data such as 25GB or more, you may not need this much. Careful use with Wi-Fi networks can keep usage down and budget contracts can serve fine for those who prefer to save.
What should you look for in a mobile phone contract?
Minutes: Many mobile phone deals come with unlimited calls and texts, but make sure you check as some cheaper deals have limited minutes.
Data: If your only data usage is rarely checking emails you may need as little as 1GB of data. Many people will require 2GB, but some budget offerings may only offer 500MB.
Roaming charges: From this summer, the EU is cracking down on roaming charges, meaning you will be charged the same in any EU country as you would in the UK. Some providers offer global roaming, which provides better international rates across continents.
Benefits: Mobile networks often include added perks in their packages, such as discount cinema tickets or priority for music events. O2 Priority offers tickets, entertainment and food discounts, EE has six months of Apple Music, while with some Vodafone deals you can get discounted access to apps such as Spotify.
Cashback deals: Some third party providers use cashback offers to cut monthly phone bills. This requires the buyer to claim back some of their money in several installments across the life of the contract to secure a lower price.
All the budget deals we pick are under £20 per month and most come with a free handset. These may be a little light on data and minutes, so we have added in some other cheap rates if you need it more.
Small phones are still some of Apple’s best sellers, and if you want one with plenty of power then the 4-inch iPhone SE is available in some fantastic deals at just over a year old. It also has 64GB of storage, compared to the 16GB in the 5s, giving you plenty of capacity in a first rate phone. For nothing upfront you can get this iPhone with 1GB of data, 600 minutes and 5,000 texts from iD.
Nokia has made a return to the smartphone game in 2017 with the Nokia 3, a budget model aiming to punch a hole in the mid-market, although these new models are now licensed to manufacturer HMD Global. The Nokia 3 is a capable low-cost model with a 5-inch screen, 16GB of storage and an 8MP camera thrown in. Right now, it is available in four colours in the UK including black, blue, white and copper following its release on July 12. You can find one with Tesco Mobile for £12.00 per month with 1GB of data with unlimited calls and texts.
The most basic Samsung you can buy, the J3 is not going to compete with the latest Samsung Galaxy phones but is more than capable of holding its own in the budget market. With a 5-inch HD display, an 8MP camera and all day battery life it will meet the needs of those who just need a simple Android device. One of the cheapest deals around is with Three, who now offer the Samsung J3 for £10.00 per month with 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data.
Motorola’s smartphones are some of the best value buys out there while sporting great specs. This model includes 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It’s front and rear mounted cameras are reasonable, with a 13 megapixel rear facing camera. The G5 Plus includes a larger 5.2-inch screen and comes with 4GB of RAM. One of the best budget deals currently around is from Tesco Mobile, which sees the Moto G 5 available for just £14.50 per month with 500 minutes, 5,000 texts and 500MB of data.
Sony’s 2017 range of budget smartphones have some of the best cameras at this price point. With a 23MP camera it will take highly detailed pictures and features a 5-inch display. You can pick up this phone for a bargain with several of the major providers. The best bargain we found was with iD for £13.99 per month with 500MB of data, 300 minutes and 5,000 texts.
These smartphones from British tech upstart Wileyfox are a great budget buy. With a 5-inch HD screen, a 13-megapixel rear-facing Samsung camera and 5-megapixel selfie one, 16GB of storage and a removable battery it is a quality budget buy. It is not available with any network in the UK so you will have to buy your handset outright, but since you can pick up a SIM only deal for just £5 per month with Sky Mobile or iD it still represents a bargain.
The legendary Nokia 3310 is back. If you just need a simple device that will fill you with plenty of nostalgia you can pick up this classic model, although it is only available from a few sellers in the UK and mostly comes SIM-free. With up to a month of battery life, and now featuring a camera, you can buy the Nokia 3310 for £49.99 from Carphone Warehouse.