Best mobile phone deals in December 2023

Stack of mobile phones

Looking for advice and tips on how to secure the best mobile phone deal? Look no further, as we have all the details and insider info to help you get the best value plan when you’re shopping for a new smartphone. 

Whether you want the latest iPhone 15 or Google Pixel 8, an older iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, or if you’re not sure and just want to see the lay of the land, we’ve got you covered. So keep reading as we dive into the facts that play into finding the best mobile phone deals to suit your needs.

Or, if you’re happy with your current handset, take a look at our best SIM only deals to see if you can save money.

How do I know I’m getting a good mobile phone deal?

The secrets to getting a good mobile phone deal aren’t very tricky to decipher. As long as you keep a few key factors in mind you should be able to get a great-value phone plan you’re happy with in no time. 

  • Think about what phone you want: First of all, think about what phone you want as part of your deal. The latest flagship smartphones like the iPhone 15 range, Samsung Galaxy S23 and Google Pixel 8 are certainly the most attractive. But they’ll be on the higher end of the price range.
  • Budget: A mobile phone deal is usually a pay monthly contract spanning 12 months at the very least (but more likely to be 24 months or even 36). So you’ll need to establish a monthly cost that you’re comfortable with adding to your outgoings. 
  • Mobile provider rewards: Think about what you want from your plan. Big networks like Vodafone and O2 usually include rewards and extras with their bundles. These can include high street freebies, streaming service subscriptions and priority tickets for A-list events. But you might find the monthly cost is higher than a smaller network.

On the flipside, those smaller networks tend to stick to no-frills service. So, while you could pay less, you won’t get flashy extras.

Once you’ve got a decent idea of what you’re looking for, the next step is to start comparing deals.

The worst thing you could do is take the first deal you find, so make a shortlist of a few offers across networks and phones. Then you can work out which looks to be the best value. 


Which smartphone should I choose?

So you’ve decided to get a new mobile phone deal, but which smartphone should you choose? There’s plenty of choice out there regardless of your Android or iOS loyalty. Let’s take a look at the major players on the scene:

Apple iPhone

iPhone 13 and 13 Mini lineup

Apple’s iPhone line is the most iconic smartphone in the world. Its fanfare, stylish design, ease of use and excellent features made it a global tech sensation from the first day it was released. 

Since the early days, iPhones have gone from strength to strength. And there’s no doubting the fact that each new release is the biggest event on the tech calendar.

If you want to have the best smartphone tech in a fashionable device that will keep you at the front of the trends, an iPhone is for you. 

The iPhone 15 range is the latest batch, and it consists of the:

As you can imagine, iPhones don’t come cheap. But if you want to save money, you don’t have to get the latest model.

Apple’s tech is so good, that even iPhones from several years back are still premium devices that are more than adequate for most smartphone users. So if you don’t want to splash out on an iPhone 15 an iPhone 14, iPhone 13, or iPhone 12 could be ideal. For an even cheaper option check out the iPhone SE

Samsung Galaxy

Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus

Samsung makes some of the greatest smartphones available. And its Galaxy line of handsets is the market leader of the Android world. Similar to Apple, the tech titan from Korea releases a new flagship phone every year with amazing screens and cameras. Additionally, it offers a number of affordable and mid-range smartphones along with several innovative foldable phones.

The latest greatest device on offer from the brand is the Samsung Galaxy S23, Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra range. You’ll find the costs are on par with Apple flagships. But similarly, you can always go for an older range if you don’t want to spend at the top end. So check out the Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus, and Galaxy S22 Ultra if that applies to you.

If you like the sound of an eye-catching flip phone, take a look at the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Google Pixel

Google Pixel 8 deals image in black, grey and pink

The Android OS powers Google’s Pixel phones. And since Google develops both the devices and the operating system, Pixel users get the most authentic Android interface available. The majority of other manufacturers adapt the Android OS to fit their device.

Even with their premium specifications, Pixel phones are among the most reasonably priced flagship models available. The Pixel 8 range launched with the Pixel 8 Pro boasting a larger screen, a larger battery, and greater power than the regular Google Pixel 8. There is also Google Pixel 7 if you don’t want a brand-new model. 

Apple, Samsung and Google are the most well-known smartphone brands. But there are plenty of other manufacturers out there too, like OPPO, OnePlus and Sony. 

Which mobile network is best?

Once you’ve chosen the phone you’d like to buy, you’ll need to choose a network to join on a pay monthly plan. But which mobile network is best for you? Well, that will come down to what you’re looking for in a pay monthly plan. You can choose from any of the following:

Three, O2, EE and Vodafone are the Big 4 networks in the United Kingdom. They each manage and operate their own network. Smaller networks (like giffgaff, iD Mobile, SMARTY, and VOXI) operate their services by ‘piggybacking’ onto a Big 4 and using their existing infrastructure (coverage and speed).

Each network offers different benefits and features, as you might expect. For instance, O2 is renowned for offering an assortment of entertainment benefits like exclusive event tickets. Meanwhile, Vodafone is famed for its rewards scheme that offers freebies and discounts at high-street shops.

On the other hand, smaller networks like Smarty and iD Mobile are more focused on low-cost contracts with minimal extras (which is how they keep their costs down). So if you’re not fussed about additional bonuses and benefits, these networks could be a good option. Remember, there won’t be a compromise on the quality of service.

If you’re a regular overseas traveller, you should also check your chosen network’s roaming policy. Most UK networks (apart from O2) have brought roaming charges back in the aftermath of Brexit. But rates differ across the providers so it’s best to consult their terms of use if that’s an important feature for you.

Ultimately, the best network comes down to what most fits your needs. The best thing to do is compare deals across a range of providers until you settle on a plan mobile phone deal that ticks all your boxes.

What are the main benefits of a pay monthly phone contract?

The primary benefit of signing up for a pay-monthly mobile plan is that you can spread the price of an expensive new smartphone over the duration of a long-term contract.

New phones, particularly flagships, have a high initial cost, with premium devices like the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra costing over £1000 SIM free.

Although a pay monthly smartphone contract is usually a tad costlier in the long run, the crucial thing is that it breaks down that hefty expense into smaller monthly payments. Which is much more doable for the majority of people.

It is also quite convenient. Simply start a direct debit and your bill will be automatically paid every month. So there’s no need to worry about topping up your credit or anything like that. 

Pay monthly mobile phone contracts from major networks also frequently include incentives and freebies. These can include discounts from high street brands and free access to streaming services. 

How can I find the best phone contract?

Start by thinking about how you are currently using your phone. For instance, do you typically mainly use Wi-Fi when you’re on the go or are you a heavy data user who gets through a lot of mobile data every month?

Do you simply read your messages and emails while on the move? Or maybe you also stream music or TV shows too?

It’s also critical to consider your monthly payment threshold. That includes the monthly contract fee as well as any possible up-front charges for the smartphone. 

You should also think about which network is best for you with regards to coverage, 5G availability and extras. 

So to sum it up, finding the best deal comes down to matching up the following points to your requirements: 

  • Allowances for calls, texts, and data
  • Monthly expenses and initial costs
  • Network coverage and 5G infrastructure

Once you’ve got that nailed down, you’re ready to start comparing deals. This is the best way to scope out the market and ensure you’re getting the best possible deal that’s available. 

How do pay monthly phone contracts work?

Pay monthly phone contracts are pretty self-explanatory. You simply choose a mobile phone bundle that comes with an allocation of data, calls and texts at a price point that suits your budget. 

You’ll then pay an agreed fee every month over the duration of the contract (usually between 12-36 months depending on your deal). The amount of data you get will differ across plans, but you’ll almost always get unlimited calls and texts. 

Can I keep my old phone number?

Switching to a different mobile contract? Want to hold onto your existing phone number? The good news is that a simple PAC code is all you need to transfer your number over to your new handset in a few easy steps. This is how to get the code:

Text the word “PAC” to 65075, and your PAC code will swiftly be returned in a message.

Then, when you start the process of getting a new deal, just provide your new network with your PAC code.

The network will then ensure your old number is loaded onto your new SIM card and you’ll be ready to use your new phone hassle-free.

How much should I pay for a mobile phone deal?

This is entirely down to you. There’s no hard and fast rule on how much a mobile phone deal costs as the price is usually led by the smartphone that’s included with the bundle and how much data you want.

Generally speaking, the newer the phone and the more data you want, the more expensive the deal. The best way of working out how much you should pay is establishing your monthly budget and then matching it to a deal that has a phone and data allocation that works for you. 

What’s the difference between a contract plan and a SIM only deal?

The big difference between a pay monthly contract plan and a SIM only deal is that you don’t get a mobile phone as part of a SIM only deal. You simply get an allocation of data, calls and text that you can use each month – provided you already have a mobile phone (or are buying one). 

SIM only deals aren’t suitable if you want to get a smartphone and data bundle package. But they are great for people who have a phone they’re happy to continue using that was either bought outright or has had its contract paid off.