As Apple opens pre-orders for the iPhone 5C, we look at the best deals from O2, Vodafone, EE and Three.
Apple launched the colourful iPhone 5C alongside the flagship iPhone 5S earlier this week and while the iPhone 5S is not available to pre-order, the iPhone 5C can now be ordered in a variety of colours and configurations ahead of release on 20 September.
The reason for one of the new phones being available for pre-order and not the other has not been revealed officially by Apple, but it is likely due to the fact that the iPhone 5C is available in five different colours and with two storage options (16GB and 32GB). Therefore pre-orders will give Apple some idea of the number and type of units they should send to each of its retail stores.
The iPhone 5C is available on all major UK networks and will support the 4G networks offered by EE and Vodafone. O2's 4G network won't be supported at launch due to some technical difficulties, but the network believes this will be solved in "the coming weeks." It will also work on Three's 4G network whenever that is rolled out later this year.
If you are thinking of buying the iPhone 5C, then we've rounded-up the details of all the offers available from all networks, and of course from Apple itself.
(Note: All prices are for the 16GB iPhone 5C)
Still the most straight-forward way of getting your hands on an iPhone 5C is buying it direct from Apple. Unlike in the US where Apple sells the phone through its network partners, on the UK online Apple store you can only pre-order the phone if you buy it outright.
While this will set you back £469 for the 16GB model or £549 for the 32GB model, you won't be tied into any long-term contract. Currently all colours and configurations are still available for delivery on 20 September - when the phone goes on sale generally - but expect this to slip as pre-orders pour in.
Apple also offers you the chance to buy one of its official silicone cases for an additional £25 - available in seven colours.
Vodafone will be hoping that its 4G network, which is only available in London at the moment, will tempt iPhone 5C buyers to choose Vodafone as their operator. It is also offering some additional enticement with subscriptions to Spotify or Sky Sports Mobile TV as part of any Red 4G-ready plan.
The network is also offering all customers signing up to a 24-month 4G contract before 31 October an extra of 4GB of data every month for free. Unlimited calls and texts are included in all 4G contracts as standard.
In terms of cost, Vodafone is broadly in line with the other networks. If you live in London and want to take advantage of Vodafone's high-speed network, then you can get 6GB of data (if you sign up before 31 October), for £42-a-month with a £19 up-front cost.
Vodafone is also offering 12-month deals on 4G, with the same 6GB data allowance costing £52-a-month with a £229 up-front cost.
If you don't live in London then a 3G contract is probably all you want, but not you won't get access to Spotify or Sky Sports Mobile TV as a result.
The lowest monthly cost on a 24-month contract will be £29-a-month but you will be paying £149 up-front and only getting 250MB of data and 300 minutes of calls. A more realistic 3G contract would be the £37-a-month deal where you get unlimited calls and 1GB of data and will only pay £19 up-front.
As we said, O2 has hit a stumbling block with its 4G network certification by Apple and customers won't have access to its 4G network from the off - though considering that 4G network is currently only available in London, Leeds and Bradford this won't impact most customers.
O2 has a myriad of options available under its new Refresh tariffs, which allow you to change your phone at any time without having to sign a new contract (though you will have to make sure the cost of your phone is paid off). The tariff sees your monthly cost split between your voice, text and data allowance and the cost of the phone spread over the life of the contract.
On 3G, the cheapest tariff in terms of overall cost is a 24-month plan costing £32-a-month and £99 up-front, giving you unlimited voice and text and 1GB of data. The cheapest 3G deal in terms of monthly cost is just £12-a-month (unlimited voice and text; 750MB of data) but you will need to stump up £600 up-front.
In relation to 4G, the cheapest monthly cost would be £22-a-month (unlimited voice, unlimited text, 1GB data) but again this would involve paying £600 up-front. A better bet seems to the £37-a-month plan which gives you the same allowance but paying just £99 up-front.
Keeping the £99 up-front cost but boosting you data allowance to 8GB would see the monthly price jump to £47-a-month.
EE is now the biggest network in the UK, comprising of 27 million customers. It also has the most extensive 4G network, racking up one million subscribers in just 10 months and covering more than 100 towns and cities around the UK.
As you would expect it has a huge amount of 4G tariffs available for the iPhone 5C ranging from monthly costs of £26-a-month to £66-a-month.
For an up-front cost of £190 you will pay £26-a-month for unlimited calls and texts but just 500MB of data, which for a 4G contract is just not enough.
A more realistic tariff is the £36-a-month deal which will give you 1.5GB of data and an up-front cost of just £70. If you only want to sign up for a 12-month contract, then you'll pay £51-a-month for 1GB of data and £320 up-front, making it much more costly.
EE 4G plans also include free access to BT's 4.5 million Wi-Fi hotspots, money off cinema tickets and a music streaming service.
If you don't need the 4G speeds, you can get the iPhone 5C on either T-Mobile or Orange, the brands which were merged to form EE.
T-Mobile's best deal will see you pay just £27-a-month on a two year deal for 500 minutes of voice with unlimited texts and data - though you will incur an up-front cost of £170.
Orange is offering the iPhone 5C on a 3G plan for £37-a-month including 1GB of data along with unlimited calls and texts and just £30 up-front cost.
Three has not yet launched its 4G network, but has announced that it will offer an upgrade 4G speeds for free to its customers with a 4G-ready phone - meaning any contract for the iPhone 5C could be very interesting given the future added value this will add.
It's recommended plan is a 24-month contract with an up-front cost of just £49 but a monthly tariff of £41-a-month. This gives you Three's All-you-can-eat data plan along with enough minutes and texts to talk and message all month long.
If you don't want as many texts and voice minutes then you can still get unlimited data for a slightly lower price of £37-a-month with the £50 up-front cost.
This to our eye is possibly the best deal available at the moment, especially if you are in an area which Three is likely to roll out 4G services in the coming months.