Cheapest way to get latest smartphone is to pay more up front
Getting the latest smartphone by spending a small amount initially, and paying for it every month, works out significantly more expensive than buying it outright, new research shows.
It can be more than €300 dearer to get the latest iPhone 6s by paying for it over a 24-month contract rather than buying it up front.
It costs up to €1,400 if you pay for the cost of the phone as part of your monthly payment for your phone usage.
But you can get the phone and pay for two years of calls, texts and data usage for as little €1,083, research by phone costs comparison site Killbiller has found.
Buying the device up front also means that you have the option to switch plans whenever you want.
Killbiller's Bart Lehane said: "It's very easy for consumers to get sucked in by an 'only pay €100 up front' deal with massive costs overall.
"While getting a phone for a low up-front cost may seem attractive, it will cost you hundreds of euro extra over the course of a 24-month contract."
Operators try to get people to sign two-year contracts, and reserve some of their best deals for people who are prepared to take out contracts over this period.
And when it comes to Android phones, buying the likes of a Galaxy S6 outright initially works out cheaper than getting it as part of a 24-month contract, Dr Lehane calculated.
The most cost-effective way to fund a new iPhone 6s 16GB, and pay for its use for two years, is to buy the handset outright via Apple and sign up for Meteor's SIM-only 'Lite' plan, according to the Killbiller research.
An iPhone 6s handset can be bought via Apple for €759.
Then there is a €12 per month cost of calls, texts and data for the first 12 months, and €15 for the second year.
The plan allows 100 minutes of calls, unlimited texts and 2GB of data for six months, falling to 1GB after that.
But only spending €300 up front means the cheapest available offer will cost you more than €1,400 over a 24-month contract.
When it comes to a Samsung Galaxy S6 32GB phone, the best deal is to buy the phone from Argos for €509.95.
With Meteor's SIM-only 'Lite' plan the total cost over two years works out at €833.95.
This is based on the up-front cost of the phone, plus €12 a month for a year, and then €15 a month in the second year.
Consumers were advised to consider last year's top-of-the-range mobile phone rather than the latest release.
Dr Lehane said: "Improvements in smartphones are getting smaller, so a one-year-old phone is only going to have marginally lower spec than the latest model, yet can be significantly cheaper."