With O2 Refresh and giffgaff’s flexible contracts, the mobile industry finally appears to be waking up to the idea of proper flexibility.
Now Tesco has got in on the act with its Anytime Upgrade package.
The premise is much the same as its key rivals: you can upgrade your phone at any time. And as long as you stick to its rules, you won’t get stung by any hidden fees or extra costs.
Sound too good to be true? Read on and we’ll tell you just how it all works.
1 It splits the cost of your phone and your tariff...
Like O2 Refresh and giffgaff, Tesco Mobile Anytime Upgrade offers you the chance to upgrade whenever you want by simply splitting the cost of your phone and your tariff.
So, when you get your monthly bill, you’ll be able to see exactly how much you’re paying for your device and how much you’re stumping up for calls, texts and data.
That means upgrade fees are lower because you simply need to pay up the remaining cost of your device when you want to change.
Say you have six months left and you pay £20 a month for your phone. Simply pay up £120 and you can get a new device.
That’s in contrast to traditional contracts, which make you front up tariff and phone costs in one hefty lump sum if you want to upgrade early.
2 But you’ll need to start a new contract
When you do decide you want to upgrade, though, you’ll need to start a whole new contract, which lasts 24 months.
You can keep the same package of minutes, texts and calls, but essentially everything is reset as soon as you decide to change your handset.
That’s no problem if you’re used to having two-year deals, but doesn’t compare too favourably with giffgaff’s option of having six, 12, 18 and 24 month contracts.
3 You can upgrade whenever you like
You can be a week into your deal and decide you want to change your phone. Tesco isn’t fussy.
That’s great if you’re an upgrade freak who can’t get enough of the latest tech, but it’s worth remembering you’ll need to pay the balance on your blower before you get a new one.
The only restriction imposed by the supermarket is that you can only upgrade once a month.
4 There are heaps of phones to choose from
Tesco Mobile Anytime Upgrade’s lineup of devices is seriously impressive and beats giffgaff simply by including the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, neither of which feature on the DIY network’s roster.
The iPhone 4S is also up for grabs, as is BlackBerry’s budget Q5, Nokia’s Lumia 920, the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1.
It reads like a who’s who of 2013’s hottest handsets.
5 It’s interest free
While giffgaff has proudly shown off its plans for a peer-to-peer lending scheme, buying phones through that service means you need to pay higher rates of interest as your contract length shortens.
Tesco offers 0% APR, which is seriously attractive if you don’t want your bill soaring over a two year deal. However, a top-end 64GB iPhone 5s comes in at £46.50 a month, pro £1,116 over 24 months.
The latter is significantly more than the £709 up front cost. It’s worth remembering that if you have the money, buying SIM-free is always a good investment.