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iPhone 4 prices: Best deals compared

The iPhone 4 is a pricey piece of kit, so we'll help you find the best deals in the UK by comparing prices from all the networks.

O2, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Tesco Mobile, 3 and Orange are all jumping into the jelly wrestling pool for the fight over our iPhone 4 cash, but we won't leave you to compare the deals on your own. Our bank of supercomputers, aided by an almost infinite team of monkeys, will find the best iPhone 4 prices for you.

With T-Mobile pulling up the rear, all the networks have announced their prices. So read on for the best deals.

SIM-free iPhone 4 deal: £750 for 24 months, £690 for 18 months

Don't forget that, if you're feeling flush, you can buy an iPhone 4 SIM-free and unlocked directly from Apple, and then shop around for the cheapest SIM-card-only deals. For example, an iPhone 4 16GB costs £510. Add a £10-per-month, 30-day rolling SIM card from giffgaff -- which includes 250 minutes, unlimited texts and fabulously unlimited Internet with no fair-use policy -- and, over 24 months, you'll pay £750.

That's much less than any of the 24-month contracts on offer. You can shop around for a new deal any time you want because you're not locked in, and your phone is unlocked, which is better if you ever want to sell it. Bear in mind you'll need a micro SIM rather than a standard-sized SIM card. Most of the networks will provide you with a micro SIM, or you can cut a full-sized SIM down to size -- but you do so at your own risk.

But, if that's not an option for you, or you prefer shopping with a network, check out our favourite deals below.

Cheapest 12-month iPhone 4 deal: £589

Only Tesco Mobile is offering 12-month contracts for the iPhone 4, and there's only two of them, so there's not much competition for this deal. The cheapest one is a £20-per-month contract. The iPhone 4 16GB will cost you £349 up front, making the total cost for the year £589.

You'll get a hearty 250 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data for your 20 squids.



Cheapest 24-month iPhone 4 deal: £881.96

Three isn't offering a £30-per-month deal on the 16GB iPhone 4 any more, so it's been ousted as the winner in this category.

Vodafone takes over as the cheapest 24-month deal you can get, An iPhone 4 16GB on a 24-month, £25.54-per-month contract will cost you £269, and the total cost for the two years is £881.96.

Look out though -- you'll get a paltry 500MB of data on that plan, and Voda will charge you a fiver for another 500MB if you go over, with no warning.



Cheapest 18-month iPhone 4 deal: £781.51

If you want to keep the contract to 18 months, Orange's tariff is the cheapest. It's £30.64 per month and the phone will cost £229.99 up front. The total cost over the year-and-a-half period is £781.51.

This deal includes 150 minutes, 250 texts and 500MB of data. You'll have to shell out a whopping £10.21 for an add-on if you want  to add 1GB of data to this deal. 




Average user's cheapest iPhone 4 deal: £869 for 24 months

BillMonitor, a phone-comparison site that's run by Oxford stats profs with huge brains, says that, based on its data, an average person makes about 250 minutes of calls, sends 180 texts and uses 10MB of data per month. We're talking about an average iPhone 4 user here, though, and they'll use more data, so we'll assume they consume 500MB a month. 

Three is one of the only networks left offering a proper wodge of data at a reasonable price, and happily it's got an offer on for a refurbished 16GB iPhone 4 with 500 minutes, 5,000 texts and 1GB of data for £30 a month. You'll pay £149 up-front -- and it'll throw in a bumper case -- for a total of £869 over two years.

After that deal is done, you'll have to look to T-Mobile for a 16GB iPhone 4 on a 24-month, £30.64-per-month contract, which includes 300 minutes, 300 texts and 500MB of data. That's not much data, but at least T-Mo won't charge you for accidentally going over it -- it will just throttle your browsing.

Best free iPhone 4 deal: £1,080 for 24 months, £1,225.44 for 18 months

This is a tough one, because none of the networks are passing out free iPhone 4s without a fight.

Three seriously undercuts the competition on handset prices, offering a free 16GB iPhone 4 on a £45-per-month, 24-month contract for a total cost of £1,080. 

Three isn't offering 18-month contracts yet, so Orange is the winner over 18 months. A £51.06-per-month contract will also score you a free iPhone 4 16GB, and the total cost is £1,225.44.

Priciest iPhone 4 deal: £1,868.39 for 24 months

If you've got to spend £30m in 30 days, like in Brewster's Millions, or just blow your bonus for tax reasons, the most you can spend on an iPhone 4 is a whopping £1,868.39 on the Orange network.

That will get you a 32GB iPhone 4 for £29 up front, unlimited calls and texts, and 1GB of mobile data. Not even a free phone? Cheeky.

Update: We have updated our best prices with the most recent deals in January 2011.