Can I upgrade my phone early?

By Adrian Vincent 5 Aug 2021, 16:32 Can I upgrade my phone early?

You may want to upgrade your phone early because your current phone has become increasingly sluggish, or you simply can’t wait to get the latest technology in your hands.

With most networks and providers, it’s possible to upgrade your phone early, with a few caveats.

In most cases, you will be required to cover the remaining cost of your current phone. How this happens depends on the type of contract you have and how far you are into your contract.

Some networks make it easy to upgrade early by using their app or website, whereas other networks may require you to call them to arrange an early upgrade.

Reasons for upgrading your phone early

There are several reasons why you would want to upgrade your phone early.

  1. You want to latest phone: If you can’t wait to get the latest phone technology, you may be tempted to upgrade your phone early. You should consider the cost/benefit ratio when making your decision, as you may end up saving a considerable amount of money by simply waiting a few months until your contract expires.

  2. Your current phone has become faulty: If your phone is no longer working or has a fault, an early upgrade is an easy solution to solve your problem. However, it may be possible to get your phone repaired for free, particularly if you are still within the manufacturer’s warranty. Speak to the retailer from where you purchased your phone contract, or check the manufacturer’s website for warranty information on your device.

  3. Your phone has become sluggish: As with most phones, they tend to become slower over time. This occurs as the amount of apps you have running in the background becomes too demanding, or the amount of storage you have remaining is sparse. You should try to delete any unused apps or media from your phone to see if this improves the performance before considering an early upgrade. Your phone may also slow down because the battery health is too low. This happens as the battery degrades throughout its life cycle and the performance is throttled to help deliver consistent battery life. You can check the battery health in the settings of your phone. It may work out cheaper to get your battery replaced with a new one.

What you should know before upgrading early

What you should know before upgrading early

When upgrading early, you should understand how this will change your contract and what happens to the current phone you have. It can be confusing, as every network has different policies when it comes to upgrading early.

You need to pay off your current phone

If your contract has not ended, it is important to understand you technically do not own your current phone. Your phone is on finance from the retailer you purchased your contract from. You will only own your phone once you have paid off all the required monthly payments, in full.

Therefore, before upgrading early, your network will require you to pay the remaining value of your phone.

Some networks, such as Tesco Mobile and O2, make this easy, as you will have separate costs for the device and tariff of your contract. If this is true, then you simply need to pay off the remaining months on the device portion of your contract before upgrading your phone early.

The majority of networks do not have separate costs for the device and tariff of your contract. This means your provider will need to calculate the effective amount you have currently paid for your phone, and the remaining amount you need to pay. This amount can fluctuate between providers as they may have different retail prices for purchasing the phone outright - for example, EE tend to be the most expensive network, compared to cheaper networks such as Three.

Upgrading your phone early will renew your contract

For the majority of the time, whenever you perform an upgrade, you will have to sign a new contract.

For example, if you are on a 24 months contract, your current contract will effectively be cancelled on the day you upgrade, and you will be entering into a new 24 month contract.

There are exceptions where this may not be true, such as particular contracts on Sky Mobile, where the device and tariff are not tied together. You should read the terms and conditions or contact the network directly for clarification.

How to upgrade your phone early

How to upgrade your phone early

Once you’ve decided to upgrade your phone early, you will need to get in contact with your network or visit their website.

Every network and every contract has different terms for upgrading your phone early.

Upgrading your phone early with BT

It is possible to upgrade early with BT Mobile, but only within 3 months of the contract coming to an end.

Call BT Mobile 0800 800 150 to arrange an early upgrade.

Upgrading your phone early with EE

There are two types of contracts that will allow you to upgrade your phone early on EE.

These contracts include EE Annual Upgrade and EE Upgrade Anytime.

To upgrade early, you will need to call EE on 150.

EE Annual Upgrade

If your contract is part of the Annual Upgrade plan, you will be eligible to upgrade 12 months after you signed your contract.

You will have to send your current phone back to EE. Depending on the condition of the phone, you will receive credit in exchange, which will go towards the cost of the new phone you wish to upgrade too.

If your current phone is lost, stolen or not working, it still may be possible to upgrade your phone early, but you will need to pay more for your new phone, and possibly cover the remaining cost of your previous phone too.

Whenever you perform an EE Annual Upgrade, you will be entering into a new 24 month contract.

EE Upgrade Anytime

With qualifying contracts, you can be eligible for EE Upgrade Anytime, which enables you to upgrade your phone 15 days after you sign your contract and 45 days before your contract ends.

You will have to pay a fee, which entirely depends on how far you are into your current contract.

You can also choose to trade-in your current phone for credit towards your upgrade.

Upgrading your phone early with iD Mobile

iD Mobile do not currently allow customers to upgrade their phone early.

However, you may be able to terminate your contract early and transfer to another network by finding a better phone deal.

Upgrading your phone early with O2

With O2 refresh, you can upgrade early at any time within your contract.

All O2 phone contracts have separate monthly costs for the device and tariff, known as O2 Refresh.

If you want to upgrade early, you must pay the remaining monthly payments for your device in one payment in full.

If you wish to upgrade your phone early with O2, you should call 202 from your O2 number or 0344 809 0202 from any other number. You can also visit an O2 store or login to your O2 account.

Upgrading your phone early with Sky Mobile

All Sky Mobile phone contracts have separate monthly charges for the device and tariff.

This means you can upgrade early at any time. If you have previously upgraded, you will have to wait 31 days before you can upgrade again.

When you upgrade early with Sky Mobile, you must pay off your old phone. You can choose to do this at once in full, or you can choose to continue the regular monthly payments for the device portion of your contract, on top of the additional monthly payments for your new phone.

You have the option to send your current phone back with Sky Swap, where it will be credited towards your account. The amount of credit you will receive depends on your phone and the condition it is in.

You can upgrade your phone early with Sky via one of the following ways:

  • Login to your Sky account
  • Call 0333 7591 018

Upgrading your phone early with Talkmobile

Talkmobile are flexible when it comes to early phone upgrades. They advise customers to contact them directly. Generally, they will request an amount to pay off your current phone before you can upgrade to a new phone.

You can upgrade your phone early with Talkmobile by calling 5888 from your Talkmobile number or 0333 304 8064 from any other number.

Upgrading your phone early with Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile contracts have separate costs for the tariff and the phone.

You can upgrade early, at any time, as long as you pay off the phone section of your contract in full.

You will need to pay the remaining months in one single payment.

You will enter into a new contract when upgrading early with Tesco Mobile.

Older Tesco Mobile contacts may have a different setup, where it’s not clear how much you have paid towards the current value of your phone. You will need to contact Tesco Mobile for clarification.

To upgrade your phone early with Tesco Mobile, call 4455 from your Tesco Mobile number or 0345 301 4455 from any other number

Upgrading your phone early with Three

You can upgrade your phone early with Three, however you will be required to pay the remaining value of your phone in a single payment.

To upgrade early with Three, you should call them directly on 0800 358 4316 or visit a Three store.

Upgrading your phone early with Virgin Mobile

If you’re on an Early Bird or Freestyle plan, you will be eligible for an early phone upgrade with Virgin Mobile by swapping your phone for a new one.

You will have to pay an upfront fee for your new phone, which depends on your old phone and its condition. If your Early Bird contract is 24 months, you can swap and upgrade after 12 months. If your Early Bird contract is 36 months, you can swap and upgrade after 24 months.

For any other Virgin Mobile contract, you may be eligible for an early phone upgrade, however you will have to cover the remaining cost of your current phone. You can also choose to trade-in your phone to use towards the remaining cost.

To upgrade your phone early with Virgin Mobile, you should call them on 0800 064 3819.

Upgrading your phone early with Vodafone

You can upgrade your phone early with Vodafone if you’re on a Essentials, Red Extra or Red Entertainment plan.

You will be eligible for an early phone upgrade 6 months after your contract begins.

However, an early termination fee will be required to cover the cost of your current phone.

You will also have to sign a new contract.

To upgrade your phone early with Vodafone, you should call them on 0808 040 8408

FAQs

Can I upgrade my phone early?

Most networks will allow you to upgrade your phone early, however you will need to pay an amount to cover the remaining value of your current phone.

You will also be required to sign a new contract.

How much will it cost to upgrade my phone early?

You will have to pay the remaining amount to cover the value of your phone.

If you’re early within your contract, this can be a substantial amount.

However, if you’re near the end of your contract, you may be able to upgrade early for free or for a small amount.