How to upgrade your phone and get a better contract deal

By Adrian Vincent - 31 Jul 2022, 22:57 How to upgrade your phone and get a better contract deal

When your contract is coming to an end, you will be eligible to upgrade to a new phone. You will also be able to renegotiate your contract to bring down the cost of your monthly payments, and haggle to increase your allowances - such as data and roaming usage.

Some networks will even give you the option to upgrade your phone early, however you will usually will have to pay a fee beforehand in order to settle your previous contract.

All networks will allow you to upgrade when your contract is coming to an end, however not all networks will allow your to upgrade your contract early.

We'll show you how to upgrade to the latest phones, such as the Apple iPhone 14 and Samsung Galaxy S22, at the cheapest possible price.

When will I be eligible to upgrade my phone?

You will be eligible to upgrade your phone when your contract is coming to an end.

The latest Ofcom regulations state that all networks must present an end of contract notification within 10 to 40 days of your contract coming to an end.

Your network will contact you via text, post or email about this. They should inform you of the following details:

  1. The exact date when your contract will come to an end
  2. The remaining payments you need to make for your contract
  3. Information about upgrading your phone if you choose to renew your contract
  4. How to end your contract if you no longer require it

If you’re still unsure whether you can upgrade your phone, or you want to know the date when you can upgrade, text INFO to 85075. You will receive a reply within 30 seconds with detailed information about your contract. This is a free to text service that every UK network must provide, in accordance with Ofcom regulations.

In addition, you will be able to find more information about your contract and when you can upgrade by logging into your account on your network's website or app.

It may be possible to upgrade your phone early with some network plans, such as with O2 Refresh and Sky Swap.

Can I upgrade to a new phone early?

Depending on your network, you may have the choice to upgrade your phone early. Usually, you will be required to settle an amount for the remaining cost of your current phone before upgrading early.

If your contract is divided into two separate costs for the tariff and device, then you will have to pay the remaining monthly payments for the device portion of your contract.

However, if the cost of your contract is not separate, then you may have to pay for your new phone upfront, usually at a reduced cost.

Your network may accept your old phone as a trade-in for a further reduction or better deal, such as with Sky Swap.

See our guide on upgrading your phone contract early for more information.

How can I upgrade my phone?

To get the best possible deal, you should contact your network directly to upgrade your phone contract.

By talking to your provider, you will be able haggle to get a better deal on your current contract and possibly get a free phone upgrade, or at a discount.

The upgrading process for every network can be different.

If you find a better deal on another network, you can easily switch and transfer your number. See our mobile phone deals for the cheapest contracts, where we compare the cheapest deals of the day.

Upgrading your phone on BT Mobile

Upgrading your phone on BT Mobile

You can upgrade your phone with a BT Mobile contract within 30 days of your contract ending:

  • Call 0800 800 150 to discuss an upgrade
  • Login to your My BT account and select Mobile

A BT Mobile contract is straightforward as there are no separate costs for the device and tariff portion of the contract.

BT Mobile do not offer a trade-in service for your old phone.

Upgrading your phone on EE

Upgrading your phone on EE

With all EE contracts, you can upgrade your phone within 45 days of your contact’s end date.

You can also choose to upgrade within 100 days of your contract ending, as long as the plan you upgrade to is the same monthly cost or higher.

Depending on your plan, you may have the option to upgrade even earlier, however you will usually have to pay the remaining device cost of your contract. Check your contract details or contact EE directly if you’re not sure if you're eligible.

To upgrade with EE, you can:

  • Login to your My EE account
  • Call 150 from an EE number
  • Text UP to 150 for free from an EE number
  • Visit an EE store

EE Annual Upgrade

With a qualifying 4GEE Max plan, you will be able to upgrade to a new phone 12 months from your contract's start date.

  1. You will be required to send your current phone back to EE
  2. You will have to pay an upfront fee for your new phone, usually at a discounted price
  3. By performing a Annual Upgrade, you will enter a new 24 month contract

If your current phone is damaged, you will have to pay an additional fee, depending on the condition of your phone.

EE Upgrade Anytime

With EE Upgrade Anytime, you can upgrade 15 days after you take out your contract and 45 days before your contract ends.

You will be required to swap your phone, and it must be in good condition.

In most cases, you will have to pay a fee when upgrade. The amount varies depending on how long you are within your contract. However, if you are upgrading after 12 months, there will be no fee.

When upgrading with EE Upgrade Anytime, you will also need to sign a new 24 month contract.

EE Upgrade Anytime is available with eligible devices on Smart Plan 24 month contracts.

Upgrading your phone on iD Mobile

Upgrading your phone on iD Mobile

If you’re on an iD Mobile phone contract, you will be eligible to upgrade your phone within 30 days of your contract coming to an end.

You can upgrade through your iD Mobile account or by using the iD Mobile app.

If you’re not sure if you’re eligible for an upgrade, you can check by:

  1. Logging into your iD Mobile account
  2. Select Manage my plan
  3. Select Check if I can upgrade

iD Mobile upgrades start from free, depending on the phone you wish to upgrade to and the current plan you are on.

You will also have the option to downgrade to a cheaper monthly plan.

Upgrading your phone on O2

Upgrading your phone on O2

With O2 Refresh, you can upgrade your phone contract at anytime.

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

If you wish to upgrade early, you must pay the total remaining monthly payments for your device beforehand. There are no other fees involved.

You can upgrade with O2 in several ways:

  • Login your My O2 account
  • Call 202 from your O2 number or 0344 809 0202 from any other number
  • Visit an O2 store

Upgrading your phone on Sky Mobile

Upgrading your phone on Sky Mobile

All Sky Mobile phone contracts have separate monthly costs for the device and tariff, know as Sky Swap.

This means you can upgrade at any time, as long as it’s at least 31 days since your previous upgrade.

When you upgrade, you must complete the monthly payments for your current device. You can choose to do this in full, or you can choose to continue the regular monthly payments on top of the additional monthly payments for your new phone.

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

Sky will first attempt to use this credit towards paying off your old phone. Any remaining credit will be used towards your new phone.

If your contract is ending within 12 months, you will have paid off your device in full, meaning you can upgrade for free. You can still choose to send back your old phone for account credit.

You can upgrade with Sky through one of the following ways:

Upgrading your phone on Talkmobile

Upgrading your phone on Talkmobile

With Talkmobile, you can upgrade your phone within 90 days of your contract coming to an end.

You can check if you are eligible for an upgrade with Talkmobile by logging into your Talkmobile account

Talkmobile are flexible when it comes to early 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 with Talkmobile by calling 5888 from your Talkmobile number or 0333 304 8064 from any other number.

Upgrading your phone on Tesco Mobile

Upgrading your phone on Tesco Mobile

Whenever you take out a phone contract with Tesco Mobile, you'll have 2 contracts - one for the device, and one for the tariff.

You can upgrade at anytime you like, however you will have to pay the remaining months for the length of your device contract.

If your contract is ending with 30 days, your remaining balance for the device will only be 1 month.

Whenever you upgrade with Tesco Mobile, you will be signing a new contract.

Tesco Mobile no longer offer a trade-in service.

To upgrade with Tesco Mobile, either:

  • Login to your Tesco Mobile account
  • Call 4455 from your Tesco Mobile number or 0345 301 4455 from any other number

Upgrading your phone on Three

Upgrading your phone on Three

You can upgrade your phone with Three within 30 days of your contract coming to an end.

It may be possible to upgrade early with Three. This will usually involve paying a one off sum to cover the cost of your current phone. If you wish to upgrade early with Three, you will need to call them directly.

You can upgrade with Three via one of the following options:

Upgrading your phone on Virgin Mobile

Upgrading your phone on Virgin Mobile

You can upgrade your phone on Virgin Mobile within 2 months of your contact coming to an end.

If you’re on an Early Bird or Freestyle plan, you will be eligible for an early upgrade by swapping your phone for a new one. The upfront fee you will pay depends on your current 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 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.

You can upgrade your phone with Virgin Mobile by:

Upgrading your phone on Vodafone

Upgrading your phone on Vodafone

If you're on a Vodafone EVO contract, your device and tariff contract will be separate. You will be able to upgrade your phone at 12 months, however you will have to pay the remaining months on your device contract. If you're on an Xtra Plan, you may be able to trade in your phone and use its value towards paying off the device contract.

For older Vodafone contracts, you can upgrade early if you’re on an Essentials, Red Extra or Red Entertainment plan. You will be eligible for an upgrade 6 months after your contact 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 to a new phone with Vodafone, choose one of the following options:

  • Login to My Vodafone
  • Use the My Vodafone app
  • Call 191 from your Vodafone number or 0808 040 8408 from any other number

Upgrading your phone on VOXI

Upgrading your phone on VOXI

Unlike most other networks, VOXI is slightly different. You're not tied to a contract - your tariff is on a 1 month rolling plan, and your phone is on credit.

You can upgrade your phone at anytime, however you must pay the remaining balance on your phone. You will then be able to purchase a new phone on credit.

Because of the unique structure, you're technically not on a contract. This means you won't be able to haggle and get a better deal, or be entitled to any kind of discount.

You can upgrade through your VOXI account.

How can I get a better deal when upgrading?

When upgrading, we advise you to try and get a better deal compared to your current plan, with:

  1. Lower monthly payments
  2. Better allowances, such as more data and increased roaming usage
  3. A new phone for free, or a reduced upfront cost

The best way to get a better deal is to call your network directly and haggle with them. You unlikely to get the best upgrade deal if you shop online.

Before calling, you need to do your research. Find better phone contract deals compared to your current plan and make notes on what the competition is offering and what you want - but remember to be realistic.

Inform your network of the better deals you have found. Ask them to match them on price, or at least offer you more data or other extra services / add-ons.

Keep pushing for a better deal, and threaten to leave if they do not budge.

Most networks have dedicated advisors who will call if you request to cancel your contract. Their aim is to keep you as a customer. It is important to understand that you have the bargaining power in this situation, so use it to your full advantage to save you as much money as possible.

Can I keep my phone when upgrading?

If you have paid your contract in full, you own your phone and can keep it when upgrading.

However, if you're upgrading early, some plans may require you to trade in your phone.

Some networks will offer a trade-in or swap service, where the value of your current phone can be used towards the cost of your new phone.

If your current phone more than covers the value of your new phone, the remaining amount may be used as credit towards your future monthly payments.

Sometimes you may get better value for your old phone by selling it yourself, such as on eBay, compared to trading it in with your network. However, this can be more risky. Be sure to do you research to get the most value from your old phone.

Can I upgrade to a different network?

It is not possible to directly upgrade to another network. Instead, you will have to cancel your current contract and take out a new contract with a different network.

You can effectively achieve this by requesting a PAC code and handing it to your new network.

If you want to switch networks, find the cheapest contract phone deals by using our comparison tools. We'll always show the cheapest contracts around, which are updated daily.

What should I know before upgrading?

Upgrading your phone can be complicated. Every network has different terms and conditions, which can be confusing. Here are several tips that you should follow when upgrading to get the best deal:

Find better deals and haggle

If you can find a better contract deal compared to your current plan, you will be able to use this as bargaining power when negotiating an upgrade and contract renewal with your network.

Call your network over the phone and haggle with them. They can be extremely flexible, as their aim is to keep as many customers as possible - even if that means taking a hit on their short term profit.

Analyse you current data usage

If you find yourself with too much remaining data each month, you may be paying for more than you actually need. If this is true, you should try to lower your monthly cost when upgrading by switching to a plan that offers less data.

You can check the amount of data you are using per month by logging into your account with your network or using your network’s app.

You can also read our article on how much data you need.

Read the terms and conditions of your new contract

When upgrading, you will usually have to sign a new contract.

Make sure you fully understand what your new contract entails, to avoid any nasty hidden charges.

For example, it may be possible to upgrade to a new contract that offers less data. This may lead to you using more data than your allowance. Networks will charge an out of service charge for such usage, which typically is very expensive.

By reading the terms and conditions, you will have a better understanding of the monthly payments and hidden fees.

Assess the cost of not upgrading to a new phone

If you’re more than happy with your current phone, you will not necessarily have to upgrade to a new phone.

By choosing not to upgrade to a new phone, you may be able to significantly reduce the monthly payments with your renewed contract.

What happens if I don’t upgrade after my contract ends?

If you don’t upgrade or renew after your contract ends, your contract will move to a monthly rolling contract, where you will continue to pay the same amount each month.

If you’re happy with the price you are paying, you will not have to do anything.

However, you will most likely be spending more than you need too, particularly if your original contract did not have separate costs for the device and tariff portion of your contract. If this is the case, you will be essentially paying for a phone that you already own.

You can usually reduce your monthly cost by haggling when renewing your contract.

Some networks may attempt to force you into renewing if they have increased their prices since you took out your contract.

FAQs

When can I upgrade my phone?

With most networks, you will be eligible to upgrade your phone within 30 days of your contract coming to an end.

Some networks will allow you to upgrade your phone early, such as Sky Mobile and Tesco Mobile. See our guide on upgrading early for more information.

Can I upgrade my phone early?

Most networks will allow you to upgrade your phone early, but they will require you to cover the remaining cost of your current phone.

How can I find out if I'm eligible for a phone upgrade?

You can find out if you are eligible for an upgrade by logging into your account with your network.

Alternatively, you can free text INFO to 85075 for information about your contract, including the end date.