Phone leasing, network contracts & buying – the pros and cons


September 9, 2020

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When it comes to smartphones, we all want to get the best bang for our buck. And with so many options out there – from phone leasing to contracts and buying outright – we’re spoilt for choice. Here, we debunk the most popular options in the smartphone industry to help you determine which one is better for your pocket (and the planet).

Buying outright

This one’s a simple one: buy a phone outright and you’ll save a chunk of money compared to getting it on a network contract. That’s because you’re not paying hiked network fees and interest that’s spread over the duration of your contract.

Yet with the ‘bottom of the range’ iPhone 11 64gb coming in at £729, you’d better make sure you have the cash to hand. And as you’re buying the handset, you’ll need to think about insurance, a SIM and data separately. Explore other pros and cons below.



- It’s the lowest cost way to buy a phone you own

- You have the option of selling the phone anytime

- You can go SIM-only and save on your data, call and texts


- The high cost will put a dent in your bank account

- Phones depreciate to a fraction their original value in 2 years meaning most who buy throw their old phone in a drawer, never to be used again

- Selling online sounds easy but can be complex and time consuming


Bundled contracts 

Bundled contracts usually cover the cost of a phone, SIM and data (and sometimes insurance) so all of the customers’ needs are tied up nicely in one contract. Handy, right?

When we dig deeper, these bundled contracts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Clever marketing and pushy selling from networks means that many consumers are locked into contracts that are costing them a pretty penny. Take 36 month contracts, for example. Cited as a great way to ‘spread the cost’ of your new phone, you’d actually end up paying over 20% more than if you were on a shorter contract.

Money aside, the smartphone industry is coming to realise that having the ‘latest and greatest’ model isn’t as popular as it was. A fall in desire to own a brand new phone, monetary concerns on the back of COVID-19 and worries over e-waste are all a few factors affecting the traditional contract model. So is it worth rethinking that automatic upgrade on your bundled contract? It’s a resounding yes from us.



- Sort everything under one roof: phone, SIM, data and insurance

- Set a fixed term for your contract (typically 24 months)

- Get a deal on extras like Spotify and MTV Play



- Pay more than you need to due to hidden costs

- An upfront fee for the handset is usually required

- Lack of flexibility when in a contract

- Minimal benefits for long-term customers


Phone leasing is relatively new and already proving itself to be a cost-effective, flexible option. Plus, you return your phone at the end of your contract which means there’s no ageing handset to deal with (when you really just want a new one) and you pay less as you’re not shelling out to own the handset.

Raylo is the market leader for phone leasing. We take the idea of phone leasing one step further as we’re not just here to save our customers money, but to protect our planet, too. All the smartphones we collect are refurbished to make sure they land in another pair of hands which means less old phones lurking in dark drawers, a reduction in precious materials wasted and less hassle for you, the consumer. And isn’t that what we all want? 

Brilliant customer service and no hidden charges aside, check out Raylo’s other leasing pros and cons.



- Pay less than the RRP during the term – zero upfront cost and a low monthly price

- Free upgrade to the latest model after your chosen lease term

- More eco-friendly thanks to the circulality 

- Use any SIM you like to get the best possible savings



- You don’t get to keep the phone when your contracts ends (unless you'd like to pay to keep it)

- SIM not provided, so you’ll have to find this elsewhere (try our Trim your Sim service for a helping hand)

- You must be over 18 to sign up and have a bank account

0% APR finance plans

At first glance, this one’s a wonderful offer. 0% APR makes a smartphone and SIM bundle sound incredibly tempting as there’s no hidden interest fees. However, we discovered that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Take SKY Mobile as an example. They claim the cash price of the iPhone 11 Pro 64gb is £1,182 on an 0% APR contract, while on Apple’s website it is £1,049. The difference in price there is 8.5%, so we can be sure that this cost is disguised in the phone contract with the shiny 0% APR slogan sitting nicely on top. Get clued up on all you need to know about 0% APR over on our blog.



- We’re still researching...



- Hiked fees hidden in the cost of the contract

- Misleading marketing which makes you think you’re saving