I want to get the new iPhone 5 as soon as it comes out, but if it’s launched on 4 October like the rumours say, I’ll still have over three months left on my contract.
Leo Monteiro, via email on 27 September 2011
The latest addition to Apple’s phenomenally successful family of smartphones, the iPhone 5 is tipped to be launched in a week’s time on 4 October.
The rumour mill has been churning out possible specs for months now, including a bigger screen, a slimmer body and possibly an 8Mp camera to name just a few.
However, even if the iPhone 5 does launch on 4 October, Apple’s best-selling mobiles usually launch a couple of weeks later in the UK. And then there’s the notorious waiting times that push some desperate Apple fans to camp outside stores overnight in the hopes of getting their hands on the latest iPhone, while shipping delays for online orders can last for weeks.
What this all means is that, by the time you're actually able to get hold of the iPhone 5, you might not have so long to wait until you can upgrade.
Once the iPhone 5 is actually released, you should get in touch with your network provider to find out how much it will cost to upgrade.
You'll almost definitely have to pay to upgrade, with costs varying by mobile operator and depending on what type of contract you're signed up to.
Many of the big providers will allow you to upgrade your mobile phone early. Vodafone says: “You can normally upgrade 90 days before your current price plan ends. But if you'd like to upgrade earlier, you can do so up to 190 days before your plan ends.
“If you decide to upgrade early, you'll only be able to choose a new plan that's at least the same price as your current one. We'll extend this by the number of days you've got left before your present plan ends.”
So if you want to upgrade 98 days early, you'll have an extra 98 days added on to your new contract. You'll also always have to pay towards your new phone if you upgrade this early.
O2 does things a little differently, placing customers into one of four O2 Rewards tiers.
Blue and Silver customers can upgrade one month early, Gold customers can upgrade three months early and Platinum customers can upgrade six months early.
The tier you fall into depends on your pay monthly spend over the last 12 months:
The best way to find out exactly when you'll be able to upgrade is to contact your mobile provider direct.Cashback instead of an upgrade
O2 even offers a “cashback” option if you choose to keep your old phone instead of upgrading. You can earn up to £150 in “bill credit” that can be used to pay for your future mobile phone bills.
If you think you'll be able to get your iPhone 5 for a cheaper upfront cost or a lower monthly fee by signing up to a new provider, then it’s worth waiting a couple more months until you can switch.
Switching provider is very easy and you can keep your existing phone number, which will be transferred the day after you request your PAC (porting authorisation code -a unique ID used by mobile networks to enable you to keep your number when switching networks).