Mobile Phones with Free Gifts Explained

When you are looking for a new mobile phone contract, you will have no doubt come across specific mobile phone deals that come with a free gift. This means along with your new handset you'll also receive an additional item such as a PlayStation 4, a laptop or some headphones as part of your contract.

The thing to remember here is the word free is misleading. While you will be receiving the gift with a nominal or zero upfront cost, you'll be paying for it in monthly instalments just like the free handset that came with your contract.

What are the Benefits of Choosing a Contract Phone + Free Gift Deal?

There aren't any. You will always be better off buying the product advertised as free outright from the retailer.

Customers looking for free gift deal generally fall into three categories:

  • They misunderstand the product, see the word free gift and instantly want to get involved
  • They can't afford the free gift outright so see this an option of getting the product without having to save up for it
  • They want the gift for ‘free' and plan on taking out the contract with no intention of ever making the repayments once it's been delivered.

Why Contract Phones With Free Gift Deals Represent Bad Value for Money

Let's look at this example:

iPhone XR + Free Xbox One S 1TB Deal

  • Handset cost: Free
  • Monthly cost for 24 months: £67.00
  • Data: 8GB
  • Minutes and Texts: Unlimited
  • Network: EE

Total price over 24 months: £1608

You can buy the iPhone XR outright for £749, paired with a 12 month SIM only contract that comes with 10GB data + unlimited minutes/texts for £13 a month. This equates to £312 over 24 months. That's a total so far of £1061.

An Xbox One S 1TB at the time of writing costs £217.99 via So the total is £1278.99, a saving of £329.01 vs the contract phone and free gift deal. That's £13 per month over 24 months.

Which Networks Offer Free Gifts With Mobile Phones?

It's primarily resellers that offer free gifts with mobile phones rather than the mobile phone networks. From time to time network operators will bundle in free items as part of their sales tactics. Items like Headphones, Bluetooth speakers and power banks are commonly bundled in. However, rarely do networks offer higher ticket items like games consoles, laptops or iPads.

Can I Get a Free Gift with a Mobile Phone Even if I Have Bad Credit?

We get this question a lot from customers, and it's rather worrying as it's a clear indication they don't understand their credit score or how free gift deal works. Some do, but they're just chancers hoping to get something for nothing then default on the payments.

The answer is no; you won't be able to get a contract phone with a free gift if you have bad credit.  This is because the credit checks are far harsher for free gift deals. If you can't pass a credit check for a mobile phone, then you won't pass one for a phone and a gift.