Free next gen console!!!!!*

* Free as in subsidised 😉

So my phone contract is up for renewal in just over a month, so I’m trawling through the phones and contracts available in the UK. Last week I saw something that made me think how much the xbox one is struggling: they’re giving it away with a cheap phone and contract.

I instinctively thought MS are really against the wall if there’s that many about they can just be given away! Further checks today show that you can also get a PS4, though they’re listed as limited stock; so I’m now doubtful this is a sign of desperation on MS’ behalf, maybe at a stretch the xbox stock holders.

So as we all know, nothing in life is really free. So for research I’ll have a look at the the deals offering a PS4 and Xbox one** with the cheapest handset available. I’ll also include a couple of high end Android handsets I like (I’ve not forgotten the HTC One (M8)) plus a couple of SIM only contracts. To try and make this all comparable each one is:

From the same reseller picked by chance
On Vodafone network
Tariff as similar as possible and what I’d most likely get

Firstly I got the retail cost (via a simple Google search) of the ‘free’ hardware:

Playstation 4 Xbox One Samsung Galaxy Young Sony Experia Z2 Samsung Galaxy S5
Retail Cost (£) 349 399 50 599 579

Then I looked at the offers and the total cost over 2 years. The tariffs are:

– Bundled hardware is with 2 year 3G contract with unlimited*** mins & texts; 2GB data/mth
– Bundled handsets are with 2 year 4G contract with unlimited*** mins & texts; 3GB data/mth
– SIM only are 2×1 year contracts with unlimited*** mins & texts, 2GB for 3G and 3GB for 4G data/mth

PS4, Samsung Galaxy Young Xbox One Titanfall, Samsung Galaxy Young Sony Xperia Z2 Samsung Galaxy S5 2 x 1 year Sim only Vodaphone 3G 2 x 1 year Sim only Vodaphone 4G
Upfront cost (£) 0 0 99 0 0 0
£/mth 38 38 34 47 21 26
Total cost over contract (£) 912 912 915 1128 504 624
Cost of mobile contract minus retail hardware cost(£) 513 463 316 549 504 624

Interesting, apart from the PS4 (showing it’s demand?) it’s cheaper over the space of 2 years to get the hardware bundled in with a contract, the Z2 looks particularly good. I’m sure years ago it used to be the other way around?

Is this due to the offers being from a reseller rather than direct with the network operators, who AFAIK don’t offer free gifts; or just good strong competition in the market, I’m not entirely sure? From my experience one good point for the geeks when buying from a reseller is that the phones aren’t network locked or branded.

I guess you’re now paying for the convenience of not being tied to a two year contract.

If I wasn’t fussed with the phone I wanted I’d probably go for that PS4 bundle. Saying that I’m still quite happy with my S3 LTE so it is very tempting I’ll just not have 4G for two more years, hmmm choices choices……..

** =  unless it was truly free! 😉
*** = read the small print people, exceptions always apply

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