UK Mobile Phone Retailers

Buying a new mobile phone or even finding the right mobile contract can have your head spinning with options. When looking you need to simplify things. Knowing what network you want and your monthly budget gives you something to aim for. It can be a very expensive monthly outgoing with networks like Vodafone, Three and Virgin if you let yourself get carried away when choosing. Consider a pay as you go deal on a network like giffgaff you will be more in control and it will cost you less on your monthly mobile outgoings.

Online Mobile Phone Shops

Online Shopping for Mobile Phones - The Next Generation of Mobiles

Fonehouse UK

Fonehouse provide some of the best mobile phone deals around and they are an authorised reseller for the networks. If your looking for a mobile on sim only or even mobiles with no SIM card give the Fonehouse check. They have the latest mobile handsets on some of the cheapest contracts around.


Top 5 UK online mobile phone shopping websites

1: O2 Mobile

About: The O2 mobile network operator is part of the Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica. They operate across the UK and have recently been awarded Best Network Coverage by the comparison website uSwitch. Their mobile network is also the operating choice of Lyca Mobile, giffgaff and Sky Mobile. Plus they also manage 50 per cent of Tesco Mobiles coverage. They employ about 6700 people and have more than 450 mobile phone shops. O2 are based in Slough and we know from David Brent’s song from the Office, Slough’s got Europe’s biggest trading estate.

What they offer: O2 Mobile is at the top of our list simply because it performs the best in our opinion across all areas and products of mobile phone usage. The O2 shop sells a super choice of mobile phones on their website. These range from basic entry level mobiles to the latest offering from Apples’s sophisticated phone series. You can create your own package and match up with one of O2’s monthly tariff deals or pay as you go choices. You can even go for a SIM only option and use your existing handset. Here at UK Shopping Guide were all about saving the shopper money and if its a recurring fee like a contract helping you choose wisely.

O2 mobile contracts

Best Buys: O2 Family Plan Tariffs

  • Priority offers exclusive to O2 users
  • Free O2 tech support and advice
  • Manage your O2 account online

2: EE Mobile

About: The EE mobile network used to be known as Everything Everywhere that’s where the two EE’s come from. They are part of the BT group who are a British telecoms giant. It was set up in 2010 as a joint enterprise between France Télécom and Deutsche Telekom when the T-Mobile and Orange networks joined forces. They are now the biggest network in the UK with massive investment in coverage offering a super fast mobile network. EE is based in Hatfield Hertfordshire and have offices in London. After rebranding to EE from T-Mobile and Orange they now operate over 500 retail mobile phone stores. They also have partnerships with Argos and Sainsbury’s where they have stores-within-a-store.

What they offer: EE has a history of innovation and claims to be the pioneer in UK digital communications. They offer super-fast 5G 3G, and 4G mobile phones, computer tablets and home based fibre broadband. Discover a fantastic range of the best mobile phones, sim only phones and Pay As You Go mobile handsets on the EE website. They are also big sellers of mobile broadband BB which some customers are choosing to use over their broadband cable connection.

Best Buys: Playstation bundle mobile deals

  • Share unused data with Data Gifting
  • Smart plan Swappable Benefits
  • Super fast 5G UK network coverage

3: Vodafone

About: Vodafone are a British Company and their story goes back to the 1980’s when they were one of the first off the block in mobile phone communications. The name Vodafone derives from “voice data fone” which from the early days was exactly what a mobile phone is. Originally called Racal Strategic Radio an offshoot of Racal Electronics a military radar radio company founded in 1950.
After a merger with Millicom Inc they were launched in January 1985 with the new name Racal-Vodafone. Margaret Thatcher awarded Vodafone the second UK cellular telephone network licence in 1982. They were the first to conduct the first public mobile telephone call on the Vodafone network. Ernie Wise the comedian who made the call on St Katherine’s Dock in London. They’re now one of the world’s top mobile phone communications companies working in 26 countries. The companies headquarters was in Newbury, Berkshire but also have main offices in London.

What they offer: In the Vodafone online shop you will find various contract price plans that span unto 36 months. These plans will entice you with a variety of offers ranging from NOW TV entertainment passes to a 24 month subscription to Spotify Premium or even Sky TV. They will also offer discount for trading in your old phone as long as it is in good condition without a broken screen. To get the best prices on some fantastic pay monthly contracts and pay as you talk Vodafone deals browse their website or telephone them on 08080 408 408.

Best Buys: Cheap budget mobile phones

  • Vodafone unwanted device trade in
  • Clearance section on new mobile phones
  • SIM only deals with unlimited options

4: giffgaff

About: Giffgaff is a mobile phone network set up in 2009 and operating as a Mobile Virtual Network operator, this means it doesn’t own the network it is running on. It uses O2’s UK network. It’s still owned by Telefonica who own O2 and the network, so not quite sure how it works out.
The concept of creating a mobile network that had members not customers in a form of mutuality was conceived by O2 senior marketeer Gav Thompson a Cambridge University graduate.
A down side of giffgaff is the lack of a prominent customer service phone number. If you have any problems or questions you will have to source answers in giffgaff community forums. If it’s a security or account issue you are encouraged to aim these enquiries at agents who work for giffgaff. It can take up to 5 days but personally I use giffgaff and have never waiting this long. If you’re desperate for an immediate response you can speak to a Giffgaff representatives by telephone on 0871 244 4842. Customer service contact issues aside they are a cracking network with great coverage and cheap!

What they offer: It’s the network that’s run by its users and based solely online. giffgaff truly is mobile network that offers you control of your account and the freedom you should rightfully have with your mobile monthly outgoings. Its a fantastic network for pay as you go users with the option to choose a flexible goodybag with the power to recur your top up.
Monthly goodybags are full of texts, minutes and bags of data plus regular offers of extra free data. They’re really flexible plans that can be changed or cancelled anytime. You can also just add credit for the extra stuff that a goodybag will not cover like premium numbers and roaming outside the EU. giffgaff operates on the O2 mobile network so if you are with O2 its an easy transition to swap to giffgaff mobile network.

Best Buys: Unlimited Goody bags

  • Enjoy a SIM only goodybag deal
  • Help and advice from the giffgaff community
  • Giffgaff second hand phones sales

5: Tesco Mobile

About: Tesco Mobile was established in 2003 and were the first supermarket to start selling mobile phones. Over the coming years they have made quite a good name for themselves. They are another of the mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) powered on the O2 network so you can be assured of a good signal and widespread 4G coverage. Outside of the major mobile operators Tesco as the biggest mobile phone subscriber base. It’s partly owned by O2 who in turn are owned by Telefonica. Customer care is a big draw for Tesco Mobile with UK based award winning customer service who know their mobile phone stuff.

What they offer: Tesco’s motto is ‘every little helps’ this certainly applies with a good range of tailored phone contracts and extras like discounted family plans. On offer is the full range of mobile packages with some cracking deals on the newest smartphone pay monthly contracts.
The SIM only deals are packed with data which can be more important than minutes to lots of customers who use apps like WhatsApp. They also have all the very latest iPhone’s and Samsung android handsets on sale with generous upgrade deals. If you’re already do your food shopping at Tesco supermarket you can also collect Clubcard Points when you spend on your mobile bill. Top ups can be done in a Tesco store, online or using the pay monthly app or the pay as you go app.

Best Buys: Smartphone monthly contracts

  • Tesco Mobile old phone trade in
  • Tailored flexible mobile contracts
  • Earn Clubcard points on mobile top ups
The best UK mobile phone networks

Buying a phone on the internet

Be careful with the wording mobile phone companies use like when they say “reduce your monthly bill by spreading the cost”. This is not saving you any money just getting you tied into a longer contract. They also don’t like to use the term contract if they can help it preferring terms like plan. It can sometime feel mobile phone contracts are deliberately confusing so you just give up and go for any deal. Partly its down to the price of them and having to spread the cost so you can have the latest new phone on the market. If you could afford to buy the mobile phone outright it would be lots cheaper just getting a cheap monthly giffgaff goodybag.
The best mobile phone deals are online, its also easier to check out the different contract options. Buying your phone or and contract on the high street will likely be subject to sales staff commission you will not even be aware of. Shopping for a mobile on the internet can take the sales assistant pressure off. There are tons of websites offering advice on phones and phone contracts online. A good place to start comparing phone deals is the Carphone Warehouse its a great place to see whats available. If you do run into a problem or disputes with your contract provider and you cannot get it resolved. Try the UK the Communications Ombudsman who are approved by Ofcom and will independently try and sort out issues regarding mobile phones and broadband.