To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Why you shouldn’t fall for these Black Friday phone deals

Does a Black Friday phone deal seem too good to be true? It probably is

Are you looking for a phone deal this Black Friday? You might want to think before you buy. It’s incredibly easy to get suckered into committing to a long phone contract with prices that look good on the storefront but actually drain your wallet over the course of the next couple of years.

It’s crucial that you pay attention to things such as the overall cost of the contract, the payments – both monthly and upfront – and the price of the smartphone you’re hoping to buy. Irritatingly, these things are not always presented clearly on retailer websites, and they aren’t the only potential pitfalls, either.

We’ve decided to take you on a quick tour of the so-called best Black Friday phone deals of the period so far. We’ll point out what to avoid and explain why we feel that many of these deals aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.

We’ll also explain where you can find the same products for less, so you can enjoy the items in the deals without worrying about being overcharged by a misleading offer.

READ NEXT: The best budget smartphones to buy

How to avoid the worst Black Friday phone deals

As soon as you spot a seemingly good deal, check the following things:

Contract length: This can range from 12 to 24 months. Virgin Mobile even offers 36-month contracts, although we don’t recommend signing up to a three-year contract for obvious reasons. If a monthly price is amazingly cheap, it may be because it stretches on for longer than you might like.

Contract price: It sounds obvious, but make sure you know exactly how much you’re paying. If you accidentally miss a hefty upfront fee in your excitement, you’ll be kicking yourself come checkout. All retailers should offer this information. 

Monthly data: The cheaper the contract, the smaller the data allowance. Anything below the 4GB mark is too little for normal data users. 

The phone itself: We can only recommend smartphones based on our own tests, but one thing you can always look out for is the age of the handset on offer. You really don’t want to be stuck with an ancient phone – particularly on a long contract – just because it was dirt cheap.

Freebies: You should be VERY sceptical of any contract bundles that include free products. As we’ll demonstrate below, you can more often than not find the same phone and freebie plus a good SIM-only deal for less than the deal bundle price. Oh, and the freebie itself might be rubbish. 

If we had to give one piece of advice, it would be this: buy your smartphone outright. You can find plenty of great discounts on SIM-free phones over Black Friday; we’ve actually picked out a few over in our dedicated roundup.

READ NEXT: The best deals of Black Friday 2020

Black Friday phone deals you might want to avoid

(…and why they suck)

1. Samsung Galaxy A41 with free Samsung 32in TV (Virgin Mobile)

Right from the start, this one sets the alarm bells ringing. The cheapest contract is a 36-month job at £19 per month: although there’s no upfront fee, that’s still a total cost of £684 for just 1GB of data. 

The phone costs £269 outright and is on offer at Amazon for £225. Pair that with the £200 Samsung T4300 TV (a 32in Full HD telly) and you still have £259 to play around with. If you pick Virgin Mobile’s closest SIM-only plan, with 3GB of data at £8 per month over 24 months, you’ll spend £192 on your contract overall, leaving you with a cool £67. 

So why not splash out? You can have the phone and the TV and still afford a 12GB per month SIM from Three (for £10 per month over 12 or 24 months). 

Buy now from Three

2. Google Pixel 4a with free LG 43in TV (EE)

Oh look, another free TV. This one comes with the brand-new Google Pixel 4a, a smartphone usually worth £349 but currently on sale at Amazon for £319. The cheapest contract here is £39 per month with a £30 upfront fee, which over the course of two years comes to a grand total of £966. That’s rather a lot of money for Google’s cheapest new phone.

To make matters worse, the LG TV in question usually sells for £479 but is currently on sale for £319 at That means that once again, you can snap up the phone and the free TV (in this case a 4K HDR model) for far less than the deal price – £328 less, to be exact.  

Now, EE doesn’t actually offer a 10GB SIM-only plan, meaning you’ll end up spending much more than £328, or much less. But O2 has a 12-month 10GB plan for £17 per month, which works out at £204 overall; or you could go with Three, which has a 12GB plan for £10 per month (12 or 24 months) for an upper limit of £240 overall. Either way, you’re saving money.

Buy now from O2

Buy now from Three

3. iPhone 11 with free AirPods (EE)

You can probably guess what we’re going to say now. The cheapest EE contract that nets you the free AirPods is for 10GB data for £44 per month with a £30 upfront cost – over two years, that’s a grand total of £1,086. 

The iPhone 11 starts at £599, while the AirPods are currently £125 or £157 for the version with the charging case. That’s a maximum of £756 spent, leaving you £330 left over – or £362 if you opted for the cheaper model.

Once more, you’re left with plenty of cash to pick up a SIM-only deal from the likes of Three (£10 per month) or O2 (£17 per month for 12 months). And you’ll still have change left for a phone case.

Buy now from O2

Buy now from Three

4. Samsung Galaxy S20 5G (Virgin Mobile)

No freebies this time, just one expensive phone. This offer nets you the Galaxy S20 5G-ready smartphone for a minimum of £29 per month – Virgin Mobile’s “lowest-ever price”. That’ll get you 1GB of data, and cost you £1,044 over 36 months (remember what we said about those contracts).

The Galaxy S20 5G is currently on offer for £649 at Amazon (the same price as the 4G model), giving you a whopping £395 to play around with. You could nab a 3GB SIM from Virgin Mobile on a 12-month contract for £7 per month and still have £143 left (after three years). Although to make matters worse, Virgin Mobile’s 5G network isn’t even live yet, so that portion of the phone’s functionality is useless at the moment.

Buy now from Virgin Media

Read more