Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
Following on from my Getting The Best Deal On Your Next Phone, here is my first comparison chart that shows the total cost of ownership for two of the latest phones.
The idea behind these charts is to compare the tariffs for two popular phones with similar specifications. For the first one I thought I’d put the two heavyweight smartphones against each other – the HTC Desire HD and Apple’s iPhone 4.
The table below will probably look a little confusing and at first glance not make a lot of sense, but I’m going to run through each section in turn so that you can understand exactly what each section means and why you should care about it. It might take a couple of reads, but trust me, it’s worth it!
If you want to take a look at the table in full, you can download an excel version, where you’ll be able to tweak it depending on the deals that you find when you start shopping around for your next phone.
On the table below, the top two sections are for the HTC Desire HD, the bottom two sections are for the 16GB iPhone 4.
How this works
Contract length, Line Rental and Handset cost.
These three rows are all pretty straight forward. To keep this chart as fair as possible, these prices are all based on the current prices listed on the network websites and are correct as of today (2nd Dec). The only exception is the Desire HD on O2, which is not currently available direct, but is available through Carphone Warehouse.
Minutes, Texts and Data.
Again, they’re fairly straight forward, but it’s worth pointing out that most networks now offer a number of different tariffs at the same price point. To keep this comparison as fair as possible, I’ve opted for tariffs that give similar allowances. You may find with some networks that you can pay the same line rental, but get less free minutes/texts, but in return you’ll pay less for the phone.
Most tariffs now include unlimited text messages, this is subject to a fair usage policy though which in most cases caps the number of free text messages at 3000. For that reason any unlimited text tariff will have the number of texts show as 3000.
Data allowance is quoted in MB, 1000MB is about 1GB.
Effective Cost Per Month
This is where it may start to get a bit confusing. The Effective Cost Per Month is the fairest way to compare how much each option will cost you each month. The Effective Cost Per Month is calculated by adding up the total cost of your line rental and the handset cost, less any cashback from sites such as Quidco or Topcashback and any special promotions from the networks. You can see all of these costs by downloading an excel version of the chart.
The Effective Cost Per Month is colour coded either green or red, this is to show you which works out to be the cheaper option – either the 18 or 24 month contract.
It’s not always easy to look at a set of tariffs and work out which ones are good value for money, so that’s where this figure will help you. To determine the value figure I awarded points to each tariff for every minute, text and MB of data that you get. I then divided this number by the total cost of ownership to get a value for money figure. To a certain extent, how this is calculated doesn’t matter too much as no matter how it’s calculated the result is the same. What is important though is that the lower this number is the better as it means you’re getting more for your money.
Green tariffs are good value for money, orange tariffs are ok, but nothing special, and red ones should be avoided at all costs!
So Which is the best deal?
There’s no definitive answer to this question, but what the chart should help you decide on is which networks are worth spending more time looking at and which ones to avoid. It should also make it clearer to see which phone has the better offers on.
If the deciding factor was cost, The Desire HD would be the clear winner as it has a lower Effective Cost Per Month (which means it’s cheaper to run), a better value for money rating (which means you’ll get more minutes, texts and data for less money) and it has lower up front costs.
Download and Experiment
If you understand all that and want to have a play with the spreadsheet yourself, feel free to download a copy of it in XLS format. There’s a bit less colour coding on it and you’ll notice that there are also a few extra rows in each table. I won’t go into detail on what these are on here, but you’ll find explanations on the first tab of the spreadsheet.
If you have any questions or want me to put one of these together for any other phones, let me know using the comments section below or message me on twitter.