BlackBerry Buyer's Guide: UK Edition (Part 1)

BlackBerry Buyer Guide UK networks
By DJ Reyes on 15 Sep 2011 12:42 pm EDT

Here in the UK we have the top 5 networks for buying your mobile phone on - O2 UK, Vodafone UK, T-Mobile UK, Orange and Three. Although T-Mobile and Orange trade under an individual name they merged back in July 2010, so a lot of their tariffs end up being very similar if not the same. With a handful of networks it is sometimes hard to know what networks sells which BlackBerry and where the best deal lies. Of course you have Phones 4 U and Carphone Warehouse that deal with all the networks but first off we shall look at BlackBerry devices and tariffs available directly from the networks. The costs shown are for a 24-month contract. For an 18-month contract add £5 to the monthly cost, unless otherwise stated.

O2 Logo 

BlackBerry devices available:

    BlackBerry Bold 9900 BlackBerry Curve 9320        
    Bold 9900  Curve 9360 Curve 9320 Monthly Cost Minutes Texts Data
    £179.99 £59.99 Free £16.50 50 250 500MB
    £104.99 Free Free £21.50 200 Unlimited 500MB
    £79.99 Free Free £27 300 Unlimited 500MB
    £59.99 Free Free £32 600 Unlimited 500MB
    Free - - £37 900 Unlimited 750MB
    Free - - £42 1200 Unlimited 750MB
    Free - - £57 Unlimited Unlimited 750MB
      9360 in Purple or Black Red or Black        

    The above prices are for O2's medium data plans that are either 500MB or 750MB per month. You can get a maximum of 1GB data per month paying adding about £4 on top of the above monthly prices.

    For more information on BlackBerry deals on O2 

    Vodafone Logo 

    BlackBerry devices available on the network:

      BlackBerry Bold 9900 BlackBerry Torch 9680 BlackBerry Curve 9360BlackBerry Curve 9320BlackBerry Curve 8520      
      Bold 9900 Bold 9790 Curve 9360/9320/8520 Monthly Cost Minutes Texts Data
      £149 £19 Free
      £25 100 Unlimited 100MB
      £99 Free Free £29 300 Unlimited 250MB
      Free Free Free £33 600 Unlimited 500MB
      Free - - £37 Unlimtied Unlimited 1GB
          8520 in Violet, 9320 in Black, Pink, Violet or Blue        

      Vodafone have lower plans available too for the Curve models, you can visit the Vodafone website for more details on those. 

      For more information on BlackBerry deals on Vodafone 

      Three UK Logo 

      BlackBerry devices available on the network:

      BlackBerry Bold 9900 BlackBerry Bold 9790 BlackBerry Curve 9320 BlackBerry Curve 9360        
      Bold 9900 Bold 9790 Curve 9320 Curve 9360 Monthly Plan Minutes Texts Data
      £35 £32  £25 £35 The One Plan 2000 5000 Unlimited
      £33 £30 £23 £30 Ultimate Internet 1000 1000 5000 Unlimited
      £31 £28 £21 £28 Ultimate Internet 500 500 5000 Unlimited

      upfront £149

      upfront £99
      £19 £26 Ultimate Internet 300 300 5000 Unlimited
      upfront £199
      upfront £129
      £17 £23
      upfront £69
      Ultimate Internet 100 100 5000 Unlimited
      £28 £25 £18 £25 Essential Internet 500 500 5000 250MB
      upfront £149

      upfront £99

      £16 £23 Essential Internet 300 300 5000 250MB
      upfront £199
      upfront £129
      £14 £20
      upfront £69
      Essential Internet 100 100 5000 250MB
      - - £13 - Essential 50 500 5000 250MB

      Three UK have jiggled their price plans lately and while The One Plan is still available, two other plans have been introduced - Ultimate Internet plan and Essential Internet plan. All plans give you 5000 texts. The One Plan includes an extra 5000 mins to call other Three UK mobile numbers. It is also a bit more complicated in the fact that, depending on what device you get, you can pay more or less for the same plan. The table above is slightly different from the other tables due to this reason but it gives you an idea.

      For more information on BlackBerry deals on Three 

      Orange Logo 

      BlackBerry devices available on the network:

      BlackBerry Bold 9900 BlackBerry Bold 9790 BlackBerry Curve 9380        
      Bold 9900 Bold 9790 Curve 9320/9360 Monthly Cost Minutes Texts Data
      £209.99 £99.99 Free £20.50 100 Unlimited 500MB
      £159.99 Free Free £26 200 Unlimited 750MB
      £109.99 Free Free £31 400 Unlimited 750MB
      Free Free Free £35 1000 Unlimited 750MB
      Free Free Free £36 600 Unlimited 1GB
      Free Free Free £41 900 Unlimited 1GB
          9320 In Black or White        

      The above tariffs are the Panther plans. There is the Dolphin plans at the same cost, you get more minutes but less data per month. The Curve 9360 is available free from on £15.50 per month and the Curve 9320 is available from free on £10.50 per month. All contracts are 24 months.

      For more information on BlackBerry deals on Orange 

      T-Mobile UK 

      BlackBerry devices available on the network:

      BlackBerry Bold 9900 BlackBerry Bold 9790 BlackBerry Curve 9320 BlackBerry Curve 9360 BlackBerry Curve 9320        
      Bold 9900 Bold 9790 Curve 9380 Curve 9360 Curve 9320 Monthly Cost Minutes Texts Data
      £310 £200 £50 £100 Free £10.50 50 250 250MB
      £260 £150 Free £50 Free £15.50 50 250 750MB
      £210 £100 Free  Free Free £21 50 250 1.5GB
      £160 £50 Free Free Free £26 300/100/600 Unlimited Texts or Landline Calls 750MB/1.5GB/250MB
      £110 Free Free  Free Free £31 900/600/300 Unlimited Texts or Landline Calls 250MB/750MB/1.5GB
      60 Free Free Free Free £36 2000 Unlimited T-Mob call and texts Unlimited
      Free Free Free Free Free £41 Unlimited mins, texts and data    

      For more information on BlackBerry deals on T-Mobile

      Don't forget we have our international forums where you can interact with other members for more information. If you're new to BlackBerry then you may also want to check out our BlackBerry 101 section for tips, tricks and how-to guides.

      Check out the BlackBerry Buyer's Guide: UK Edition (Part 2)
      Hit the International Forums for more discussion
      Check out all of our BlackBerry 101 articles

      Reader comments

      BlackBerry Buyer's Guide: UK Edition (Part 1)


      It's more that since mobile phones became an everyday thing the UK networks have always been into 'free phone' type deals and tbh people over here react really badly to deals that they have to pay for upfront.

      Honestly, I think that people over here don't really know how much phones are worth exactly because of this, and that's why they've stuck so hard to paying more per month and getting the handset free.

      As for things being cheaper ? Well yes and no. Thing is that its a lot cheaper to run infrastructure here. We're a a little smaller than Arizona with ten times the people in it. If you look at it like that it starts to make more sense. You need far fewer towers to cover the whole population, and that radically reduces both investment and maintenance.

      As well as cheap phones, lots of netowrks are literally giving away tablets. Starting a new contract on a BB or a high end android phone (~£30 for 2 years) will, if I ask for one, give me a free playbook (with a BB) or a Xoom/Flyer (with a droid phone). As soon as the 9810 drop here, I'm definitely going to start another contract to get a new handset and a PB, because why the hell not. a £500 handset and a £400 and I pay less than 800 over 2 years. Winner! Check it out:

      Oh and there is no dataocolypse here. Every contract comes with data included, and vodafone will let you tether for free too, so the prices quoted are absolutely all you pay.

      Of course, the flip side of that is that there is no such thing as 4G over here and the companies don't seem particularly interested in bringing it to us. Also, we lag MONTHS behind in terms of device releases and the networks pretty much please themselves as to what devices they do and don't carry.

      But cheap devices are indeed really cool, thanks to heightened subsidies from the carriers. IIRC, the UK has way higher percentage of smartphone users simply because you can get a slightly older/lower end smartphone for practically nothing. £14 for a Curve 3g, £20 for a desire S.

      I'm inclined to agree with all of this. One thing I would say is that these phone companies aren't stupid. What they give you in a free handset, they take back in monthly payments. That said, I agree that our infrastructure is probably cheaper to run and lack of investment in 3G (for which coverage isn't great dependant on location) let alone 4G probably supports the ability to offer cheaper contracts. Having said that, it would also be interesting to see what happens to our contract/phone prices as the European Unionk starts to push forward on on it's plans to bring down the cost of roaming charges and also to increase 3G coverage. This may increase the cost of running phone networks which will inevitably be passed on to the customer.

      Oh yeah the networks are ALWAYS looking to get something back, but you can't deny that from a consumer standpoint giving out a tablet and a smartphone for a few bucks more than just the smartphone is a really good offer :P.

      And yeah, this situation probably won't last too much longer. Doesn't matter if the networks like it or not, people aren't going to put up with less the universal 3g and some 4g within the next year or so and thats going to cost them a lot.

      Still, make hey while the sun shines I say :P I know at least a few people who have, with the aid of friends over here, gotten great deals on phones. In fact thats how I got my current SIM. I pay the monthly and keep the sim and a friend of mine paid me half the value of a Bold for my 'free' handset. He gets a cheap phone, I get a good contract and a few extra quid to do whatever with.

      02 & carphone warehouse have just released the Torch 9860 on pre-order / 5 day delivery
      just ordered mine on upgrade 12 month contract.

      BlackBerry is all over the place in UK now which is great to see, when I got my first BB (9100) I had to place a special order as 02 didnt have any on display, none in stock & 2 assistants didnt even know what it was !

      Im waiting to upgrade my contract on vodafone to a 9900. Will be taking 600mins unlim text and 1gig data. Still savouring the 1gb contract from 2 yrs ago. the iphone boom rocked for a while

      I NEVER just renew my contract in the UK ring up everytime and say im going to cancel, get through to retentions, they love to keep you and literally can do anything with their magical computers... throw some deal by another network or make your own up at them and just keep playing hardball, 45mins on the phones pays off. Few months back got my 9700 on 18mnth, unlim (including tethering) internet, 250 mins and unlim texts for 20 quid a month. Don't hand over your money without a fight people!

      Got to admit that O2 didn't do me any favours when I requested my PAC. They said, "here it is".

      Needless to say, I replied with, "thanks, and good-bye"

      My contract:

      Phone: Curve 9300


      Carrier: O2

      Where I got the deal: Carphone wearhouse
      Price: 13.50 a month

      What I get: 250 mins, 1 gig internet, 150 texts and unlimated blackberry data.

      Only had it two and a bit months(3 months on 21st sept)

      Vofafone is brilliant for roaming. With my 9900 I pay £34 per month and when I go abroad I get 25MB of data free per DAY. Never have to worry about stopping emails or RSS feeds or browsing the web.

      I live in the UK and my sister moved to the states a few years back. When she was back home visiting she asked me to help sort her a new phone deal out for her as she isn't clued up on phones. She wanted a BB so I looked online with her and couldn't believe how much you guys have to pay!! I suppose we are just so used to having free phones thrown at us and pay via monthly tarrif.
      Also the free gifts you can get here are pretty good, I have had a free psp and a free wii in the past and next will be a free playbook I think. (Yes I know you get nothing for free but I've been paying 40 quid a month for my phone for ever now so it may as well be free)

      Just to point out on Orange the panther plans "unlimited" data is capped at 750mb where as the dolphin is capped at 250mb.
      Most networks also require the blackberry addon which orange lables as "free emails" on dolphin and panther tarriffs but lower ons don't include that from memory.
      Lastly Orange have an extras scheme where you get B.O.G.O.F. cinema tickets and pizza and on panther plans you get one free "extra" from a list of "free" tv (not counted in your data), free independent news, free sky sports and free music. On panther 25 and over you get to choose 2.

      Orange and Tmobile also share towers so you can freely roam between the two.