Two years can be a lot longer than it seems, when you want a new phone. If you signed up for a new contract the second you laid eyes on the iPhone 4s or 5, it probably feels like you’ve had your phone forever. Depending on the date of purchase, you might not even be able to switch to the new model just yet (not without forking over hundreds of pounds, at least); head to your service provider’s website to see what your upgrade eligibility status is.
Thankfully, it’s not too difficult. All the major networks have online accounts for their customers with your upgrade information, so log in at the website of your provider to see it. EE and T-Mobile customers can also text UP to 150 straight from their phones. There are also upgrade checkers for multiple networks at Carphone Warehouse.
O2 customers on a Refresh tariff will have the option of upgrading their phone whenever they choose (independent of their mobile contract), provided that they pay off the rest of the cost of the handset. Vodafone Red Hot customers have the option of upgrading up to 12 months early when on a 24-month plan, returning their old phone in good condition as part of the process. In both cases, you’ll need to stick with the same network for an upgrade – if you wanted to change carriers, you’d need to pay an early termination fee.
Finally, if you plan on buying a new or used unlocked phone, you can pretty much take it into any store and sign up for a plan without worrying about locking yourself into a longterm commitment.