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5 Free Or Sub £5 PAYG Mobile Phones When You Top Up

The recession has had a massive impact on the way mobile phone networks tackle the lowest segment of the market, the ultra-cheap PAYG section.

If you are a Virgin Media customer, you can get either grab a Nokia 2600, a Nokia 2680 or a Lobster 621 with a mere £20 top up. Alternatively you can snap the very attractive LG Shine for £40. There is a limit of two phones per customers and you will have to pay a £4.88 delivery charge per order (not per phone). This offer is not available online. You will have to call Virgin Media and ask for the offer to the salesperson.

If you are planning to fly to Europe in the next few months and don't want to risk your brand new mobile phone, get yourself a Nokia 1650 Black (opens in new tab) on Vodafone from Pay only £20 topup and you get the phone for free with no delivery charges to pay.

Vodafone will cancel roaming charges in more than 35 countries for 90 days starting from the beginning of June 2009. The 1650 is a basic mobile phone, comes with a currency converter, a rado and even a flash light.

Carphone Warehouse (opens in new tab) has a number of sub £5 mobile phones available when you bought with £10 airtime. The Alcatel OT E227 mobile phone is a clamshell model that comes with all the basics and a colour screen. There's a vibrating alert and the design reminds us of all Motorola clamshell phones.

It was released last October and would surely suit fashionistas. You can also choose the more traditional Nokia 1112 (opens in new tab) which is on Virgin Media or the Sony Ericsson J132 (opens in new tab) which is also on Virgin Media.

Mobiles2yourdoor (opens in new tab) sells the Motorola W156 PAYG mobile phones for £14.85 including a £10 Top Up. The phone has only basic features but is a sturdy model. It is only 85g and is only 14mm thick. There's an organiser, three games, a black LED screen and has built-in hands free application. The mobile phone is locked on Virgin Mobile.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.