The SIM-only market for 4G is quietly opening up with Vodafone joining EE (and soon to be complemented by Three and O2). Phones4U is currently offering EE with 500MB data on a one-month contract for £23 while Vodafone is also available with 2GB data on a one-year contract for £26.
That's an annual total cost of ownership of £276 and £312 respectively. On the face of it, the Vodafone deal is worth the extra penny, just bear in mind that you're tied for a year. How does that compare to the 3G market? Well, O2 does a one-year deal with 1GB data for £21 per month (or £252). In all three cases, you get unlimited minutes and texts.
The biggest issue at this point remains the widespread availability of affordable 4G handsets on the market. The cheapest one at the moment is the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE which costs around £160 unlocked on eBay (with one year warranty). Other noteworthy models include the recently launched Nokia Lumia 625 and the Lumia 820 at under £200.
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