The time has come when you want to upgrade to a new 4G mobile phone and enjoy superfast browsing, streaming and downloads on the move. That’s where 4G upgrades come into play and we've got you covered.
We'll help you find out whether you are eligible to upgrade, help you make an informed decision and get the best possible upgrade deal.
Some things to consider when it comes to upgrades are that you can only upgrade from a Pay Monthly plan and to the same network that you are currently on. The only exception to that rule is with Orange or T-Mobile customers who can upgrade to EE (because EE owns Orange and T-Mobile).
Quickly and easily check when you can upgrade by selecting the appropriate upgrade checker below.
As a general rule you can upgrade between 30 and 45 days before the end of your existing plan. However, situations can often change based on individual circumstances, so it’s always worth checking first. It is not unheard of that in some cases 4G upgrades can occur with up to 90 days of a contract left.
T-Mobile and Orange customers with a 4G-Ready phone can upgrade to EE at any time, as long as they have more than 60 days left on their plan. EE will transfer you to a new 4G plan of between 12 and 24 months dependent on what length contract you’re currently on and how far into it you are.
You can get a better deal upgrading through a reseller when upgrading and the best deals are available from the Carphone Warehouse who can upgrade anyone who is already on O2, EE or Vodafone.
Those who still have a long time left on their contract (and are not on T-Mobile or Orange) only have a couple of choices.
Firstly, they can choose to buy out their existing contract from their current provider and upgrade to a shiny new 4G phone and plan. Secondly, you can buy a new 4G smartphone SIM-free (or on Pay As You Go) and pop-in your existing 4G SIM (your operator may need to send you a new SIM- read more below).
Those who already have a 4G-Ready phone have the option of upgrading their existing 3G plan to a new 4G plan. The situation is different with each operator and we’ve summarized the details below.
Orange and T-Mobile customers on 3G contracts can upgrade to 4G on EE. You will be able to choose any EE plan, provided the monthly fee is not lower than the plan you have at the moment. There may be a cost for the new 4G phone. The actual cost depends on your existing monthly tariff and length of time on your existing contract.
O2 tariffs taken out recently are 4G-ready and customers on O2 with more than 1GB of data included in their existing plan can be upgraded to 4G for free (and likely will have been automatically). While those with less than 1GB of data can upgrade to 4G for just £5 a month.
Three have automatically upgraded all their customers to 4G at no extra cost.
Vodafone exclusively offers 4G tariffs now. If you're a legacy 3G customer with a 4G-Ready phone you can upgrade to 4G, however doing so may incur an admin charge and a 4G plan is likely to be more expensive than your 3G one.
Those who don’t have a 4G-Ready phone can upgrade to a new phone and plan with their existing operator, or if you’re out of contract there’s nothing to stop you changing networks.
It usually costs nothing to upgrade your contract but there could be a cost to upgrade to a new smartphone. Any additional cost for the new handset will be calculated by the operator. Obviously, the more the handset is worth the more likely it is that there will be an upfront cost for it.
The actual cost, if any, is based on the length of time you have had your existing phone contract and on how much you currently spend per month.
You can choose any phone which is available within the operator's portfolio.
If you are looking to stay on Pay As You Go then you can upgrade at any time, but you will need to buy a new 4G phone if yours only supports 3G. The good news is that most smartphones made in the last few years do support 4G, so there’s a high chance that you already have a compatible phone.
There are three types of SIM card: standard, micro and nano. There is also a multi-fit SIM which can be used as a standard, micro or nano SIM. These are often known as combi SIMs. In some cases customers find they can continue to use their existing SIM card, transferring it to the new phone. However, for this to work it must both be a 4G SIM card and be the right size for your new phone. Your network should be able to advise you on this, but if you’re not sure what size SIM card you have or what size you need simply check the documentation for your current or new handset.
Contact your mobile phone operator or retailer to find out more about your position with regard to a 4G upgrade.