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Byline: WITH TRICIA PHILLIPS

CUSTOMERS who sign up for two-year smartphone contracts can end up paying way over the odds, according to research.

Price comparison website Gocompare.com said you can get the latest 16GB iPhone 5s without any upfront fees, with 1GB of data and unlimited calls and texts on 02's refresh tariff for PS43 a month.

That's made up of PS25 for the handset and PS18 for the monthly usage - or PS600 for the phone and PS432 for talk time over the two years.

But you can buy the same iPhone to use on any network for PS485.99 from website play.com - saving PS114.01 - and get a Virgin Mobile SIM-only 30-day contract for PS15 a month for the same usage, saving PS125.

Combined, that's a total saving of PS186.01 over the two years.

Matt Sanders, from Gocompare.com, said: "It's easy to see the appeal of phone contracts because often they come with no upfront fees and you can break down the price into monthly instalments.

"But it's important to bear in mind they're unlikely to be the most costeffective way of getting your hands on the latest handset."
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Title Annotation:Business; Opinion Columns
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 24, 2014
Words:194
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