One expert believes consumers are intent on securing the mobile phone they want, possibly at the expense of the best deal.

Luke Westaway, writing for CNET UK in response to research by Tesco, says the take-up of 18 and 24-month contracts proves it is the model that is most important.

The supermarket last week launched a range of one-year deals, after suggesting people are fed up of lengthier associations with a device.

"We suspect people will keep shelling out for glossy devices regardless of the asking price, so it’s up to networks to undercut each other to bring contract length down again," Mr Westaway states.

Research by Tesco suggests contracts of at least 18 months now make up 59 per cent of the mobile market, up from 3.2 per cent in 2008.

One possible reason for this is the rise in popularity of smartphones, such as the iPhone 4, which sold 1.7 million units in its first three days on the market.

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