Android Central

Vodafone UK has announced the launch of 'Nearly New' -- a way for Pay As You Go or contract customers to get hold of a smartphone at a lower cost, provided they're happy with using a handset that's not fresh out of the box.

PAYG customers will be able to pick up a pre-owned handset at a reduced up-front price, while contract customers will pay a lower monthly fee if they take a pre-owned phone.

Vodafone says all 'Nearly New' handsets have been returned in "very good condition" by previous owners, and have been factory reset and boxed up with accessories. Vodafone offers the example of the Galaxy S3, which is free on a £33 per month deal on 'Nearly New,' versus £37 per month brand new. Devices bought on PAYG will come with a 12 month warranty, the network says; for contract customers, it's 24 months.

'Nearly New' launches today for contract customers online and at Vodafone stores today; PAYG phones are available in-store today and online from today.

It's not the first time Vodafone has experimented with unconventional ways of getting phones into customers' hands. Back in November the carrier started offering 12-month handset rentals, allowing subscribers to get a new smartphone every year, provided the old one is returned undamaged.

2013 is set to become an interesting year for UK mobile operators, as Vodafone, O2 and Three prepare to launch LTE services to compete with 4G incumbent EE.