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O2 offers mobile phones through a wide range of pay monthly and pay as you go (PAYG) plans. The phones it stocks include Apple, Samsung, Sony and Google as well as more affordable options like Honor, Xiaomi and Nokia. O2 also offers refurbished units of older premium models, so you can still get your hands on an iPhone and a O2 contract without having to pay for the latest release.
O2's premium phone offerings come with pay monthly plans and you can explore these in two ways:
These plans are extremely flexible compared to some other providers. You can select precisely the figure you want on the following:
Maximum upfront cost
Not being locked into a template is a definite plus of going with O2, as you are free to adjust your tariff anytime. Unlike many other providers that lock you into a 24-month contract at a minimum, the minimum contract length on O2, even for the latest iPhone, is three months. Granted, the cost for such a contract is far, far higher than opting for a long-term option, but having it as a possibility is still a strong draw.
If you would prefer a more structured approach, you can also opt for an O2 plan, these may in fact work out cheaper as you pay a little more for the convenience of total flexibility. You may also find you are able to take advantage of entertainment offers for a lower cost too.
Overall, you may find better value with pre-built plans, but if you think you’ll end up paying for data you don’t need or a time period where you won’t use your phone, then the custom options are undeniably useful.
O2 monthly plans, either with or without phones are ‘adjusted’ each April to inflation, that means every year you are on the plan, you can expect a price hike i.e. if you’re on a 36-month plan, you’ll get a price increase three times!
O2’s pay as you go options come in two forms, the traditional top up whenever you need and a monthly bundle that activates with a monthly top up of as little as £5. Opting for a bundle can include extras like bonus data, free credit, unlimited calls and texts and coverage for international calls.
PAYG customers also get treated to O2 Rewards, which calculates your total top ups over every three-month period and pays you back for a portion, to be put towards more credit, event tickets and more.
O2 SIM only plans offer similar benefits to their handset counterparts. PAYG SIM only plans get the same three-month reward, while pay monthly SIMs get access to entertainment deals, O2 WiFi and Priority access (more on those below).
O2's mobile broadband SIMs are perhaps its simplest offering, with data and texts offered at a simple monthly price.
O2 offers other tech on monthly and pay as you go plans too, including tablets and dongles. Tablet plans, like mobile plans, can be customised to suit you and entertainment packages can also be added on monthly options. Dongles and mobile WiFi devices are available on a monthly contract with no upfront cost, or can be bought outright for pay-as-you-go use.
O2 will require you to pay off your current device before you can upgrade, with the exception being customers on the O2 Refresh plan. This plan allows you to upgrade whenever you like. It works by charging you separately for your phone and for your data, so you only have to pay off the phone portion of your contract to upgrade. You can even use this plan to pay off the phone altogether even if you intend to keep it, so your overall monthly costs will go down.
O2 offers a large range of high-end accessories such as for Samsung Galaxy and iPhones. It also offers the Apple Watch which can also be purchased with highly flexible monthly plans.
O2 roaming is free within the Europe Zone and a select few countries beyond Europe. An extra ‘Bolt On’ will boost this coverage to 75 destinations for a daily fee. This makes it less extensive than a multinational provider like Vodafone so if roaming is a vital part of your mobile plan, check to see if your chosen destination is covered.
O2, along with EE, Three and Vodafone, runs its own network. O2 claims to have extensive coverage of the UK, but this doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get coverage for 4G or 5G, for example. It would be best to check the sort of coverage you can expect on O2’s coverage checker.
O2 has become well known for its perks, often used as headline feature in its marketing campaigns. At present, you can enjoy the following benefits as an O2 customer:
You can add extras to your existing plan, letting you gain access to some of the best entrainment services around, including:
Amazon Prime Video
Similar to other reward schemes, Priority Offers works with other brands to give O2 customers discounted or complimentary services and products, from an online masterclass to a free coffee.
Perhaps O2’s most famous offering, Priority Tickets works with some of the UK’s best venues both big and small to make tickets available to O2 customers before general release.
O2 owns a selection of leading event and concert venues across the UK, including the O2 arena, and as such, customers can expect their mobile plans to earn them a few extra perks here too:
Exclusive access to lounges
Dedicated members of staff
Complimentary refreshments at Twickenham Stadium
O2 customers may be able to gain cheaper car insurance through O2 Drive. Based on the information O2 already has on your customer behaviour i.e. timely payments, monthly budget and brand loyalty, you may find your mobile phone deal also lands you a great car insurance discount as well.
As an O2 customer you will gain access to thousands of public Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the UK, including the networks of popular restaurants and stores. That means you can enjoy free Wi-Fi when out and about without eating into your data. You can use O2’s hotspot finder to get online.
TrustPilot doesn’t sway hugely in favour of O2 though such sites should always be considered somewhat biased to the negative as pleased customers generally have less reason to post. Ofcom rated O2 as average in its performance survey – scoring neutrally between “would recommend/would not recommend”.
When it comes to the big names in the mobile market, O2 is as good a choice as any. Prices aren’t particularly competitive but phone options and plans are plentiful. The option to customise your plan down to the number of months is a great bonus and all the little perks such as priority ticket sales may be a huge plus for those with an active social life.
Ben Gallizzi, Money.co.uk's Energy Expert, has been with O2 since 2011, and for good reason:
"Having been on Vodafone when I was at university in a city, I found that it didn't provide a particularly good or consistent signal when I was living back at home in a rural area. I went with O2 after checking the coverage network area and I’ve never been disappointed as far as signal is concerned. As someone who goes to a lot of gigs in London, though, the O2 Priority feature has been invaluable at getting me tickets to gigs at the various O2 Academies or O2 Arena that might have been tricky to get through normal channels.
"The only way I could see myself leaving O2 is if I wanted a specific phone at the end of my contract and a different provider was significantly cheaper than O2."
Ben Gallizzi, Money.co.uk Energy Expert
Yes, though as with any provider at present, it is still working to build this network, so coverage isn’t quite as extensive as it may be with 3G or 4G.
Last updated: 22 December 2020