Founded in 1985 as Cellnet and re-branded in 2002, O2 is the UK’s second largest mobile telecom provider. O2 has approximately 22 million subscribers and its network covers around 99% of the UK population.
Reasons to choose O2:
O2 Pay Monthly Tariffs
O2 offer Pay Monthly tariffs in two broad categories: Phone Included tariffs that include a SIM, selected monthly allowances and a new phone, and SIM only tariffs which include only a SIM card and selected monthly allowances. With the exception of the cheapest two brackets in each category, all O2 contracts include unlimited texts.
A feature unique to O2 is their system of contract “Bolt Ons”. These are additional services can be selected to personalise plans in exchange for an extra monthly charge. Available Bolt Ons include Multimedia Messaging, phone insurance, additional mobile data, and international calling plans, among others.
O2 offer contracts including a phone with 12, 18 or 24 month durations. 24 month contracts are generally £5 per month cheaper than equivalent 12 or 18 month contracts, while 12 month contracts have the same monthly cost as their 18 month equivalents but are available only to upgrading customers.
Customers signing up to a new contract on O2 can select a data allowance to suit their needs from the available options of ´low´, ´medium´ and ´high´ data usage. The ´low´ option provides 100 MB per month; ´medium´ provides between 250 MB and 750 MB per month, depending on the contract; and ´high´ provides 1 GB per month.
Depending on the phone and contract selected, customers may be required to pay an additional one-off fee at the beginning of the contract as a contribution towards the cost of the handset.
O2 SIM Only Tariffs
O2’s SIM only deals are known as ‘O2 Simplicity’ contracts. These are available as either 12 month fixed duration contracts or 1 month rolling contracts. Because the monthly contract costs do not include any part of the cost of a new phone, O2 SIM only deals consistently cost less per month than equivalent Phone Included contracts.
All SIM only contracts from O2 include unlimited text messages and extra free minutes to O2 numbers. In general, 12 month rolling contracts are cheaper than equivalent rolling monthly contracts as an incentive for a longer commitment. As with ´phone included´ contracts, Simplicity customers can select a ´low´, ´medium´ or high data allowance for an additional monthly fee.
O2 Pay As You Go (PAYG) Tariffs
O2 offer a number of different tariffs for Pay As You Go customers, referred to as “Pay & Go” tariffs. Each tariff confers an additional benefit when topped up with a given amount of credit. Benefits are applied the month after the top up.
The range of PAYG tariffs offered by O2 is quite wide and so most customers should be able to find a tariff that suits their usual type of mobile use. Options include tariffs with internet data allowances, free O2 to O2 calls, and free international minutes, among others. Visit our O2 Pay As You Go page for more details on available tariffs.
O2 also offer “Bolt Ons” to all their Pay & Go tariffs. These Bolt Ons add additional services to tariffs for a fee that’s deducted from customers’ credit each month. Available Bolt Ons include various mobile data options, extra free minutes to selected numbers, BlackBerry internet services, international calling options and extra free text messages.
Once you’ve selected a new contract from O2, you will be issued with a new mobile number. If you are currently with a different provider in the UK, it is possible to transfer your old mobile number to the O2 network. To do this, you need to obtain a PAC number from your current network. ‘PAC’ stands for ‘Porting Authorisation Code’ and is an identifying code that informs O2 that you’ve requested and been given permission to move your number onto their network.
To obtain a PAC, you should only have to contact your current provider and request one. According to Ofcom, the body which regulates UK communications industries, it is the right of customers to take their number with them when they switch networks. Ofcom’s guidelines state that PAC codes should be issued either immediately over the phone when requested, or within two hours via text message.
Once you have received your PAC code, contact O2 either by phone or through their website and inform them that you wish to transfer your old number. Once you’ve given them your PAC code, the transfer will ordinarily be completed within one or two working days. PAC codes are valid for 30 days after the date of issue so if you don’t pass your code on to O2 within this time, you’ll need to request a new code.
Contract & SIM Only
|O2 Priority Tickets
||Service free, tickets at standard cost||O2 customers who register for O2 Priority get access to tickets for gigs and events at the O2 arena and a number of O2 Academy venues up to 48 hours before other customers.||
|O2 Priority Moments
||Free||O2 customers can register to receive exclusive special offers and discount vouchers from businesses local to them through O2’s Priority Moments service.||
|O2 Rewards - Pay Monthly
||Free, higher spenders receive further rewards.||O2 Pay Monthly customers are eligible to receive O2 Rewards, including early upgrades and discounted home broadband. Customers with higher 12 month spends receive better rewards.||Contract & SIM Only|
|O2 Rewards - PayG
||Free||O2 Pay As You Go customers are eligible to receive O2 Rewards. Customers who joined O2 before July 2010 can claim credit equal to 10% of their top ups every 3 months. New customers can claim back 5%. Rewards can also be used for discounts to gig tickets, High Street vouchers or new mobiles.||PAYG|
O2 offer various additional services to both Pay As You Go and Pay Monthly customers through their system of ´Bolt Ons´. Bolt Ons are purchased on a monthly basis, and the cost is either added to the standard monthly bill, for Pay Monthly customers, or taken from credit, for PAYG customers.
A wide range of services are available as Bolt Ons, including additional allowances, international calls and BlackBerry services.
O2 Pay Monthly customers can add a data allowance to their contract based upon their usage from three available options: Low, Medium or High. Pay As You Go customers select data through O2’s system of “Bolt Ons”. The charge for these Bolt-Ons is taken out of call credit each month and as with Pay Monthly there are three data options available: “The Basics”, “The All Rounder”, and “The Works”.
"Low" (Pay Monthly) or “The Basics” (PAYG) includes 100 MB of mobile data. This option is intended for those who are light users of mobile internet.
"Medium" (Pay Monthly) or “The All Rounder” (PAYG) includes between 250 MB and 750 MB of mobile data, depending on the contract. This option includes unlimited Wi-Fi through BT’s Openzone and The Cloud. Intended for moderate mobile internet users, it is a good choice for most.
"High" (Pay Monthly) or “The Works” (PAYG) includes 1 GB of mobile data and unlimited Wi-Fi through BT’s Openzone and The Cloud. This option is intended for heavier mobile internet users.
Customers who do not add a data allowance Bolt On to their tariff can still access the internet through O2’s network on a ‘pay as you browse’ basis. Customers are charged a maximum fee per day of internet access, and have a fair use limit each day they use this service.
Below is a table that shows you how far your data will stretch:
|downloading or streaming music||20 songs||100 songs||200 songs|
|downloading or streaming video||20 minutes||1 hours||2 hours|
|basic webpages ( text or mobile versions)||1,000||5,000||10,000|
|rich webpages (containing, rich images & flash)||300||1,500||3,000|
|emails with images or attachments||200||1,000||2,000|
Table represents approximate values.
Will I have signal in my area? Use the O2 coverage checker to find out how strong you can expect signal to be in your home, workplace or other frequently visited locations.
Compare the key features of the O2 network with other major UK mobile service providers.