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O2 UK Now Lets You Build Your Own Custom Mobile Phone Plan

Thursday, August 30th, 2018 (10:15 am) - Score 4,395
o2 uk

Mobile operator O2 claims to have launched a “revolutionary” new way of choosing a mobile phone and tariff. The new ‘Custom Plan’ essentially gives everybody unlimited calls and minutes but allows you to choose the repayment term, upfront payment and included data allowance (all this affects your monthly charge).

Customers on Pay Monthly plans will be able to spread the remaining balance of their device from anywhere between 3 and 36 months (in one-month increments) at 0% APR and if their data needs change then they can also change the airtime tariff up or down per monthly billing cycle (this seems to be how O2 get around Ofcom’s rule against contracts longer than 24 months).

The flip side of all this extra customisation is that O2 have also made it harder to compare plans between operators, although a quick test suggests that the extra flexibility might not necessarily save you all that much money. As a test we picked an Apple iPhone X (Silver) with 64GB of storage (flexible upfront cost options from £29.99 to £969.99).

For our first test (Test 1) we choose an upfront payment of £99.99 with a 36 month term and 30GB of data usage (the max option is 50GB), which came out as £62.39 a month. In Test 2 we went for the same upfront payment on a more familiar 24 month term and chose 1GB of data, which came out as £60.09 a month.

Comparison against Test 1Three UK offered a similar plan for £79.99 upfront and £57 monthly on a 24 month term, while EE charged £73 monthly for an almost identical deal to O2’s (over 24 months). Meanwhile a similar deal on Vodafone, albeit with only 20GB of data, would set you back £64 per month over a 24 month term.

Comparison against Test 2Three UK offered a similar plan for £99 upfront and £48 monthly on a 24 month term, while EE charged £54 for the same but with the downside of a £200 upfront cost. Meanwhile Vodafone’s 1GB plan on a 24 month term attracted a £169 upfront cost and charged £58 monthly.

Broadly speaking O2 and Vodafone had similar pricing, while Three UK was undoubtedly the cheapest and EE was a bit harder to place due to the difference in upfront charges but was easily the most expensive in Test 1. In our view it’s often better to buy the phone separate from your mobile operator (i.e. SIM Only), which tends to save money over the longer term but this only works well if you can afford to do that.

Obviously our brief comparison can’t easily reflect the many value-added extras that can apply between plans. For example, on Three UK you can roam around the world in 71 destinations “at no extra cost” and also benefit from their inclusive Netflix etc. streaming via “Go Binge“. Vodafone’s plans also included even more extensive global roaming, while EE bundled three months free access to the BTSport app.

Meanwhile O2 added that their devices are now being supplied unlocked from their sim and they don’t penalise customers by adding interest or charging early termination fees, while customers are free to pay off their device in full, at any time.

Leave a Comment
8 Responses
  1. Avatar Simon

    I’d like an O2 package that isn’t wank –

    nope, can’t build that bit yet it seems!

  2. Avatar Paul

    I though Ofcom banned 3 year contracts

    • They did but several operators get around that by effectively selling a package where the handset commitment and cost is treated separately from the airtime tariff. So far Ofcom has not clamped down on those and O2 aren’t the first to do it.

    • Avatar Mike

      For some that don’t switch handset very often but want a low monthly price the 36 month tariff is ideal.

  3. Avatar Mike

    Still doesn’t make up for their terrible mobile infrastructure.

  4. Avatar Superfast Dream

    Hmm, O2, revolutionary, no unlimited data – hardly revolutionary, need to do better O2. It will be 5G with a 50GB data cap next, spent in an hour….

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