Why choose an O2 mobile phone contract?
O2 is one of the four UK networks and, along with its widespread 4G network, its 5G service is now available in over 200 towns and cities. 5G coverage is expected to grow rapidly, as the network has outlined ambitious rollout plans, making O2 a good bet for anyone wanting a 5G connection.
O2 specialises in offering highly flexible plans, with customisable data allowances, contract durations and upfront costs, so you can tailor your O2 phone (or SIM-only) contract to your needs. Customers can choose from one-month, 12-month, 24-month or even 36-month contracts for their new phone. And with data allowances ranging from 1GB to unlimited, O2 has a mobile deal available to suit every budget.
O2 has recently merged with Virgin Media, which means existing and new Virgin broadband customers can take advantage of special deals if they also take out an O2 deal, including double data each month.
How can I keep my number when switching?
Keeping your number is simple. You just need to request your nine-digit PAC (porting authorisation code) from your current network. You can do this either by calling up, or by texting PAC to 65075. Depending on your current provider, you may also be able to request a PAC via your mobile app.
Your PAC code should come through within a minute. You can then give it to O2 either at the point of ordering your new phone deal or at any time afterwards. The switchover should only take a day or so at most. Just remember that the PAC code is only valid for 30 days, although you can request a new one if necessary.
O2 added extras
O2 offers customers some worthwhile extras, as you would expect from one of the more premium mobile providers. Every phone and SIM-only deal comes with at least one freebie, such as one month free of Disney+, three months’ free of Apple Music or six months’ free Amazon Prime Video or Amazon Music.
Every O2 customer with a pay monthly phone plan or SIM-only deal can take advantage of free roaming in Europe, with the premium Plus Plan customers also able to roam in a further 27 countries around the world at no extra cost.
Customers can enjoy free access to over 4500 Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK, meaning that if there’s no signal (or even just no 5G) you can take advantage of O2 Wi-Fi instead, if it is available. As an O2 customer, your phone will connect to these hotspots automatically, with no need for you to register, making it a smooth experience. O2 also offers both Wi-Fi Calling and 4G Calling on all its handsets.
All O2 plans also come with access to O2 Priority, an app packed full of freebies, competitions and exclusive offers, including early access to gig, sports events and exhibitions,as well as discounted holidays and short breaks.
O2 Mobile phone upgrades
O2 customers that want to upgrade their phones can do so thanks to O2 Refresh. This is a system that splits your bill into two halves – the monthly cost of repaying your handset (your Device Plan) and your monthly allowance of data, minutes and texts (your Airtime Plan).
O2 Refresh allows you to pay off your Device Plan whenever you want to. At that point you are free to upgrade to another handset if you wish, whilst continuing to pay for your Airtime Plan.
O2 now also offers O2 Switch Up, which allows you to upgrade your phone at any point in your contract, as many times as you want, and regardless of whether you have even paid it off or not. O2 Switch Up costs £3.99 per month or is included free with certain plans.
O2 has a large range of handsets to choose from, including the latest iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models, as well as a selection of cheaper phones from manufacturers such as Nokia and Motorola.
O2 offers unlimited data plans with both its phones and in the form of SIM-only deals. It does not differentiate between different unlimited plans by putting speed limits on some plans – every O2 unlimited plan comes with the optimal download speeds available at any time.
As well as unlimited plans, O2 also offers high data allowances of 250GB, 160GB, 150GB and 100GB, depending on which plan you choose. Every O2 data plan comes with unlimited texts and minutes.
O2 4G and 5G Coverage
As with the other three networks (namely EE, Vodafone and Three), O2’s 4G network covers 99 per cent of the UK population, meaning that in most inhabited areas you will be able to receive a signal. Its 5G network is still being rolled out, with 200 UK towns and cities currently covered.
To find out what network availability is like in your area, you can use our coverage checker. Just type in your postcode and you will be shown a map of your area, detailing signal strength both indoors and out.
Check O2 5G Coverage
O2 5G speeds
When compared to the other networks, O2’s 5G speeds are on the slow side, averaging 100.6Mbps according to the latest report by independent analytics group, Opensignal, or at least when compared to Three’s ridiculously fast 5G speed that averages over 200Mbps. Having said that, O2’s 5G speed is still vastly quicker than any 4G speed, and faster too than the majority of home broadband connections.
When it comes to 4G speeds, O2 is also a little slower than average according to Opensignal, with 17.1Mbps, but is still roughly on a par with Vodafone (22Mbps) and Three (26Mbps). EE leads the way for 4G, averaging 44Mbps.
O2 Data roaming
O2 is one of the few providers that still lets you roam for free in a total of 49 countries, including most European countries as well as French overseas territories in the Caribbean and South America, such as St Barts and Reunion. In fact, it was recently voted Uswitch’s Best Network for Roaming.
If you plan on travelling beyond Europe, you can choose to sign up to O2 Travel. For £6 per day you can have access to unlimited data, texts and minutes (regardless of which UK plan you have), and you will only be charged for the days that you actually use your phone. Just be aware that some countries may slow your connection speed. O2 Travel covers 27 countries, including the United States, Australia and Mexico.
For any other countries around the world, you will be charged the standard roaming fees: calls cost £2 per minute, texts are 50p each and 1MB of data is £7.20. These prices will rapidly mount up so if you are travelling to a country outside Europe and the O2 Travel Zone, we would advise you consider buying a local SIM card instead.
Using your phone’s data to get another device online – known as tethering – is permitted, although not encouraged, by O2. This may be down to the fact that it might prefer you purchased a separate 4G or 5G mobile broadband device to create a personal hotspot instead, or it may be due to the fact that hotspotting will rapidly eat up both your data and your battery.
Either way, if you have a big enough (or unlimited) data plan, this should not be an issue – you’ll just need to keep an eye on your battery.
When it comes to tethering abroad in Europe, this is permitted, but a data usage limit of 25GB applies – even on unlimited data plans.
O2 customer service
O2’s customer service team can be contacted on 0344 809 0202 from a landline or on 202 from an O2 mobile between 8am and 9pm Monday to Friday, between 8am and 8pm on Saturday, and between 8am to 6pm on Sunday.
According to Ofcom’s annual report into customer service satisfaction within the mobile industry, O2 comes out pretty average, with 92% satisfaction overall, on a par with EE and Vodafone. Tesco Mobile and giffgaff sit at the top of the table, with Three and Virgin Mobile trailing behind.
O2 also has one of the lowest scores when it comes to complaints per 100,000 customers, with just nine. This compares favourably against Three (with 14) and with Vodafone (also 14).
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Does O2 do SIM-only?
Yes, O2 offers both pay monthly handset deals and SIM-only deals on one-month, 12-month and 24-month contracts.
How do I find out if my O2 upgrade is due?
Visit your account via the O2 website or via the O2 app and check under My Device, where it will show you if you are eligible for an upgrade. Alternatively you can contact O2 via Live Chat.
Does O2 have free roaming?
Yes, O2 offers all customers the option to roam free in 49 European countries (and territories further afield) at no extra cost. A monthly usage limit of 25GB is in place however.
How do I join O2?
Take a look at the O2 phone deals listed above. You can narrow down the selection by monthly cost, contract length and phone brand to make your choice. Once you have chosen, just click on the red See Deal button which will take you to your basket on the O2 website where you can put in your order.
Does O2 offer data rollover?
Data rollover is only available on O2’s pay-as-you-go Big Bundles. It is not included on regular SIM-only or pay monthly deals.