O2 store

UK carrier appears to be following in the footsteps of T-Mobile USA, allowing customers to pay off their phone separately to their service plan

O2 UK has announced the launch of "O2 Refresh," a new kind of price plan designed to disconnect the cost of smartphones from the cost of service plans. On O2 Refresh, customers effectively pay a separate service charge and monthly installments towards the cost of the phone.

That means O2 customers wanting to upgrade early can simply pay off the remaining amount on their phone plan and start a new one, with no changes to the service plan. Naturally, if you're upgrading O2 encourages you use its O2 Recycle service to cash in on the value of your old phone, up to £260. Alternatively, if customers fully pay off their phone plan they'll then only pay the service fee each month.

O2 refresh service plans range from £12 per month for 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 750MB up to £22 p.m. for unlimited minutes and texts, and 2GB. From Apr. 16 O2 Refresh will be available with the HTC One, Sony Xperia Z, Blackberry Z10, Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5, with the option of making an up-front payment towards the cost of the phone.

In today's press statement O2 points out that many smartphone owners want to upgrade more than once every two years. O2 Recycle allows them to do just that, in a more economical way, while cleverly renewing their commitment to O2 in the process. (After all, phones purchased through O2 will be locked to the network.) The network also cites its push towards 4G LTE this summer as a reason for making it easier for customers to pick up new 4G-capable handsets.

On the other side of the Atlantic T-Mobile USA has been switching to a similar system, with separate service fees and installments towards buying your phone, as well as the option to pay off the remaining cost of your device at any time.

Brits, hit the comments below and let us know if you'd switch to O2 for this kind of deal.

Source: O2


Reader comments

New O2 Refresh plans decouple phone and service costs


We have had sim only deals in the UK for a few years and there are more ways than ever to buy a handset. The refresh plans are a great half way option in that the consumer can buy the handset nearly on HP from the network and once its paid off the monthly bill will be less. Also if the consumer breaks, losses or just wants to change the handset its another way of doing that.

They do offer 12 month contracts, it's just that most customers can't afford either the high monthly costs or the high upfront fee for the phone. Most customers don't seem to understand that they actually have to pay for the phone. Someone has to pay for it and networks wouldn't be very good businesses if they gave you a phone for free.

I am a very happy customer and supporter of T-Mobile USA. T-Mobile is just about to seal this deal with Metro, their LTE Network is moving and along with their great plans and real unlimited data, throw in the iPhone that is the recipe for major overhaul and success. The phones have been selling like hotcakes, the local stores are jam packed with new customers and as a T-Mobile customer my service couldn't be better. My HSPA+ data speeds are faster than all the other Carriers LTE Data speeds in my area, (suburb Boston)I live just 2 1/2 miles from Boston and a rocks throw from the Mass Pike so the other Carriers do have LTE service up and running it is just that T-Mobile's HSPA+ is that fast. My entire point is Android Central never has much to say positive about T-Mobile, it's always they are not that wide spread or no LTE or something. I don't care what you call their Network, I just call it very very fast. They are not only adding new LTE Hardware to their towers but are installing LTE Advanced, when LTE Advanced is ready to go so won't T-Mobile. I believe this time next year T-Mobile will be the 3rd place Carrier looking for 2nd. If anyone lives in T-Mobile Coverage give them a try you may just be surprised.

^^^^^ This right here! If someone lives where the population is that of a larger town and up...especially in a major metro area...they are doing themselves a disservice by not at least trying T-Mobile. You can't even go by your experiences of two or three years ago. T-Mobile has always been good in my area, and consistently has data speeds comparable to AT&T and Verizon...with unlimited data. I won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

This is a good development the 2 year lock in is ridiculous but it still doesn't make up for the regulator being weak and effectively giving the impression it's been bought off by the telcos. Examples of weakness, abroad connection charges which were daylight robbery, inability to cancel you contract if service deteriorates, in contract price rises.