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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