Pay as you go used to be a simple concept. Top up cash, spend cash, top up again; maybe you'd get a free text or two if you plumped for a voucher beyond the bare minimum. 4G is relatively new to the UK, and as such, we're seeing carriers experiment with different tariffs that are supposed to be simple, but often aren't. Yesterday, EE launched its PAYG handset plans, littered with bolts-on and bundles, and today O2 is following suit, hitting us with the most complicated PAYG scenario man has ever conceived. Let's ease into it with the phones. There are 19 to choose from right now, starting at £150 for Nokia's Lumia 625 (matching EE's price) and topping out at £600 for Sony's Xperia Z Ultra. You also get a SIM of course, which you add money to for texting, calling, browsing, etc. Now comes the fun part.
Any new customer gets 500MB of 4G data, 500 texts and 75 minutes as a little thank you. If you want to get accustomed to that sort of treatment, then top up £15 per month and you'll get the same gift. It has to be £15 in one go, mind, not an accumulative total. Now, do that for three months consecutively and you hit level two, so the bonuses double to 1GB, 1000 texts and 150 minutes. The third and final level kicks in after six months of £15 commitments, but only the free text allowance gets upgraded to unlimited. If you're busting through the free data allowance and eating into your balance, then you may want extra bolt-ons (coincidentally, they are the same price as EE's): £3 for 100MB, £6 for 500MB and £10 for 1GB. The full gig can either be scheduled each month, or bought on a whim. For 100 or 500MB, though, you have to opt for a recurring monthly charge. Oh, and you can also auto-buy the £15 top-up each month if you wish, which coupled with a bolt-on or two sounds suspiciously like a contract, minus the 24-month bit of course.
If you're already on O2 PAYG and want to upgrade to a 4G SIM and/or phone, you can jump straight on to freebie level two -- as long as you've been a customer for three months or more, and meet some "required top-up" criteria. A treat for those who've made it this far: the network is calling its PAYG handset option "4G Pay & Go Go Go." (People got paid to come up with that).
O2 had one other thing to share with us today. Next month will see the arrival of data-only 4G plans -- you'll be able to get tablets (including Google's slate), dongles, MiFis, or just SIMs if you've already got the gear. And, sources tell us the tariffs are going to be super-simple. Promise.
O2 brings glorious 4G to Pay & Go, tablets and laptops
· O2 launches 4G tariff on Pay & Go - available in stores and online from today - with Mobile Broadband launching in November
· 4G Pay & Go Go Go is the only 4G tariff that gives customers more benefits the longer they stay on it
O2 today announces the launch of its new 4G tariff for Pay & Go customers, bringing the cost of 4G on O2 down to just £15 a month.
Following the launch of its 4G network just two months ago, O2 has introduced new tariffs to make it even easier for customers to get their hands on 4G. The brand new 4G Pay & Go Go Go tariff offers even more choice and flexibility for customers.
4G Pay & Go Go Go
The new O2 4G Pay & Go Go Go tariff grows in value over time and brings the cost of 4G on O2 down to just £15 a month. From day one, new customers get 500MB of data, 75 inclusive minutes and 500 texts. After three months, the tariff value doubles to 1GB of data, 150 inclusive minutes and 1000 texts.
In addition, existing customers who have been with O2 for three months or longer will move straight to the doubled bundle, meaning from today they can get their hands on 1GB of data, 150 inclusive minutes and 1000 texts for just £15*. If customers want to add more data, an additional 1GB will cost £10 – and they can do this is many times as needed.
This tariff is available with a range of 4G ready devices, including the new Nokia Lumia 625 for just £150, truly making 4G on O2 available to all.
4G Mobile Broadband
O2 today confirmed that customers will also be able to get O2 4G on their tablets and laptops with a new range of 4G Mobile Broadband tariffs, launching in November. These tariffs, released next month, will be available with a range of tablets including the Google Nexus 7.
For customers looking to get 4G on their laptop, the tariffs will also be available on 4G dongles, including the Huawei MBB Dongle with mobile wifi, allowing up to 10 other devices to connect to the 4G network.
"This is a really important time for 4G in the UK" said Phil Maple, General Manager of Consumer Marketing from O2. "Increasingly our customers are telling us that they want choice and flexibility when choosing a tariff, and that's why we've introduced 4G on Pay & Go. Pay & Go Go Go is the only 4G tariff that gets better over time, and it gives our customers an even more flexible and affordable way of getting their hands on this technology."
"Two months ago we launched 4G for Pay Monthly customers with O2 Refresh. Now we're bringing glorious 4G to Pay & Go and Mobile Broadband meaning even more people can get can get their hands on brilliant entertainment on the move, whether it's on their phone, tablet or laptop."
The new 4G Pay & Go tariff comes with all the great benefits you get with O2 Pay Monthly tariffs:
Exclusive Entertainment: Customers who sign up to 4G with O2 will receive exclusive access to a range of music, sport and gaming content. This includes exclusive access to the most highly anticipated album of 2013 six days before it goes on general release -ARTPOP by Lady Gaga, and multiplayer gaming on the move that doesn't eat into their data allowance.
Online Tools: O2's website now features a number of 4G tools, including a 4G coverage checker, data calculator to help customers decide how much data they need and an online set-up wizard for existing customers to move to 4G from their existing contract.
O2 Gurus: Customers who want to find out more about 4G on O2 can visit their local O2 store, where O2 Gurus will offer free 4G experience sessions, to explore the possibilities that 4G will unlock for them.
O2 4G Pay & Go Go Go is now available in all O2 Stores, over the phone and online at www.o2.co.uk/4G
O2's 4G Network now covers over 15 million people in the UK, across 11 key cities with many towns and surrounding areas up and down the country. For full network coverage information please visit www.o2.co.uk/4G