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O2 Refresh plans split service and handset charges for easy upgrades

Jamie Rigg, @jmerigg
April 12, 2013
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Most people will have some experience of lugging around a tired handset, knowing they've an eternity to wait before upgrading. UK carrier O2 has just announced its solution to phone fatigue called O2 Refresh, which splits overall costs into a "Phone Plan" and an "Airtime Plan." Much like Phones4U's JUMP plan or T-Mobile USA's new UnCarrier model, you're charged for the handset separately, so you can switch whenever you like as long as the current one's paid off. That price will vary depending on how much you lay down upfront and the Airtime Plan you choose; also, if you're done with the old one, you can get up to £260 towards the new one using O2's Recycle option. Unlike the Magenta carrier's new direction in the US, however, you will still be locked into a two-year contract, with a £12 monthly payment getting you 600 mins, unlimited texts and 750MB of data. Increase that to £17 for 1GB and unlimited calls / texts, or head for the £22 tier to increase that cap to 2GB.

So, you've decided on the Airtime Plan, but what about handsets? There's a solid choice of flagships (and some less exciting models), including the HTC One, Xperia Z, BlackBerry Z10, Note II, Nexus 4 and iPhone 5, with the Galaxy S 4 and BlackBerry Q10 arriving later -- hopefully in time for O2's 4G launch this "summer." To give you an example of what Phone Plans will be like, an HTC One will set you back £529.99 (around $815) in total with a £49.99 upfront payment and £20 each month. O2 Refresh is launching April 16th in stores, and will expand to online and phone orders "in the coming months." Head to the source link below to check out the full list of phones available at launch, but don't blame us if the loathing you have for your current pocket pal is subsequently increased.

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