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O2 Review 2021: Get discounts, offers and free prize draws with O2’s priority awards scheme!

O2 is one of the big four Mobile Network Operators and has 99% 4G coverage across the UK. Read on below to get Half Cooked’s full breakdown.

Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

Table
    • TARIFF
    • TARIFF
    • TEXTS
    • DATA
    • PRICE
    • O2 Big Bundle
    • Unlimited
    • Unlimited
    • No Data
    • £5
    • O2 Big Bundle
    • Unlimited
    • Unlimited
    • 3GB
    • £10
    • O2 Big Bundle
    • Unlimited
    • Unlimited
    • 6GB
    • £15
    • O2 Big Bundle
    • Unlimited
    • Unlimited
    • 10GB
    • £20
    • O2 Big Bundle
    • Unlimited
    • Unlimited
    • 20GB
    • £25

Network Coverage & Speeds

2G, 3G and 4G Coverage

Pro's

  • O2 Priority app can save you £ every week with great offers.
  • A decent range of handset options.
  • Over 16 thousand Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Build your own plan when buying a handset.

Con's

  • Most tariffs are pricier than competitors.
  • The slowest 4G internet speeds.
  • Not as good 4G coverage as some of its competitiors.
5G Coverage

O2’s 5G kicked off back in October 2019 and it has been improving since then. At the moment there are 150 cities and towns with O2’s 5G services, meanwhile EE’s 5G covers 125 cities and towns. Three’s 5G network includes 154 locations, while Vodafone also provides 5G services in 57 locations in the UK and

also in 193 other places in the EU across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland.

To benefit from O2’s 5G network you’ll need a 5G phone, a 5G SIM card and also be in a 5G coverage area.

OOKLA’s (speedtest.net) October 2020 speed test results show O2 as the second fastest 5G mobile network in the UK with an average of 177Mbps 5G download speeds. Three offers the fastest 5G download speeds with 201Mbps. Make sure to have a look at our Three Review before you make your final decision.

5G Coverage

In the most recent network tests done by umlaut (an independent testing body, widely accepted as authoritative and objective) O2 ranked in third place with a score of ‘satisfactory’, just a bit ahead of Three, but behind EE and Vodafone.

Open Signal’s April 2020 tests also show O2 in front of Three, when it comes to voice call experience, but still behind the other two major networks. In umlaut’s voice call tests the call setup times of O2 were considerably longer than of EE and Vodafone, and slightly better than Three’s. However, these results also show us O2 is improving and even catching up with the others.

Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling

WiFi Calling allows you to make calls even when you don’t have a signal, and thanks to 4G Calling you get clearer calls and better indoor coverage. With WiFi and 4G Calling combined you can move seamlessly between WiFi and 4G network coverage to continue your calls.

O2 offers these voice call quality improving perks to pay monthly customers and at no extra cost. However, your phone needs to be compatible for 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling to work and Android handsets might run into some problems if they are not directly purchased from O2.

Currently O2’s 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling are supported by the devices below.

  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11Pro Max, iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, iPhone X, iPhone Xr, iPhone 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6s Plus, 6s, 6 Plus, 6, SE
  • Samsung Galaxy A51, A71, S10 Lite, Galaxy Z Flip, S20, S20 Plus, S20 Ultra, S10 5G, Note10, Note10 Plus 5G, S10, S10e, S10 Plus, S9, S9 Plus, S8, S8 Plus, Note8, S7*, S7 edge* and J3 2017*, A10, A20e, A50, A70, A8, A3 2017, A6, J6, J5 (2017), A5 (2017), Note9, A7, J6+, J4+, A9, A90 5G, A40, Xcover 4S
  • Sony Xperia XZ2, Xperia XZ3, XZ2 Compact, XZ Premium*, Xperia XA2, Xperia XZ1*, Xperia XZ1 Compact*, Xperia 10, Xperia L3, Xperia 5, Xperia 1
  • Oneplus 5, 5T, 6, 6T
  • HTC U11*
  • Doro 8035*
  • Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
  • Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G
  • OPPO Reno 5G
  • Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, P20 and P20 Pro

O2 Plans & Pricing

SIM Only Deals

Some networks in the UK standout with their budget friendly price plans, but O2 isn’t one of them. The carrier proposes only one type of SIM Only deal, but they do offer some flexibility when it comes to the term of a contract: 1 month, 12 months and 18 months. All SIM Only deals include unlimited minutes and texts with the exception of 500MB and 1GB data plans if you select a 30 day contract. All O2 customers benefit from daily offers with Priority and O2’s thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots.

Currently the cheapest O2 plan is priced at £10/month, locking you in for 18 months. While your data allowance is 5GB on this deal, you get 6 months of Disney+ which adds more value to your plan. O2 doesn’t offer any unlimited data plans unless you sign up for a longer term commitment. 50GB is the largest data bundle available on a 30 day SIM plan.

Some deals include extra roaming destinations at no extra cost, increasing the number to a total of 100 destinations, including popular destinations such as the USA.

Overall, O2 are slightly pricier, however they back it up with daily priority offers such as free coffees and discounted meal deals & 6 months of Disney+. Another premium network is EE, which offers great coverage and internet speeds for 4G & 5G offering unique ‘Swappable Benefits’.

If you are interested in wallet friendlier alternatives, we also recommend you check Three’s SIM Only deals. You may want to read our O2 vs EE or O2 vs Three reviews before making your final decision on which network to join.

Voice call quality

At the moment there are two types of Pay As You Go options, if you wish to be on O2’s network. These are called Big Bundles and UK & International Bundles.

 

Voice call quality

Big Bundles

There are five ‘Big Bundles’ to choose from. All ‘Big Bundles’ include unlimited minutes and texts and all your unused data rolls over to the following month. The cheapest bundle is priced at £5, but doesn’t offer any data, meaning you won’t be able to access the internet. You will, however, need to top up at least £10, but as a new PAYG customer O2 will reward you with £10 free credit!

  • TARIFF
  • TARIFF
  • TEXTS
  • DATA
  • PRICE
  • O2 Big Bundle
  • Unlimited
  • Unlimited
  • No Data
  • £5
  • O2 Big Bundle
  • Unlimited
  • Unlimited
  • 3GB
  • £10
  • O2 Big Bundle
  • Unlimited
  • Unlimited
  • 6GB
  • £15
  • O2 Big Bundle
  • Unlimited
  • Unlimited
  • 10GB
  • £20
  • O2 Big Bundle
  • Unlimited
  • Unlimited
  • 20GB
  • £30
UK & International Bundles

As the name suggests, this is mainly for people who make international calls. You can get inclusive minutes to over 40 destinations from 1p a minute on O2’s UK & International Bundles.

None of the ‘O2 Big Bundles’ offer unlimited data allowance. The maximum amount of data you can get is 20GB priced at £30. However, you will still have access to O2 Priority offers with all the PAYG options.

  • TARIFF
  • MINUTES
  • MINUTES
  • DATA
  • PRICE
  • O2 UK & Int.
  • 250
  • 5000
  • 2GB*
  • £10
  • O2 UK & Int.
  • 500
  • 5000
  • 5GB*
  • £15
  • O2 UK & Int.
  • 1000
  • 5000
  • 10GB
  • £20

* There’s currently a special deal for both 2GB and 5GB bundles. Buying one of these, you’ll get 5x more data for up to three months. This deal will end on July 1st.

Traditional Pay As You Go

Out of the four major networks O2 is the only one which doesn’t offer traditional PAYG deals, which means if you want to receive a PAYG service, you have to top-up every month.

Alternatively, you can also check what giffgaff offers. giffgaff is a sub-brand of O2 and it’s offering flexible deals as well as a traditional PAYG plan.

Pay Monthly Phones

O2 has a wide range of mobile devices for you to choose from, even some refurbished ones. If you are looking to get a pay monthly phone deal you can purchase devices from the top tier manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Sony. If you wish to pick a handset combined with a PAYG deal, you’ll find more budget friendly options such as Alcatel, Nokia and ZTE.

The mobile network provides a 12 month long warranty if you buy a refurbished phone. While this is nice, it can’t compete with EE’s ‘Service Pack’, which is offering a lifetime guarantee for any device you get from EE’s store, including refurbished ones and at no extra cost.

O2 Bolt Ons

If you are running low on your data, minutes or texts, you can get a Bolt On from O2’s store to increase your allowance. Bolt Ons are simple add-ons offered by O2, starting from £3 a month. There are also other kinds of Bolt Ons, i.e. for calling abroad or for international roaming perks.

Unlimited Data Plans

Unlimited Plans that O2 describes as “limitless data” start from £33/month for SIM-only customers. Unlimited data is also available on a range of Pay Monthly handsets through O2 Refresh.
The network only offers pay monthly unlimited data plans, and there are two different alternatives to choose from. The cheaper option is priced at £33/month and locks you in for 18 months. The second contract offer is for 12 months, priced at £35/month. Both deals include the ‘O2 Travel Inclusive Zone’ bolt on and 6 months Disney+.
A couple of points to note are that you are allowed to use a maximum of 650GB/month and O2 lets you tether to a maximum of 12 devices. If you want to check out what other networks are offering unlimited deals check out our detailed article.

Custom Plans

Building your own custom plan is a great feature. O2 puts the customer in control and lets them design a suitable plan for their needs. Customers get to choose how much they wish to pay upfront, how much data they want to have and they can spread the balance starting from as little as 3 months all the way up to 36 months. You’re even allowed to change your plan on a monthly basis depending on your needs.

Data Rollover

Data rollover is available for O2’s pay as you go deals, which are also called Big Bundles and UK & International Bundles. Your unused data can roll over month to month without any base limit, as long as you renew your bundles. However, if you decide to change your bundle, your data rollover will reset. You also have to renew your bundle on the same day it expires or your unused data will expire.

Family Accounts

With O2’s family plan you can get up to a 40% discount when you buy additional plans. For the discount to work, you’ll need to add a new eligible pay monthly tariff to your Family Plan. You can add up to 20 plans. If you bring in a family member to O2 via your referral link, both you and the family member can get a £25 Amazon voucher.

O2’s Features

O2 Priority

With Priority, O2 customers get exclusive offers with high street brands, tickets to thousands of gigs & events across the UK and online entertainment discounts. To benefit from this service, you’ll need to download the free app from your app store. Priority is available on any compatible handset.

O2 Refresh

O2 offers flexibility to its customers and lets them change phones when they want. Basically, O2 Refresh splits a bill into two parts: a phone plan and an airtime plan. The phone plan is the cost of the phone you get from O2, and the airtime plan includes all your calls, texts and data allowances. When you feel like a phone upgrade is due, O2 will not lock you into a long term phone contract, but instead will let you pay off your phone plan. Your airtime plan will continue and you’ll be able to purchase a new device on a new contract.

Don’t forget though, you can only buy O2 Refresh directly from O2 and nowhere else.

Who is O2?

[latest_offer] O2 is the second oldest mobile network operator in the UK, launching way back in 1985 under the name of Cellnet. The network rebranded as O2 in 2001 and has been operating under the same name since then. With over 34 million customers, O2 is the second-largest UK mobile network operator, behind only EE.

The mobile network offers pay monthly deals, as well as PAYG alternatives, but you can’t use the service on a traditional PAYG basis. O2 provides 5G services to its customers, just like all the other major networks. The carrier’s most unique offer is allowing you to build your own custom plan when buying a handset from the O2 Store. You may choose how much you wish to pay upfront, the length of contract (from 3 months to 36 months) and the amount of data you’ll have in your price plan.

Latest Offer: 150GB of data with Disney + for £20!

O2 is offering 150GB of data bundled with 6 months free Disney + for just £20/month with an 12-month contract. The plan also includes unlimited UK minutes & texts.

Alongside, 5G coverage in certain locations, customers can also choose a premium subscription such as Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video to access free of charge. This deal will end soon, so hurry up!

Latest Offer: 150GB of data with Disney + for £20!

O2 is offering 150GB of data bundled with 6 months free Disney + for just £20/month with an 12-month contract. The plan also includes unlimited UK minutes & texts.

Alongside, 5G coverage in certain locations, customers can also choose a premium subscription such as Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video to access free of charge. This deal will end soon, so hurry up!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does O2 have 4G Calling?

Yes, O2 has 4G Calling. The network provides a VoLTE service, but you’ll have to be on a SIM Only plan and your handset must support this feature.

Does O2 have Wi-Fi Calling?

Yes, O2 has Wi-Fi Calling. To benefit from this feature you have to be on a SIM Only contract and your device must be compatible.

Does O2 support 5G?

Yes, O2 offers 5G coverage. At the time of writing O2’s 5G is live in 155 cities & towns.

How fast is O2’s 4G internet?

According to Open Signals April 2020 reports O2s average 4G download speed is around 16.6Mbps and average upload speed is measured at 5.8Mbps.

How long does it take for a number to transfer on O2?

It shouldn’t take any longer than 24 hours. Usually you’ll be able to make phone calls with a couple hours, however texting might take longer. If you still can’t use your new SIM after 24 hours please contact O2’s customer support.

How long does it take for Amazon referral vouchers to arrive on O2?

The Amazon voucher reward will be sent to both parties within 3 months from your referred friend’s connection.

Is O2 Priority free?

Why can’t I access O2 Priority?

If you recently joined the O2 Network, it might be that Priority’s database hasnt caught up yet, so your number might not be recognised. If it doesn’t work in a couple of days contact O2 s customer support.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

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John

O2 have always been synonymous with quality when it comes to UK networks and as a result you can expect to be paying slightly more than some of the other competitors. However, with that, you will get access to O2 priority which has the best customer offers in the market with weekly savings available including free coffee’s, cheap meal deals and discounts with popular high street brands. On top of this O2 get the basics right with their 99% 4G coverage. However, one area where Half Cooked feels O2 are lacking is that a lot of the other networks have started to offer alternative customer perks including free entertainment subscriptions to popular services such as Apple Music and free streaming with apps such as Netflix.