- O2 Priority app can save you £ every week with great offers
- Over 7000 Wi-Fi Hotspots in the UK
- 99% 4G coverage and fast speeds
- Data Rollover only on Pay As You Go
- No Free subscription services
Half Cooked’s overall rating for O2: (4 / 5)Summary 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. With that you will get access to O2 priority which has the best customer offers in the market with weekly savings available with free coffee’s, cheap meal deals and discounts with popular high street brands. On top of this O2 get the basics right with 99% 4G coverage although their network speeds leave something to be desired. However, 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. O2 is being left behind by not offering this additional value to customers and with their high price point half cooked gives them a rating of 3/5. Click here to go direct to O2’s website and see their latest SIM offers. Skip to the half cooked breakdown to find out how O2 performed in each of our main categories by clicking here Otherwise read on for our full review or skip to a specific section from choosing from the table of contents below.
Table of Contents
Network Coverage & Speeds (3 / 5)O2 is one of the big 4 MNO’s (Mobile Network Operators) in the UK alongside EE, Three and Vodafone. All the rest of the networks piggyback off of these networks to provide customers with service. Per Open Signal for H2 2018 O2 is tracking behind EE & Three in terms of data speeds with an average download speed on 4G of 15 MB/s vs EE who leads the way with 28MB/s. However, O2 won the uSwitch mobile awards for 2018 for best network coverage. 02 has also recently invested further into rolling out its 4G coverage, with 4G coverage for 99% of the population indoors now available, with a few coastal and rural areas still only having 2G/3G coverage.
Voice Call Quality (2 / 5)You shouldn’t have a problem with making calls but O2’s voice call quality is unfortunately tracking behind its competitors. In tests run by P3 communications, an independent testing body who have widely been accepted as authorative and highly objective, O2 came last out of the major operators with a score of ‘satisfactory’. O2 has launched 4G calling which should help boost this score – as long as you have a 4G enabled device you will have access to O2’s 4G calling.
Tethering (5 / 5)Tethering is turning your mobile device into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot which in turn allows your data to be used by other Wi-Fi devices to access the internet. Tether means customers burn through their data allowance quickly and a lot of networks limit this on higher data plans to reduce the data traffic on their networks. O2 however performs highly in this category. Unlike many of its competitors O2 allows all customers, regardless of whether they are on a PAYG or Contract SIM / Handset plan to use their data however they wish whether that be on their mobile device or tethering to another Wi-Fi enabled device.
International Roaming (4 / 5)With the change in EU regulations in June 2017, all 48 EU countries are now included on all plans regardless of whether they are contract pay monthly or PAYG. Being a regulation change this is the norm for all operators that offer roaming, but O2 go one step further and now offer roaming in additional countries. O2 now offer O2 travel which has in total 75 countries (27 above and beyond the 48 inclusive EU countries) to roam in, including USA, United Arab Emirates & Thailand. To be eligible to receive O2 travel you need to be a on a 12-month SIM plan that costs £20 or more a month or one of O2 refresh tariffs with a 15GB or more data usage. If you are travelling somewhere outside of the 75 destinations you can purchase a daily bolt on for £4.99 which will give you 120 minutes, 120 texts & all the data you need.
Wi-Fi Calling & Wi-Fi Hotspots (3 / 5)Wi-Fi calling allows customers to place calls and send texts using wireless networks instead of using their 3G/4G network. This is a great perk if you are somewhere without mobile connection but have access to Wi-Fi. O2’s Wi-Fi Calling proposition isn’t the strongest in the market. Unlike other networks such as Three’s, which works automatically on almost all handsets, O2’s is limited and in some cases only works with handsets purchased from O2. Although Wi-Fi calling is definitely a weak point if you’re considering O2’s network, where they do perform well is Wi-Fi hotspots. Any O2 customers with a compatible device and an O2 SIM has access to 7,000 O2 Wi-Fi Extra hotspots and once you have connected at one location you will be automatically connected to any other O2 W-Fi location once in range and if the connection is faster than your 3G/4G on your SIM. Wi-Fi hotspots on O2 are found in a lot of popular restaurants and shops such as Costa, McDonalds & Debenhams which will help O2 customers save on their data package when out and about.
Data Rollover (2 / 5)Data rollover is a popular perk being offered by several different operators now as customers data usage can change from month to month. Data rollover means you can roll your unused data from one month to the next. For e.g. if you have a 2GB plan and only use 1GB the following month you will have 3GB as the extra 1GB would be rolled over. O2 currently only offer data rollover on PAYG and on none of its contract handset or SIM only plans. Also, data rollover on PAYG with O2 is only available on their Big Bundles plans and come with a couple of caveats: O2 PAYG customers have to top up before their plan ends to get data rollover and the rollover is limited depending on which plan you are on the Big Bundle £15 for 5GB caps the amount you can rollover to 10GB and the Big Bundle £25 for 8GB limits rollover to 16GB per month.
Multi Buy Discounts/ Family Plans (4 / 5)Some networks are now offering customers discounts on any additional SIM or phone contract purchases they make to incentivise people to sign up their family & friends. O2 have tried to tackle this new perk in the market through two propositions – O2 Sharer Plans & O2 Family Plans. O2 Sharer Plans allow O2 customers to share their data allowances across multiple O2 devices. As long as you have a phone or tablet with an O2 Refresh SIM with 1GB of data or more this data can then be shared with up to 9 different devices with O2 SIM’s. This is O2’s Family Plans however look quite good and you can get up to 50% off if you have multiple plans with O2. Each additional plan added comes with an improved discount, these aren’t however eligible on PAYG or Business tariffs and all the customers need to be signed up to the same address as the original plan. This discount is tiered per below:
|First||20% off the Airtime Plan|
|Second||30% off the Airtime Plan|
|Third||40% off the Airtime Plan|
|Fourth to twentieth||50% off the Airtime Plan/s|
Customer Rewards (5 / 5)With so many network options in the market for customers a number of the operators offer loyalty schemes in the form of customer rewards such as freebies. O2 has been doing this for a while through O2 priority. Available to all O2 customers regardless of whether you are on a pay as you go or pay monthly plan – O2 priority provides customers with discounts at shops & restaurants, such as free coffees. They also provide customers with exclusive access to purchase tickets for gigs/events up to 48 hours before general sales. With such a vast array of deals available on O2 priority you can be making savings every week and at the moment none of the other networks have the number of deals available that the 20 million plus O2 priority users can take advantage of.
Other Perks (1 / 5)With the mobile market becoming more and more saturated with new networks popping up, some of these operators are trying to differentiate themselves by offering other perks. Unfortunately, O2 doesn’t offer any complimentary entertainment subscriptions that you may find with some of their competitors. EE lead the way offering a 6-month subscription to Apple Music & access to the BT Sport app to its pay monthly customers for e.g. They also fall flat on any data saving offers. Three with their ‘Go Binge’ proposition offers unlimited usage of certain apps which include Netflix, Snapchat & Apple Music. Another good offering is from Virgin who offer unlimited use of messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Twitter & Facebook Messenger – but you won’t find anything of the kind for O2. With the larger competitors in the market offering these sort of perks O2 is tracking behind.
SIM Deals & Phone ContractsO2 currently have 11 SIM only deals available for customers which range from £13 for 1GB of data, 1000 minutes and unlimited texts all the way to £30 for 50GB of data with unlimited texts and minutes. Any plans that are £20 or more come with 75 roaming destinations per O2 travel. The first thing to note is that O2’s phone contracts split the cost of the device and the cost of the airtime so that customers have the option to pay off their phone whenever they want. This is called O2 refresh. In terms of available phone contracts 02 have now introduced their custom plans which allows customers to build their plans to suit their needs. This means customers can create contracts with terms between 3 – 36 months and with/without an upfront cost and as much data as needed. O2 have tried to remain transparent with their pricing and the cost of the device won’t change regardless of the contract length you input and the cost of the data and minutes also is consistent. Click below to follow through to O2’s SIM only and Phone Contracts.
Half Cooked Overall Breakdown
Half Cooked’s overall rating for O2: (3 / 5)
- Network Coverage and Speeds – With 99% 4G coverage O2 you wont be short of coverage but their speeds are behind those of EE & Three.
- Voice Call Quality – P3 Comms rated voice call quality as ‘Satisfactory’ tracking behind all the other major operators.
- Tethering – Unlike many of its competitors O2 does not limit tethering on any plans.
- International Roaming – Great proposition which allows customers to roam in 27 additional countries above and beyond EU destinations but let down that it is only available on the higher end plans.
- Wi-Fi Calling & Wi-Fi Hotspots – Wi-Fi calling not as simple as some of the other operators and in some cases limited to handsets purchased from O2 but 7,000 O2 Extra Wi-Fi spots means you can saved on data in a lot of public locations.
- Data Rollover – Data rollover currently only available on O2 PAYG plans.
- Multi Buy Discounts/ Family Plans – Multi Buy discounts available that could help you save up to 50% on additional plans.
- Customer Rewards – O2 Priority has been around for a while but remains the strongest in terms of customer offers.
- Other Perks – To provide the competitive pricing giffgaff does, there isn’t many additional perks however their referral schemes means you could earn money by referring friends to join.