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O2 Custom Plans Review – Customise Your Own Plan and Get the Phone You Want

If you want to buy a new handset or get an upgrade, O2 lets you customise your own phone plan and then split the bill into two parts. Let’s take an in-depth look at O2’s Custom Plans.

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Latest Offer: 250GB of data with Apple Music & Disney + for £11!

O2 is offering 250GB of data bundled with 6 months free Disney + and Apple Music for just £11/month for the first 6 months! This is a 24-month contract, but offers great value even at £22! The plan also includes unlimited UK minutes & texts. If Disney+ isn’t for you, there are a number of other perks to choose from, click through to find out.

O2 is one of the four major network operators in the UK and they’re offering some of the best mobile phone deals in the market. The network lets you customise your own phone plan and puts you in control. You can choose the length of your contract, how much you want to pay upfront and how much data you want each month.

O2’s 4G coverage is pretty good, almost on par with Vodafone nowadays, but still behind EE. When it comes to 4G data speeds, O2 is the slowest mobile network operator in the country. This is based on data from objective testing bodies, and your experience can be different depending on how good your coverage is from each network in your area.

Having said that, O2 has the second most 5G coverage and second fastest 5G data speeds in the UK. On top of that, O2 has been improving both their 4G and 5G at a faster rate than all the other operators in this quarter.

In this review, we’ll cover O2’s Custom Plans and other extras you’ll be getting with them. We’ll also take a look at O2’s network coverage & data speeds.

Pro's

  • Decent 5G coverage and data speeds
  • Build your own phone contract
  • Thousands of free WiFi hotspots
  • O2 Priority deals and discounts
  • A decent range of handset options
  • 6 months free Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, or more

Con's

  • Most tariffs are pricier than competitors
  • The slowest 4G internet speeds in the UK
  • Not the best 4G coverage

What are O2 Custom Plans?

O2 Custom Plans are a great way to get a new handset on your own terms. The carrier lets you customise your own phone plan, split the bill into two parts, offers full flexibility so you can upgrade or downgrade your monthly plan and also gives you the option to choose from a range of extras, including Disney +, Prime Video, Amazon Music, Audible and more.

O2 Custom Plans are a part of O2 Refresh, which splits your pay monthly bill into two parts. You’ll be paying separately for your Device Plan and Airtime Plan. Your device plan is the cost of your phone or tablet and you can buy the device outright if you want to. The airtime plan is the cost of your UK data, minutes and texts.

What Can You Customise?

With O2 Custom Plans you get to choose how much to pay upfront. You can spread the balance for up to 36 months and keep your monthly payments down, but keep in mind that you’ll be paying more in total. If you don’t want to pay more overall or just want to pay it off as soon as possible you can choose a contract term as short as three months. You can contact O2 and pay the cost of the device outright, but your pay monthly SIM contract will continue unless you cancel your phone contract. In this situation, you might end up having to pay a penalty fee for cancelling your SIM contract early.

All O2 Pay Monthly plans come with unlimited UK minutes and texts, and the network lets you choose how much data you want. You can get as little as 5GB/month up to unlimited data (O2’s unlimited data plans come with a fair usage cap of 650GB though). The larger your data plan the more extras and benefits you get. O2’s unlimited data plan includes a better international roaming feature, allowing you to roam at no extra cost in 75 destinations. It also comes with a 6 month Deliveroo Plus subscription.

O2 keeps things flexible so you can upgrade or downgrade once a month. The network also has a data rollover scheme, but it’s only available to Pay As You Go customers. However, you should think carefully before moving to a lower tariff, because you may lose some of your benefits and moving back to a higher tariff later on won’t bring them back. O2 will send you a message before you confirm the change, describing which benefits you may lose permanently if you downgrade.

O2 Priority

You will still benefit from all the other perks available to O2 Pay Monthly customers. This means O2 Priority is available and you’ll get exclusive offers & discounts with high street brands as well as tickets to thousands of concerts, events and gigs across the UK. To benefit from these discounts and extras you need to download the O2 Priority App and sign up first.

O2 Family Mobile Plans

Custom plans will also make you eligible for O2’s Family Mobile Plans, meaning you can get up to a 40% discount if you purchase any additional SIM plans. The network allows up to 20 plans under one account.

International Calls & Bolt Ons

The carrier offers a wide range of bolt ons if you’re running out of data, going abroad or want to make international calls. We’d also recommend checking out our Lebara Mobile Review and Lycamobile Review, if you’re planning on making international calls on a regular basis.

Network Coverage & Data Speeds

There are two key factors to look at when measuring how good a mobile network operator’s network coverage is. O2 does well in the first area, which is population coverage. The carrier’s population coverage is over 99%, but the second part matters more, which is the landmass coverage. O2 improved significantly in this area in the last few months, but it’s still behind the likes of EE and Vodafone.

While O2’s coverage is improving steadily, the network’s average 4G data speeds aren’t getting better. Looking at the speed test results published by Open Signal in October 2020, we can see that O2 has the slowest 4G download and upload speeds among the main network operators. The report states that O2’s average 4G download speed is around 18Mbps and upload speed is around 6Mbps. These are decent data speeds, enough to stream full HD content on YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video and so on, but there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement.

For comparison, EE’s average 4G download speeds are at 36.4Mbps, and the carrier offers 9Mbps upload speeds. You can read our EE Review to learn more about the network, or read our O2 vs EE comparison and discover which network is more suitable for you.

5G Coverage

O2 has been offering 5G SIM Plans to its customers since October 2019. At the time of writing, the network’s 5G is available in 193 cities and towns and O2 has been rolling out its 5G network at a faster rate than its competitors. The carrier has the second most 5G Coverage in the UK.

According to OOKLA’s (speedtest.net) October 2020 network test results, O2 is also the second fastest 5G network in the country with an average download speed of 177Mbps. In order to enjoy superfast 5G data speeds, you must have a 5G phone and a 5G SIM from O2. The carrier’s 5G network is available to pay monthly customers at no extra cost.

As an alternative, we can suggest checking out Three’s SIM Only plans. The network offers 5G at no extra cost to all their customers, including PAYG users. On top of that, Three is the fastest 5G network in the UK at the moment. Check out our Three Review or read our O2 vs Three comparison to learn more!

Voice Call Quality

As O2’s 4G coverage gets better so does their voice call quality. Looking at the latest tests results shared by both Open Signal and OOKLA we see improvement from O2, but EE and Vodafone are still leading in this category.

Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling

4G Calling is an amazing voice call quality improving feature and O2’s pay monthly customers can benefit from it, provided their handsets support it. Calls you make over 4G are much clearer, if both parties have it and are actively using it. This feature also eliminates indoor blackspots and you can still use 4G internet speeds when you’re on a call.

Wi-Fi Calling keeps your handset connected to O2’s network by using an available Wi-Fi network which has internet access. With Wi-Fi Calling your phone will stay connected, even if you’re not getting any phone signal.

O2’s custom plans work on a pay monthly basis, meaning you’ll get both 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling at no extra cost. These features will only work if your phone supports them. Calls you move over these features are included as part of your usual allowance. You will automatically use 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling, once you’ve set them up.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

O2 has over 16,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK and they’re all free to their customers. All you have to do is to register at one of O2’s hotspots first. From that moment on you’ll automatically connect to O2 WiFi whenever you’re in their coverage zone. You can locate the nearest hotspot in your area by using the network’s Wi-Fi Hotspot finder. O2 WiFi is usually faster than O2’s 4G.

These hotspots also come with an extra feature called O2 WiFi Extra, which will automatically connect your handset to O2’s Wi-Fi service and your service will be significantly stronger. Meaning your voice calls will be higher quality and much clearer.

We also recommend checking out our BT Mobile Review and Virgin Mobile Review. Both networks have millions of free Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK and Europe.

Tethering

Tethering or turning your mobile phone into a personal hotspot means you can share your mobile data with other compatible Wi-Fi devices and even some gadgets.

O2 allows their customers to share their mobile data, however, you can only connect a maximum of 12 devices at any one time. We usually recommend unlimited data plans or heavy data plans, if you wish to tether on a regular basis. In this case though, we’d like to underline that O2’s unlimited data plans actually have a fair usage limit of 650GB. If you regularly pass either limit, O2 has the right to change your mobile plan, cancel your plan or charge you a penalty fee.

If you want to tether to multiple devices we can recommend SMARTY’s Unlimited Data PlanSMARTY offers highly competitive prices and the carrier also offers regular discounts to their heavy data plans. You can read our SMARTY Review to discover more.

You can also opt for a mobile broadband deal rather than limiting yourself to tethering. Read our extensive O2 Mobile Broadband Review to see if the network’s offers work for you.

International Roaming

As a pay monthly customer you can use your UK allowances in O2’s Europe Zone, which includes 48 destinations.

O2 Refresh plans with 90GB or above, as well as SIM Only deals with 100GB and above can roam at no extra cost in 75 destinations, including the USA. O2’s inclusive zone gets you 120 minutes, 120 texts and data roaming in 27 destinations.

If your plan doesn’t have it, you can purchase an Inclusive Zone Bolt-On, which will keep you connected in the USA, Turkey and many other popular destinations for £4.99/day. You’ll get the same allowance. Keep in mind that your allowance will reset every day at midnight local time, and there’s no rollover feature.

Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

O2’s 4G coverage is quite good and they’re also improving their 5G coverage at a decent rate. In terms of connection speeds, O2 has the slowest 4G, but the second fastest 5G in the UK. Customising your own plan and bundling it with a flagship handset is great, but buying a handset on your own and then getting a SIM plan from a mobile network is cheaper. Having said that, O2’s custom plans may be expensive, but they also offer great value with all the extras you’re getting.

We strongly recommend checking out O2’s custom plans and if these extra benefits are what you’re looking for, the network has all it takes to make you happy.

FAQ

When can I upgrade my device, if I have a customised plan from O2?

You can upgrade your device anytime you want, but you’ll have to pay off your device plan completely first.

Can I change my plan every month?

Yes, if you have a custom plan, O2 lets you upgrade or downgrade your price plan once a month. However, when downgrading you might lose some of your perks permanently.

Will I get 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling if I get a custom plan?

Yes, both 4G Calling & Wi-Fi Calling are included, because essentially they’re pay monthly tariffs.

What Extras can I get with a custom plan?

You can get one of the following services as your extra: Disney +, Prime Video, Amazon Music, Audible, Cafeyn, MelodyVR, McAfee, Calm. You can also opt for O2’s International Bolt On or Travel Inclusive Bolt On.

Can I get more than one extra?

Yes, you can. The network allows you to add more extras to your monthly bill. You can add them to your plan via the My O2 app. Keep in mind that after the first extra, they will be fully chargeable subscriptions.

What can I customise with O2 Custom Plans?

You can customise the upfront cost, the length of your contract and how much data allowance you’ll get. You can also select one extra benefit.