It may be one of the UK's oldest mobile networks, but O2 has come a long way from its humble beginnings as Cellnet in the 1980s. Today, it offers a huge spread of mobile plans, big enough to cover anyone's cellular needs - and throws in O2 Priority as an extra too.
Here's what you can get from the network, and how to compare deals and find the O2 plan for you.
O2 mobile phone plans
O2's mobile remit covers phone contracts, in which you get a mobile phone as well as a SIM, and SIM-only deals, in which you just get a SIM card with a monthly allowance. It also offers pay-as-you-go SIMs, though they don't come with all the benefits of a pay-monthly plan.
O2 contract phones
Tons of pay-monthly phone contracts are available from O2 on dozens of handsets - including iPhones, and the best from Samsung, LG, Google, HTC, Sony, Nokia, and more. You can get everything from fancy high-tech smartphones to basic feature phones.
There's a wide range of tariffs on each phone too, with allowances going all the way up to 50GB of data with unlimited calls and texts.
The best thing about O2 mobile contracts is its Refresh system. When you take out a contract, your monthly bills are split into what you owe on the handset, and what you're paying on your SIM. That means you can pay your handset off early if you want a new one, trade it in to O2 for an upgrade, or drop the extra cost automatically once the minimum contract terms are over.
So, all you need to do to find a contract phone from O2 is pick a handset from the list - or select a few if you can't decide - and compare all the available plans. You can filter them by upfront cost, monthly cost, monthly allowance, the colour of the phone, and plenty more.
O2 SIM-only deals
You'll also find a good range of SIM-only deals from O2, which you can slip in any mobile phone as long as it's unlocked. It's the ideal setup if you already have a phone you're happy with, or if you prefer to buy smartphones outright.
O2 offers both 12-month and 30-day plans on a variety of tariffs. The 30-day ones cost a little more than the long-term contracts, and there are fewer options available, but it's a good choice if you want flexibility.
Allowances on SIM-only range from a nice light 250MB of data and 250 minutes per month, up to 30GB data and unlimited minutes. All include unlimited texts too. To find the top deal for you, compare them with our tool, and use the filters to pick an allowance, contract length, and budget that suits you.
O2 mobile coverage is great. 99% of the population can get basic signal to call or text, and almost as much as that can connect to 3G mobile internet as well. Faster 4G coverage isn't quite as high, but still decent - OpenSignal's stats say users can access it around 75% of the time.
That's not quite as good as EE, which has the best coverage in the country, but most stats say O2 is a good second best.
O2 benefits and perks
O2 has some of the best perks of any network, including:
- O2 Priority - All O2 customers can use Priority. This gives you discounts, coupons, priority booking on various gig tickets, VIP service at O2 venues, and other bonuses.
- O2 Gurus - Head into any O2 store on the high street with your phone, and you can get free tech support. They'll help you out whether you think your phone is broken, or if you just can't figure out the volume controls.
- TU Go - This lets you make calls and send texts over Wi-Fi when you can't get signal.
- O2 Wi-Fi - You get free use of O2's Wi-Fi public hotspots. You'll find them in places like Costa, McDonald's, All Bar One, and tons of other shops and locations.
How to find the best O2 offer
You'll find the best offer for you by comparing all O2 deals. Use our comparison tool, which collects the network's deals so you can see them all at a glance. You can even see how it compares to other providers if you like.
Pick what you want from your deal - such as whether you want a contract with a phone or a SIM-only plan, the allowance you need, your budget, and preferred contract length - and filter the deals in the table.
If you're going for a phone contract, you'll also need to decide which phone you want, or select a few to compare plans. Don’t forget to choose the internal storage and colour you want.
Then, sort the deals by total cost, monthly cost, allowance, or whatever else you prefer, and the best deals will float to the top.
And remember to keep a beady eye out for limited-time-only special offers and exclusive deals.
What's the cheapest O2 deal?
On a budget, but got your heart set on a plan from O2? The best thing to do is compare all the deals that fit your needs, and sort them by cost to find the lowest price - but here are a few things you can do to find a cheap O2 deal.
- Pick a lower allowance - Smaller monthly allowances come with lower prices - but make sure you still have enough to cover how much you use your phone, or you'll end up spending more on add-ons.
- Get a refurbished handset - O2 offers deals on "like new" phones that have been refurbished and spring cleaned, and they come with lower price tags.
- Grab a 'free' device - Short on cash today? Pick a deal with a 'free' device with nothing to spend upfront. Or if you're flush right now, choose one with a higher upfront cost - your monthly bills will be lower for the rest of the contract.
- Choose an older handset - Last year's iPhone or Samsung Galaxy is only one step behind the latest one, but significantly cheaper.