12 Month Contracts – 2/3

March 29, 2011

Well, I didn’t think I would be writing a post so quickly after last nights update, but, just today, O2 have released 12 month contracts for “existing customers only”

So, first of all they’re not as good as Vodafone and Tesco, as they’re offering 12 months to everyone, and also, from the blurb on the website, I can’t actually find a way to find out what the price of handsets are. Luckily, I’m an o2 customer, out of contract, so will be attempting to get an upgrade price, as I write this blog piece.

The first good thing, is that all tariffs, now include tethering as standard, if you choose data. You have 3 options now. 100MB for £3, 500MB for £6 and 1GB for £10. Limits are the norm. ThreeUK are the exception with their all they can eat data plan, and I still think they’ve got the best 3G signal, in terms of coverage. O2 far too often falls back to GPRS, which is slow, and tethering then becomes pointless.

Anyway, back to the point. The 12 month contract prices matrix – available here – shows that for £31, you get 300 minutes, and unlimited text. Then, choose your data package, so £6 for 500MB makes your tariff.

So, bringing back in the details from yesterday

iPhone 4 16GB | £299 | 12 Mths@ £35  – 300 Mins – u/l Text – 500MB Data – TCO £719 – Vodafone
iPhone 4 16GB | £299 |12 Mths @ £37  – 300 Mins – u/l Text – 500MB Data – TCO £743 – O2 Upgrades Only

So, I’m with O2 currently, I want a 12 month contract, so, even as an existing customer, I’m still better off going to vodafone, if I wanted an iPhone 4 16GB, unless I want tethering. Lets see that Torch Comparison.

Blackberry Torch - Handset Cost £179 – 12 Month Contract – £35 Month – 300 Minutes – ? Text – 500MB Data – TCO £599 – Vodafone
Blackberry Torch - Handset Cost £175 – 12 Month Contract – £37 Month – 300 Minutes – ? Text – 500MB Data – TCO £619- O2

Nope, still no point to stay with a provider, again, tethering is the only draw.

O2 have done their research, made their prices very very similar to what is available over at Vodafone, and thought about what to add in to make it different. Activating tethering, when you only have a 500MB limit is really a no brainer, because then there will be overages, and more money spent. Maybe that is my cynical view. O2 really need to improve their 3G coverage too to make tethering something that is useful. At least with my PAYG sim from Three (£15 per month), I know I can tether virtually anywhere near a city, and still get a decent speed.

Onto some other information. I tweeted @ThreeUK today, and blatantly asked them (after O2 released their 12 month deals) if they were planning on announcing 12 month deals (really, I don’t care about orange/tmobile as a network, as their coverage (both of them) is a bit pants around here!), and got a reply rather quickly.

Oh well, that’s a bit of a shame, It would have been good to have a company who do all you can eat data, and tethering. But let me just think about the overall TCO.

iPhone 4 16GB – Handset £499 – 12 Month Contract – £25 Month – 2000 Mins – 3000 Text – All You Can Eat Data – TCO £799 – Three
iPhone 4 16GB – Handset £499 – PAYG- £15 Month – 300 Mins – 3000 Text – All You Can Eat Data – TCO £679 – Three

Close, but a hefty up front fee, buying a phone directly from Apple, though plenty more minutes, or even a PAYG option to compare to other networks.

So, still no decision on what I want to do. *sigh*




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    • http://twitter.com/o2 @O2

      Hi Mark

      Great post – thanks for taking the time to write. Just wanted to add a few things if that’s okay?

      The first thing is that, if you choose 500MB or more as you have in the comparison, we’ll throw in 20 free MMS each month. From what we can see on their website, the Vodafone tariff that you’ve compared doesn’t offer any inclusive MMS, instead charging 37p per message. This means a potential saving of £7.40 each month with us (or £88.80 over the 12-month contract term). Oh – and after your 20 free MMS, ours cost 25p each instead of 37p.

      You’ve also mentioned that our tariffs now allow you to use your data allowance for tethering at no extra cost. You can use it as and when you like, without having to worry about spending any more. Every month, Vodafone will charge you £5 as soon as you use tethering, allowing you 500MB exclusively for tethering in addition to the 500MB you’ve already got as standard (according to http://bit.ly/e1Psd3). You’ve highlighted that for some users, 500MB won’t be enough – that’s why we’ve got the 1GB option – but it could equally be way more than some people will need. With O2, those who generally won’t use tethering won’t need to pay an extra fiver, should they find themselves in a pickle and in need of quick laptop or tablet connectivity. If that happens once during each of the 12 months, it’s another £60 in your pocket.

      On a similar track, you talked about overages. If you exceed your data package allowance with O2, there are no automatic £5 charges per 500MB of data used. You’re only charged more if you ask us to add some more data – you’re in control of what you spend each month on mobile data.

      So, to summarise on costs (using your first comparison as an example), an O2 customer using their tariff to its full potential would maintain a TCO of £739. A Vodafone customer using theirs in the same way would spend £867.80 over the 12-month period.

      Finally, our coverage. We’re proud of our network’s many strengths and achievements, including awards for ‘Best Network’ from the readers of Mobile Choice and What Mobile in October 2010.

      We don’t see this as a reason to rest on our laurels, though. We’re aware that, as with any mobile network, there will always be areas where the experience could be better. Radio coverage is not ubiquitous for any operator, and the incredible surge in data use over the last few years has presented challenges for the whole industry. But we’re investing heavily (the equivalent of over £1million every day) and working hard to constantly enhance the quality of our network where it’s needed the most. We also recently became the first UK operator to start using the 900MHz spectrum to offer 3G services in cities across the UK, with more set to follow in the coming months.

      Hope this helps with your decision – drop us a tweet if we can help any further.