I have used O2 as my phone network provider for over eight years now (dating right back from when they were initially BT Cellnet!). My loyalty to O2 is strong as a result of having had such a positive experience with them for so many years. Therefore, I feel that it is time that I shared my experiences with all of you!
When I was thirteen I received my first ever mobile phone for Christmas. It was a BT Cellnet model and therefore the simcard was also BT Cellnet. I had a good few years use out of this phone and was happy with the BT Cellnet deal so stuck with them. They eventually changed the name of the company to O2 when they merged with Genie.
Pay as you go
Being young, I initially had pay as you go simcards with O2 and found them to offer some better deals than other networks at the time. I obtained an O2 Genie Sim, which as long as I topped up at least £10 per month gave me 300 free text messages. There were various other offers by O2 and at one time I had free phone calls to a chosen landline number which was great.In more recent years O2 have come up with a range of incentives including various options where you get free text messages if you top up a certain amount, as well as money back each month and "treats" where you can choose from a range of freebies such as free access to voicemail, more free texts etc.
Keeping my number
At one point I wanted to use a new O2 Sim card as my old one was quite battered and not totally compatible with a new phone that I had purchased. I wanted to keep my number so I had a look on the O2 website to see if this was possible. It gave me a phone number to call but I didn't fancy ringing them so I filled in a online query. Someone emailed me back within 24 hours and they very promptly transferred my old number over to my new simcard. They were very efficient and the process was hassle free.
Getting a Contract
Eventually I decided that it would be more beneficial for me to be on a contract. I went back onto the O2 website and looked at the various options available. There were some good competitive packages and I eventually decided on the Online 20 Simplicity tariff. This is a sim only deal which was ideal as I already had a phone I wanted to use. This contract was for £20 per month and gave me 600 minutes and 1000 text messages. I could browse the internet for up to £1 per day free and had unlimited free calls to other O2 phones. This contract was great and I stayed with it for about five months but I soon realised that I was not using all of my allowances seeing as most of my friends and family are on O2 so my calls to them are free!!!
Changing my contract
Another look on the website showed me that there was a similar deal for £15 per month. This gave me 400 text messages and 200 minutes. I still had the browsing up to £1 per day and my favourite bit which is the unlimited calls to O2. Having only recently changed my number I wanted to keep it so I sent a question through the online form on the website explaining that I wanted to change from the £20 per month contract to the £15 per month one and asking how I could do this without having to change my number. The next day I received an email from O2 saying that they had changed my contract over for me and I still had my original number. Talk about speedy service!!!
I have had this contact for several months now and it is fantastic. On top of this I am also still entitled to the O2 "treats" so every three months I can select a treat to last me for the next three months. I tend to chose the 50 free text messages per month as sometimes I go over my contract allowance and this helps out.
Is it really unlimited to O2?
When I received my contract details in the post it explained that the contract included unlimited calls to other O2 phones and that this was subject to a fair use policy of a maximum of 2000 minutes a month. This works out at around 33 hours and I think this is very reasonable. In one scary month I had spend a few too many hours attached to my phone and near the end of the month received a text message from O2 informing me that I had used 1500 minutes to other O2 phones and that they would let me know when I reached the limit of 2000!!!! However, they have since changed there policy so now unlimited really does mean unlimited which is brilliant.
Receiving my bill
As I set up my contract online, all my billing is also done online. I can log onto the website to view my bill and recent charges at anypoint as well as checking out how much of my allowances I have used. Every month O2 email me telling me that my bill is now ready and how much I owe (this is usually £15 but sometimes I go over!). It is all set up for a direct debit so I don't have to physically do anything to pay them other than to make sure I have the money in my account.
£63 for free from O2!
I have always recommended O2 to family and friends and most of them have moved over to O2 and are very happy with them. My mum is perhaps one of their most satisfied customers due to O2 giving her £66 for free!!! She wanted to buy a new phone and as browsing an O2 shop when a helpful shop assistant asked if she needed and help. She explained that she wanted a new phone but wanted to still use her old O2 pay as you go sim card to keep her number. The assistant explained that O2 would reward her loyalty by either giving her £30 off the price of a new phone or £30 free credit. My mum was over the moon with this and said that she would like to have it as credit. Next the man explained that if she gave them her old mobile phone they would give her £10 for it! Eventually she chose a new phone which cost £40. She was very impressed as she had effectively got her new phone for free what with the £30 credit and the £10 for her old phone. The shop explained that her credit would arrive within two weeks and thanked her for her loyalty to O2! Two weeks later and very happy with her new mobile phone my mum received a text message from O2. It said something to the effect of: "your £30 credit has been credited to your phone. As further appreciation of your loyalty to O2 we are giving you a further £33 credit"!!!! Therefore she actually got £63 credit which she is still working her way through now!! So ultimately the choice to buy a new £40 mobile phone had resulted in her making a profit of £23! Needless to say she now strongly recommends O2!
My Brighton University campus is on a hillside at Falmer. It is renowned for poor mobile phone reception and when moving into halls of residence in my first year we received a letter explaining that network coverage is limited on campus and the most successful network for students to use was O2. I have found this to be very true as my friends who use other networks get little or no network coverage whilst on campus where as I get reception everywhere with my lovely O2!! I have found that even in remote places such as the highlands of Scotland I generally get better reception on O2 than on other networks. My mum lives out in the country and in her house they cannot get reception on Tmobile, 3, vodaphone etc yet O2 is much better. I have also found that I can still use my phone abroad with ease although the charges are quite high.
The Good Things
As you can probably tell, I am very fond of O2 and will continue to use it as long as they maintain such a good service. However, to make this review balanced I will now list the good and then the bad points of O2.
- Wide variety of contract and pay as you go options
- Great value for money compared to other networks
- Brilliant customer service, particularly online.
- Good incentives for loyal members
- Fantastic network coverage
- Simple, hassle free billing
- shops are generally very helpful if you have any problems
- O2 shops will generally charge your phone for you if you are out and get a flat battery.
- Unlimited calls to O2 numbers if you have a contract deal saves you a lot of money.
- clear, well designed website which is easy to navigate and find the information you need.
- facilities to view your bill and allowances online.
- They don't harass you with messages or calls!
- linked to BT so you can use 1471
The bad points
- International calls are very expensive
- High rates for texting and calls when abroad.
Therefore to summarise I would say that I totally recommend O2 to anyone wanting a good network provider. I have not had a single problem with O2 in the whole eight years that I have been with them and have been very impressed. I have recommended them to friends and family who have been equally impressed and as a student the money saving offers are great for me. Definitely five stars from me.