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O2 to stop selling 'traditional' pay-as-you-go Sims and improve bundle deals

Mobile operator O2 is completely overhauling its range of pay-as-you-go deals, axing its 'Classic Pay As You Go' and 'International' Sims for new customers but improving the allowances of many of its Sim 'bundles'.

From Thursday 7 November, O2 is increasing the amount of data available on its existing 'Big Bundle' tariffs, as well as offering unlimited calls and texts on each of them. It's also increasing the data allowance for UK and International Bundle customers. However, in many cases its improved deals can still be beaten by rivals – see Best Pay-as-you-go Sim Deals for a full rundown of our top picks. 

O2 will no longer sell its 'Classic Pay As You Go' or 'International' Sims – which are traditional pay-as-you-go Sims where you top up with credit and are then charged for each minute, text and MB as you use it. But if you're already on a Classic or International tariff, you'll be able to stay on it for the time being.

What changes is O2 making?

Here are full details of the O2 pay-as-you-go shake-up:

  • It's stopping selling 'traditional' pay-as-you-go Sims. New customers will no longer be able to buy its 'Classic Pay As You Go' Sim, which currently allows users to top up a minimum of £10 and only pay for what they use. Calls are 3p/minute, texts are 2p and data is 1p/MB, and you only have to top up when your credit runs out (though you have to top up, send a text or make a call once every six months to keep it active).

    It's also stopping selling its International Sim, which allows you to make UK calls to international mobiles and landlines from 1p/min.

    Existing customers with a Classic Pay As You Go Sim or International Sim can continue to use it and top up as normal though.

  • It's introducing a new £5 Big Bundle. This is a bundled pay-as-you-go Sim, ie, where you buy a bundle at the start of the month but aren't locked into an ongoing contract. The £5 Big Bundle doesn't give any data but offers unlimited texts and minutes. However, it expires each month, so you'd have to pay at least £60/year for it, regardless of what you use. It also has a minimum top-up of £10 – so you'll have to pay for at least two months' worth of airtime.

    This deal is beatable though. For example, right now you can get unlimited texts and calls but also 500MB of data from Smarty for the same price: £5/month. See more details in our Pay-as-you-go Sim Deals guide. 

  • It's changing the allowances of its existing Big Bundles. Again, these are bundled pay-as-you-go Sims, so you pay a flat fee for the month. See below for a rundown of how the different packages are changing – in most cases customers will have more data:

How are O2's existing Big Bundles changing?

Tariff cost Old airtime New airtime
£10 2GB, 500 mins, 5,000 texts 3GB, unlimited mins and texts
£15 5GB, 1,000 mins, 5,000 texts 6GB (20GB until 15 Jan), unlimited mins and texts (1)
£20 8GB, 2,000 mins, 5,000 texts 10GB, unlimited mins and texts
£25 10GB, 3,000 mins, 5,000 texts No longer exists
£30 20GB, 5,000 mins, 5,000 texts 20GB, unlimited mins and texts

(1) Update Thu 7 Nov: After we published this story, O2 announced it's launching a temporary offer on this bundle giving new and existing customers 20GB data for the price of 6GB until 15 Jan 2020. 

Some of these deals are good value (particularly the £15 Big Bundle before 15 January) but some can still be beaten by rival firms – so if you're with O2, consider if you can save by switching. For example, for £10 with O2 you can get 3GB of data and unlimited calls and texts, but with Voxi and GiffGaff for the same price you can get 6GB of data as well as the unlimited calls and texts.

O2 is also increasing its data allowance for UK and International Bundle customers – who get calls to 40 foreign destinations included within their minutes – as follows:

How are O2's International Bundles changing?

Tariff cost Old airtime New airtime
£10 1GB, 250 mins, 5,000 texts 2GB, 250 mins, 5,000 texts
£15 3GB, 500 mins, 5,000 texts 5GB, 500 mins, 5,000 texts
£20 8GB, 1,000 mins, 5,000 texts 10GB, 1,000 mins, 5,000 texts

These bundles will still also include the reduced calls/texts from 1p/min for any destinations not included in the bundle.

What does O2 say?

An O2 spokesperson said: "We're excited to be launching our new and improved pay-as-you-go Big Bundles based on customer insights of what they want from their tariffs.

"We're offering unlimited minutes and texts on pay-as-you-go for the very first time, and allowing customers to choose the data they want – with a bigger and better offer. The new £5 Big Bundle is a low cost package for customers who don't use or want data, but do want the freedom to be able to call and text as much as they like."

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