Founded in 1985 when it was known as Cellnet, O2 is now one of the better known Mobile Networks in the UK.
The equipment it used was initially a Motorola system designed for America and had to be adapted for the UK. It was so unready for use it became known as the “European Motorola Experiment and initially, mobile calls cost £1 per minute.
Originally a joint venture between BT Group and Securicor, O2 was bought out by BT in 1990 who in turn sold it to Telefonica, the Spanish telecommunications company for £18 billion.
Today it’s the second largest mobile telecoms provider in the UK (after EE) and is headquartered in Slough. It spends significant resources on marketing and advertising including sponsoring the 02 Arena (originally the Millennium Dome).
Several virtual networks use 02’s infrastructure, including Vectone, Tesco Mobile and Giffgaff.
Despite scoring first in our overall ranking 02 isn’t a mobile network without problems.
Even among the main mobile networks, they are expensive.
However, some of their text bundles offer excellent value such as their Simplicity tariff.
The quality of the O2 network is varied. 3G provides them with excellent UK coverage although their 4G network only covers four fifths of the country.
If you’re a big user of data then you may want to consider an alternative provider. O2 currently offers no unlimited data deals. Data connections aren’t fast either, particularly if you are a PAYG rather than a contract customer.
The quality of customer service seems to depend on who’s answering your enquiry as to whether it’s excellent or very poor. However, with a large high street presence, you may find it easier to pop into one of the O2 stores for an answer to your questions.
Although they occasionally give regular users free offers and provide a wide range of tariffs to fit in with customers’ needs, 02 is one of the more expensive networks.
So whether you prefer to text, make calls in the UK, phone internationally, or surf the net on the go, you should find something that fits your need
Be careful though. O2 doesn’t typically offer you the best price, so you may find better deals with other networks.
Even if you are making calls as part of your bundle allowance 02 international call prices aren’t particularly cheap.
But if you’re a PAYG customer and you’re calling from a mobile, calls to landlines and mobiles in India, Poland or Sri Lanka for example, you could pay as much as £1.50 a minute.
Although they are pricey, O2 do offer a few select deals that you may want to check out.
For example, if you commit yourself to a 12-month contract, £10 a month can get you 300 UK minutes, unlimited texts and 3,000 MB. Or £13 a month will give you 500 UK minute call time, unlimited texts and 5000MB data.
With a SIM only international you can make calls to international mobiles and landlines from 1p per minute. But choose the wrong country to call and it could cost you almost £1 a minute.
A PAYG £10 bundle gets you a free SIM with 500MB data, 100 mins UK time and 1000 texts loaded on it.