O2 has launched a new contract package to allow users to choose a new smartphone when they like, instead of having to buy out their remaining tariff contract first.
The new offering allows customers to instead pay for the remaining value of the existing phone before getting a new one, which can work out cheaper than paying for the remaining tariff contract period on the existing phone.
O2 Refresh is billed as the first 24 month tariff to decouple the cost of the phone from the cost of calls, texts and data.
When a customer signs up to O2 Refresh they choose a phone plan and an airtime plan. By signing up to and paying separately for their phone and airtime customers will pay the same as they would on a standard 24 month pay monthly tariff.
For those customers who want a new handset before the end of their contract term O2 Refresh enables them to pay off the remainder of their phone plan and end their airtime plan with no termination fee.
To make it even more affordable to get the latest smartphone customers can also trade in their old mobile for cash using O2 Recycle, "getting up to £260" to put towards their new phone, said O2.
Under O2 Refresh those customers who don’t want or need a new phone after their phone plan is up only pay for their airtime.
“Mobile phone technology continues to advance at a rapid pace yet the way phones are sold has remained largely static,” said Feilim Mackle, sales and service director at Telefónica UK. “Increasingly our customers are telling us that they don’t want to be tied to the same phone for two years and, with 4G coming to O2 this summer, we want to make it easier for our customers to benefit from the latest technology."
Customers will have a choice of three O2 Refresh airtime plans. For £12 a month customers get 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 750MB of data; and for £17 customers will have unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data. For £22 they receive unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data.
O2 Refresh has also been designed to give customers the flexibility to choose whether to make an upfront payment for their smartphone. The overall cost of the phone may therefore be less, depending on which O2 Refresh airtime plan they opt for.
For instance, a customer buys an HTC One on O2 Refresh and chooses to pay £17 per month for their airtime plan. They then choose to pay £20 per month for their phone plan and pay £49.99 up front, meaning their combined O2 Refresh tariff costs £37 per month, the same as they would pay on a standard 24 month pay monthly contract. The total amount they will pay for the phone is £529.99.
O2 Refresh will be available in O2 stores from Tuesday 16 April and will be available online and over the phone in the coming months, O2 said.