O2′s “Simplicity” Pay As You Go Packages: Reviewed and Compared
September 28th, 2011
O2′s Pay As You Go “Simplicity” packages offer unlimited texts from £7.50/month and inclusive minutes from £10.50/month. Yet shop around and you can get a better deal.
One of the options available to O2 Pay & Go customers is the “Simplicity” tariff. Purchased from your airtime credit, O2 Simplicity gives you a set amount of airtime which lasts for one month. This can often be cheaper than “vanilla” Pay As You Go (without Simplicity) for reasonably heavy phone users but shop around: cheaper deals are out there too.
How does O2 Simplicity work?
O2 Simplicity is a Pay As You Go tariff from O2. Unlike traditional “vanilla” Pay As You Go where you’ll pay for each call you make and each text you send, O2 Simplicity customers pay a fixed amount each month (between £7.50/month and £25.50/month) which comes from your airtime credit. In exchange, you’ll get a fixed allowance of calls, texts and internet to use for that month.
A free O2 Simplicity SIM card is available from the O2 website.
A better value proposition from O2′s “Giffgaff” subsidiary
If you’re willing to consider an O2-based alternative which doesn’t carry the O2 brand, Giffgaff is a great value alternative. You’ll get the exact same reception and phone signal as on O2, only the service isn’t O2-branded.
Giffgaff is a fully-owned subsidiary of O2 targeted at the “no-frills” mobile market. Giffgaff customers have access to the exact same network as O2 customers but customer support is handled by Giffgaff. Giffgaff provide similar packages to O2 Simplicity but their packages are typically much better value. With Giffgaff’s Goodybags, you’ll get:
- £5/month – Unlimited texts
- £10/month – Unlimited texts, 250 minutes and 1GB internet
- £15/month – Unlimited texts, 400 minutes and unlimited internet
- £20/month – Unlimited texts, 800 minutes and unlimited internet
- £25/month – Unlimited texts, 1500 minutes and unlimited internet
Calls and texts outside your allowance are also cheaper on Giffgaff: 10p/minute for calls and 6p per text. They are 25p/minute and 12p per text on O2. You can get a free Giffgaff SIM card here.
What are the Simplicity packages on Pay As You Go?
There are 3 “Simplicity” packages available on Pay As You Go:
- £7.50/month buys you unlimited texts
- £10.50/month buys you 100 minutes and 500 texts
- £15.50/month buys you 300 minutes and unlimited texts
For smartphone users, you’ll need to add one of O2′s 3 data packages which start at £3/month. The most popular data package is “The All Rounder” (500MB data allowance) which is an additional £6/month.
|Minutes||Texts||No Data||The Basics (100MB)||The All Rounder (500MB)||The Works (1GB)|
Note that there is also a variant of O2 Simplicity on Pay Monthly. This can often provide better value than the Pay As You Go variant, particularly when you sign up for 12 months.
Which data package should I opt for on O2 Simplicity?
If you’re a smartphone owner, you’ll need to add a data package. O2 offer a choice of 3 different data packages on O2 Simplicity Pay As You Go. These range from “The Basics” (100MB for £3/month) to “The Works” (1GB for £10/month). “The All Rounder” (500MB for £6/month) is recommended for most smartphone users.
For more information on what this means in practice, see our guide to what terms such as 100MB, 500MB and 1GB actually correspond to. We’ve also got a guide to O2′s data packages.
|Data Package||Monthly Cost||Data Allowance||Public Wi-Fi*||Picture Messages||Tethering|
|No data package||-||Pay Per Day (£1/day)||No||0||No|
|The All Rounder||£6/month||500MB||Unlimited*||20||Yes|
|The Works||£10/month||1GB (1,000MB)||Unlimited*||50||Yes|
* Confusingly, the O2 website describes this as “UK Wi-Fi”. You’ll always be able to use your home wi-fi network regardless of whether you have a data tariff from your mobile operator. More accurately, this should refer to whether there is inclusive access to public wi-fi hotspots provided by “BT Openzone” and “The Cloud”. A fair usage policy applies to downloads through these public wi-fi networks but O2 have not specified the fair usage policy on their website.
Are there any other alternatives?
Giffgaff is the closest alternative – it’s still on the O2 network, it’s still Pay As You Go and it’s much better value than O2 Simplicity. For £10/month, you’ll get 250 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet. Giffgaff are currently offering free SIM cards through their website.
If you’re willing to look beyond Pay As You Go, there are some great deals to be had on Pay Monthly SIM Only packages. For example:
- £3.33/month – 500MB internet on T-Mobile
- £10/month – 300 minutes, 3000 texts and 1GB internet on Three
- £15/month – 600 minutes, 3000 texts and all-you-can-eat internet on Three
- £20/month – 900 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB internet on T-Mobile
- £25/month – 2000 minutes, 5000 texts, all-you-can-eat internet & free tethering – “The One Plan” on Three
See our complete guide to the best value SIM-only tariffs.
How does O2 Simplicity differ from “Text and Web”?
The O2 Text and Web tariff offers you a free allowance of texts and internet to go with your Pay As You Go credit. You’ll keep all of the credit that you top up by. This differs from O2 Simplicity where you need to spend your airtime credit in order to buy your Simplicity package. For many smartphone users who send under 300 texts per month, this will make the “O2 Text and Web” tariff better value.
With O2 Text and Web, you’ll get:
|O2 “Text and Web” tariff||What you get…|
|£10/month||300 texts, 500MB internet & £10 credit to spend|
|£15/month||500 texts, 500MB internet & £10 credit to spend|
|£30/month||Unlimited texts, 500MB internet & £10 credit to spend|
I’m switching to O2. Can I keep my existing phone number?
Yes. You’ll need to ask your existing network for a PAC code and then to provide this to O2. The entire process of transferring your phone number should take no more than 24 hours. Our PAC Code Finder tool provides a step-by-step guide to transferring your mobile number to O2.
Where can I get an free O2 Simplicity SIM card?
You can get a free SIM card from the O2 website. This SIM card can be used with any of O2′s Pay & Go tariffs – you’ll need to select the “Simplicity” tariff when your new SIM card arrives.
O2′s Giffgaff has a separate form to register for free SIM cards: the order form can be found here.
I'm a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005 with the aim of demystifying mobile technology for the rest of us.
Before writing about mobile technology, my background was in space & atmospheric physics. I have also worked in software development. Nowadays, I help companies to explain mobile technology to their customers. Please check out my portfolio or get in touch for more information. I'm also on Google+.