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O2 Flex offers adjustable data – how does it work?

Don't pay for data you don't need, but only if you have a premium smartphone

O2 Flex offers adjustable data – how does it work?

Getting more data than you need on a new phone contract can be a mistake that you pay for every month for two years. Now O2 is offering a way of adjusting your tariff, so you’re not paying for more data than you use.

You can go the other way, too. If you find you’re getting charged for using data outside your bundle, then you could change your tariff to increase how much data you get each month.

The option to switch tariffs is available once per billing cycle.

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Can you apply for O2 Flex?

You can only get an O2 Flex contract if you’re a new O2 customer or you’re upgrading. You can’t shift your existing contract onto O2 Flex.

Don’t think you can get a budget phone either. Only the latest and most expensive handsets are available: the iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, Galaxy Note 8 and the OnePlus 5. Of those phones, only the One Plus 5 is available for less than £600.

Initially, 02 recommends at least a 20GB contract. 20GB is a massive amount of data and significantly more than most people will need. Consequently, they are some of the most expensive monthly deals.

The cost of O2’s 20GB deals

  • iPhone X: £73-£77 per month
  • iPhone 8: £56-£60 per month
  • iPhone 8 Plus: £60-£64 per month
  • Samsung Galaxy S8: £53-£56 per month
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus: £57-£60 per month
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8: £62-£67 per month
  • OnePlus 5: £52-£56 per month

Once you’re in a contract it is flexible to a point. You aren’t free to choose as much data as you want, you can only move between the fixed tariffs that were available when you bought your phone, so you couldn’t take advantage of lower monthly charges as the cost of the phone and contracts go down over time.

Thankfully, O2 typically has more tariff options than most providers. If you bought an iPhone X and wanted to use Flex to change your data allowance, you could choose 1GB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, 20GB, 30GB or 50GB.

O2 confuses things slightly by having two of each data tariff, one with a high upfront cost and one without. If you pay more for the phone initially then you pay less each month and vice versa. If you use Flex and you opt to pay more upfront, then when you change your data allowance you’ll pay the lower monthly amount on whatever tariff you move to. If you paid less upfront then you would pay the higher monthly cost.

Do other providers do this?

O2 has effectively introduced rolling contracts, and if you’ve ever had a Sim-only deal then this is probably a term you’re familiar with. Providers, such as Giffgaff let you adjust your tariff every month and even cancel altogether.

The difference here is that O2 Flex is still a 24-month contract with some of the benefits of a rolling contract. Sky Mobile also allows you to adjust your data, minutes and text allowance every month, but, like O2’s offering, you can’t cancel.

It’s a positive move by O2 to make deals more flexible and save customers money if they opt for a package that has more data than they need. We’d like to see Flex roll out to all of its phones though, not just the most expensive.

Not looking for a pricey handset? Take a look at the cheap phones we recommend.

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