O2 “International Favourites” bolt-on provides international minutes, overseas phone number

October 31st, 2010

O2’s £10/month “international favourites” bolt-on for Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go customers provides customers with inclusive calls to selected international landlines and an overseas phone number.

O2 launched the “International Favourites” bolt-on last week. Aimed at those who have friends and family abroad and regularly make international calls, the £10/month bolt-on offers 3,000 minutes (50 hours) of calls to three selected international numbers and an overseas telephone number which your friends can call you on (“Call Me Number”).

There is also a £20/month version of this bolt-on. With this bolt on, customers can choose 5 international numbers for which they can make up to 3,000 minutes to calls to landlines and 200 minutes of calls to mobile phones.

Bolt On Price What do I get?
£10/month 3,000 minutes to 3 selected international landline numbers and an overseas “Call Me Number”
£20/month 3,000 landline minutes and 200 mobile minutes to 5 selected international numbers and an overseas “Call Me Number”

Which countries are supported?

You can choose your “favourite” numbers from 60 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei , Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Reunion, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United States and Venezuela.

Your “favourite” numbers don’t all need to be in the same country. For example if you have family & friends spread across North America, you could choose 2 favourite numbers from the United States and 1 favourite number from Canada to make up your 3 favourite numbers.

For the purposes of this bolt-on, O2 are classifying mobile phones in Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the United States as landline numbers. In these countries, customers need to pay to receive calls (they use the Receiving Party Pays model). If you select a mobile phone in one of these countries as one of your “favourites”, you should be aware of the fact your friend/family member will still be paying to receive the call on a per-minute basis.

How does “International Favourites” work?

Firstly, you’ll have to register your 3 favourite numbers (or 5 if you’re on the £20 tariff) on the O2 “International Favourites” website. Once you’ve set these up, you can change them every month.

For each of your “international favourites”, O2 will provide you with a “virtual phone number” to dial. This will connect you to your chosen number abroad. Make sure you change the saved phone number in your address book, otherwise you’ll be charged for a standard international call (which can be up to £1.50/minute!)

Note that there is a 60 minute time limit on all calls through the “International Favourites” service. The “virtual phone number” will only work from your O2 mobile phone and you’ll need to have Caller ID enabled to use the service.

What is a ‘Call Me Number’? What about my overseas phone number?

The bolt-on includes a free overseas phone number (dubbed a “Call Me Number” by O2). You can choose which country to have an overseas phone number in. Your friends and family can call this number and the call will be redirected to your O2 mobile in the UK. This should save them lots of money and make it more convenient for them: rather than making an international call to your mobile in the UK, they simply have to pay for a national call within their own country.

You can choose to have a “Call Me Number” in either Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden or the United States.

Note that there is a fair usage of 3,000 minutes per month on your “Call Me Number”. If you receive more than 3,000 minutes of phone calls through your “Call Me Number” in one month, it will be disabled for the rest of the month.

What happens if somebody calls me on my overseas phone number whilst I’m overseas? How am I charged?

There are no changes to your call charges whilst abroad. Even if you have a “Call Me” number in France, you’ll still have to pay O2’s standard roaming rates to receive calls in France. You should continue to follow our best practice guide to using your phone abroad.

How do I change my International Favourites numbers?

You can change your “International Favourites” numbers once a month at the O2 “International Favourites” website. Your “Call Me Number” can be changed once every 6 months.

Which O2 tariffs are compatible?

You should be able to use this bolt-on with all O2 Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go tariffs. This includes the Simplicity SIM-only deals which begin at £10/month for 300 minutes and unlimited texts.

What are the alternatives?

2 famous symbols
Creative Commons License photo: René Ehrhardt

The cheapest way to call your friends and family abroad is to use a voice over IP solution such as Skype. Skype will allow you to make as many calls as you like to other Skype users (regardless of which country they are in) and it won’t cost you a penny. With SkypeOut, you can make calls to international landlines and mobiles too but there is a charge.

If you’re looking to make international calls from your mobile, it may also be worth looking into specialist international calling Pay As You Go tariffs. Lycamobile (reviewed here) and Lebara Mobile offer calls abroad from 4p/minute. If you typically make calls to more than 3 international numbers each month or you make less than 250 minutes worth of international calls, you may find these tariffs better value. Three’s SIM Only International tariff is also worth a look – for £15.32/month you’ll get 3,000 minutes to international landlines. Unlike the O2 deal, there is no need to nominate favourite numbers – you can call any landline within the listed countries.

How do I sign up for O2 International Favourites?

If you’re an O2 customer, go to the O2 International Favourites website.

If you’re not an O2 customer, you’ll have to join O2 first. Consider a Simplicity SIM-only tariff (reviewed here) or signing up for a free O2 Pay As You Go SIM card.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 3 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. paulina said:

    How do you cancel your international favourites? because i dunt need them

  2. Anthony said:

    Hi Ken,

    Is the call me number also available for texts? May my overseas friends can text me on my call me international and virtual number without being charged for international text?

    Thanks in advance for letting me know 😉

  3. saheel said:

    i all ready have o2 international favourites for which my 10 pounds are taken but still not able to call

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