O2’s secret £20 iPhone ‘Simplicity’ tariff

January 4th, 2010

If you’ve finished your iPhone contract, O2 have a range of SIM only iPhone tariffs such as 600 minutes, unlimited texts and internet for £20/month.

I’ve received reports from several readers about a new O2 ‘Simplicity for iPhone’ tariff for existing O2 iPhone customers who have completed their contract period. The tariff offers 300 minutes and unlimited texts for £20/month on a 1-month contract or £15/month on a 12 month-contract. New customers can also sign up if they BYOP (bring your own phone).

For a full discussion of the range of “Simplicity for iPhone” tariffs, see our new blog entry.

What is Simplicity?

Big Bubble
Creative Commons License photo: h.koppdelaney

Simplicity is O2’s SIM-only tariff. Unlike traditional tariffs, SIM-only tariffs don’t provide you with a free or subsidised phone: they only provide you with the airtime. Generally customers who are happy with their existing phone can typically save £180/year on a SIM-only tariff such as Simplicity as well as getting a larger allowance of minutes and texts.

Who can use this deal?

The ‘Simplicity for iPhone’ deal is open to existing O2 iPhone who have completed the original length of their contract (i.e. you signed an 18-month contract and you’ve already had the iPhone for 18 months).

New customers can sign up too but they’ll have to provide their own iPhone. This includes customers with a second-hand iPhone.

How does ‘Simplicity for iPhone’ differ from a standard iPhone tariff?

We’ve written about the £5/month “hidden charge” which the networks use to hide part of the cost of the iPhone inside the monthly payment. It was one of the reasons why we decided to develop our very own iPhone price comparison website – we wanted to bring clarity to the pricing of the iPhone and allow consumers to see the real price of having an iPhone. Many analysts also believe customers pay an “Apple tax” – a certain percentage of your iPhone monthly subscription fee goes to Apple.

On the Simplicity tariff, you no longer have to pay the part of the subscription fee which goes towards buying the phone and the “Apple tax”. This is what allows the Simplicity deal to cost a lot less than the standard iPhone tariff.

Creative Commons License photo: Jeff Kubina

Simplicity for iPhone (£20/month) offers:

  • 300 minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • 500MB web & unlimited wi-fi
  • Visual Voicemail

This compares to O2’s £35/month iPhone tariff which also offers 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB web &  unlimited wi-fi. By switching to ‘Simplicity for iPhone’, existing customers save at least £180 per year or £240 per year if they are willing to sign up for a 12-month contract!

There are a whole range of “Simplicity for iPhone” tariffs available – ranging from 300 minutes (discussed here) to unlimited minutes.

How do I join ‘Simplicity for iPhone’?

On the 26th February 2010, O2 made the ‘Simplicity for iPhone’ tariffs available through their website to order. See the list of 1 month contracts and list of 12 month contracts.

Previously, you had to call up the O2 ‘Retentions’ department to switch.

We would love to hear your experiences with switching so please do drop us a comment below.

What are the alternatives?

Vodafone also have SIM only tariffs for the iPhone with BT Openzone hotspot access but without Visual Voicemail. You’ll have to unlock your iPhone and switch network. You could also see our full guide to SIM only tariffs for smartphones. Note that services such as Visual Voicemail and Wi-Fi hotspot access won’t be available on these alternative non-iPhone tariffs.

What about new customers?

Making Choices.
Creative Commons License photo: [n]

We’ve discovered that new iPhone customers can sometimes save up to £70 by buying an iPhone on Pay As You Go and then signing up for “Simplicity for iPhone”. To find out whether you’ll save any money by signing up to the Simplicity for iPhone tariffs to start off with, please use our calculator.

Full Disclosure: This page was rewritten on 28th February 2010 because of the changes to O2’s iPhone tariffs and the general availability of “Simplicity for iPhone” on the O2 website.

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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 37 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. ben said:

    cheers have just joined from o2 pay as go its gr8

  2. steve said:

    very useful information , just moved to the simplicity 20 1 month rolling as am emigrating soon so didnt want to be tied down but loving the extra 16 quid a month lol

  3. Guy said:

    i look forward to seeing if they’ll offer a microSIM version for iPhone 4, as i’ll be moving to the UK from Australia and plan on bringing an unlocked iPhone 4 with me.

  4. Simon said:

    Hi does, anyone know if you can use the sim only for IPhones, on other smart phones, as the extra unlimited wi-fi for the same price, as the sim only for Smart phones, might as well get that simplicity then.. or can anyone explain???

  5. Zeriab said:

    Hey , i first had an o2 simplicity deal but it wasnt an iphone, what i used to have was, 800minutes, 1600 texts, and unlimited o2 to o2 for £20 a month , this was 12 month contract. but then i bought an iphone from my firend and added the web bolt on for £7.50 so i ended up paying £27.50.

    i then heard that there are special iphone simplicty deals, so i rang up customer services they put throught to the department. and the guy told me for £27.50 i can have all the above except that my texts went from 1600 to unlimited (which i desperately need) and he told me that he had to ADD the unlimited o2 to o2 bolt on the tariff(the reason it went from £20 to £27)

    anyway as far as i knew everything was fine and i made calls and i talk ALOT on the fone, like i go to sleep on the fone, so i did that for a few days and then i downloaded that o2 App, and checked to see that i had £95 pound bill and my 600 minutes were ALL GONE!

    i rang the guys up, made a note of each call and the person i talked to.. one the guys said that yes there was a note saying o2 to o2 unilmited calls needs to be added on, which means it was theyre fault for not puuting it through. further i told them i want you to check the recordings and it is clearly spoken from the guy that he said it was all done. so o2 refunded my extra charge and gave me a good will gesture…Now i get:

    600 minutes
    Unlimited Texts
    Unlimited o2 to o2 calls
    Unlimited Wifi , Web
    Visual Voicemail

    for £14.33 🙂

  6. Ken Lo
    Ken said:

    Just a disclosure that I’ve updated the information on this page on 28th February 2010 for the new iPhone tariffs.

  7. Phil said:

    I got an iphone when a mate upgraded his contract. I’ll always been an O2 PAYG cust (currently on unlim o2 call & text tariff) and normally top up £20 p/m plus with the unlimited web & wi-fi £10 bolt on. I was starting to pay £30+ a month.

    I read the previous stories and decided to upgrade to the Simplicity iphone SIM. £20 for 1200 texts and 600 mins & also unlim web & wi-fi!!! bargain.

    I contacted O2 on the 0870 600 3009 number, after a bit of telephone ping pong. I spoke with someone who set up my contract, she assured me I was joining the Simplicity for the iphone SIM however My O2 account currently shows – Online simplicity 20 & Unlim Web Bolt On. But no mention of simplicity 20 iphone tariff or unlim Wi-Fi, is this correct??.

    Bit confused that considering I’m already an O2 customer, a new “My O2 account” was set up and that a new SIM is being sent out with a different number??? I’ve been told to ring the cust services back to swap over the number, when i activated the card.

    Hopefully, job should be a good en & it’s been set up correctly.

  8. Paul said:

    Upgraded online yesterday and managed to get the bog standard simplicity 20 with web add-on (as I assumed that was the simplicity contract people were referring to) however read this when trying to work out why the visual voicemail was not working. Called the number 0870 600 3009, did not even need to ask for retentions, explained I actually wanted to switch to simplicity for iphone and polite lady switched me straight over however takes 24 hours to activate. I just have to switch the settings to before I changed them!

    Great customer service from one perspective however if this was clearer on the website (or available at all) I would not have had to do the detective work and then waited to speak to customer services on the phone thus wasting my and their time in the process.

    My advice is until this is made clear and available on line just call them up to switch when your contract is finished.

  9. lizz said:

    hi, i got a new iphone 3gs on fri and signed up to the simplicity £20 month with web then i read about iphone simplicity so i called, spoke to retentions who put me through to cut services who said yes i could have it even though ive never had an iphone contract(have been o2 payg for 3 years)
    they then put me through to the upgrades dept and was told that yes i could have the iphone simplicity but not until the next billing date.as i had only got the phone on fri and tharefore only paid the 1st £20 on sat i was a bit put out so asked could i have it now.she agreed straight away as i pointed out that had i just put the payg sim into the phone i would have had wifi since fri.
    she just said ok and has told me that it will be activated within 48hrs.so now i,ll get 1200 texts instead of 600 and wifi…… result!!!!!!

  10. Hannah said:

    I bought an iphone from ebay. I already has an o2 sim so when i put it in i got a text from o2 saying i may get charged extra for data usage and i should maybe think about getting an iphone tariff.

    I have been a customer of them for more that 5 years and a simplicity customer since 2008 I think! Anyway, i called thinking i would be charged some stupid amount like £40 a month. However straight away they said they could put me on the simplicity £20 iphone tariff deal. The next day i had something like 600 mins, 1200 texts and unlimited web and wifi bolt on (subject to fair usage terms). Its great 😀 Would definately recommend! Especially since you can cancel the contract after just one month!

  11. Ijk said:

    I have also gone onto a simplicity contract and by going online I got extra minutes than in store! Although this didn’t come without issues! The final page of the process said I would receive a conformation email….which I never received! This left me wondering and led me to chase them up on 202! A couple of weeks later I received a letter through the post telling me my inclusive minutes and texts, but these were wrong, so once again left me equiring via 202! And ever since, each week, I have been finding out that many of the settings are now wrong on the phone, first my Internet didn’t work, then MMS wouldn’t send and now I realised I’ve not been getting my voicemails? These also have required seperate calls to 202!

    Be warned lots of settings may need to be changed and ask them because they may not mention it!

    If I wasn’t saving so much money each month I’d be pretty annoyed!! ;0)

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Thanks for your comment Ijk. Although I think the setting changes apply only to the standard Simplicity? I believe ‘Simplicity for iPhone’ customers don’t need to change settings.

      According to ModMyi, the settings for *standard* Simplicity are:
      APN: mobile.o2.co.uk
      Username: faster
      Password: web

  12. Irv said:

    Cheers Ken – worked like a charm, spoke to o2 retentions dept and they switched me from the non iphone simplicity to iphone simplicity.

    They even apologised 🙂

    Happy Days

  13. Nic said:

    I used to have Pay and Go iPhone but after 12
    months my free web bundle expired and it was no longer cost effective so I switched to simplicty web bundle.

    20 quid a month and more free texts than I would use in 10 years.

  14. Jim said:

    I’ve been on Simplicity 20 for iPhone for a few weeks now – all good. Except that when I phoned up and asked to buy tethering for a month I was refused this service as a simplicity customer. I was told that I’d have to go back onto a full contract for this.
    This seems dumb to me – especially when they would sell me a dongle based package for a tenner a month AND supply a dongle. But I can’t pay the same tenner on an existing device.
    I like the fact that they have introduced this tariff to retain customers. However this episode doesn’t endear me to O2.
    For me, the killer factor in network selection would be a sensible tethering policy, i.e. a reasonable monthly limit included for use within your contract. I don’t want to phone up to “activate” this either. You should be able to set this up on the iPhone itself, maybe within the O2 app. If I have a need to tether when out & about, that need is now, not in 24 hours time.

  15. Tom said:

    Just called retentions (via. 0870 600 3009, free from existing contract iPhone). Told her that I was at the end of my contract, and was just looking at options: keeping it until the iPhone 4 came out, switching to “another tariff”, or changing.

    She immediately said, “Are you happy with your existing iPhone 3G?” (“Yes”) “Okay, I can transfer you to another tariff we have called “Simplicity for iPhone” for £20/month […] and you could stay on that until you’re ready to upgrade to iPhone 4 when it comes out […]”


    This increases the likelihood that when iPhone 4 is released I’ll stay with O2, which up until now was nowhere near certain. Of course, the offers on the table from Orange and Voda will affect that, but all being equal, I’ll probably stay if they’re as good to their existing customers as that.

    I left Orange after ten unbroken years purely due to the lousy offers available to me as an existing customer compared to those to a new customer.

  16. MrD said:

    Been on “O2 upfront for life” for years. 50 anytime minutes per month and NO line rental, but no data either (free or charged). O2 snatched my hand off when I requested Simplicity for iPhone at £20pm. The change to the network (including visual voicemail) was made within minutes.

    Hooray for O2

  17. Robert said:

    Just switched to Simplicity for iPhone by calling O2 retentions. Was offered a choice of two tariffs – Simplicity for iPhone 20 (£20/month – 600 mins, 1200 texts, unlimited web and wifi, visual voicemail) or Simplicity for iPhone 30 (£30/month – 1200 mins, 2400 texts, unlimited web and wifi, visual voicemail). Both tariffs are 1 month rolling contracts.

    O2 retentions told me they are only meant to offer these tariffs if the customer asks for them.

    I’m also interested in Mark Perkin’s question above re mobileme syncing. Does anyone know if this only continues to work on dedicated iPhone tariffs (like Simplicity for iPhone) or will it work with any tariff that includes unlimited data (like those offered by 3 and Orange)? Would be useful to know for the future as this functionality is important to me.

    Thanks for all the info Ken – very helpful!


  18. Carlos P said:

    Did exactly the same myself, phoned to cancel – was going to move to Virgin Mobile SIM-Only (22 pounds per month, 600 mins, unlimited web) but got offered this deal without asking for it.

    The only MINOR gripe I have with this over Virgin, is that you can’t tether your iPhone, you still have to pay £10 (was 15) per month for that ridiculous ‘bolt on’. With Virgin, for 24 pounds more per year you can tether. So, I took the o2 deal, but it’s only a 30-day rolling contract, so if I get annoyed with it, I can always move on.


  19. Matt Gemmell said:

    I switched to O2 Simplicity for iPhone last month (Dec 2009) whilst in the last month of an 18-month, £35-per-month iPhone contract (personal, not business) with O2. I just called customer service and told them I wanted to switch to that plan, and they did it for me immediately with no questions asked; entire thing from dialling to hanging up was about 7 minutes. It showed up on My O2 within a couple of hours. Highly recommended.

  20. J said:

    Is anyone aware of a Pay & Go customer being allowed to switch on to the simplicity 20 for iPhone tariff after their 12 months included web and wifi expires?

    I was told about the tariff in an O2 shop but the sales assistant said you couldn’t move from Pay & Go to this tariff. I’d have to take up the ‘normal’ Simplicity tariff without wifi

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi J,

      I haven’t heard any reports from readers who have switched from PAYG. But O2 shop staff won’t know anything about the ‘Simplicity for iPhone’ tariff. You could try asking the O2 Retentions department though. Otherwise the standard Simplicity tariff (discussed above) is pretty good, even if you don’t get visual voicemail (does iPhone PAYG even have visual voicemail?) and wifi.

  21. PJ Holden said:

    Phoned up to cancel my contract (which is always a better leveraging point than simply asking for a new contract) – asked my options, told them I barely used the entire minutes of the my call (which is true) and the offered to move me to simplicity – I actually phoned about a month ahead of my contract expiring, but they were happy to set it up so the transition from one to the other happens automatically, so goodbye £45 per month and hello £20 per month…


  22. Mike said:

    Just phoned retention department without knowing about this simplicity contract and was offered it straight away. 600 mins, 1200 texts, unlimited internet, rolling contract, saving £15 a month for mroe mins and texts!

  23. Simon said:

    I have just change from an 18 month contract to the simplicity for iphone contract the nice lady already knew about the contract and i got 700 mins 1400 text limited data and wifi.

  24. Kate Sloan said:

    Is this available on a month to month basis or do you need to sign up for 12/18/24 months?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:


      ‘Simplicity for iPhone’ is a 1 month rolling contract. Otherwise you can choose between a 1 month or 12 month contract for your Simplicity tariff. If you’re willing to sign up for 12 months you get a bigger allowance.

  25. Zoe said:

    After my January financial breakdown I rang 202 today and got my tariff swithed in 10 minutes inc waiting time. Glad o2 finally treats their old customer nicer after all!!!!

  26. Mark Perkins said:

    This was a great tip, and I successfully moved over to this today. But I’m a little confused about the mobile me thing for the non-iphone simplicity tariff – how does this prevent you from accessing mobile me? This is a completely saperate web service run by apple, surely you can be on any data plan to access this (as long as you have signed up to mobile me, obviously)?

    Sorry if I’m being stupid here, but I can’t see how it has anything to do with your tariff?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Mark. Thanks for the comment. I think that the push functionality of MobileMe is affected if you switch to a non-iPhone tariff. That said, I’ve not actually tried this myself! Did you see any change in your access to MobileMe after switching?

  27. Ken Lo
    Ken said:

    Hi guys,

    I’ve just written about SIM-only tariffs which are ideal for smartphones over at http://cow.neondragon.net/index.php/the-uks-6-best-value-smartphone-sim-only-tariffs-with-internet-access

    There is a SIM-only tariff on Three with 300 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet for £15/mo. It’s not an iPhone tariff so again you won’t have access to Visual Voicemail, BT Openzone, MobileMe, etc.



  28. Kangwoo said:

    I joined Simplicity 20 for iPhone by calling to the call centre yesterday. What I told them was just simply say that my contract’s going to finish 17th of this month, then they recommended the simplicity 20 for iphone to me. I didn’t know there is such a traiff, that’s why I was looking up and found this web site!!I’m not “business users” I just finish the 18months of the 3g contract.
    Hope this will be useful to someone.

  29. Hmm said:

    Can’t you just buy a simplicity sim only pack from o2 website and just start using it in the iphone when your contract is over?

    1400 txts
    choice of bolt on

  30. Marty said:

    I tried to get this deal but Customer Services were eventually told by Retentions that they were only offering it to “Business Users”.

    I think I’ll try again later though. Perhaps if I can get through and speak directly to Retentions I’ll be able to switch. I’ve seen that there has also been mixed success on other forums.

  31. martin h said:

    o2 stores also know nothing of this, said they had 3 people asking about it but they havent heard anything.
    guess its a phone only option!

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      As far as I’ve heard you can only get ‘Simplicity for iPhone’ from the retentions department – if O2 advertised it as an official iPhone tariff then I suspect Apple would demand a cut.

      If anyone does manage to have any luck getting onto the tariff in an O2 store do let us know though.

    2. peeley replied:

      just eligible for upgrade from £45/month 18 month contract: looked at o2 website and simplicity for iphone @ £20/month (300 minutes and unlimited texts) no contract with just 30 days cancellation notice required and u can upgrade when the 2nd gen iphone 4 comes out , perfect, kept my insurance running so costs now £27.50/month with no contract , BONUS ! took 5 minutes on phone by dialling 2302 from iphone 🙂

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