Unlimited data is now available on O2, starting from £33/month. Find out about O2’s “limitless data” deals and the fair usage limits.
O2 has become the last of the major mobile networks to finally launch an unlimited data plan in the UK. Plans with what O2 describes as “limitless data” start from £33/month on a SIM-only basis. Unlimited data is also available on a range of Pay Monthly handsets through O2 Refresh.
In this article, we’ll review O2’s unlimited data plans, including the tariffs that are currently available, what download speeds you’re able to expect and the fair usage limits. We’ll then compare O2’s unlimited data plans to those on rival mobile networks before looking at the coverage you can expect and how to keep your existing phone number.
O2 Unlimited Data Plans
Limitless Price Plans
Nine years after last withdrawing unlimited data plans from sale, O2 have today reintroduced unlimited data plans to their line-up in the UK.
Starting from £33/month on an 18-month contract, customers can now get a mobile phone or SIM card from O2 with no limits on how much data can be used each month.
The following table shows a list of O2’s unlimited data SIM cards:
You can also get unlimited data on a range of handsets with an O2 Refresh contract.
All of O2’s unlimited data plans come with their standard network benefits like access to O2 Priority. You can also benefit from up to 20GB of inclusive roaming each month when travelling abroad in one of 75 destinations that are part of O2’s Travel Inclusive Zone.
If you’re an existing O2 customer on a Refresh Flex price plan, you’ll need to wait until the 4th October 2019 before you can change to an unlimited data plan.
At present, unlimited data isn’t available to customers on O2 Pay As You Go.
On all of O2’s unlimited data plans, you’ll get access to 4G download speeds. The plans are described on O2’s website as including “unlimited 4G data”.
In October 2019, O2 is due to launch their 5G network (initially in 6 cities before a further nationwide rollout). At present, it isn’t known whether customers on an existing 4G plan will be able to access 5G coverage when it launches on O2. For this reason, if you’re looking to get unlimited data with access to 5G, it might be worth waiting until O2 launches their 5G price plans.
For comparison, Vodafone offers access to 5G coverage on all of their unlimited data plans (though speed restrictions apply on the lower-cost plans). EE has a separate tier of unlimited data plans with 5G, charging about £10/month more for unlimited data on 5G. Finally, Three is still yet to launch their 5G mobile service but they’ve said existing customers will get access to 5G at no extra cost.
Fair Usage Limits
If you’re looking to sign up for an unlimited data plan on O2, it’s worth familiarising yourself with O2’s unlimited data fair usage policy.
There are four main restrictions worth knowing about on O2’s unlimited data plans:
- There’s a 650GB/month fair usage download limit. Although O2 says you’ll get “limitless data”, there’s a fair usage policy applying to how much you can download. This is currently set to 650GB per month. O2 says if your monthly data usage exceeds 650GB twice in a six-month period, they reserve the right to “investigate your usage further” and to “transfer you to a more suitable plan”.
- You can only tether to a maximum of 12 devices. Using tethering or personal hotspot on more than 12 devices is not permitted by O2’s terms and conditions for unlimited data.
- Unlimited data is for your “private use only”. O2’s terms and conditions do not allow usage of unlimited data for “commercial or illegal purposes”.
- Up to 20GB of data can be used when you’re travelling abroad. There’s a 20GB/month fair usage limit when you’re travelling abroad to other countries and roaming on your O2 UK SIM card. In Europe, you’ll be surcharged 0.4p/MB once you exceed this limit. Higher surcharges will apply if you’re travelling outside of Europe.
In addition to the above, O2’s unlimited data plans can not be used in combination with any of O2’s Sharer Data plans. For more information on how the fair usage limit compares to unlimited data plans on other mobile networks, please see our full guide to unlimited data plans in the UK.
Comparison to Alternatives
Besides O2, numerous other mobile networks also offer an unlimited data plan in the UK.
For most people, we think O2 is a fairly expensive option. This is because their unlimited data plans start from £33/month and you’ll need to sign up for an 18 month contract to get access to this price. Meanwhile, other mobile networks like Three typically charge around £20/month for unlimited data on a shorter and more flexible contract.
The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of unlimited data plans in the UK:
|To show you the most relevant plans, 15 similar but more expensive plans have been hidden. Tap here to show them.|
When choosing and comparing between unlimited data plans, it’s important to also be aware of the features and limitations on each network:
- EE’s unlimited data plans have a 1,000GB per month fair usage policy and a limit of 12 devices connected through tethering. Unlike O2, you also get a 100GB giftable data allowance. You’ll also get access to 5G and Swappable Benefits on the more expensive 5G Smart unlimited plan.
- giffgaff offers Always-On data. 4G download speeds are only available on the first 40GB/month. After this, maximum download speeds are restricted to 384kbit/s between 8am and midnight.
- SMARTY offers unlimited data with a fair usage limit of 1,000GB per month.
- Three offers “all-you-can-eat” unlimited data plans, with a fair usage limit of 1,000GB per month.
- Virgin Media offers unlimited data, but only for customers who have Virgin TV & home broadband. Download speeds are capped at 70Mbit/s.
- Vodafone offers three unlimited data plans with a choice of different download speed limits (2Mbit/s on Unlimited Lite, 10Mbit/s on Unlimited and uncapped speeds on Unlimited Max).
For more information, see our in-depth comparison of unlimited data plans in the UK.
Network & Coverage
2G, 3G & 4G Coverage
O2 offers 99% population coverage on their 2G, 3G and 4G networks in the UK. Before signing up to their limitless data plan, we’d recommend double-checking to make sure you can get it where you live.
You can enter your postcode on O2’s online coverage map to see what the coverage is like where you live:
For more information, please see our full guide to O2’s network and coverage.
In October 2019, O2 is due to launch their 5G mobile service. This will initially be available in six UK cities (Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London and Slough).
So far, O2 has announced the launch of 5G coverage in the following UK towns and cities:
|Now Live||24 towns and cities are live on O2 5G (April 2020)|
Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Eastbourne, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Lisburn, Liverpool, London, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Sheffield, Slough, Stoke-on-Trent
|20 towns and cities planned|
Aberdeen, Birkenhead, Brighton, Cambridge, Hove, Kingston-upon-Thames, Milton Keynes, Newbury, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Sunderland, Warrington, Wolverhampton (Summer 2020)
Blackpool, Bournemouth, Eton, Guildford, Reading, Windsor (January 2020)
O2 have also said that they’ll be offering 5G plans with an unlimited data allowance. However, they haven’t yet confirmed whether this will be available to existing customers who purchase a 4G plan (or whether an upgrade will later be required to a newer 5G plan).
There’s more information on O2’s website about their 5G rollout.
Tethering & Personal Hotspot
Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s data connection with another device (e.g. with your laptop or tablet).
On O2’s limitless data plans, tethering and personal hotspot usage is permitted. However, there’s a restriction within the terms and conditions that you can only use tethering and personal hotspot on up to 12 devices. This is stated in clause 3.3 and 3.4 of their terms and conditions:
3.3. You may not use your Unlimited Data … (b) as a mobile hotspot where you are tethering more than 12 devices to your device.
3.4. Usage is subject to our Fair Usage Policy … Where you regularly tether to 12 or more devices or have used 650GB of data twice within a 6 month period then we may investigate your usage further to ascertain whether your Unlimited Data usage is for the Permitted Use. Where following such investigation we determine or reasonably suspect that your usage is for purposes other than the Permitted Use then we reserve the right to transfer you to a more suitable plan.
This restriction on the use of tethering and personal hotspot does not apply to unlimited data plans from most other mobile networks (EE is the only other network with a similar restriction on tethering). Therefore, if it’s likely you’ll use this feature fairly regularly, it might be worth considering an alternative network without these restrictions.
On O2’s unlimited data plans, it’s possible to use up to 20GB of data abroad each month.
You’ll get the O2 Travel Inclusive Zone Bolt-On included when you purchase an unlimited data plan from O2. This covers international roaming in 48 European destinations, along with an additional 27 destinations outside of Europe (including the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand).
Within Europe, you’ll be surcharged 0.4p/MB if you exceed the 20GB roaming data limit. Outside of Europe, the surcharge may be higher. Your usage of calling and texting is also limited to 120 minutes and 120 texts per day when travelling outside Europe.
For more information, please see O2’s international roaming web page.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’re moving from another mobile network to O2 to take advantage of the limitless data plans, it’s a straightforward process to keep your existing phone number.
To do so, you’ll need to get a PAC Code from your current mobile network. You can do this online or by text message, and will normally receive the PAC Code within 60 seconds of your request.
Once you have the PAC Code from your old network, order your new handset or SIM card with limitless data from O2. When your new phone or SIM card arrives, you can provide your PAC Code to O2 through this online form. Your phone number transfer will then be scheduled by O2, normally for the next working day.
For a step-by-step guide on moving your phone number to O2, please select your current mobile network from the drop down menu below: