Friday, 9 January 2009

My unbelievable new O2 contract

Following on from my October post about checking my O2 bills, I've just negotiated a new 18 month contract.

I was waiting for O2 to release the Nokia E71 handset, so when my previous contract expired I moved onto Simplicity (600mins, 1000txts, unlimited data - £20p/m) to save a bit of cash before going back on contract when the E71 came out. Now, I think I first asked O2 about the E71 back in August last year, and since then the release date has been moving back by a week or so every time I've called up to check. That's been pretty frustrating, given that the handset has been available on T-Mobile, Three & Vodafone for all that time.

Just before Christmas, O2 did release the E71 - but only to their business customers. When I went through the business sales process, even after applying the maximum available discounts, they couldn't beat the standard T-Mobile price. I called the O2 Select line to ask when they'd be getting the handset on normal tariffs, and they were unable to offer any date at all. I vented my spleen somewhat at this point, and said that I was struggling to find reasons to stay with O2; poor communication, no ability to commit to provide the product I want, poor price flexibility etc, and that I was about ready to leave and go to T-Mobile.

Often the networks call your bluff at this point and give you your PAC code to leave and transfer your number, however thanks to a string of horribly expensive bills incurred whilst travelling on business (and thus paid by my expenses, not me), I seem to have made it into the "retain at all costs" bucket. Even so, I was surprised at the offer of 18 months on the lowest tariff (75mins, 200txts) for £0. Yes, that's right, and 18 month contract for NOTHING.

Of course, I had to push this further so this week I called back and asked them if they could still do the previous offer. Then I asked them if they could add unlimited data to it. The chap let slip at this point that he could ask the system what was possible, so I decided to go all out and give him my require minutes and texts and asked him to get me a suitable contract for free.

I have to say that he rose to the challenge as me offered 18 months of O2 Online 25 (200mins, 400txts - £25 p/m) plus unlimited data bolt-on (£7.50 p/m) plus international traveller service (cheaper roaming £2.99 p/m) for a truly astonishing £0 p/m for the first 15 months, and then £10 p/m for the final 3 months. As I'm a Select customer, I can upgrade after 15 months anyhow, so I'm basically getting my mobile phone service for free until April 2010. Thanks O2!

I don't get a new handset included, but I do still have the option to buy one handset for cost price during my contract, so the plan is that I'll buy the E71 when it finally releases for (hopefully!) around £180. That would make the total damage £11.50 a month for 18 months!

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