O2 changed their Big Bundle tariffs on 3 August and the £15 Big Bundle plan now includes 4GB data (previously 2GB), but fewer minutes of local calls
An O2 SIM card in your phone gives you cheap local and international calls from the UK (cheap international calls are available only on the International SIM tariff or the Classic Pay As You Go tariff with the international calling bolt-on package, but international calls are more expensive with one of the Big Bundle tariffs). O2's main advantage over other UK SIM cards is the excellent range of bolt-ons that give you internet access, cheap international calls and cheap European roaming.
You have a choice of a SIM card pre-activated on your choice of five different O2 Pay & Go tariffs. The best option will depend on the type of calls you plan on making and how much data access you need. There are also several add-on options that let you add extra data and all O2 prepaid tariffs offer low-cost roaming when used in other European countries. Overall an O2 SIM card is an excellent choice if you're visiting the UK and making side trips to Europe.
Call and data charges in the UK
|International SIM||Classic Pay As You Go||£15 Big Bundle||£30 Big Bundle|
|Call UK landline or mobile phone||30p per minute||5p per minute||First 250 minutes each month free, then 35p per minute||First 500 minutes each month free, then 35p per minute|
|Call Australian landline phone||1p per minute||£1.50 per minute (1p/minute if you add an international bolt-on)||£1.50 per minute
(1p/minute if you add an international bolt-on or use an app such as Facetime, Rebtel, Skype or Viber for cheaper international calls)
|1p per minute|
|Call Australian mobile phone||12p per minute||£1.50 per minute (12p/minute if you add an international bolt-on)||£1.50 per minute
(12p/minute if you add an international bolt-on or use an app such as Facetime, Rebtel, Skype or Viber for cheaper international calls)
|12p per minute|
|Data access||£1 per day or add bolt-on (1GB for £10)||5p per MB||4GB included, then £1 for 50MB per day||20GB included, then £1 for 50MB per day|
|Data speed||Up to 4G LTE speed||Up to 4G LTE speed||Up to 4G LTE speed||Up to 4G LTE speed|
|Monthly cost||No minimum monthly cost||No minimum monthly cost||You must top up at least £15 to start your service. It will cost £15 to continue this Big Bundle for an additional month||You must top up at least £30 to start your service. It will cost £30 to continue this Big Bundle for an additional month|
|Best for cheap international calls||Best for older phones that don't need data access||Best inclusive package with local calls and moderate data use||Best inclusive package with local calls and cheap international and very high data use. It is the best option if you need to upload lots of photos to sites like Instagram.|
Note: The Big Bundle packages include a bundle of calls and data that you have 30 days to use. You can use these calls and data with a zero balance as long as your month has been paid for, however you will need to top up additional credit to cover the cost of services that are not included as part of your bundle (such as calls to premium numbers, international calls and international text messages).
Call charges to special numbers (on all O2 pay and go tariffs) are as follows:
- Calls to mobile phones in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man 55p per minute (this includes calls to some multi-country travel SIM cards that come with mobile numbers from Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man)
- Calls to 084 and 087 numbers (similar to 13 and 1300 numbers in Australia) 55p/minute
- UK text message 14p
- International text message 14p
- Picture message 35p
You can set up an account on O2's website (although this entirely optional) so you can check your account balance online. If you want to do this you will need to enter a UK address (your hotel address will be fine).
|Please note: You need to add credit before you can make any calls and if you have a SIM card on one of the Big Bundle tariffs you will need to add additional credit if you need to make any calls that are not included as a free call on your plan (including international calls and calls to numbers starting with 084 and 087). However if you are planning on making international calls, particularly to countries outside Europe, then we recommend that you either get your SIM card set up on the International SIM tariff or the £30 Big Bundle tariff or use an app such as Localphone, Rebtel, Skype or Viber for all your international calls.|
International call charges (from the UK)
O2's standard international call rates are relatively high at £1.50/minute to most countries. However cheaper international call rates are possible depending on which rate plan you choose or whether you use an app such as Localphone, Rebtel, Skype or Viber for your international calls.
Cheaper international calls with O2 International SIM or the £30 Big Bundle tariff
If you choose the O2 International SIM tariff or the £30 Big Bundle tariff you will receive discounted international calls. International calling rates with the O2 International SIM or the £30 Big Bundle tariff are:
|Australia||1p per minute||12p per minute|
|Canada||2p per minute||2p per minute|
|France||2p per minute||5p per minute|
|Ireland||1p per minute||5p per minute|
|New Zealand||2p per minute||10p per minute|
|Singapore||1.5p per minute||1.5p per minute|
|South Africa||3p per minute||10p per minute|
|Spain||2p per minute||9p per minute|
|USA (excluding AK & HI)||2p per minute||2p per minute|
International SMS text messages cost 14p per message.
Cheaper international call rates with the Classic Pay As You Go or £15 Big Bundle plan and the international call bolt-on
If you choose the Classic Pay As You Go or the £15 Big Bundle tariff you will pay high international call rates of around £1.50/minute, however on these tariffs there is the option to add a bolt-on for discounted international calls. With this bolt-on your international call charges will be the same as you would get using the O2 International SIM or the £30 Big Bundle tariff.
|If you will be making a lot of calls – both local and international calls – but have an older phone that does not access data, then the best option is to get the O2 UK SIM card set up on the Classic Pay As You Go tariff and to add the international calling bolt-on after arriving in the UK.|
This bolt-on costs £2 for 31 days of discounted international calling. To add this bolt-on either call 2202 from your mobile or text the word INTERONE to 21300.
|Please note: Discounted international calls with either the International SIM tariff or the £30 Big Bundle (or one of the other tariffs combined with the international calling bolt-on) can only be used when on the O2 network in the United Kingdom. International calls (to countries outside the European Union) are considerably higher when using this SIM card in other European countries and in these instances we advise that you use a service such as Facetime, Localphone, Rebtel, Skype or Viber to make cheaper international calls from outside the UK.|
Free calls and text messages to other UK mobiles
Your O2 SIM card comes with an allowance of calls to other UK mobile phones. The allowance will vary depending on which rate plan you choose, although all plan options are fine if there are several of you travelling around the UK together using O2 SIM cards.
With the International SIM tariff
If you choose the International SIM tariff and top up more than £15, you get 3000 minutes of calls and 3000 text messages to other O2 UK mobiles for one month.
|Top up value||Bonus|
|£10–14 top up||3000 text messages to other O2 UK mobile phones plus 100MB data|
|£15+ top up||3000 text messages and 3000 minutes of phone calls to other O2 UK mobile phones plus 200MB data|
With a Big Bundle tariff
If you have one of the Big Bundle tariffs you still have an allowance of calls to UK landline phones and other UK mobile phones (and this isn't restricted to other O2 mobiles).
|£15 Big Bundle||£30 Big Bundle|
|250 minutes to other UK landline and UK mobile phones||500 minutes to other UK landline and UK mobile phones|
|250 SMS text messages to UK mobile phones||500 SMS text messages to UK mobile phones|
With the Classic Pay As You Go tariff
If you are on the Classic Pay As You Go tariff, then there are no included calls to other O2 mobile phones. You will pay the standard rate of 5p/minute for all calls to UK mobile phones regardless of which network you are calling.
Roaming in Europe
|O2's European roaming rates changed on 15 June 2017 (they are now much cheaper) and terms and conditions also changed on this date (the first use of your SIM must occur on O2's network in the UK). Call Tim on 03 9988 0686 if you have any questions.|
You can use your inclusive call and data allowance when travelling in other European Union countries, making an O2 UK SIM card an ideal SIM card for use when travelling elsewhere in Europe. However there are some conditions.
With the O2 UK SIM card you can use your inclusive calls and data in the following countries (Europe zone countries): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guyana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Martinique, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, Saint Barthelemy (St Barts), St Martin, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
This covers all European Union countries plus Iceland and Norway and French territories in the Caribbean and South America. However, it does not include other European countries including Albania, Andorra, Belarus, the Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey), Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland and Ukraine.
|The O2 SIM is a great option if you are travelling in most European countries, however the Three UK SIM may be a better option if your trip includes the Channel Islands or Switzerland.|
The included value you can use when roaming in Europe outside the United Kingdom will depend on which tariff your O2 UK SIM card is set up on. Generally the Big Bundle plans are the best value for roaming outside the UK as they include a bundle of calls and data that work throughout the European Union.
European roaming with the Classic Pay As You Go tariff
Roaming on the Classic Pay As You Go tariff is only recommended for people who only need to make and receive phone calls (and who don't need data access). Data access is expensive on this tariff (5p/MB, which works out at £51.20/GB) so it is best if you have an older phone that does not require data access.
- Incoming calls free
- Call to phones in the European Union (including local calls) 5p/minute
- Data access 5p/MB (£51.20/GB)
European roaming with the international SIM tariff
The international SIM tariff is a little better than the Classic Pay As You go tariff for data access, but not as good for calls. Unfortunately the cheap international calls that are included with this plan are only available to you when you are using your SIM in the United Kingdom. However you are able to use data from your data bundle (if you have bonus data from a top up or if you have added a data bolt-on) when travelling in European Union countries. Free calls to other O2 mobile phones are also available when travelling in EU countries.
- Incoming calls free
- Calls to the UK 30/minute
- Calls to other O2 UK mobiles free if you have a bundle of free calls to O2 mobile phones (you get a free bundle of calls to other O2 mobiles for 30 days whenever you top up £15 or more)
- Data access you can use data from your bundle
European roaming with a Big Bundle tariff
The Big Bundle tariff is the best value for European roaming. With this tariff you can use your included call and data bundle (up to a maximum of 10GB per month) when travelling in Europe zone countries.
|Big Bundle £15||Big Bundle £30|
|Use in UK||European roaming||Use in UK||European roaming|
|Calls||250 inclusive minutes
||500 inclusive minutes
|(to UK numbers only)||(to Europe zone)||(to UK numbers only)||(to Europe zone)|
|Text messages||250 inclusive text messages
||500 inclusive text messages
|(to UK numbers only)||(to Europe zone)||(to UK numbers only)||(to Europe zone)|
|Data||4GB data||20GB data (up to 10GB of this data allowance can be used in Europe zone countries)|
The Big Bundle plans give you a monthly call and data allowance. The total call and data allowance is for use in both the UK and when roaming in Europe zone countries, however the way that the calls and data can be used varies depending on whether you are using your phone in the United Kingdom or when roaming in Europe zone countries. For instance if you are on the £30 Big Bundle plan you get 500 minutes of calls during the one month validity of your plan, in the UK this call allowance can only be used for calls to UK numbers, but when travelling in Europe zone countries it can be used for local calls, calls to the UK and calls to other Europe zone countries.
The inclusive data allowance in your O2 tariff can be used when roaming in Europe zone countries up to a maximum of 10GB in a 30-day period. This means that you can use the maximum data allowance if you are on the £15 Big Bundle tariff, but only 10GB of your 20GB data allowance if you are on the £30 Big Bundle tariff.
O2's European roaming is a great deal, but there are some terms and conditions:
- Your first use of the O2 SIM card must occur on O2's network in the United Kingdom
- You cannot use the SIM roaming in Europe (outside the UK) for longer than 60 days in any four-month period
- You cannot use more than 10GB data roaming in Europe (outside the UK) during a 30-day period. This means that if you are on a Big Bundle package with more than 10GB data (such as the £30 Big Bundle plan with 20GB data), then you are restricted to using only 10GB data when roaming in Europe outside the UK (although you can use the rest of the 20GB data package in the UK).
|Note: These cheap European roaming rates may be discontinued when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.|
If you're on either the Classic Pay As You Go or International SIM tariff then bolt-ons are a great way to add extra features to your mobile service without paying too much. These let you pay a bit more in exchange for lower call charges or extra features like unlimited data and low-cost roaming in Europe.
Rather than confuse you with the full list of available bolt ons, we will just list the most popular ones here.
O2's Web bolt ons let you access the internet from your phone. These generally make sense if you're staying in the UK for a week or longer. O2's various web bolt-ons include:
|Basics||£3 per month||100MB|
|All Rounder||£6 per month||500MB|
|The Works||£10 per month||1GB|
To set up these O2 Web bolt ons call 2202 free of charge from your O2 Pay & Go mobile phone.
Data is only included with O2's Web bolt-ons in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. No data is included when roaming outside the UK.
You are charged £1 per day for data in the UK if you don't have a web bolt-on or if you have used all your web bolt-on allowance.
O2 has excellent coverage throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
You can check your coverage here.
As a service, we can add credit to your O2 Pay and Go SIM (UK) so that you can be up and running before you arrive in the UK.
The credit amounts are £15 (AUD $30), £20 (AUD $40), £25 (AUD $50) or £30 (AUD $60). This cost is higher than purchasing credit in the UK as it includes exchange fees, bank fees and credit card fees. The cheapest option is always to buy credit from shops in the UK.
You may add credit by choosing the option above (we add the credit for you), or alternately you can purchase vouchers to add yourself from us here at travelgear .
You are very welcome to only purchase just the blank SIM card for AUD $10, and when we send the SIM, this will give instructions on how to add credit both from Australia and when you are in the UK.
If you want to wait until you arrive in the UK, it is very easy to top up your SIM. You can pop into anywhere you see the topup logo, including all WHSmith newsagents, Boots chemists and most convenience stores, petrol stations, post offices and supermarkets. Even a lot of ATM's will let you recharge the O2 SIM!
However some people would prefer the convenience of topping up here before you arrive in the UK. We add the credit close to the time you arrive in the UK, as in some instances (eg the International SIM) you will get bonuses such as free calls to other O2 mobiles.
Help is just a phone call away
If you have any questions with your SIM card when you are travelling in the United Kingdom (or elsewhere in Europe) it is easy to get help. You can call O2's UK-based customer service centre or if you prefer you can call us directly. We have a UK number (020 3286 2828) that will come out of your generous allowance of minutes of your Big Bundle package and is relatively cheap to call if you are on the Classic Pay As You Go tariff. Our UK number is also the cheapest way to contact us if you are roaming elsewhere in Europe (it will cost only 4p/minute to call us in the UK from most European countries). However if you are calling us from the UK with a SIM card set up on the International SIM tariff, then it will be cheapest for you to call our Australian number +61 3 9988 0686. You can call our UK number 24 hours a day.
Please let us know if you have any questions about the O2 SIM card or the credit.
Please note the above rates are current as of 15 June 2017