To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

What is the O2 Refresh tariff? Everything you need to know

We explain the split tariff that lets you upgrade early

So you’re a year into your contract, and you’re sick of your current phone. Or maybe, like me, you’ve broken it and didn’t take out mobile phone insurance. Most of the time, you’d be out of luck: ending your contract early without paying off the remaining cost is only possible at certain times under circumstances.

If you’re with O2, however, your fortunes are looking considerably more favourable. The O2 Refresh tariff makes changing phones mid-contract significantly easier, and whilst it’s not free of charge it will save you a great deal of hassle.

Here’s an overview of what the O2 Refresh tariff offers and how you can get one of your own.

Get the O2 Refresh tariff now

O2 Refresh tariff: What is it?

O2 offers a way for you to change phones mid-contract without calling the whole thing off. Your current phone tariff will be split into two parts: the Device Plan and the Airtime Plan. The Device Plan covers the actual cost of your phone, where the Airtime Plan covers your data allowance, calls, and texts.

If you’re on an O2 Refresh tariff, this split will determine how much you’ll have to pay to change phones. You’ll have to pay off the remainder of your Device Plan – buying the original phone – but your Airtime Plan will remain untouched.

You’re reducing the cost of paying off your contract significantly, and the best part is you can keep the Airtime Plan bit of your contract intact. So when it comes to sorting out your next phone, you have a couple of options. You might decide to keep the phone (let’s face it: paying off your contract is a good feeling) in which case you’ll be able to keep your original contract and only pay the fees incurred by the Airtime Plan.

Of course, it’s more likely that you’ll want to find a new handset. In this case, your Airtime Plan will remain the same, and your Device Plan will be calculated based on the phone you choose. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, but the pricier the phone, the more you’ll pay. Hopping from a Samsung Galaxy J3 to the new S9, then, will put the price of your contract up by quite a bit.

Buying a Refresh tariff won’t affect any of the privileges awarded to O2 customers. You’ll still be able to access the many millions of Wi-Fi hotspots around the UK, and receive exclusive ticket offers via O2 Priority.

O2 Refresh tariff: How to purchase

The Refresh tariff is open to new and existing O2 customers. Pay-as-you-go and SIM-only plans are excluded for obvious reasons, but otherwise you’re free to purchase an O2 Refresh tariff whenever you choose.

If you’re a new customer, it’s as simple as heading to your local O2 store, navigating to the O2 web page, or calling the O2 line – all current O2 tariffs (excluding pay-as-you-go and SIM-only) are the Refresh variety. In addition, the option to upgrade to a Refresh tariff is available to existing customers. There are, however, a few things to be wary of.

All O2 tariffs purchased after 22 March 2018 are flexible, which means you can increase or decrease your allowance (calls/texts/data) once a month. Just be aware that if you do reduce your allowance, you may also lose access to certain O2 benefits; the provider will warn you if you’re at risk before you make the change.

Existing O2 customers who aren’t on a Refresh tariff already will have to end their current contract – by paying or waiting – to make the switch. If you don’t want to wait for your contract to end, however, O2 often offers reduced costs or other deals for customers looking to upgrade to Refresh.

Get the O2 Refresh tariff now

READ NEXT: Our O2 review 

Our advice

Jumping aboard the O2 Refresh bandwagon opens up the opportunity to upgrade early and without forking out the full price of a contract cancellation. And with every new O2 contract offering the flexible option, there’s never been a better time to do it. The only drawback is that these contracts often last for a full 36 months, rather than your standard 12 or 24; Ofcom is keeping a close eye on this trend towards ‘splitting’ phone bills, because it’s actually a cheeky way of avoiding the ban on fixed commitment periods (that is, traditional contracts) of more than 24 months. Be sure you understand the implications before you buy.

Read more