O2 Pay As You Go: Sims, bundles & tariffs

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Why opt for O2 Pay As You Go (PAYG)? It’s simple: O2 offers consumers flexibility with its Classic Pay As You Go Sim, and versatility with its range of non-contractual Big Bundle plans. You pay for what you use and you’re free to top up your balance whenever you like. For those who don’t want to be tied down to lengthy contracts, or who use their phones infrequently, PAYG is a sensible option.

Pay As You Go is only available on select O2 sims. If you’re looking to purchase a new handset with O2 on a monthly payment plan, you’ll have to enter a contractual sim plan in conjunction with it. Take a look at the latest O2 phone deals on our O2 Mobile deals page.

Where to pick up a PAYG simYou can pick up an O2 PAYG sim from 99p in a supermarket or a newsagent. If you head to an O2 store or the O2 website, you can get one for free, all you have to pay for is the first top up!

O2 Classic Pay As You Go

Pay As You Go as it was intended. With an O2 classic Pay As You Go sim you get unmatched flexibility and economic freedom. There are no monthly charges whatsoever and no inclusive allowances. You only pay for the minutes, texts and data you use, which are charged on O2’s standard PAYG rates.

Classic Pay As You Go lets you top up anywhere between £10-£100 in a 30 day period. It’s important to note that the minimum amount with which you can replenish your balance is £10. Whatever your balance, you’ll be pleased to know that it has no expiration if left untouched, providing that you keep your sim alive by using it at least once every six months.

Below you can see a summary of O2’s standard Pay As You Go rates. Bear in mind that the rates applied to picture messages, and video calls are considerably higher than those applied to normal calls and texts.

Calls to landlines and mobiles 3p per minute
Texts 2p per text message
Picture message 45p per picture message
Data 1p per MB of data
Video calls 50p per video call

O2 Pay As You Go bundles

If you use your mobile device intensively but, for whatever reason, don’t want to sign up to a lengthy phone contract, O2 Pay As You Go bundles - or O2 Big Bundles, to give them their marketed name - give you the benefits of a Pay Monthly plan without the commitment.

Big Bundles

O2’s Big Bundles are essentially Pay As You Go monthly plans. For a fixed price, you receive a monthly allowance of calls, texts and data. After a month from the date of purchase, your balance can be renewed by topping up the required amount. However, you are under no obligation to do so. If you have topped up the required amount before the renewal date, O2 will preemptively renew your allowance.

Below are the available O2 Big Bundle Sims, which are categorised and labelled according to the amount of inclusive data on each one.

Big Bundle Sim Top up price Allowance
2GB Data Bundle £10.00 500 minutes, 5000 texts, 2GB of data
5GB Data Bundle £15.00 1000 minutes, 5000 texts, 5GB of data
8GB Data Bundle £20.00 2000 minutes, 5000 texts, 8GB of data
10GB Data Bundle £25.00 3000 minutes, 5000 texts, 10GB of data
20GB Data Bundle £30.00 5000 minutes, 5000 texts, 20GB of data

Big Bundle Standard Rates

O2 Big Bundles are more cost-efficient than Classic Pay As You Go, so long as you keep within your monthly allowance. If you burn through your allowance before the bundle’s 30 day period is up, you will be charged Big Bundle standard PAYG rates for any calls, texts and data used in excess until your bundle can be renewed.

Big Bundle standard rates are significantly higher than Classic PAYG rates, so it’s best to keep tabs on your usage. Of course, you will only be able to exceed your allowance if you have available credit on your account.

Below is a list of Big Bundle standard Pay As You Go charges.

Calls to landlines and mobiles 35p per minute
Texts 15p per text message
Picture message 45p per picture message
Data £3 per MB of data
Video calls 50p per video call

O2 international sim & bundles

For those who want to keep in touch with friends and family abroad, O2 offers two international PAYG options, which follow either the Big Bundles or Classic Pay As You Go formats. This is to say: One allows for a monthly allowance while the other is strictly pay-per-use.

International Bundles

Much like the Big Bundles, International Bundles require a fixed top up amount in exchange for a monthly allowance of calls, texts and data. However, with the international variant you can use your inclusive minutes to call landlines or mobiles in over 40 destinations. Additionally, any unused data can be rolled over into the following month.

Unused dataUnused data will expire if you fail to renew your bundle on the subsequent renewal date of your current bundle cycle.

If you use up your allowance before your bundle can be renewed, you will be charged for any excess use on Big Bundle Standard PAYG rates. For any excess international calls, or calls made to non-inclusive destinations, you will receive discounted international rates, which depend on the countries to which you make a call.

International Bundle Sim Top up price Allowance
1GB Data Bundle £10.00 250 minutes, 5000 texts, 1GB of data
3GB Data Bundle £15.00 500 minutes, 5000 texts, 3GB of data
8GB Data Bundle £20.00 1000 minutes, 5000 texts, 8GB of data

International PAYG Sims

Standard international Pay As You Go sims take a more flexible approach. Like Classic PAYG, you pay for what you use and only top up when required. Calls made to family or friends abroad will be charged discounted international rates, which differ from country to country.

What about for domestic use? Well, if you top up £10 or more on an international sim, you get 3000 inclusive O2 to O2 texts and 100MB of data. If you top up £15 or more you get 3000 O2 to O2 texts, 3000 O2 to O2 minutes and 200MB of data.

Alternatively, you can make the most of your Classic Pay As You Go or Big Bundle sim and get discounted international rates by adding the International Bolt On to your PAYG account.

O2 Bolt Ons

PAYG Bolt Ons are add-on packages that you can purchase to boost your calls, texts and data, or to gain access to certain features. Below you can see a list of O2’s available monthly, one off and special feature Bolt Ons, each with a short summary.

  • Monthly Data Bolt Ons: Various packages for additional monthly data (£3 - £13.50).
  • BlackBerry Bolt On: Extra monthly data & unlimited access to the BlackBerry APN (£6).
  • Snacking One Off Data Bolt Ons: Time limited data boosts, 50MB to 1GB (£1 - £12).
  • International Monthly Bolt On: Monthly discounted rates for international calls (£2).
  • International One Off Bolt On: Discounted international rates for 31 days only (£2).
  • Snacking One Off Calling Bolt Ons: Time limited call boosts, 50 mins (£1) to 100 mins (£3).
  • Snacking 100 Texts: Additional 100 Texts to use within 31 days from purchase (£3).

Activating your O2 Pay As You Go sim

When you get your O2 PAYG sim, you’ll have to activate it before you can make use of it. Doing so is pretty simple: All you have to do is top up a minimum of £10 on a Classic Pay As You Go or International sim; or top up with the required amount for your chosen bundle. The first top up acts as an activation top up of sorts.

If you get your O2 PAYG sim for free at an O2 store or from the O2 website, you’ll have to pay for the activation top up. Your sim will then be ready to use when you receive it.

O2 Pay As You Go top up

Depending on whether you opt for a classic PAYG format sim or a PAYG bundle, you will need to top up either on a per-use or monthly basis. There are various methods by which you can top up your balance, these include:

  1. Web top up
  2. Using the My O2 app
  3. Auto top up
  4. Vouchers and e top up cards
  5. Over the phone

Check out our O2 Top Up guide for step-by-step tutorials, guiding you through topping up using each method outlined above.

Checking your PAYG balance

Regularly checking your Pay As You Go balance and usage can help you avoid sudden allowance restrictions and excess charges. You don’t, after all, want to be left without the ability to communicate via your handset in a time of great need. You can check your Pay As You Go balance in the following ways:

  1. Log into your My O2 account, either through the O2 website or the My O2 app.
  2. Call 4444 free from your phone.
  3. Press hotkey 2 on your keypad.
  4. Dial and call *#10#.

Switching tariffs

Should you find yourself needing an allowance upgrade or downgrade, don’t panic. O2 PAYG customers can switch bundles or revert to Classic Pay As You go with the click of a button. All you have to do is log into your My O2 account - through the O2 website or the My O2 app - and head to View or change your tariff. Alternatively, you can call 2202.

If you switch from one bundle to another whilst in the middle of your current bundle cycle, you’ll have to wait until the next renewal date to receive your new bundle allowance.

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