British mobile operator O2 is offering new tariffs to UK users which include free internet tethering.

In what is a first for O2, the company is clearly changing its strategy based on the fact that 70 per cent of new customers are buying net-connected smartphones.

Tether and go

By extension, a sizeable proportion of these customers are clearly going to want to make use of their smartphone to 'tether' their laptop or netbook or tablet computer to the internet when they are away from a free Wi-Fi connection.

New O2 data plans cost £3 for 100MB, £6 for 500MB and £10 for 1GB.

The free tethering contracts are only being made available to new customers, so if you have a current contract with O2, then you are going to have to wait for that to expire first.

O2 made the announcement on its blog, with a detailed list of all the current tariffs available online.

"For the first time, internet tethering (using your phone as a modem to connect your laptop to the internet) is completely included in our data allowances, so you don't have to pay a penny extra for it," reads O2's blog post.

Good stuff. Particularly if you have recently invested in a Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 and want to use your O2 contract iPhone to get it online when you are out and about.

Via O2 blog