O2 lets customers choose the cost and duration of their contract

O2 has made its ‘Refresh’ tariffs more flexible by allowing customers to customise the length and monthly cost and of their price plan.

Starting from today, customers can spread the cost of their device over the course of between three and 36 months at 0 per cent interest and are able to increase or decrease their data, text and call allowance on a month-by-month basis.

The operator first launched ‘Refresh’ back in 2013 and formed part of the first wave of so-called ‘flexi’ tariffs that separated the cost of handset and airtime. With a flexi-tariff, subscribers only pay for the airtime component once the handset has been paid for.

O2 Refresh updates

And because the device component of the contract can be paid off at any time, customers can upgrade early or avoid early termination fees.

O2 claims the new offer will “shake up” the industry by offering unprecedented freedom in terms of contract structure and help combat the growing popularity of SIM-Only tariffs that have squeezed revenues at a time when people are buying fewer smartphones.

“Our custom plans mark the latest step in breaking away from one size fits all approaches, recognising that all our customers are different and individual, and so are their needs,” said Nina Bibby, O2 CMO. “As the first UK mobile network operator to offer this level of transparency, flexibility and control we’re giving even more power to the consumer.

“Our revolutionary custom plans give new and upgrading customers the freedom to tailor an individual plan to truly suit their needs and lifestyle, with the added peace of mind that the plan they sign up for will continue to be right one for them.”

Earlier this year, research from uSwitch suggested some flexi-tariffs were still more expensive than SIM-Only options and urged operators to instead notify customers when their minimum term was over, bringing the mobile industry in line with utilities.

Regulator Ofcom has since issued proposals for such an obligation.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.