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I'm Certainly Not Disappointed
Member Name: grown_up_girlie
Advantages: Superb deals and offers, excellent network coverage
Disadvantages: Poor quality handsets
How do you choose which network provider to subscribe with… they are all competitive and what one offers another will try to better. I don’t know about you but I have tried all the available networks providers that the UK has to offer. I have finally found a network that offers me everything that I need.
I know a few people who don’t like the O2 network, making claims that they are unreliable and over charge but to be honest I couldn’t ask for more.
Let me tell you why I chose O2 as my network and why I will be a customer for life.
••A Bit About O2••
O2 was brought to us, the consumer, by the merging of two networks called, BT Cellnet & Genie. After merging these two companies together they created the now ever popular network provider – O2. O2 have had a very large impact on the market of communication by supplying the consumer with both mobile phone handsets and the use of their mobile network.
••Coverage & Reliability••
So O2 claim to have network coverage of 99% of the United Kingdom, they also claim that no other network provider covers any more than this, so this is definitely a huge selling benefit for O2.
I have been in the depths of hilly Scotland and not suffered from any problems with coverage on my phone. The signal strength albeit does weaken when in very remote areas, but from having experienced this issue with all the UK network providers, I know that this is not out of the norm.
Signal strength when using the train and being on public transport is strong. No network provider will be perfect and there will be times when you will lose your signal, but so far having experienced been with O2 for a year now, I can say that they only times I have lost the full signal is when going through a tunnel on the train.
I know that O2 claim to be developing the network all the time for its customers benefit… this includes the coverage of the network in places such as Airports, Shopping centres and minor roads as well as in remote areas. Seeing as I have never had any issues with the coverage in Airports or in shopping centres I like to believe this claim.
O2 are so on top of their coverage claims, that they dedicate a ‘Network Services Team’ to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week where you can call and report any problems. Never needed too personally but it’s a very good service to offer.
It’s this same team that also monitors the networks 365 days a year for clarity of speech and reliability so you can rest assured that you will get the best possible service at all times.
••Pay Monthly Or PrePay••
O2 offer both contract deals and prepay bundled offers. Each is available to purchase either online or in one of their high street stores. I am not going to list the tariff offers that O2 offer as it is regularly being bettered by them.
“I have never come across a network that offers such substantial offers at such a low cost. This is changing all the time but only for the better as O2 claim to want to be the biggest network provider in the UK”.
These are known as contracts, you make payments monthly (Normally by direct debit) or online via your account (If it’s an online contract), for a minimum term of either 12 or 18 months. If you enter a contract online via the O2 website, you will be eligible for their online tariff rates which are some of the best on the market to-date. You can alternatively go into any O2 shop on the high street and register a contract in-store, again you will be offered competitive rates and bundled offers but not AS good as the online bundles. The pleasure of being on a contract is that you are more likely to be offered a better bundled offer of free calls to other networks and more free text messages. You also have the bonus of never running out of credit unlike being on ‘Pre Pay’.
It’s very simple to become an O2 prepay customer. You can purchase a sim card on their website or in-store, top up £10 a month and take advantage of the many offers/bundles that O2 offer such as the current 300 free texts a month and free WAP access. To top up your credit you can do so via an online account (which you would create and enter your debit/credit card details), or alternatively by using one of their other methods which can be done by either calling a ‘top up number’ and entering your debit/credit card details, or by using the supplied O2 swipe card at a retailer which offers mobile phone top ups. If you don’t wish to tie yourself down to a long term contract then this is certainly the better option for you.
••Extras & Rewards For Pre Pay Customers••
In addition to the competitive bundled offers that O2 offer, to show their appreciation they are now offering small perks and offers for their customers.
Being a pre pay customer, O2 offers you 10% back every quarter on your top-ups. So, for example, if you top up £50 in a quarter, they will give you £5 back in the form of credit. If this isn’t enough, they have started a new reward scheme (For members of 6 months or more) to be able to enjoy on a monthly basis; a treat of free call minutes, WAP access or texts…. All this is on top of the offers you get from using one of their sim cards anyway, so really you are not going to get a better offer than this.
••Mobile Phones Handsets••
As far as I am concerned I believe that this is where O2 is a let down. Their network may be brilliant but their own branded mobile phones leave a lot to be desired. I have had the O2 X2 previously and was really surprised at how badly manufactured it was. The only good thing about this phone in general was the style of it and unfortunately I feel that if O2 are to carry on making phones, they really need to consider better designing and manufacturing. If you are considering purchasing an O2 handset, then if I were you, I would thoroughly research any O2 branded mobile handset before purchasing one; as from my experience they are just not worth the money.
You can purchase other branded mobile phone handsets to work with your O2 contract or prepay sim card. Some of the brands that O2 offer are Nokia and Sony Ericsson. They offer a wide variety of styles and designs both in their online shop or in-store. Please be aware that if you are purchasing a mobile phone with O2, chances are that it will be locked. This means that you can only use an O2 sim card in this handset unless you were to get it un-locked to other networks.
My experience of the O2 website is very pleasurable. It is easily navigated through and is very informative for me as a customer. It has several aspects to the site, first and foremost is the shop area; this is where you can order handsets, sim cards and become an O2 customer. You can create an online account of where you can view and pay your contract bills and top your phone up (if you are pre pay customer).
There are step by step guides and instructions along with an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section to help you make a purchase online and to make your whole customer experience more enjoyable. Offering a nice layout and a simple shopping process, it is pretty much fool proof to the user meaning even the novice can buy online. If you really are unsure of buying on their website then you can do it over the phone with one of their customer service representatives.
The website doesn’t solely offer a shopping area; they offer areas with fun things to do. You can create an email account and check out the latest ringtones/wallpapers. It’s been designed as a one stop area for any O2 customer and from my opinion is just that.
A Pre Pay Tip: O2 regularly update their online offers and rewards section for Pre Pay customers, so you can keep up-to-date with offers and rewards that are open to you as an O2 customer, this is really beneficial and they explain how you can claim rewards and register for free credits.
My experience of shopping in-store has again been pleasurable. I wasn’t jumped upon by staff members and haven’t had any more than is expected in regards to pushing unwanted bolt-on’s onto my mobile packages. They staff were well equipped with the necessary knowledge of the products I was enquiring about and nothing seemed too much for them.
There are several useful sites on the internet for which you can find information out about O2 as a network provider a simple www.google.co.uk search will return these results.
www.o2.co.uk is the official online O2 store, you can obtain information such as tariffs, product information and what’s hot and what’s not in regards to handsets. A must see site for any O2 or potential O2 customer.
••Where To Buy••
Without stating the obvious you don’t have to purchase an O2 Prepay sim card from the O2 store or online from their website. You can log onto www.ebay.co.uk (If you have an eBay account), where they are being sold for about £1 each so it makes it even more cost effective for you.
For an O2 contract and/or mobile phone then you will have to purchase one via the O2 store, alternatively there are other high street phone retailers (Phones4U/Carphone warehouse for example) that can connect you to the O2 network. The only alternative to this is to purchase online at www.o2.co.uk or over the telephone.
O2 as a network is superb; they offer me great deals and are very cost effective for my needs. I top up a mere £10 a month and always have credit remaining with taking advantage of their current 300 free texts offer. 5/5 from me for network performance.
In regards to purchasing a handset from O2 if it is a branded model then go for it, you will be very satisfied, however my advice is to avoid their own brand phones as they aren’t manufactured very well. 3/3 from me for handset production.
© grown_up_girlie, October 2005
Summary: Excellent service that offer reliability and cost effectiveness.