Dear O2… Why should I stay?

o2_logoDear O2, I have been a loyal iPhone 3G customer of yours since August 2008. I paid for the handset and dutifully paid £35 a month to you for an 18 month contract, and indeed I’m still paying. For my £35 I was given an allowance of 600 minutes, 500 text messages and unlimited mobile data. Even though reception was not always that good (there are many parts of Sussex and Kent where I can’t even get a signal, let alone 3G) for the most part I was able to use the phone as I wanted.

Now the shiny new iPhone 4 is out and no doubt Mr O2 you would like to keep me as a customer. Why then are you pushing me away by making life more expensive for me? Surely if you want to keep me as a customer then you would at least offer me a deal which is comparable to the one I’ve got? But I’ve had a look at your tariffs and this is what I’ll now get for my £35 a month:

Inclusive minutes – well you will REDUCE my inclusive minute by 50%. That’s right. Instead of getting 600 inclusive minutes a month, I will now only get 300. I guess you figure it’s not good to talk.

Inclusive texts – well my previous tariff that got me an allowance of 500 text messages a month. On the new iPhone 4 tariff that changes to ‘unlimited’ text messages a month. But wait a minute, I know for a fact that handling text messages costs you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING already (yes there’s a reason why text messages are limited to 160 characters in length). So you’re giving me something which is essentially free to you already and you’re just passing it on. Pardon me if I feel underwhelmed.

Unlimited mobile data – well here’s an interesting one. You’d plan to move me from unlimited mobile data (subject to fair usage) a month to a 500Mb cap. Yes I know you plan to move existing users off unlimited data too (probably because of the strain it puts on your network), but it’s hardly improving matters is it. Ok I’ll call it quits on that one but only because I doubt I’d exceed 500Mb of data a month anyway.

Picture messages (MMS) – now here’s the real sting in the tail. With my current £35 a month plan, any picture messages I send come out of my monthly allowance of 500 text messages. Ok, you apply a ratio of 1 picture message equals 4 text messages, but it still means I could send 125 picture messages a month… for free. Now you propose to charge me 20 pence per picture message. No allowance. No nothing! In the past I have sent as many as 60 picture messages in a month (for free) but with your new tariff that will cost me an extra £12 in a month. Not nice.

Visual Voicemail – well it’s a service you provide (most of the time), and calls to voicemail under the new tariff are still free so no change there.

WiFi – unlimited free WiFi at various hotspots and that continues with the new tariff, so again no improvement there.

International Traveller Service – I have to admit I’m not a great one for travelling, however with my current £35 a month for 18 month iPhone 3G plan, you provide this service to me for free. But… you take that away with the iPhone 4 unless I increase my payments to £40 a month?!

So Mr O2, in case you were getting lost in all these figures, let me summarize for you. For the same £35 a month, 18 month tariff with an iPhone 4 you are:

  • Reducing my inclusive minutes by 50%
  • Giving me ‘unlimited’ text messages
  • Capping my mobile data at 500Mb
  • Charging me 20 pence per picture message
  • Keeping Visual Voicemail the same
  • Keeping WiFi the same
  • Taking away my International Traveller service.

To make it really easy, I have colour-coded the services. The ones in red are worse than I am getting now, the ones in green are better, and the ones in black are the same.

Now I appreciate times are hard, but they’re just as hard for me as they are for you. What’s more, the iPhone 4 is now unlocked and available on any network, so for the first time you have competition in the iPhone segment in the UK. Strikes me that you really aren’t that interested in keeping me as a customer seeing as you aren’t offering to at least match deals from other providers. Heck I’d even be happy if you let me buy an iPhone 4 but kept me on the same tariff/allowances as I currently have.

But… I am but one customer among tens of thousands (who may also be considering leaving O2 for a better deal). Shame – you had the opportunity to come up with a cracking deal but you didn’t seem to want to.

So all that’s left is for me seems to be to get in touch with you to obtain my PAC code…

UPDATE – I did contact O2 and raised the above with them. Their response was to send me a link to the iPhone 4 tariffs and to say basically ‘take it or leave it‘, and to be honest I didn’t really expect anything else. It’s a shame that companies are so complacent these days that they really aren’t that interested in retaining customers. I guess they also rely on a good percentage of customers being complacent too and not bothering to switch carriers.

O2 Advisor: Click here to check tariffs for iPhone 4.

Me: Yes, my iPhone 3G 18 month tariff gave me 600 minutes for £35, but that’s been halved to 300 minutes on the same  tariff with the iPhone 4 by the looks of things. I’d either have to increase my monthly fee to £40, or sign up for a two year contract.

Me: So it looks like I’m getting a worse deal with the new phone?

O2 Advisor: These are the deals available for iPhone 4 at the moment.

2 Responses

  1. Another great blog Robin… made me chuckle. I left o2 a while back for a SIM only deal with Vodafone (the only way you are likely to get a 12 month contract these days!) and an unlocked HTC Sense from Expansys. Can’t complain sofar!

    Be sure to get some cash back too on mobile deals from Quidco or – I got 160GBP back off my 12 month contract (35GBP a month) with vodafone – reducing the monthly cost to about 11GBP 😉

    Good luck.

  2. Thanks Ben – yes it does make me wonder. I mean surely someone at O2 could have come up with plans for iPhone 4 owners that were at least equal to the current 3G/3GS plans. The way they behave makes you think they’d go out of business if they offered a ‘fair’ deal.

    Have to admit my allegiance to the iPhone is more to do with my investment in the apps rather than the hardware itself, although I do like Apple’s execution of the interface. But if it weren’t for that then I’d be an HTC user as well most likely. As for carrier, well it’s looking like Giffgaff could win my custom for the next 12 months – ironic seeing as they are actually wholly owned by O2. Strange world! 🙂

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