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O2 announces new phone tariffs: Are they cheaper? It depends on data

O2 promised changes to its smartphone tariffs when we quizzed them about mobile tethering, following the iPhone’s recent update allowing wireless hotspot tethering.

Now they’ve finally announced them, and the good news is, you’ll now get to use your iPhone as 3G-connected WiFi hotspot without paying for it.

We thought O2’s charge of £7.65 for tethering was an unfair surcharge for something you should already be able to be do, so it’s great to see it zapped.

O2’s new arrangement also includes shorter 12 month contracts on your phone- as long as you were already an O2 customer.

O2 are promising that the new tariffs will be easier for us to use- pick the phone you want, and the contract length, then pick which bundle of text and minutes; there’s a total of seven different bundles, ranging from 50 minutes and 150 texts to unlimited minutes and texts.

You can then add what you’re looking for on the data front- though this sadly peaks at 1GB per month for £10, what we think is a meagre amount for some data fiends, and is growing into one of the main uses for phone-users. We think 1GB will start to look rather lacking in the very near future.

This can be offset by O2’s top-up which will cost from £3 for 100MB, up to 1GB for £10, but it’s exactly that- a top-up.

It could be good new for phone-users that need a skeletal data plan though, with the cheapest data plan now only £3 per month. Larger data allowances get some free MMS messages added in. Check the O2 breakdown for the full details.

From what we can so far find out about the previous tariffs, some of the new ones actually total-up to similar amounts, adjusted for the loss of that internet tethering charge.

We’ve been in contact with O2 to get their previous tariffs to make a full comparison, and we’re waiting to hear back from them