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O2 finally launches Unlimited plans in the UK but 3’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is lower (PriceTRAX Dashboard Analytics)

by Phill Maling | Oct 04, 2019

In preparation for their 5G rollout O2 UK has finally joined 3, Vodafone & EE by offering smartphone contracts with unlimited data.

O2’s pricing structure is different to the other main UK operators as device price is discrete from the monthly tariff and offers customisable finance terms (Total Device Price remains constant). O2’s default finance term is 36 months. 3, Vodafone & EE have a more traditional subsidised pricing structure over 24 months where plan price varies by device.

Up until recently 3 UK’s USP was the unlimited data allowance (All You Can Eat Data). Vodafone launched unlimited plans in July 2019, followed by EE at the end of August and O2 in September.

3’s All You Can Eat/Unlimited Advanced plans don’t have speed restrictions which also appears to be the case for EE and now O2. EE offers 5G tariffs only for 5G compatible devices. O2’s unlimited plans are all currently 4G. Vodafone does not differentiate between 4G & 5G, instead all plans are “5G Ready” but there are speed restrictions i.e. Unlimited Lite is capped at 2 Mbps, Unlimited has speeds of up to 10 Mbps and only Unlimited Max offers maximum available download speeds.

Strategy Analytics’ price comparisons show that 3 is offering the most competitive smartphone + unlimited plan packages in the UK at the moment.

Operator pricing dynamics can be tracked using Strategy Analytics’ PriceTRAX Dashboards. The Device View for Apple iPhone XR 64GB (comparing equivalent unthrottled plans) compares the TCO over 24 months for the 4 main UK operators (blue highlighted cells show the lowest TCO in each week):

Figure 1: PriceTRAX UK Dashboard Device View iPXR

The Device View also shows the availability and, in the case of EE & O2, the launch of unlimited plans for the Apple iPhone XR 64GB.


To see representative operator TCOs the PriceTRAX Dashboard Overview Layout shows pricing and availability for up to 16 devices. Interestingly O2 did not list all devices on their unlimited plan straight away but the flagship products were well represented:

Figure 2: PriceTRAX UK Dashboard Overview 


Over the past 5 weeks 3 had the lowest TCO for the device basket but Vodafone gave them a run for their money the week ending the 23rd August 2019.

Other dashboard views, drilldowns and metrics are available including TCO (minimum plan term), TCO 36 months, Total Handset Cost, Upfront Price and Monthly Plan Price.


For more information on PriceTRAX Dashboards and for a trial please contact:

Phill Maling,


Previous Post: Radical Shake-Up of Apple's iPhone Range | Next Post: Vodafone Netherlands slashes costs for high data users by up to 46%

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