Want a new iPhone? Just lease one from O2

Want a new iPhone? Just lease one from O2Here's an interesting concept - O2 has launched a new leasing service for the iPhone where they own the phone and you just rent it from them for a 12-month period.

It's imaginatively called O2 Lease and here's how it works: You get a new iPhone (or something similar) with no up-front payment but have to shell out £55 a month. That gives you insurance (presumably compulsory), 750 mins, unlimited texts and 500MB. For that, you get a 16GB handset or you can bump your monthly payments up to £65GB and get a 32GB version.

The interesting point is that there's no mention of the word "iPhone" anywhere in O2's press release, but given the structure of the deals, that's surely what we're talking about here. Whether the non-commital wording means you're also free to go for a rival handset with similar specs, or is simply the result of Apple not having OK'd the copy ahead of the release being pushed out we're not sure, but we're not sure what to make of it all, to be honest.

Here's the main bit of the release: "O2 Lease puts the latest smartphone technology into the hands of the people who want it with minimal barriers, little long-term commitment, no upfront cost, no two-year contracts and crucially, at £55 with insurance, minutes, text and data an affordable price point.

"It provides certainty and predictability of costs for customers, a genuinely new way of engaging with those that want the latest smartphone and the latest technology every year, but either can't afford the relatively high upfront cost of a normal 12 month contract or don't want to be tied to a long contract. "

But our pessimistic juices are starting to flow here. First of all, quite what world O2 is living in where £55 a month for a mobile phone is classed as "affordable", it's clearly not Planet Earth circa the end of 2011. Plus, when you consider that if you go over your minutes or 500MB data limit (and the latter is pretty likely on the iPhone), the additional charges you'll pick up will make that "certainty and predictability of costs for customers" line seem pretty ridiculous.

Secondly, it sounds a bit like O2 is trying to reinvent the contract here just when progress is finally being made towards 12-month contracts gaining some sort of foothold despite the networks' preference for 18- and 24-month deals.

We can see the draw to people who don't want to pay for a phone up front, and it's obvious that O2 would push that side of things given the high cost of hopping on board the iPhone bandwagon in the first place. But there's another way of putting it: with O2 Lease you'll be paying a total of £660 over the 12-month period, with absolutely nothing to show for it at the end.

Nevertheless, O2 insists it is the future: "Innovation is not just about product, it is also about service, providing new ways for people to buy. We want to ensure that customers can pick and use the right option for them."

Well, if nothing else O2 certainly knows how to talk a good game. If you're interested, O2 Lease is available now in stores or on the blower.

Read more about: Apple iPhone 4SO2

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7 comments

jmarcelino  Dec. 13, 2011 at 19:38

This is meant for small businesses not the wider public. For businesses, accounting and deducting phones purely as monthly expenses is nicer, plus they're fully insured should staff lose or break them them. O2 insurance is expensive, but quite good - they'll send a replacement handset the next day and even mail it abroad if you're away.

The iPhone 4S is just the launch phone for this service, I'm told they'll soon offer the service for other phones (probably the Galaxy Nexus which is also expensive)

dcx_badass  Dec. 13, 2011 at 19:44

£36 a month and £240 upfront for a 12 month contract normally (600 mins), so not that bad, 240/12 is £20 so £56 a month, yeah you get to keep the iphone after, but you get 100 mins more, and insurance so don't have to carry around a smashed phone.

For people who want something like this it's not that bad. Lets face it, Apple users aren't the brightest anyway, so for what it is it's not bad.

blizzard7  Dec. 13, 2011 at 20:31

dcx_badass
For people who want something like this it's not that bad. Lets face it, Apple users aren't the brightest anyway, so for what it is it's not bad.


As an Apple user, I have personally taken offence from this post :p

Certinfy  Dec. 13, 2011 at 21:05

Or you could just shell out £60pm for 10 months and get an iPhone 4S 16GB with 250 minutes, unlimited texts and internet and get to keep the phone. (Using Apple's 0% Finance and Giffgaff)

blizzard7  Dec. 13, 2011 at 22:52

Or you could just shell out £60pm for 10 months and get an iPhone 4S 16GB with 250 minutes, unlimited texts and internet and get to keep the phone. (Using Apple's 0% Finance and Giffgaff)

Hmm... It's a good alternative but I would say that's only of roughly the same value. You don't get any insurance and get way less minutes and GiffGaff prices aren't guaranteed (in fact, they recently hiked prices from 8p/ 4p for mins and texts to 10p/ 6p).

jmarcelino  Dec. 14, 2011 at 02:09


For people who want something like this it's not that bad. Lets face it, Apple users aren't the brightest anyway, so for what it is it's not bad.


Impudent claim from someone who can't even use punctuation properly. Get back to us when you pass your GCSEs :)

CTPAHHIK  Dec. 14, 2011 at 09:43

Sounds like a standard contract without a phone afterwards. When I hear "lease" I tend to think of card. This O2 offer sounds like getting a lease on Vauxhall and not being able to drive it in Ireland. No, no, you can't drive it here as this is UK lease for UK car. If I'm leasing a phone I should not be forced with single provider. Phone must be unlocked with my choice of a provider.

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