O2 Is Offering a 4G Risk Free Option.
O2 4G 90 Day Happiness Guarantee – What’s It All About and Is It Any Use?
One of the many ways that O2 is trying to tempt customers onto one of its 4G plans is through its 4G happiness guarantee. It’s a simple idea, if you take out a 4G contract and decide that you don’t like it within 90 days then you can switch back to a 3G tariff and even receive a credit on your bill of £5 per 30 days that you had 4G for (so a maximum of £15).
Essentially it means that you can try 4G risk free, giving you nothing to lose. It’s a smart move on O2’s part, but just how useful is it really?
For a start, currently O2’s 4G service is available almost nowhere – just London, Leeds and Bradford to be precise. So anyone who doesn’t live in one of those locations still has little reason to even try 4G, while those who do may not find that 90 days is enough time to test it properly – after all you may get a good signal at home and work, but take a trip or even just venture outside of the city limits and you might find yourself in a 4G dead zone.
Equally you may be perfectly happy with the service for 90 days, only to then move house and find it utterly useless after it’s too late to cancel. Plus while O2 has extremely limited coverage, EE has fairly widespread coverage, so while you might not like O2’s 4G service, that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t have liked 4G through another provider.
In fairness O2 are hardly being deceptive about this, but they are considerations that many users may overlook. What O2 is probably counting on however is that few people will go to the effort of cancelling their 4G service even if it isn’t all that they hoped it would be.
There’s small print too of course. You’re still locked into an O2 contract, it’s just the 4G part of it that gets taken off and if you weren’t already an O2 customer you have to switch to an equivalent or greater 3G contract. So for example if you were on a 2GB a month 4G contract you’d have to change it for at least 2GB a month of 3G. While existing O2 customers have to switch to a tariff of equal or greater value to the non 4G one they were on previously.
So in short whatever happens, O2 gets some of your money and you’re stuck with them for the foreseeable future rather than being able to switch to a different network – one that might be cheaper or might have provided a 4G network that you would be happy with.
By switching to a 3G tariff you will of course also lose access to all 4G specific perks, such as ‘O2 Tracks’ and ‘Priority Sports.’
That’s not to say the happiness guarantee is a bad thing or all just smoke and mirrors. It still serves a purpose and once 4G is more widely available it will become more useful – assuming that O2 still offers it then. But right now it seems more like savvy marketing than something that’s genuinely all that useful.