O2 Bundle Wi Fi Tethering- 12 Month Contracts Back Too

O2 have announced a re shuffle of their tariffs, the big news is that WiFi tethering is now included with their data bundles.

Previously, O2 customers wanting to share their phone’s date connection  to a laptop or tablet would have had to cough up an extra £7.65 a month for the privilege, providing of course that they had a capable handset.  Why O2 decided to offer this service for free isn’t clear, but it may have something to do with the fact that the iPhone 4 is now tethering enabled. Operators have historically been reluctant to allow tethering, users do tend to slurp more bandwidth but the real reason was always that the networks wanted to sell you a separate mobile broadband contract for your laptop or iPad.

The network restrictions on tethering have always been contentious, any phone with a WiFi capability can tether in theory, but networks have either disabled the function outright or charged extra to use it.

This hasn’t stopped determined users though, a variety of unofficial apps have made tethering possible, and anyone with an unlocked Android handset has been able to do it for a while. Similarly, anyone prepared to root their Android phone can share their 3G or HSDPA connection wirelessly.

Also in O2’s new tariff line up are a few 12 month contracts, these have become something of a rarity these days. O2 previously only offered 12 month deals to customers on SIM only plans,  those who decided to keep their handset at the end of the term. Now they are allowing existing customers who want to upgrade to go on to a 12 month contract, and the really good news is that monthly bill is the same as it is for an 18 month contract.

What is interesting is that the chart above makes it very clear how much of the monthly bill goes towards paying for your “free” handset, just compare the 12 month SIM only and handset included deals. It looks like somewhere in the region of £20 a month, or £240 over a 12 month contract, is the price you pay for the handset.

It’s no surprise that there’s a demand for 12 month contracts, what’s surprising is that O2 have provided them, seemingly at no extra cost above an 18 month contract.

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