O2 Refresh tariff unveiled, allows you to get a new phone anytime during your airtime contract

O2 has announced a new mobile phone price plan that suits those who constantly upgrade their handsets for the latest model. Called O2 Refresh, it comprises two separate plans: one for airtime that covers minutes, texts, data, etc, and one for the smartphone itself.

Available from O2 stores from Monday 16 April, the new plan eliminates the scenario whereby you have to pay off part or all of an existing contract before you can upgrade to a new smartphone.

Customers choose a set airtime plan and then tag on a phone plan. If they then wish to upgrade, they only have to pay off the remaining fees on the phone plan, the airtime plan will be terminated without penalty.

For example, if a customer wants the new HTC One, they could choose a £17 a month airtime plan, which will come with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data. Then choose a £20 a month phone plan on a 24-month contract, with a £49.99 up-front fee. The overall tariff would be £37 a month, but if the customer wishes to upgrade their phone at any point, they only have to pay off the remainder of the phone plan at £20 a month. Effectively, it's like paying for your phone on hire purchase - something those born in the 70s or before will be well aware of.

Currently, the phones available on the O2 Refresh plan include the Samsung Galaxy S3, S3 Mini, Note 2 and Ativ S, Blackberry Bold 9900 and Z10, HTC 8X and One, Sony Xperia T and Z, iPhone 4, 4S and 5, Nokia 820 and LG Nexus 4. And the Blackberry Q10 and Samsung Galaxy S4 will be added when they become available in the near future.

Naturally, different phones will come at different prices, particularly in the up-front fee.

Airtime plans are available from £12 a month up to £20 a month, with the amount of minutes and data included in the prices varying from 600 to unlimited amounts of minutes, 750MB to 2GB of data.

You can find out more about O2 Refresh on its dedicated site after launch: o2.co.uk/refresh.