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(Pocket-lint) - O2 has launched a new series of price plans for 4G that make the high-speed data service more accessible to those on a budget.

Now starting at £17 a month for a 24-month Refresh Airtime tariff or £21 a month for a 12-month SIM-only plan - called Simplicity - customers can get 1GB of data allowance and completely unlimited texts and minutes without breaking the bank.

O2's Refresh Airtime tariffs offer a way to pay for the actual phone usage separately to the phone itself, so you will have to consider that the fee for the phone will add to that monthly sum, but you can then upgrade at any time by making the remainder of the payments on the phone, not the airtime price plan. Handset prices range from £5 to £15 a month.

Other Refresh Airtime price plans launched include 5GB of data for £22 a month and 8GB of data for £27 a month. Both of those come with unlimited texts and minutes.

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The other 12-month SIM-only plans cost £26 a month for 5GB or £31 a month for 8GB. Again, they both come with unlimited texts and minutes.

Existing customers can also benefit from the new price structuring. Those on a 3G price plan with 1GB of data and a 4G-ready handset can transfer to a 4G tariff at no extra cost. Current 4G customers who purchased their contracts directly from O2 will get a boost to their monthly data allowance at no extra charge.

O2's 4G network now covers 13 cities and 140 towns. Check out o2.co.uk/4g for more details.

Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 12 December 2013.