Mobile phone users are to be offered greater freedom over the terms of their contracts by O2.
The mobile operator will allow customers to choose what data plan they want, and how much they pay upfront as well as how much their monthly payments amount to.
People will also get to choose the length of their contracts, which can be as short as three months and as long as 36 months.
Mark Evans, chief executive of O2, said: “Our custom plans put power back in the hands of the consumers who don’t want to be tied down by rigid contracts, especially at a time when certainty and transparency are at a premium in today’s economic environment.”
Half of consumers have felt ripped off by fixed smartphone payments where they cannot claim back money they’re owed, according to Yougov research commissioned by the operator.
Meanwhile 71 per cent of people polled said they would like to dictate their upfront payment, while a third complained that their providers don’t show them how to change their contracts.
Under O2’s new custom plans, people will get to tweak their airtime allowance month by month, adjusting the cost based on how much data they plan to use.
Evans called on the rest of the industry to follow suit.
“Businesses have a responsibility in these turbulent times to do what is right by their customers. The mobile industry does not have the best track record on transparent, flexible billing so we are laying down a challenge to the industry to follow our lead,” he said.
“We launched the first flexible tariff five years ago, which ensured customers don’t pay more than their device is worth, and yet the rest of the industry is still lagging behind. We owe more to the British public.”
The news comes on the same day as Uswitch warned customers that they could pay up to £152 more per year for their broadband once their contracts expire.
O2 was one of the worst-performing mobile phone providers in consumer rights organisation Which?’s annual customer satisfaction survey, though Vodafone was ranked bottom. O2 customers’ top complaint was receiving “unwanted and annoying” marketing communications.