Mobile network O2 lured 295,000 new customers last year with its 'free' minutes offers, helping it hold onto its position at the "top of the tree" among mobile providers, according to uSwitch.com.
Its range of deals includes 'long weekends', with free minutes to selected locations from Saturday to Monday, and 'O2 rewards', a ten per cent refund on monthly top-ups every three months.
Steve Weller, uSwitch.com's head of communications services, believes O2's market-leading range of free offers shows that "mobile operators are being forced to cram more and more features and options into packages to retain or entice customers".
Nevertheless, the O2 offer remains strong enough to transfer the brand name over into its Be broadband offering, which currently goes through 500 exchanges in the UK, with capacity to serve a third of the population.
The logical next step, Mr Weller stresses, is the integrated broadband-to-mobile product O2 has lined up for introduction in the summer – Be Unlimited.
This fusion service will drive O2's future profits, uSwitch believes, with stop-gap measures like 'treats' for loyal customers only ever the icing on the cake of a tempting customer offer.To compare mobile phone tariffs, click here.
© Adfero Ltd