By Ed Smith, O2’s Executive Sponsor for Diversity and Inclusion (Race) Today marks the start…Read more
25 ways 2015 was great
2015 was another successful year for us. For the first time we topped 25 million customers, meaning there are more O2 customers than there are people living in Australia. And while we’ll readily admit Australia usually has better weather, better beaches and can do Australian accents better than us, we spent the year doing all we can to make O2 a great place to be for our customers. So, to celebrate us turning 25 (million), here’s 25 things we’re really proud of in 2015.
- We’re starting off with a low number – 1%. In fact it’s the best low number ever – just 1% of our Pay Monthly customers leave us each month. We call it churn and it’s the lowest in the market. We want to say a big thanks to the 99% who choose to stay.
- We opened two new special stores this year in Manchester and Westfield White City. While all our new store openings get us excited, these two stores represent a huge departure from what our normal stores are like and we think completely revolutionise what a mobile phone shop can be like. For more, check out our press release here. Or why not pop down if you’re nearby – grab a coffee and let us know how you get on.
Our first big number of the list: we have nearly 300,000 small businesses using our suite of Digital Applications every month. We’re really pleased that throughout 2015 more and more businesses, both large and small, continued to join us, a lot of whom chose our Business Essentials tariff, the first flexible business contract that allows small businesses to change their device, airtime and business apps at any time.
- We spent 2015 continuing to roll out our 4G network and it’s moving faster than any other network roll out in our history. In just 12 months we covered an extra 23% of the country’s population, bringing our total 4G coverage to 82% of the UK populace. It’s so good a stat we considered just repeating it for numbers 12 and 23 too. But we didn’t, don’t worry. #SoManyMoreNumbersToGo.
- For our number five we’ve chosen the first of a new breed of devices at O2 – the BQ X5. It’s powered by Cyanogen OS, an Android-based operating system which offers more customisation, higher security and a richer experience. And it’s very reasonably priced too. Epic.
- O2’s free wi-fi network, catchily named O2 Wifi, hit six million active users this year. It’s a brilliant achievement and makes us one of the largest Wi-Fi networks in the country. Plus you don’t even need to be an O2 customer to use it.
- Number seven on our list goes out to our people – 7,000 strong – who spent 2015 working to make O2 even better for our customers. Great work.
New entry at number 8, pop pickers – it’s the War Child presents Passport to BRITs Week together with O2. This series of eight fundraising gigs, giving fans exclusive access to some of the biggest names in music in some of the most intimate venues, finishes tonight with Florence + The Machine performing at St John in Hackney. Gigs like none other and raising money for a worthy cause? Definitely in our top ten.
- At 9 we have the nine out of ten of us who say that people have no reservations talking on the phone in public. Our app TU Go (available to download now) lets you talk on your phone wherever you have a Wi-Fi connection, now including the historically phone-free London Underground. That’s why we commissioned some research to analyse the problem and then worked with etiquette supremo William Hanson to teach people how to gab considerably. Brush up on your etiquette here.
Rounding out the top ten of big 2015 moments for us is our Number 10 tariff, designed to bring great value connectivity to the public sector. Although we launched it in 2014, in 2015 we extended it out to our tablet range meaning that even more of our public organisations can work smarter and become even more productive.
- Our Priority app saved O2 customers £11 million pounds this year. £11 million! It turns out all those £1 lunches do mount up. We thought we’d try to figure out just how far all the £1 Upper Crust baguettes O2 customers bought this year would stretch when laid end to end but we’ve still got 14 more things to go so the baguette-ometer will have to wait. Onwards!
- Our number 12 is all about that new phone smell. Thanks to our latest O2 Refresh tariff, if you bought an iPhone in 2015 then you only need to wait 12 months before you are guaranteed an upgrade at no extra cost. And in 2016 we extended the deal to the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and might just be extending beyond that too.
- You remember way back up at number 6 when we said O2 Wifi was one of the biggest UK networks? We weren’t joking – with more than 13,000 hotspots up and down the country, there’s bound to be somewhere nearby offering that lovely free internet access.
This is the first of our Rugby related numbers and a very special one to us. We brought 14 thousand people together at The O2 for a momentous evening of entertainment to send off the England Rugby team and show the power of support. Admittedly we only sent them off to Twickenham but it was still a tremendous night thanks to a brilliant line up including Take That, Ella Eyre, Laura Wright Andreya Triana and Collabro.
- Number 15 on our 2015 list again goes to the England rugby boys. While they exited the Rugby World Cup earlier than we would have liked, our team played their hearts out (with 15 on the pitch at a time, that’s why it’s here you see) and we backed them all the way with our Wear the Rose campaign. Couldn’t have been prouder.
- In a bit of a sobering statistic, research by the BFI found that just 16% of UK films released between 2010 and 2012 were written by women. We aimed to help change this in September with our 2015 GoThinkBig project, giving 24 young film makers the chance to produce three short films and get invaluable experience in the movie industry.
For number 17 we’ve got all nostalgic. Next month it’ll be seventeen whole years since the Nokia 3210 was announced. Seventeen years! As one of the phones which led the way in revolutionising our mobile lives, we were proud to sell it then and we’re proud to have continued to sell some of the world’s most revolutionary phones ever since.
- Ahhh 18. That magical time where you become an adult. The whole world changes when you’re 18 – it’s the time you can first buy some land and apply for a commercial pilot’s licence, among other obviously less important things. It’s also the age at which you stop being a child and your parents should probably stop using our O2 & NSPCC Online Safety helpline, set up in 2015. Set up to help UK parents and guardians be aware and involved in what’s going on in their children’s online and offline lives, our team is at the end of the phone seven days a week.
Did you know that almost 1 in 5 women (which is nearly 19%) believe it’s impossible for a female to reach a senior management role? That’s one of the several shocking statistics we discovered at the start of the year and one we set out to change in conjunction with the CIPD by releasing a guide called ‘Breaking the Boardroom’. Read our guide here.
- As our final rugby number, 20 is a good’un. When England played Italy last year we did one of our biggest pieces of Wear the Rose activity, giving away 20 thousand rose corsages for free so fans could literally Wear the Rose and show their support. Beautiful. Or as the Italians might say, bellissimo.
- #TodayILearned that 21% of the air we breathe is O2, the rest being made up of nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide and other gases. And with the average person taking around 23,000 breaths a day, that’s a lot of O2. Granted we don’t play with our phones as much as we breathe – we roughly check our phones once per 153 breaths, aren’t statistics wonderful – but we’re still proud that in 2015 we continued to sell some of the best phones on the market, meaning whenever you do check your phone you’re checking one of the best.
A bit of a cheat this but we’re going with it. Our 22 O2 Academy music venues (plus the four that don’t have O2 Academy in the name but are still brilliant but would have taken us to 26 – 27 if you include O2 Apollo Manchester and your writer is Mancunian so he does – so wouldn’t have been included but we’ve been typing for a long time so tough we’re keeping it in) have been brilliant this year and we’re proud to be the sponsors.
- We couldn’t get through a list of things we’re proud of without mentioning The O2. Ever since holding its first event on 23 June 2007 (23!) it’s been one of the top venues in the world and in 2015 retained its crown as the busiest live entertainment venue, playing host to events like this week’s BRITs and War Child gig. Fantastic.
- You can get a lot done in 24 hours (just ask Jack Bauer) but it took our crack team of artisans 240 hours to create the world’s first phone made out of grass and recycled phone parts for O2 Recycle. It was a thing of beauty and was a fantastic way to highlight the uses of Twickenham grass clippings and old phone bits.
- And the final number is a repeat but it’s a heck of a repeat. Our customer base in 2015 grew past 25 million – the biggest it’s ever been and something we’re exceptionally proud of. We’d like to thank each and every one of our customers for being with us and, while we’re done with this list (phew) we’re not done yet with making O2 a great place to be.
Finally, we’ll leave you with an infographic – 2015 in six pictures. See you next year.