O2 signs up as exclusive Disney+ UK mobile partner

17 March 2020   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Customers upgrading or signing new contracts will get six months' free access to Disney+ after it launches on 24 March.

Existing customers will be able to add Disney+ to their plans for £5.99 and they'll then receive a £2 reduction off their bill each month.

However, streaming Disney+ on the O2 mobile network will still incur data charges, although content can be downloaded to watch later.

The news comes a month after EE announced they were becoming the exclusive mobile partner for the British television streaming service BritBox.

disney+ streaming service

Disney+ on O2

O2's announcement means any mobile customers signing up for a new contract with O2 will be eligible for six months of free access to Disney+, including those upgrading from existing contracts.

If a customer isn't ready or willing to upgrade but still wants to access Disney+, they'll be charged £5.99 per month through their My O2 account.

This £5.99 will effectively be reduced to £3.99 per month thanks to O2's commitment to reduce a customer's airtime bill by £2.

It's likely the reason they've made this choice is to bring O2's offer into line with the special deal Disney+ are currently offering customers who go direct - a year of access for £49, equating to a little over £4 per month.

However, unlike some rival service partnerships, O2 will not be offering the streaming itself for free, so any usage will on the mobile network will come out of a customer's allowance.

O2 point out customers can download shows and films via WiFi to watch later using Disney+, an option which isn't always available on other streaming services.

O2 were the last of the major networks to start offering Unlimited Data plans when they rolled them out to certain handsets and SIM only plans in September 2019.

Find out more about O2's latest handsets and deals in our guide.

Disney+ launch nears

The new streaming service is set to launch on Tuesday 24 March, and will not be brought forward, despite rumours suggesting otherwise.

It will show films, spin-offs and original series from the companies and studios owned by Disney, which include Pixar, Marvel and National Geographic.

As the central location for streamed Disney content, Disney+ will generally cost £5.99 per month or £59.99 for a year. Until 23 March, customers can sign up direct and receive a year of access at the discounted price of £49.99.

Earlier this month, Sky confirmed their customers will be able to access Disney+ content through the Sky Q platform in a deal which also guaranteed Sky Cinema first-pay access to film titles from 20th Century.

Streaming partners

O2's partnership with Disney+ comes just weeks after EE announced their exclusive partnership with the BritBox streaming service.

While the two aren't necessarily rivals in the strictest sense, it is noticeable that services seem to be dividing along mobile network lines.

So, while O2 now offers Disney+ and Prime Video, EE offers BritBox, MTV Play and Prime Video while Vodafone include Now TV and Prime Video as part of their Entertainment plans.

That said, the streaming market itself is no less fragmented, with the launch of BritBox and Apple TV+ in November 2019 adding to the big three of Netflix, Now TV and Amazon Prime.

Subscriptions to streaming services can be taken directly or through other TV services, as we've seen with Netflix integrating into Sky.

At the same time, access to subscriptions through mobile contracts adds another layer of complexity to a saturated market as customers look to see whether getting a deal through their mobile contract is cheaper than going direct or through another provider.

O2's initial Disney+ offer for existing customers (£5.99 with a £2 reduction) shows how complex these considerations can become, and many viewers may be wondering whether the deals they're being offered by streaming partners are worth it.

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