o2 offers free calls and phone charging from London Taxis

I got in a taxi last night to go down to China Town. Could have got the bus, yes, but I was caught in that annoying 20 minutes where only the buses you don’t want come flying by the stop. So I hailed a cab and sat back to enjoy the ride.

Then, to my left, I noticed what appeared to be a phone fixed on to the side of the taxi’s window frame.

I looked closely and saw an ‘O2 UK’ indicator, along with signal strength and a text message indicator.

Strange, I thought.

Then I looked at the adverts on the seats in front of me.

Directly ahead, I saw this:

No charge. Use the taxiphone and call for free. It’s next to the door on your left.

Call for free? Ohhh.

Here’s the picture:


Here’s the phone stuck into the window frame:


That’s particularly cool. HIGHLY cool, in fact. Instead of just doing the usual adverts, it appears o2 have taken advertising to the next level. It’s interactive! You can actually USE their service. No cost. Wow. Really smart.

I imagine the phone is configured to only call mobile numbers and landlines within the UK, but fair-enough. If you’re on a long journey or, well, let’s face it — with today’s London traffic, almost any journey is long — you can dial home or call your friend for a natter. Above the phone was a microphone and speaker, just like the kind you get on a normal car phone. I wonder how many taxis they have installed this into. Maybe just a few to test out the response. Imagine if they put this in every taxi. What brilliant, brilliant marketing, or as Michael Tchong has it, ‘tryvertising’, for them.

I’m rather impressed at o2 for doing this. It’s changed my impression of them. Yes, I still think their data rates are nothing short of ridiculous, but I like this gesture. I do also think that whoever does their public relations is nicht gut, as they say in Germany. I really get annoyed finding out about these sort of things by personally witnessing them. I’d have liked to have known about this at launch date, whenever that was, so I could have documented it earlier. Anyway, it’s still cool.

Then, I looked to the seat advert on the right of the cab and saw this:

Recharge. To recharge your mobile, ipod or Blackberry, just ask the driver to open the hatch on your left.

Now that is double genius. Here’s the pic:


Obviously, I then turned left as instructed by the advert, and saw this:


The recharge facility is integrated into the armrest. The driver unlocks that for you and you simply open the armrest to reveal a plethora of charge leads. Again, absolutely tip-top fantastic if you need a bit of extra juice when you’re going from A to B.


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  • THAT is something I would use.

    Like it.

  • Ewan

    I think that is a great idea by O2, but as you say poor PR. Not only should we know about these things before they are launched, but they should then make the most out of a great service like this with ongoing PR. As it is, the nine people that get into this cab today know about the service and not the xx million that could have been reached with good PR.

    Having said that, I think the PR around the relaunch of the dome (sorry, the O2) was also pretty poor also. What is it actually offering … the answer when you get there is not much. 🙁

  • Patrick, I would have to disagree with the what “The o2” offers. I went down there with a friend and had an amazing time. From playing games in the phone shop , chilling on the beach and walking down the cobbled streets with the bars, restaurants and clubs. I quite enjoyed it.

    I think its better than the dome, which to me was the biggest pile of c**p ever!!!

    …..and on the subject of the cab…..WOW

  • Ronald

    To be honest I never went to the dome – mainly out of principle as I felt it was a big useless white elephant. With the O2 I just felt that it was poorly marketed and then didn’t really deliver. Having said that we might have got there at the wrong time (just as the beach was closing) and with our 16 month old son with us we didn’t fancy sitting having a drink.

    But I’m still impressed with the cab. That is what it should be about …

  • Brian

    O2 have 85 of these Taxiphones in London and there are a further 20 in Birmingham.

    The PR for the Taxiphones is about to start as the last of the Taxiphones wasn’t installed until this week.

    Look out for these on the streets – they all have O2 Taxiphone written on the side…

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