O2 5G coverage and roll-out

O2 launched its 5G service on October 17th, 2019, making it the last major UK network to launch a 5G service of some kind. It launched in six major towns and cities, with an additional 14 set to get 5G coverage before the end of 2019.

Beyond that, O2 has also said that it will have brought 5G to 50 towns and cities in total by summer 2020 (so 30 more beyond the end of 2019).

Coverage in places with O2 5G isn’t initially comprehensive, rather the network is focusing on “busy footfall areas” such as Waterloo in London. But that’s in line with rivals and you can expect coverage to improve over time.

O2 5G Roll Out

Now

20

Postcode areas with 5G Coverage

End of 2019

20

Postcode areas with 5G Coverage

O2 launched its 5G service on October 17th, 2019, making it the last major UK network to launch a 5G service of some kind. It launched in six major towns and cities, and since then it has boosted that number to 21.

Looking ahead, O2 has also said that it will have brought 5G to at least 50 towns and cities in total by summer 2020.

Coverage in places with O2 5G isn’t initially comprehensive, rather the network is focusing on “busy footfall areas” such as Waterloo in London. But that’s in line with rivals and you can expect coverage to improve over time.

Contents list

  1. O2 5G Coverage
    1. ​O2 coverage checker
    2. Cities with O2 5G now?
    3. Locations getting 5G next?
    4. Comparison to other networks
  2. O2 4G Coverage
  3. O2 5G Network Speeds
  4. O2's 5G Spectrum

O2 coverage checker

O2 has an online coverage checker where you’ll be able to see 5G coverage. Simply enter your postcode or town to see coverage in your area. This is definitely worth doing, as O2 5G isn’t initially available everywhere, even within cities that have some 5G coverage.

You can also see 4G, 3G and 2G coverage on this page, with a breakdown of indoor and outdoor coverage.

CHECK COVERAGE

Which cities have O2 5G now?

Belfast

Birmingham

Bradford

Bristol

Cardiff

Coventry

Derby

Edinburgh

Glasgow

Leeds

Leicester

Lisburn

Liverpool

London

Manchester

Newcastle

Norwich

Nottingham

Sheffield

Slough

Stoke

- - -

O2 5G is currently available in parts of the locations above.

As with other networks, coverage in these places isn’t comprehensive, but we’d expect it will improve rapidly, with a focus initially on the busiest parts.

What locations will O2 5G roll out to next?

O2 has said it plans to bring 5G to 50 locations in total by summer 2020, 22 of which have been named, as you can see below.

Towns and cities getting O2 5G in 2020 (confirmed)

Aberdeen

Birkenhead

Blackpool

Bournemouth

Brighton

Cambridge

Eton

Guildford

Hove

Kingston

Luton

Milton Keynes

Newbury

Northampton

Plymouth

Portsmouth

Reading

Southampton

Sunderland

Warrington

 Windsor

Wolverhampton

 

 

It’s likely that additional places will get O2 5G this year too, especially beyond summer, but exactly which ones remains to be seen.

How does O2's 5G coverage compare to the other mobile networks?

There are currently 57 major towns and cities with 5G coverage from at least one UK mobile network. O2 currently has 5G in 21 such locations, EE in 41 such locations (along with many smaller ones), Vodafone has 23 such locations and Three currently only offers 5G Home Broadband in London. These key locations are listed below.

City

EE

Vodafone

Three

O2

Coverage checker

Check Coverage Check Coverage Check Coverage Check Coverage

Belfast

-

Birkenhead

-

-

Summer 2020

Birmingham

Q1 2020

Bolton

-

Q1 2020

-

Bootle

-

-

-

Bradford

-

-

Q1 2020

Bristol

Q1 2020

Cardiff

Q1 2020

Chatham

-

-

-

Coventry

-

Q1 2020

Derby

2020

-

Q1 2020

Dudley

-

-

-

Edinburgh

Q1 2020

Gatwick

-

-

-

Gillingham

-

-

-

Glasgow

Q1 2020

Guildford

2020

-

Q1 2020

Hamilton

-

-

-

Harlow

-

-

-

Huddersfield

-

-

-

Hull

-

Q1 2020

-

Kingston Upon Thames

-

-

Q1 2020

Lancaster

-

-

-

Leeds

Q1 2020

Leicester

-

Q1 2020

Lichfield

-

-

-

Lisburn

-

-

Liverpool

Q1 2020

Llandudno

-

-

-

London

Maidstone

-

-

-

Manchester

Q1 2020

Newbury

-

-

Summer 2020

Newcastle

-

-

Northampton

-

-

Summer 2020

Norwich

-

-

-

Nottingham

-

Q1 2020

Oldham

-

-

-

Paisley

-

-

-

Plymouth

2020

-

Summer 2020

Rochdale

-

-

Romford

-

-

-

Salford

-

-

Sheffield

-

Q1 2020

Slough

-

-

Q1 2020

Solihull

-

-

Stevenage

-

-

-

Stockport

-

-

-

Stoke-on-Trent

-

-

Sunderland

-

Q1 2020

Summer 2020

Sutton Coalfield

-

-

-

Wakefield

-

-

-

Walsall

-

-

-

Warrington

-

-

Summer 2020

Watford

-

-

-

West Bromwich

-

-

-

Wolverhampton

Q1 2020

Summer 2020

4G Coverage

If you’re not in a 5G coverage area then you’ll get 4G or 3G speeds, just like you would have before 5G. 

O2 has around 99% UK population coverage with 4G, 3G and 2G, which is comparable with rivals. Check out the chart below for a 4G coverage comparison between O2 and the other main UK networks, based on the latest available data.

UK 4G Coverage (2019)

Network

4G population coverage

EE

>99% (check coverage)

Three

99.8% (check coverage)

Vodafone

99% (check coverage)

O2

99% (check coverage)

5G Network Speeds

Typical early 5G speeds are generally around 150-250Mbps, so that’s what we’d expect from O2. But top speeds may be a lot higher – EE has already claimed its 5G speeds can exceed 1Gbps, while Three claims its top speeds might double rivals. An Opensignal report meanwhile places top 5G speeds on any UK network at 599Mbps.

To put this into perspective, O2’s 4G download speeds average just 16.9Mbps according to a late 2019 report from Opensignal. So you can expect 5G to give you an enormous boost.

Latency

Latency - measured in milliseconds (ms) - is how long a mobile network takes to respond to a request before it even starts properly transferring data. On 4G networks latency is often around 40-50ms, but on 5G it could get as low as 1ms – though don’t expect that initially.

Still, while O2 hasn’t yet outlined its 5G latency, it’s sure to be lower than on 4G, and this will benefit all sorts of things, including online gaming, loading streamed videos, and excitingly could also help allow for new use cases.

O2’s 5G Spectrum

O2's 5G spectrum holdings as compared to rivals can be viewed below.

EE 5G spectrum ie frequency bands

This chart – which comes from Three – shows the amount of ‘5G spectrum’ each UK network has. The line at 100MHz signifies the amount of contiguous 5G spectrum required for ‘true’ 5G according to the ITU (the global standards body on 5G technology). So in other words Three is the only network currently in a position to offer that, with O2 in joint last along with EE.

However, there are set to be more 5G spectrum auctions, with spectrum in the 3.6GHz - 3.8GHz bands and the 700MHz band planned for release, along possibly with spectrum in the 8GHz and 26GHz bands, and followed potentially by spectrum in other bands, which Ofcom will discuss at WRC-19, so O2 will have the chance to increase its holdings.

Networks that have launched 5G in the UK

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