O2 5G coverage checker

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 is available in 194 UK cities and towns at the time of writing, up from an initial launch in six places on October 17th, 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.

Below we’ve included a full overview of O2’s 5G network, along with a list of all the major locations that O2 5G is available in, and a comparison to the coverage of other UK networks.

O2 5G Summary

O2 5G summary chart

O2 5G coverage

194 UK towns & cities

Coverage checker

Check O2 coverage

Network speeds (average download speeds)

5G – 115.7Mbps (Point Topic tests)

4G – 18.2Mbps  (Opensignal tests)

O2 4G and 3G coverage

99% population coverage

5G phones

5G phones on O2

5G home broadband

5G home broadband on O2

5G SIM only

5G SIM only on O2

How does O2's 5G coverage compare to others?

We track 120 major towns and cities in the UK for 5G coverage, and the networks stack up as follows:

  • O2 has launched 5G in 75 of the 120 locations below. 
  • Three has launched 5G in 67 of the 120 locations below. 
  • EE has launched 5G in 75 of the 120 locations below. 
  • Vodafone has launched 5G in 44 of the 120 locations below. 

It’s worth noting that a tick on this chart just means a network has some 5G coverage in a location – not that 5G will be available town or city-wide. So it’s always worth using a network’s official coverage checker to get a more detailed picture of 5G coverage in your area.

On top of that, indoor and outdoor coverage can differ. Even official coverage checkers won’t always be able to paint an accurate picture of indoor coverage, but they can give you some idea. In all cases though, 5G coverage should improve over time, so if you don’t have 5G where you are now, or if it doesn’t reach inside your home or office, it might arrive before too long.

Town/City

EE

+BT

Vodafone

+ASDA +VOXI +Virgin Mobile

Three

+ iD Mobile

O2

+Sky +Tesco +Giffgaff

Aberdeen

Bath

Birmingham

Blackburn

Blackpool

Bolton

Bournemouth

Bradford

Brighton

Bristol

Bromley

Cambridge

Canterbury

Cardiff

Carlisle

Central London

Chelmsford

Chester

Cleveland

Colchester

Coventry

Crewe

Croydon

Darlington

Dartford

Derby

Doncaster

Dorchester

Dudley

Dumfries and Galloway

Dundee

Durham

East London

Edinburgh

Enfield

Exeter

Falkirk and Stirling

Galashiels

Glasgow

Gloucester

Guildford

Halifax

Harrogate

Harrow

Hemel Hempstead

Hereford

Huddersfield

Hull

Ilford

Inverness

Ipswich

Kilmarnock

Kingston upon Thames

Kirkcaldy

Kirkwall

Lancaster

Leeds

Leicester

Lerwick

Lincoln

Liverpool

Llandrindod Wells

Llandudno

Luton

Manchester

Milton Keynes

Motherwell

Newcastle upon Tyne

Newport

North London

North West London

Northampton

Northern Ireland

Norwich

Nottingham

Oldham

Outer Hebrides

Oxford

Paisley

Perth

Peterborough

Plymouth

Portsmouth

Preston

Reading

Redhill

Rochester

Romford

Salisbury

Sheffield

Shrewsbury

Slough

South East London

South West London

Southall

Southampton

Southend-on-Sea

St Albans

Stevenage

Stockport

Stoke-on-Trent

Sunderland

Sutton

Swansea

Swindon

Taunton

Telford

Tonbridge

Torquay

Truro

Twickenham

Wakefield

Walsall

Warrington

Watford

West London

Wigan

Wolverhampton

Worcester

York

Latest locations to get O2 5G

The most recent places that O2 has brought 5G to (as of July 2021) include Allesley, Altrincham, Birstall, Banbury, Burton upon Trent, Calverley, Cheadle, Chertsey, Chilworth, Danderhall, Grimsby, Guildford, Horwich, Joyden's Wood, Kemprow, Kettering, Maidenhead, Molesey, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Oldham, Penarth, Plympton, Richings Park, Royal Leamington Spa, Shelf, Shinfield, Shirehampton, St Albans, Stapleford, Stockton-on-Tees, Tatling End, Thornaby-on-Tees, Thorpe, Trumps Green, Virginia Water, Wallasey, Waltham Abbey, Wickersley, and Wythenshawe.

Check O2 5G coverage

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.

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.

5G networks 4G population coverage (2021)

EE

(+BT)

>99%

Check Coverage

Three

(+ iD Mobile)

>99%

Check Coverage

Vodafone

(+VOXI +Virgin Mobile +Asda)

>99%

Check Coverage

O2

(+Sky +Tesco +Giffgaff)

>99%

Check Coverage

5G roaming abroad

Only Vodafone and VOXI allow 5G roaming at the time of writing, but on O2 you can roam at 4G or 3G speeds at no extra cost in 48 destinations – or up to 75 destinations on some plans.

5G Network Speeds

Average O2 5G download speed

Median O2 5G download speed

Max O2 5G download speed

115.7Mbps (Point Topic)

193/103/176.9Mbps (RootMetrics/Point Topic/Speedtest)

302.1Mbps (RootMetrics)

Based on September 2020 data from Point Topic, O2 has an average 5G download speed in UK-wide tests of 115.7Mbps. The same tests found that its median 5G download speed was 103Mbps, and that its maximum 5G download speed was 247Mbps. That maximum speed was recorded just outside Glasgow.

However, there are signs of improvement, because in RootMetrics data covering the first half of 2021, the highest median speed recorded by O2 was 193Mbps. In earlier data from the second half of 2020 meanwhile, RootMetrics found that O2’s highest overall speed was 302.1Mbps.

Elsewhere, Speedtest recorded in Q3 2020 that O2’s median 5G download speed was 176.9Mbps, which is rather higher than Point Topic found it to be, but a little lower than RootMetrics.

Of course as O2’s coverage improves, its performance may well continue to do so too, but how much by remains to be seen.

Even now though, O2’s 5G speeds should be far higher than its 4G ones, as for example O2’s 4G download speeds average just 18.2Mbps according to an October 2020 report from Opensignal.

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 30-50ms, but on 5G it could get as low as 1ms – though don’t expect that initially. Late 2019 data from Ookla suggests 5G latency currently averages in the range of 21-26ms.

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 frequency allocation

Frequency

Network type

3.6GHz (3600MHz)

5G

3.4GHz (3400MHz)

5G

2.3GHz (2300MHz)

4G

2.1GHz (2100MHz)

3G and 4G

1.8GHz (1800MHz)

2G and 4G

900MHz

2G and 3G

800MHz

4G

700MHz

4G and 5G

O2 currently uses the 3.6GHz and 3.4GHz frequencies to transmit its 5G signals. That’s higher than the frequencies it uses for other network types, as the chart above shows.

Being higher frequency tends to mean there’s greater capacity available, which can help with reliability, allowing the network to maintain high and consistent speeds even with loads of simultaneous users.

That’s important, as ever more devices are becoming connected, and – in particular with 5G - data demands are growing.

However, these high frequency bands can’t travel as far as lower frequency ones, and they aren’t as good at penetrating walls and other obstacles – which is why you might sometimes find you have 5G outside but not indoors. These are problems that mobile networks should be able to overcome though.

One way of overcoming this is to leverage low frequency spectrum to make up for these weaknesses. The 700MHz band – some of which was auctioned as part of the UK’s second 5G spectrum auction – has been identified as a candidate for this, though it could also work well for boosting 4G coverage in rural areas. At the time of writing it’s not clear whether O2 will use this for 4G, 5G, or both.

In terms of its 5G spectrum holdings, O2 currently has access to 40MHz of 3.4GHz spectrum and 40MHz of 3.6GHz spectrum, for 80MHz in total. That’s the same as EE but slightly less than Vodafone’s 90MHz and well below the 140MHz of 5G spectrum that Three has access to.

These totals don’t include the 700MHz spectrum, which isn’t generally considered ‘5G spectrum’ but which could still be used for 5G. If we factor that in then O2 has 100MHz of 5G spectrum (as it has access to 20MHz in the 700MHz band), while EE has 120MHz, Three has 160MHz, and Vodafone still has 90MHz.

While O2 has less 5G spectrum than some networks, it has arranged to trade some of its holdings with Vodafone, so that its full 80MHz can be contiguous, which can allow for higher speeds and lower latency. So that might give it an edge (though Three has a 100MHz contiguous block).

It’s worth also noting that there may yet be further 5G spectrum auctions in future, so these totals could change over time.

Networks that have launched 5G in the UK

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