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

45

Postcode areas with 5G Coverage

End of 2019

45

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 108.

Looking ahead, O2 has also said that it will have brought 5G to 9 additional towns and cities in the likely near future.

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 towns and cities have O2 5G now?

Aberdeen

Ashford

Aughton

Aylesbury

Banstead

Basildon

Beaconsfield

Bedford

Belfast

Birmingham

Blaydon

Bradford

Bridge of Don

Brighton

Bristol

Bury St Edmunds

Byfleet

Cambridge

Cardiff

Chadwell St Mary

Chatham

Chelmsford

Chesterfield

Chipstead

Colchester

Coventry

Dartford

Derby

Dewsbury

Doncaster

Dundee

Durham

Dyce

Eastbourne

Edinburgh

Epsom

Esher

Eton and Windsor

Gateshead

Gatton Bottom

Gillingham

Glasgow

Gravesend

Grays

Great Yarmouth

Halifax

Harlington

Harlow

Hemel Hempstead

Hextable

High Wycombe

Hove

How Wood

Huddersfield

Hull

Ipswich

Jarrow

Leeds

Leicester

Lincoln

Lisburn

Liverpool

London

Longford

Loughborough

Lowestoft

Luton

Manchester

Mansfield

Middlesbrough

Milton Keynes

Morley

Newcastle Upon Tyne

Newtownabbey

North Shields

Northampton

Norwich

Nottingham

Nuneaton

Orpington

Oxford

Peterborough

Plymouth

Rainham

Redhill

Rotherham

Royal Tunbridge Wells

Rugby

Sheffield

Shepperton Green

Slough

South Shields

Southend-On-Sea

Staines

Stevenage

Stockton

Stoke-on-Trent

Sunbury

Sunderland

Thundersley

Tynemouth

Warrington

Washington

Weybridge

Whickham

Whitley Bay

Worthing

York

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 also plans to bring 5G to additional locations throughout 2020, 13 of which have been named, as you can see below. It originally said these places would get 5G by summer 2020, but it seems they’ve been delayed as the network has focused on other locations.

Birkenhead

Blackpool

Bournemouth

Guildford

Newbury

Portsmouth

Reading

Southampton

Wolverhampton

 

 

 

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

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

There are currently 94 major towns and cities with 5G coverage from at least one UK mobile network. O2 currently has 5G in 56 such locations, EE in 62 such locations (along with many smaller ones), Vodafone has 30 such locations and Three currently offers 5G in 41, as well as having 5G Home Broadband in London. These key locations are listed below.

Town/City

EE

+BT

Vodafone

+VOXI

Three

O2

+Sky +Tesco +Giffgaff

Aberdeen

-

Bath

-

-

Basildon

-

-

-

Belfast

-

Birkenhead

2020

Birmingham

Blackpool

2020

2020

Bradford

-

-

Brighton

-

-

Bristol

Bury

-

-

Cambridge

-

-

-

Cardiff

Chatham

-

Chelmsford

-

-

Cheltenham

-

-

-

Chesterfield

-

-

Clevedon

-

-

-

Clydebank

-

-

-

Coventry

-

Dartford

-

-

Derby

2020

-

Doncaster

-

Dudley

-

-

-

Dundee

-

-

Durham

-

-

-

Edinburgh

-

Gillingham

-

-

Glasgow

Guildford

2020

Harlow

-

-

Hemel Hempstead

-

-

Huddersfield

-

Hull

-

-

Kingston Upon Thames

-

-

2020

Ipswich

-

-

Lancaster

-

-

-

Leeds

Leicester

-

Lichfield

-

-

-

Liverpool

Llandudno

-

-

-

Loughborough

-

-

London

Luton

-

-

Maidstone

-

-

Manchester

Middlesbrough

-

-

-

Motherwell

-

-

Newbury

-

-

2020

Newcastle

-

-

Northampton

-

-

North Shields

-

-

Norwich

-

-

-

Nottingham

-

Oldham

-

-

-

Oxford

-

-

Paisley

-

-

Peterborough

2020

-

Plymouth

Portsmouth

2020

2020

-

Preston

-

-

-

Reading

-

2020

Redhill

-

-

-

Rochdale

-

-

Rochester

-

-

-

Romford

-

-

-

Rotherham

-

2020

Salford

-

-

Sheffield

-

Slough

-

-

Solihull

-

-

Southampton

2020

2020

2020

Southend On Sea

-

-

South Shields

-

-

St. Albans

-

-

-

Staines

-

-

Stevenage

-

Stirling

-

-

-

Stockport

-

-

-

Stoke-on-Trent

-

-

Sunderland

-

Sutton Coalfield

-

-

-

Swansea

-

-

Swindon

-

-

-

Wakefield

-

-

-

Walsall

-

-

-

Warrington

-

-

Watford

-

-

-

West Bromwich

-

-

-

Wigan

-

-

-

Wolverhampton

2020

2020

Worthing

-

-

-

York

-

-

-

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 (2020)

Network

4G population coverage

EE

(+BT)

>99%

Check Coverage

Three

99.8%

 Check Coverage

Vodafone

(+VOXI)

99% 

Check Coverage

O2

(+Sky +Tesco +Giffgaff)

99% 

Check Coverage

5G Network Speeds

Average 5G download speed

Median 5G download speed in Belfast

Max 5G download speed in London

159.48Mbps (Ookla)

121.3Mbps (RootMetrics)

146.4Mbps (RootMetrics)

There’s not as much data on O2’s 5G speeds as some networks at the time of writing, but late 2019 data from Ookla found that it achieved an average 5G download speed of 159.48Mbps.

Results from RootMetrics in the first half of 2020 though are slightly less promising, showing that its median 5G download speed in Belfast was 121.3Mbps and that its maximum 5G download speed in London was 146.4Mbps. Note that those specific locations were used as they were the only places where RootMetrics could run enough 5G tests, due to O2’s limited coverage at the time of testing.

That also means that as its coverage improves, its performance may well do 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 18Mbps according to an April 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 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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