Tesco Mobile 5G Coverage

Tesco Mobile’s 5G network is available in parts of 160 UK towns and cities at the time of writing. Tesco uses O2’s infrastructure, so it has coverage in all the same places, and as O2’s 5G network grows, so will Tesco’s.

Tesco Mobile launched its 5G service on 3rd March 2020, making it the fourth MVNO to do so. We’d expect its coverage will grow rapidly, but it’s worth noting that right now even the places that have 5G won’t typically have comprehensive coverage – though that’s true of every network.

Below we’ve highlighted all the key places that currently have Tesco Mobile 5G, as well as looking at other aspects of its 5G service, and how it compares to other UK networks.

Tesco Mobile 5G Summary

Tesco Mobile 5G summary chart

Tesco 5G coverage

160 UK towns & cities

Coverage checker

Check Tesco coverage

Network speeds (average download speeds)

5G – 115.7Mbps (Point Topic tests of O2).

4G – 18.2Mbps  (Opensignal tests of O2)

O2 4G and 3G coverage

99% population coverage

5G phones

5G phones on Tesco

5G home broadband

N/A

5G SIM only

5G SIM only on Tesco

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

There are 120 major towns and cities in the UK that we track for 5G coverage, with each network currently having coverage in the following:

  • O2 has launched 5G in 72 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. 

Note that a tick in the chart below just means that a network claims to have some 5G coverage in that town or city – not that there will be 5G coverage everywhere in the region.

On top of which, even areas that have outdoor 5G coverage won’t always have it indoors at the moment. So it’s worth using a network’s official coverage checker to be sure you can get 5G where you need it. That said, coverage is rapidly improving, so if you don’t have it now, you might do soon.

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 Tesco Mobile 5G

Tesco Mobile relies on O2 for 5G coverage, and the most recent places that O2 has brought 5G to (as of 19/02/2021) include Ambleside, Basingstoke, Bilston, Birkenhead, Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Bournemouth, Bradley Stoke, Brombourgh, Cheltenham, Clacton-on-Sea, Darlington, Dinas Powis, Dudley, Dunstable, Egham, Falmer, Gloucester, Hastings, Hebburn, Inverness, Iver Heath, Lancaster, Llandudno, Maidstone, Monifieth, Musselburgh, New Denham, Newbury, Portsmouth, Potters Bar, Reading, Rochdale, Salford, Solihull, Southampton, Stockport, Stanraer, Strathclyde, Swansea, Swindon, Wakefield, Watford, Wavetree, West Bromwich, and Wolverhampton.

Tesco Mobile coverage checker

You can use Tesco Mobile’s online coverage checker to see 5G, 4G, 3G and 2G coverage. Simply enter a town or postcode and it will give you a detailed picture of coverage both inside and outdoors.

Given that many places don’t have 5G coverage yet (and those that do don’t have comprehensive coverage) it’s definitely worth checking whether you have it where you live and work before shelling out on a 5G phone or a 5G SIM only plan.

CHECK Tesco 5G coverage

4G coverage

Tesco Mobile of course still offers 4G, 3G and 2G coverage alongside 5G, and that’s a good thing too, since initially its 5G coverage will be patchy at best.

Tesco Mobile (through O2’s infrastructure and spectrum) has roughly 99% 4G population coverage, which is similar to all its UK rivals as you can see in the table below. It also has around 99% 3G and 2G population coverage.

Network

4G population coverage

EE

(+BT)

>99%

Check Coverage

Three

99.8%

 Check Coverage

Vodafone

(+VOXI +Virgin Mobile)

99% 

Check Coverage

O2

(+Sky +Tesco +Giffgaff)

99% 

Check Coverage

5G roaming abroad

Tesco Mobile doesn’t offer 5G roaming at the time of writing. In fact, only Vodafone and VOXI do (and only in a few countries), but on Tesco Mobile you can roam for free in 48 destinations at 4G or 3G speeds.

5G network speeds

O2’s average 5G download speed

O2’s median 5G download speed

O2’s max 5G download speed

115.7Mbps (Point Topic)

103 /176.9Mbps (Point Topic/Speedtest)

247Mbps (Point Topic)

There isn’t much data on Tesco Mobile’s 5G speeds yet, but the network has talked about average download speeds of around 200Mbps, making it around 13 times faster than the 15Mbps that it claims is the average speed of its 4G network.

Beyond that, we can look at data on O2’s speeds since Tesco uses O2’s network. For that, September 2020 data from Point Topic found that O2 had an average 5G download speed of 115.7Mbps. That’s slower than rivals but still a lot higher than its 4G speeds, which averaged 18.2Mbps according to an Opensignal report from October 2020.

The Point Topic report that we mentioned also reported that O2’s maximum 5G download speed was 247Mbps, and that its median was 103Mbps.

There’s also data from Speedtest covering the third quarter of 2020, which found O2’s median download speed to be a higher 176.9Mbps.

RootMetrics meanwhile has found that O2 offered a median 5G download speed of 121.3Mbps in Belfast and a maximum 5G download speed of 146.4Mbps in London. Both of those figures were recorded in the first half of 2020.

Latency

Latency is how long a mobile network takes to respond to a request before it starts transferring data. Even though it’s measured in milliseconds (ms), latency can have a noticeable impact on how fast a network feels – so the lower it is the better.

Tesco Mobile has said to expect latency of under 10ms ultimately on 5G, while 4G latency tends to be around 40-50ms. Elsewhere we’ve heard that eventually 5G could even offer latency as low as 1ms. According to late 2019 data from Ookla though, 5G latency on UK networks averages roughly 21-26ms currently.

Tesco Mobile’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

Tesco Mobile uses the same 5G frequencies as O2, which at the time of writing means the 3.4GHz band and the 3.6GHz band (the latter of which it only acquired in March 2021, so may not yet have started using depending on when you read this). They’re the main bands used by all the UK’s networks for 5G currently.

These bands are high frequency, which generally means there’s more capacity available, which in turn can help boost simultaneous connections and reliability. With the heavy demands that 5G will place on networks, that’s important.

As the chart above shows, various lower frequency bands are used for 4G and 3G. These don’t tend to have as much available capacity but they do travel further, and are better able to pass through obstacles such as buildings.

Then there’s the 700MHz band, which as a low frequency one is an ideal fit for 4G, but it could also be used for 5G, to help make up for some of the weaknesses of the high frequency bands. This spectrum was acquired at the second 5G spectrum auction in March 2021, and at the time of writing it’s not clear whether Tesco Mobile (through O2) will use it for 5G or not.

In terms of how much 5G spectrum Tesco Mobile has access to – it shares O2’s 40MHz of 3.4GHz spectrum and 40MHz of 3.6GHz spectrum, so it has 80MHz in total - an amount that’s in line with EE but slightly below Vodafone’s 90MHz and much less than the 140MHz that Three has.

However, while 80MHz trails some networks, O2 is making a deal with Vodafone to trade some spectrum so that it can get an 80MHz contiguous block, which is better for network performance than having the spectrum split up.

We’re not counting the 700MHz spectrum here since it’s not generally considered 5G spectrum and may not be used for 5G by all networks. But if you do include that then the totals go up to 100MHz for Tesco/O2, 120MHz for EE, and 160MHz for Three, with Vodafone remaining at 90MHz.

Networks that have launched 5G in the UK

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