Vodafone 5G coverage and roll-out

Vodafone 5G is available in parts of 100 UK towns and cities at the time of writing, as well as 240 roaming locations across parts of the EU.

Its 5G network has grown quickly following a launch on July 3rd 2019, when its 5G service was initially limited to just parts of seven UK cities. You can expect Vodafone 5G coverage to continue growing quickly too – so if you don’t have it where you are currently, you might well do soon.

Below you’ll find full details of where Vodafone 5G is currently available both in the UK and abroad, along with information on Vodafone’s network speeds, 5G spectrum, and comparisons to the UK’s other 5G networks.

Vodafone 5G Summary

Vodafone 5G summary chart

Vodafone 5G coverage

100 UK towns & cities

Coverage checker

Check Vodafone coverage

Network speeds (average download speeds)

5G - 143.6Mbps (Point Topic tests)

4G - 22.4Mbps  (Opensignal tests)

Vodafone 4G and 3G coverage

99% population coverage

5G phones

5G phones on Vodafone

5G home broadband

5G home broadband on Vodafone

5G SIM only

5G SIM only on Vodafone

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

Of the 120 major towns and cities in the UK the current pecking order for 5G launched in those locations is:

  • O2 has launched 5G in 75 of the 120 locations below. 
  • Three has launched 5G in 82 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. 

Although 5G has been launched in the towns and cities listed below it does not mean that town or city has blanket 5G coverage across it. In fact, it is more likely that 5G may only have been launched in one or just a few areas to date. Of course, coverage will expand rapidly during the remainder of 2021.

Another equally important point is that of indoor and outdoor 5G coverage. Just because you have 5G outdoors it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have it inside your home. Equally, this applies to your place of work.

Town/City

EE

+BT

Vodafone

+ASDA +VOXI +Virgin +Lebara

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 Vodafone 5G

The most recent places that Vodafone has brought 5G to (as of August 2021) include Ashtead, Banstead, Biggin Hill, Blackburn, Bonhill, Borehamwood, Dartford, Epping, Epsom, Grays, Leatherhead, London Colney, Molesey, New Addington, Newcastle Under Lyme, Orpington, Oxted, Poole, Shirehampton, Stanwell, Swanley, Swindon, Thames Ditton, Tilbury, Waltham Cross, Warlingham.

Check Vodafone 5G coverage

Vodafone coverage checker

Vodafone has an online coverage tool where you can enter your postcode to get an accurate estimation of the 5G coverage in your area. We recommend that you check coverage in your area before buying a 5G phone or plan, as it isn't initially widely available.

Vodafone’s coverage map also shows 4G, 3G and 2G coverage, any available Vodafone Wi-Fi hotspots in the area, and can even give you an estimate of the speeds you can expect with each data type. Just tap on the ‘data speed info’ button to see this once you’ve entered a location or post code.

4G coverage

If you’re not in a 5G coverage area, then you’ll be using 4G or 3G. Vodafone has around 99% UK population coverage with 4G, along with around 99% with both 3G and 2G. That puts it roughly in line with rivals.

Below you’ll find a 4G coverage comparison between Vodafone 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 + Lebara)

>99%

Check Coverage

O2

(+Sky +Tesco +Giffgaff)

>99%

Check Coverage

5G roaming abroad

Vodafone also offers a 5G roaming service, so you can use 5G abroad at no extra cost.

At the time of writing you can get 5G in 240 towns and cities across Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Republic of Ireland if you're on Vodafone. No other UK networks (other than VOXI) allow 5G roaming at the time of writing, and if you include Vodafone’s roaming locations then it offers 5G in more places than any other UK network.

In Italy 5G roaming is currently available in Milan, Rome, Turin, Naples, Bologna, and many more locations.

In Spain you can get it in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Malaga, Zaragoza, Pamplona, Bilbao, La Coruña, Vigo, Vitoria, San Sebastián, Gijón, Logroño, Santander and more.

In Ireland you can get 5G in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Drogheda, Dundalk, Swords and Waterford.

And in Germany it's available in a huge number of places, including but not limited to Cologne, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Dortmund, Munich, Berlin, and Frankfurt.

With no other networks yet announcing 5G roaming plans, this is a one way that Vodafone has an early 5G advantage. These are real 5G speeds too - in a test, Vodafone showed off top download speeds of 700Mbps in Madrid.

5G network speeds

Average 5G download speed

Fastest median 5G download speed

Max 5G download speed

143.6Mbps (Point Topic)

153.2/129/152Mbps (RootMetrics/Point Topic/Speedtest)

545.6Mbps (RootMetrics)

According to September 2020 data from Point Topic, Vodafone has an average 5G download speed in the UK of 143.6Mbps. The same source also found that its median 5G download speed was 129Mbps and its maximum was 415Mbps – with that last speed being recorded in Brent.

Speedtest data from Q3 2020 meanwhile found that Vodafone’s median download speed was 152.17Mbps – so a bit higher than Point Topic, but in the same ballpark.

That’s also in line with a 153.2Mbps result from RootMetrics, recorded in the first half of 2021, while an older RootMetrics report (from 2020) recorded a maximum download speed on Vodafone of 545.6Mbps.

RootMetrics (again in the first half of 2021) has also found that Vodafone’s fastest ‘everyday 5G’ median download speed was 192.2Mbps. This uses a combination of 5G-only and ‘5G mixed mode’, with the latter switching between 5G and 4G for the same data activity. So speeds here would be lower than pure 5G, but might also be more like what people tend to experience.

Those sources are among the most up to date data we have on Vodafone, but according to early 2020 data from Opensignal, Vodafone has average 5G download speeds of 122.1Mbps across the UK, while Ookla found in late 2019 that it had broadly similar average speeds of 140.15Mbps.

Vodafone itself claims that its 5G speeds average 150-200Mbps, with peak speeds of 1Gbps. According to Vodafone that means you’ll be able to download a full HD film in around 3 minutes, compared to over 15 minutes on 4G.

Indeed, Vodafone’s 4G speeds tend to average around 22.4Mbps based on October 2020 data from Opensignal. Even peak 4G speeds in the UK tend to be under 100Mbps, and 3G speeds are slower still, so 5G on Vodafone should be a significant upgrade.

Latency

Latency is how long the mobile network takes to respond to a request. It’s measured in milliseconds (ms), so it’s usually an almost imperceptible amount of time, but while on 4G networks it’s often around 30-50ms, with 5G it’s expected to ultimately get as low as 1ms.

This will help everything feel smoother and more instantaneous, which will benefit day to day things like online gaming and loading streamed videos, but also help enable new use cases.

Don’t expect it to be quite as low as 1ms yet – data from Ookla from late 2019 suggests that 5G latency on UK networks averages around 21-26ms, while a RootMetrics report from late 2020 shows Vodafone’s 5G latency as being 34ms in central London, but that’s still an improvement on 4G latency.

Vodafone itself hasn’t yet said what latency to expect on its 5G network, but you can expect it to be low. We’ll update this section with exact numbers once we have some.

Vodafone’s 5G frequency allocation

Frequency

Network type

3.6GHz (3600MHz)

5G

3.4GHz (3400MHz)

5G

2.6GHz (2600MHz)

4G

2.1GHz (2100MHz)

3G

1.8GHz (1800MHz)

2G

1.4GHz (1400MHz)

4G

900MHz

2G and 3G

800MHz

4G

5G signals (and all other mobile signals) are broadcast on various different frequencies, with different networks and different network technologies relying on different frequencies.

At the time of writing, for 5G Vodafone relies on the 3.4Ghz frequency and the 3.6GHz frequency – the latter of which was relatively recently acquired, at the second 5G spectrum auction.

So what’s the difference between all these frequencies? In brief, the lower the frequency the further it can travel, and the better it is at passing through obstacles such as walls. However, the amount of low frequency spectrum is rather limited, whereas higher frequency spectrum is typically available in larger capacity.

Having more available means it’s better able to keep up with demand, be that lots of simultaneous users, or demanding tasks such as streaming 4K video. That makes high frequency spectrum a generally better fit for 5G.

In terms of the amount of 5G capacity each network actually has, Vodafone for its part can use 50Mhz of 3.4Ghz spectrum and 40MHz of 3.6GHz spectrum, for 90MHz total. That’s slightly less than most rivals, with Three having 140MHz (or 160MHz if you count its 700MHz spectrum, which isn’t conventionally considered 5G spectrum, but may be leveraged for 5G networks).

Then there’s EE with 80MHz (or 120MHz including its 700MHz holdings), and O2 with 80MHz (or 100MHz counting the 700MHz band).

Note however that more 5G spectrum may yet be auctioned by Ofcom in future, so Vodafone and all the other networks may have opportunities to improve their holdings.

Vodafone is also making the most of its 5G spectrum, as it has arranged to trade some with O2 in order to put it all close together – which could help Vodafone improve the performance of its network.

 

Networks that have launched 5G in the UK

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