How to Get 5G?

How to get 5G

5G is now available on a number of UK networks and 5G coverage is growing rapidly, so – if you care about having the fastest speeds possible and future-proofing your network experience – it’s time to jump on board.

But where to start? With numerous 5G networks each offering variable 5G coverage, plus the need for a 5G device and plan, and even the option of 5G home broadband, there’s a lot to consider.

That’s why we’ve made the whole process simpler with this guide, talking you through the key steps and considerations necessary to get 5G.

Things you need to 5G

1. 5G Device

5G Device

2. 5G Plan

5G Plan

3. 5G Coverage

5G Coverage

1. 5G Device

One essential element of getting 5G is to have a 5G device – whether that’s a 5G phone if you want to take your 5G connection with you, or a 5G router if you’re more interested in 5G home broadband.

So step one is deciding whether it’s mobile or broadband that you’re interested in. Then the next question is whether to buy a device outright or get it on contract.

This is primarily a concern with 5G phones, as they tend to be very expensive, so buying one outright can be a major outlay. But doing so also frees you up to get a 5G plan on any network you want, whereas if you buy a phone on contract you’re limited to the networks that offer that specific 5G phone.

Buying outright also means your monthly plan will be cheaper, as you can choose a 5G SIM Only deal. But if you opt to get your 5G phone on a Pay Monthly plan then you’ll be able to spread the cost.

Whatever you decide to do, there are plenty of 5G phones to choose from, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, Oppo Reno 5G, and many more.

If you’re opting for 5G home broadband then your device options are more limited and typically tied to the network you choose to use. For example, with Vodafone you’ll get the GigaCube, while EE offers the HTC 5G Hub.

2. 5G Plan

As well as a 5G device, you’ll also need a 5G plan. If you’re buying a handset on contract then you’ll be getting a plan alongside it, somewhat simplifying the process.

But if you buy a 5G phone outright then you have a lot more choice, as you can opt for any 5G SIM Only plan on any network. Note that any 5G device you buy through our site will come with a 5G plan, and any SIM Only plan you buy through us will also be 5G. So you don’t need to worry about making sure your plan supports 5G.

Every deal we sell is 5G, but If you don’t buy through our site though then making sure you get a 5G plan specifically is something you’ll want to watch out for.

At the time of writing only EE, Vodafone, O2, BT Mobile, Sky Mobile and VOXI offer 5G smartphone plans, while Three offers 5G-ready plans (meaning you’ll be moved to 5G as soon as the network starts offering it).

Even on those networks, not all plans are necessarily 5G. Sky Mobile’s are, while Three’s are all 5G-ready, but some of EE’s, Vodafone’s, O2’s, VOXI’s, and BT’s limit you to 4G speeds. So make sure the plan specifically says you get 5G speeds (or in the case of Vodafone says that you get the ‘fastest available’ speeds).

To make things even easier, the chart below highlights the names of all the 5G plan options available at the time of writing.

Network

5G SIM Only plans

5G Pay Monthly plans

5G Broadband plans

5G offered with unlimited data?

EE

Yes, 5G Smart SIM

Yes, 5G Smart SIM

Yes, any plan with an HTC 5G Hub

Yes

Vodafone

Yes, Unlimited Max

Yes, Unlimited Max

Yes, any plan with a 5G GigaCube

Yes

O2

Yes, any plan that says ‘(5G)’

Yes, any plan that comes with a 5G phone

No

Yes

Three

All plans are 5G-ready

All plans are 5G-ready

Yes, any plan with a Three 5G Hub

Yes

BT Mobile

No

Yes, exclusive to Halo customers

No

Yes

Sky Mobile

All plans include 5G

All plans include 5G

No

No

VOXI

Yes, Endless Data plan

Yes, Endless Data plan

No

Yes

3. 5G Coverage

As well as a 5G device and a 5G plan you also need 5G coverage – otherwise you’ll be stuck on 4G or 3G speeds.

At the moment this could be the main stumbling block for a lot of people, as 5G coverage is far from comprehensive. It also varies dramatically between networks.

In all at the time of writing EE’s 5G coverage is the best – unsurprisingly since it was the first UK network to launch a 5G service – but Vodafone and O2 are hot on its heels. Three’s 5G service meanwhile is limited to home broadband in London – but not for long. It too will be offering 5G for phones soon.

And then of course there’s all the MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators), of which BT Mobile, VOXI and Sky Mobile already offer 5G coverage, with more networks sure to follow soon.

While you’re more likely to have 5G coverage in an urban area than a rural one, there’s no guarantee in either case, so you should definitely check our EE, O2, Vodafone, Three, VOXI, Sky Mobile and BT Mobile coverage pages, which provide lists of where 5G is available now and where it’s coming next.

And for a more precise view of coverage in your area, enter your postcode on our main 5G coverage page. This will give you an overview of local 5G availability on every network.

It’s worth checking for 5G coverage not just where you live, but also where you work and anywhere else you regularly go to.

But if there’s little or no 5G coverage where you are yet, you may still want to get a 5G device and plan, since you’ll be ready to take full advantage of 5G as soon as it arrives, and in the meantime will be able to use 5G any time you go somewhere that does have coverage.

James Rogerson
About James Rogerson

Sub-Editor at 5G.co.uk

James is sub-editor at both 5G.co.uk and TechRadar. Also works as a researcher/ technical writer for 5G.co.uk and several other websites including TechRadar, T3, Smart TV Radar, 3G.co.uk with work on the web, in print and on TV.

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