O2 5G coverage and roll-out

O2 5G coverage

O2 5G is available now in a number of locations. In this document we cover: how to check O2 coverage, where O2 5G coverage is rolling out in the coming months and what locations are scheduled to get O2 5G during 2020.

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 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, 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 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 cities have O2 5G now?

Cities and towns with O2 5G now

Belfast

Cardiff

Edinburgh

London

Slough

Leeds

-

-

O2 5G is currently available in parts of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds.

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 has confirmed it will launch 5G in a further 14 towns and cities before the end of 2019.

Cities and towns getting O2 5G in 2019

Blackpool

Bournemouth

Bristol

Coventry

Derby

Eton

Guildford

Leicester

Lisburn

Norwich

Nottingham

Reading

Stoke

Windsor

-

-

It’s possible that additional places will get O2 5G this year too, but that remains to be seen. In any case, O2 has said it plans to bring 5G to 50 locations in total by summer 2020, 23 of which have been named, as you can see below.

Towns and Cities getting O2 5G in 2020

Aberdeen

Bradford

Brighton

Birkenhead

Birmingham

Cambridge

Glasgow

Hove

Kingston

Liverpool

Luton

Manchester

Milton Keynes

Newbury

Newcastle

Northampton

Plymouth

Portsmouth

Sheffield

Southampton

Sunderland

Warrington

Wolverhampton

 

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

There are currently 20 major towns and cities with 5G coverage from at least one UK mobile network. O2 currently has 5G in 5 such locations (along with Slough for 6 locations total), EE in 9 locations (along with 11 unlisted smaller ones), Vodafone has 15 locations and Three currently only offers 5G Home Broadband in London.

UK 5G Coverage

City

EE

Vodafone

Three

O2

Belfast

-

-

Birkenhead

-

-

Summer 2020

Birmingham

Early 2020

Summer 2020

Bristol

Early 2020

End of 2019

Bolton

-

Early 2020

-

Cardiff

Early 2020

Coventry

-

-

-

Edinburgh

-

Early 2020

Gatwick

-

-

-

Glasgow

Early 2020

Summer 2020

Lancaster

-

-

-

Leeds

End 2019

-

Early 2020

Leicester

-

-

-

Liverpool

Early 2020

Summer 2020

London

Manchester

Early 2020

Summer 2020

Newbury

-

-

Summer 2020

Plymouth

2020

-

Summer 2020

Stoke-on-Trent

-

-

End of 2019

Wolverhampton

Early 2020

Summer 2020

Coverage Checker

Check Coverage

Check Coverage

Check Coverage

Check 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.

UK 4G Coverage (2019)

Network

4G population coverage

EE

>99% (check coverage)

Three

99.8% (check coverage)

Vodafone

99% (check coverage)

O2

99% (check coverage)

 

5G Network Speeds

Typical early 5G speeds are generally around 150-250Mbps, so that’s what we’d expect from O2. But top speeds may be a lot higher – EE has already claimed its 5G speeds can exceed 1Gbps, while Three claims its top speeds might double rivals. An Opensignal report meanwhile places top 5G speeds on any UK network at 599Mbps.

To put this into perspective, O2’s 4G download speeds average just 16.9Mbps according to a late 2019 report from Opensignal. So you can expect 5G to give you an enormous boost.

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 40-50ms, but on 5G it could get as low as 1ms – though don’t expect that initially.

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.

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