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O2 Coverage and Network Review

5th November 2021

O2 Network Coverage

O2 has now had a 4G network for years and it’s been busy in that time, bringing speedy 4G coverage to around 99% of the UK population indoors, with that figure growing all the time, while 5G coverage is rapidly increasing too.

As work continues, we’ll continually update this page with the latest information, including how much 4G and 5G coverage O2 has, what spectrum it’s using, and what kinds of plans and extras it offers.

We also address the pros and cons of the network, so you can get a clear picture of whether it’s the right mobile network for you.




Free EU roaming

Possibly less 4G coverage than some

O2 Priority

Lower 4G speeds than main rivals

Our Rating


O2 Coverage

Network Type

Coverage by population


Now available in 194 locations







O2 coverage checker

O2 coverage is excellent when it comes to 3G and 2G with widespread coverage indoors and out. O2's 4G coverage is also now strong, standing at over 99% indoors.

Use O2’s coverage checker above to find out more about O2 coverage in your area, including signal strengths and details on both indoor and outdoor coverage.

4G Network Coverage Comparison


4G coverage by population









As you can see in the table above, O2’s 4G coverage currently rivals Vodafone's but is seemingly slightly behind EE's and Three’s, based on the latest available information at the time of writing. The difference is small though – we’re talking a percent at most, so you can be confident that across the UK as a whole you’ll get competitive coverage on O2, though it’s always worth checking what coverage is like in your area before signing up to a network.

4G from O2 is now available in thousands of UK towns, cities, and villages. The major towns and cities include but are not limited to: Antrim, Bradford, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bridgend, Brighton, Burnley, Castleford, Coleraine, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Leigh, Liverpool, Livingston, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, London, Macclesfield, Newtownabbey, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Pontypool, Poole, Portsmouth, Reading, St Albans, Sittingbourne, Southampton and Tamworth.

Basically though, if you live in a remotely urban area then you’ll more likely than not be able to get O2 4G, and many rural areas will have access too.

5G coverage

O2 launched its 5G service on October 17th, 2019. It initially launched in six cities but its 5G service is now available in many more locations. At the time of writing you can get O2 5G in parts of at least 194 places, including but not limited to:

Aberdeen, Ambleside, Ashford, Aughton, Aylesbury, Banstead, Basildon, Basingstoke, Beaconsfield, Bedford, Belfast, Bilston, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Blackburn, Blackpool, Blaydon, Bolton, Bournemouth, Bradford, Bradley Stoke, Bridge of Don, Brighton, Bristol, Brombourgh, Bury St Edmunds, Byfleet, Cambridge, Cardiff, Chadwell St Mary, Chatham, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Chesterfield, Chipstead, Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester, Coventry, Darlington, Dartford, Derby, Dewsbury, Dinas Powis, Doncaster, Dudley, Dundee, Dunstable, Durham, Dyce, Eastbourne, Edinburgh, Egham, Epsom, Esher, Eton and Windsor, Falmer, Gateshead, Gatton Bottom, Gillingham, Glasgow, Gloucester, Gravesend, Grays, Great Yarmouth, Halifax, Harlington, Harlow, Hastings, Hebburn, Hemel Hempstead, Hextable, High Wycombe, Hove, How Wood, Huddersfield, Hull, Inverness, Ipswich, Iver Heath, Jarrow, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Lincoln, Lisburn, Liverpool, Llandudno, London, Longford, Loughborough, Lowestoft, Luton, Maidstone, Manchester, Mansfield, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Monifieth, Morley, Musselburgh, Newcastle Upon Tyne, New Denham, Newbury, Newtownabbey, North Shields, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Orpington, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Potters Bar, Rainham, Reading, Redhill, Rochdale, Rotherham, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Rugby, Salford, Sheffield, Shepperton Green, Slough, Solihull, Southampton, South Shields, Southend-On-Sea, Staines, Stanraer, Stevenage, Stockport, Stockton, Stoke-on-Trent, Strathclyde, Sunbury, Sunderland, Swansea, Swindon, Thundersley, Tynemouth, Wakefield, Warrington, Washington, Watford, Wavetree, West Bromwich, Weybridge, Whickham, Whitley Bay, Wolverhampton, Worthing, and York.

The network no longer publishes an up to date list of where 5G is available at the time of writing, and there’s no news on where O2 will bring 5G to next, but expect more populous places to get it first.

If you don’t have O2 5G where you are yet, it should be worth waiting for, as it is far faster than 4G, so you can download and upload files faster and stream in higher quality. More excitingly, 5G could open up whole new use cases, such as truly smart cities and things we haven’t even envisaged yet.

To take advantage of its power though you’ll need a 5G phone. A number of these are starting to land, and O2 stocks many of them, such as the Samsung Galaxy S21, Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13 MiniiPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and iPhone 12 Mini.

Network Speeds and Frequencies

Opensignal – Mobile Network Experience, September 2021 and April 2020


Download/upload speeds

4G latency (ms)













O2’s average download speed is 17.1Mbps according to Opensignal, while its average upload speed is 5.4Mbps, and its average latency (the time in which it takes for the network to respond to a request) is 38.1ms.

Those results aren’t great – as you can see in the table above O2 comes out slower than any major rival, with EE in particular storming ahead at around twice the speed, though its latency is better than Three or Vodafone.

Note that the speed results are from September 2021 and combine all available network types (so 5G, 4G and 3G), while the latency is from April 2020, as recent reports don’t include that.

As for 5G on its own, a September 2020 report from Point Topic found that O2 managed average 5G download speeds of 115.7Mbps. That’s a lot faster than 4G, but slower than rivals in the same test, with Three leading at 158.7Mbps, followed by EE with 149.9Mbps, and then Vodafone with 143.6Mbps.

There’s also an Ookla test from the first half of 2021, which found O2’s median 5G download speed was 155Mbps, putting it slightly ahead of EE at 151Mbps, but slightly behind Vodafone at 159Mbps, and well behind Three at 231Mbps.

O2’s low speeds in the chart above then can be explained by low availability of 5G compared to the other networks.

O2 Network Frequencies


Frequency Band



n29 4G & 5G


Band 20



Band 8

2G & 3G


Band 3

2G & 4G


Band 1

3G & 4G


Band 40 4G


n78 5G


n77 5G

O2 uses both the 800MHz band and 2300MHz band for 4G. It’s got a decent amount of spectrum and the 800MHz band is well suited to delivering coverage across the UK. It’s long range, so it can travel a long way between base stations, making it suited to rural environments.

But it’s also good at penetrating walls and other solid objects, making it a good fit for towns and cities too, and ensuring strong coverage both indoors and out. The 2300MHz band on the other hand is more suited to busy areas, but it's shorter range and not as good at passing through obstacles. O2 also uses the 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands, which sit in between.

O2 also has some 3400MHz and 3600MHz spectrum, which is higher frequency and shorter range than even the 2300MHz band. This is used for 5G. Right at the other end of the scale the network also has some 700MHz spectrum, which is likely to be deployed for both 4G and 5G.

You can find in depth details of these bands and others in our 4G and 5G frequencies guide.

Planned improvements

O2 is always working on network improvements, be that bringing 4G to new places or upgrading sites that already have it.

Currently though its focus seems mostly on expanding its 5G coverage, with numerous additional locations in line to get the speedy technology soon.

We'll update this section as soon as we hear anything else new.

Traffic management

O2’s traffic management policy allows you to use your full data allowance without any restriction in the UK, even during peak hours, and once you’ve run out your data service will cease until you purchase more or reach your next month of allowances.

However, the network adds that it will always prioritize emergency voice traffic (which shouldn’t noticeably affect you and is a good thing if you ever need to call emergency services).

O2 will also warn users whose use is excessive enough that it detrimentally affects other customers, and if these excessive users don’t change their usage they risk being disconnected.

When roaming, data speeds may be slower than at home.


SIM Only Deals

12 Month Contract

150 GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£24.00 a month

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O2 Pay Monthly Plans


Mobile Phones

SIM Only

Data Only

Plans Available

Max Data




Contract lengths

3-36 months

1, 12 or 24 months

1 or 12 months




Wi-Fi Calling


Data Rollover

Spending Caps


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O2 has a range of Pay Monthly, SIM Only and Pay As You Go plans available. 5G is also available at no extra cost.

O2’s Pay Monthly plans are flexible, as while they default to 36 months in duration you can also edit them, choosing anything from as little as 3 months, with prices changing accordingly. You can also adjust how much you’re prepared to pay upfront and how much data you want (up to a maximum of unlimited data). They also allow tethering, and you can use as much of your data allowance for that as you want.

O2’s SIM Only plans come in at 24 months, 12 months or just 1 month long. They also come with a lot of data, topping out at unlimited. As with Pay Monthly, they also allow tethering, and you can use as much of your data allowance for that as you want.

Both phone and SIM plans also include VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling, which we’ll dig into further down in this article.

O2 also offers Data Only plans for tablets, MiFi devices and dongles. These are designed to give you data, without minutes or texts.

They are available on 1 or 12-month contracts with up to unlimited data.

Pay Monthly Plan Benefits


Mobile Phones

SIM Only

European Roaming

Free O2 Wi-Fi

O2 Priority

All Pay Monthly and SIM Only plans also come with access to O2 Priority – so you can grab exclusive offers and early gig tickets. They also allow you to automatically connect to many of O2’s Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK. Plus, you can roam across much of Europe at no extra cost – and in some cases even further afield. We’ve got more details on roaming below.

Some plans also chuck in additional freebies. At the time of writing for example, you can get a 12-month subscription to Amazon Prime Video, Audible, Calm or other things with some plans, or a 6-month subscription to Disney Plus, Apple Music or Amazon Music Unlimited.


O2 offers tethering as standard on all of its plans, allowing you to use any or all of your data allowance towards it – though the network doesn’t recommend this use and warns that this can use up your data quickly.

Fortunately, O2 also has plans with high data allowances, currently topping out at unlimited, so you can have a lot of data to play with.

Wi-Fi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling means making calls over Wi-Fi with your normal number and calling apps – so you can stay in touch as normal when there’s no signal, as long as you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

O2 offers this at no extra cost on Pay Monthly and SIM Only plans, but only currently for select handsets, including but not limited to the iPhone 13 range, iPhone 12 range, iPhone 11 range, Samsung Galaxy S21 range, Samsung Galaxy S20 range, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 range, OnePlus Nord, Google Pixel 5, Google Pixel 4a, Sony Xperia 1 II, and Sony Xperia 5 II. Head here for a full, up to date list.

In the case of some Android devices, your phone also needs to be running O2 firmware for Wi-Fi Calling to work.


VoLTE is also known as Voice Over LTE or 4G Calling, and it means you can call and text using 4G, rather than your phone having to switch to a 2G or 3G signal. This in turn means you can call and text in places that only have a 4G signal, and can potentially get superior call quality.

VoLTE works on the same selection of handsets as Wi-Fi Calling, including but not limited to the following:

iPhone 13 range, iPhone 12 range, iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6S Plus, 6S, 6 Plus, 6, SE, Samsung Galaxy S21 range, S20 range, S10 5G, Note 10, Note 10 Plus 5G, S10, S10e, S10 Plus, S9, S9 Plus, S8, S8 Plus, Note 8, S7, S7 Edge, J3 2017, A10, A20e, A50, A70, A8, A3 2017, A6, J6, J5 (2017), A5 (2017), Note 9, A7, J6+, J4+, A9, A90 5G, A40, Xcover 4S, Sony Xperia XZ2, Xperia XZ3, XZ2 Compact, XZ Premium, Xperia XA2, Xperia XZ1, Xperia XZ1 Compact, Xperia 10, Xperia L3, Xperia 5, Xperia 1, OnePlus 5, 5T, 6, 6T, OPPO Reno 5G, Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, P20 and P20 Pro. Head here for a full list.

As with Wi-Fi Calling, you also need to be running O2 firmware if using certain Android devices.

Pay As You Go

O2 Pay As You Go Plans


Mobile Phones

Data Only

Plans Available

Add-ons available

Max Data Allowance



Add-on expiry 

30 days Up to 12 months

Data Rollover

1 month x

Top Up Expiry

6 months inactivity 6 months inactivity


EU Roaming

O2 has a number of Pay As You Go bundles available, giving you an allowance of minutes, texts and data that last for 30 days. They’re available in both phone and data-only forms and top out at 100GB of data for phones or 20GB for data-only, and in the case of phone SIMs they let you roll over up to 1 month of data, giving you extra time to use it.

They also come with tethering and European roaming as standard. They automatically renew and the phone bundles are listed in the table below.

Pay As You Go Bundles





10GB Bundle

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

10GB data



20GB Bundle


Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

20GB data



30GB Bundle


Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

30GB data



100GB Bundle

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

100GB data


Shop O2 Pay As You Go

Roaming Destinations

You can roam (up to a fair usage allowance of 25GB) at no extra cost in the following 48 locations:

Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Islands, Romania, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Vatican City.

O2 stands out here as it’s the only major UK network that isn’t currently planning to charge for European roaming.

Select plans also let you roam for free in the following 27 destinations: Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Greenland, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yemen, with 120 minutes, 120 texts and unlimited data.

But to roam further afield you'll have to pay at least £4.99 per day, with that money getting you 120 minutes, 120 texts and unlimited data in: Albania, Anguilla, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Columbia, Cost Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Greenland, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Montserrat, Myanmar, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St Kitts & Nevis, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Turks & Caicos islands, UAE, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela, Yemen and Zambia.

Customer Service

Customer service can be hard to judge, but in a 2021 Ofcom service quality report, O2 was found to have a 91% satisfaction rate from customers, with 7% finding reason to complain, 62% being happy with the way their complaint was handled, and 8 out of every 100,000 subscribers making a complaint to Ofcom. Those numbers are all middling compared to rivals, except the satisfaction with the complaint handling, which is the best result for that of any network on test.

Then there’s Trustpilot, which based on 5,470 user reviews at the time of writing gives it 1.4 stars out of 5. That’s considered a ‘bad’ rating – though note that many networks are poorly rated there.


O2 combines a sturdy 4G network with high data limits and special offers through O2 Priority. Roaming on O2 is also affordable (or even free in many cases) and there are a range of flexible tariffs to choose from whether you Pay Monthly, go SIM Only or Pay As You Go.

Coverage perhaps isn’t quite the best (though this can be hard to be sure of), but it's not far off and coverage is improving all the time – so you can be confident that there’ll be 4G from O2 almost everywhere before long, with 5G availability rising too.

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