Hello 5G

Our 5G network is coming, and there’ll be nothing holding you – or Britain – back.

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What is 5G?

5G is the connectivity that will completely transform the way we live.

The power of 5G on personal and business devices will give everyone a better and more reliable connection in extra busy places, delay-free downloads and buffer-free streaming. But it’s 5G’s impact on the world around us that’s even more exciting. This new technology has the power to connect buildings, transport and services in ways we’ve never seen, completely revolutionising everything from the way traffic flows on our roads, to the way we receive health care.

O2 5G will unlock new experiences around all the things that matter most, so you can live life without wasting a moment.

When is 5G coming?

We’ll be switching on our 5G network from October 2019, beginning with areas of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds. By the end of the year, we’re planning to bring our 5G network to parts of 20 towns and cities,  before rolling out to a total of 50 by summer 2020. Keep an eye on our coverage checker to see when you’ll get 5G in the places you work, live and play.

To make sure you get 5G where you need it most, we’ll be targeting transport hubs, key business areas and entertainment and sports venues, including The O2 and Twickenham Stadium. We’ll also be working with major UK businesses including Network Rail and Northumbrian Water Group to help build the 5G economy.

If you’re on an O2 Custom plan, you’ll be able to upgrade to a 5G phone when the time’s right for you.

Choose a 5G phone

Right now, all our 5G phones come on a 4G tariff with a 4G sim because our 5G network is still to come. When we launch our 5G network from October, you’ll then need to move to a 5G sim on a new 5G tariff. Once that’s done, update your phone’s software and enable 5G in settings.

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5G vs 4G

5G will deliver faster speeds than 4G, a lower latency and improved capacity and reliability.

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Faster speeds

Much, much quicker than 4G, which means you’ll be able to do everything you do now, but faster. Download a full movie as you run for a train. Enjoy perfect video calling when you’re out and about. And easily upload and email big files, while you work on the go.

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Lower latency

Lower latency (the time it takes for a network to respond) is going to be a game changer for highly sensitive jobs that involve minute inputs and real-time feedback. Things like remote surgery, a critical video conference or being the last one standing in a battle royale. 

In the future 5G will have the bandwidth to comfortably handle augmented and virtual reality, giving workers the chance to train in real-life situations without putting themselves in danger, or use a VR headset to receive real-time instructions. Away from work you could use VR to watch a gig as though you’re in the front row, or see a try being scored through someone else’s eyes.

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Better network capacity

5G is perfect for when you’re at a packed concert at an O2 Academy, watching a game at Twickenham or when working remotely. It’s designed so that thousands of people can stand in the same place and upload and download as much as they like.

While 5G is being rolled out across the UK, 4G will keep getting better, as we continue to spend £2 million a day on our network.

And adding 5G to our already award winning network will help us deliver higher speeds, increased reliability and improve capacity where our customers need it most.

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5G and business

One of the biggest opportunities for 5G is its potential to transform businesses. 5G is more than just pure connectivity. It has the potential to transform every sector it touches.

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Building a 5G economy

We’ve been working with British businesses across the construction, retail, transport and utility sectors including Network Rail and Northumbrian Water Group to explore how 5G could help them. Whether that’s improving efficiencies in supply chains, production processes or unlocking new 5G enabled revenue streams.

We’re creating 5G innovation spaces across the country including in our Wayra accelerator hubs. These spaces will provide 5G test environments accessible to businesses of all sizes, helping fuel the innovation that will boost the British economy.

Find out more about O2 Business

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5G and the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is how we talk about technology connecting and communicating to each other, using the internet.

In the future, 5G will be able to connect huge numbers of devices and handle massive data volumes with low latency, allowing us to capture data and apply AI and machine learning to it in near real time. This will open up opportunities for smart cities with connected cars, buses and sensors, all working together to avoid traffic jams and reduce accidents.

5G FAQs

When is 5G coming?

We're launching O2 5G in October 2019 starting in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds, and we’re planning to bring our 5G network to parts of 20 towns and cities this year, with a total of 50 by Summer 2020.

While we’re focusing on getting ready for 5G, we continue to invest around £2m every day in our existing 4G network, which will be the supporting backbone for 5G for many years to come. In January, for the second year in a row, we were named as having the best network coverage at the annual uSwitch awards, and we also earned the best network performance award at the Mobile News Awards 2019.

Where will 5G be available?

When it launches in October, O2 5G will be live in areas of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London and Slough.

By the end of 2019 we're planning to bring our 5G network to areas of the following 20 towns and cities:

Belfast Coventry Leeds Nottingham
Blackpool Derby Leicester Reading
Bournemouth Edinburgh Lisburn Slough
Bristol Eton London Stoke
Cardiff Guildford Norwich Windsor

By summer 2020, O2 is planning on network rollout in an additional 30 towns and cities – reaching 50 in total. We’re currently busy planning our 5G rollout in the following:

Aberdeen Kingston Plymouth
Bradford Liverpool Portsmouth
Brighton Luton Sheffield
Birkenhead Manchester Southampton
Birmingham Milton Keynes Sunderland
Cambridge Newbury Warrington
Glasgow Newcastle Wolverhampton
Hove Northampton  
How do I get 5G?

You'll need a 5G phone, a 5G sim, a 5G tariff and be in a 5G coverage area – you’ll soon be able to use our coverage checker to see when you’ll get 5G in your area.

If you’re on an O2 Custom plan, you’ll be able to upgrade to a 5G phone when the time’s right for you. View our latest pay monthly tariff terms for more information.

What devices will 5G be available on?

We’ll have a range of 5G phones available, including the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and the Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus 5G which we’ve already announced and the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G which will be coming later in August. We’ll also have a number of tariffs suitable for business customers when they choose to upgrade to 5G.

What is the difference between 4G and 5G?

5G is the next generation of mobile networks, providing faster download speeds and coverage when lots of people are using the network at the same time. 5G will improve the service you get with 4G, making it easier for you to stay connected when it matters most.

5G and My Health

We’re excited about the benefits that our 5G network will bring for customer and business, but we understand there are some questions being asked about the impact on our health.

The WHO and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recommend that governments adopt the radio-frequency exposure limits developed by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

In the UK, the Government has adopted these exposure limits developed by ICNIRP and mobile network operators are required to operate within these guidelines.

If you want to know more you can visit the NHS, World Health Organization or Mobile UK.