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5G explained

Help and support

What is 5G?

The power of 5G on personal and business devices will give everyone a stronger and more reliable connection in extra busy places, delay-free downloads and buffer-free streaming. Find out more about 5G.

Getting on 5G

1. 5G phone
5G phones have started being released. If you don’t have one already, take a look at our range.

2. 5G sim
You’ll need to swap to a 5G sim. The good news is they’re the same size and shape as our other sims, so they’ll simply pop into your new 5G phone.

If you’ve got your 5G sim already you can set up your sim swap here.

If you think you need a 5G sim you can get in touch.

If you got a 5G phone before 17 October 2019, it would’ve come with a 4G sim. Now that our 5G network is on, you need to swap to a 5G sim. Just get in touch and we’ll get it sorted. Once you’ve swapped to your 5G sim, you will need to complete a software update and enable 5G on your phone.

3. 5G coverage
We’re continuing to roll out 5G across more UK cities and towns. Check out our coverage checker to see if 5G is available in your area.

4. A tariff
You'll also need a tariff to get started with your 5G phone.

Where can I get 5G coverage?

Take a look at our coverage checker to view our current 5G coverage.

5G will have limited indoor coverage to begin with. This is because 5G uses mid-band frequency radio waves (spectrum) which don't travel as far. As you move out of range of our 5G spectrum, your device will automatically select the most appropriate technology available instead, like 4G. This means your device may sometimes show the 5G icon, whilst using 4G speeds.

 

If you're not sure about any techy terms, check out our jargon buster.

5G FAQs

Why does your coverage checker not display indoor coverage for 5G?

At the moment, the unpredictability of 5G coverage indoors means we don’t show indoor 5G coverage on our coverage checker. As we add more low frequency spectrum (which gives better indoor signal) and build more 5G cell towers, indoor coverage will improve. In the meantime, you’ll still be able to stay connected using our 4G network inside and out.

Will using 5G affect the amount of data I use?

When you download a movie, the amount of data you use would be the same whether you used 4G or 5G. But because it happens faster with 5G, it’ll be easier to download more things and use more data.

Will using 5G drain my battery quicker?

If you choose to download a lot more data over our 5G network, then it's likely to use up the battery faster. However, 5G is designed to be really efficient, so if you’re using your device in the same way as you would on our 4G network, battery life won't be affected.

Will using 5G affect quality of voice calls?

Our 5G network is a data service only and therefore doesn't impact calls. If you’re connected to 5G and make or receive a call, your phone will automatically switch or 4G or 3G. For better call quality, you should activate Wifi and 4G Calling if your phone supports these features.

If I’m on 5G, will I still be able to use data while I’m on a call?

If you’re making or receiving a call, you won’t be using our 5G network as it’s a data only service. As long as you have Wifi and 4G Calling enabled, you'll still be able to access 4G data services. If you don't have Wifi and 4G Calling enabled, you’ll be restricted to 3G data services while on a call, so we recommend enabling Wifi and 4G calling if you can.

Is tethering allowed on 5G?

Yes, you’ll be able to tether using our 5G network.

Can I turn 5G off?

You can turn 5G off using the network settings on your 5G device.

Can I use 5G while roaming?

5G roaming isn't currently available with O2, but you'll still be able to roam on our roaming partners’ 3G and 4G networks.

Recycling your old phone

If you’re getting rid of your own phone when upgrading to 5G, O2 Recycle could help cover the cost of your upgrade. Find out how much you could get for your old phone.

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