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. Find out more about 5G.
5G vs 4G
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.
Setting up 5G
Preparing for 5G
You'll need a few things before you can get started with 5G:
- A 5G ready phone or device from our range
- A 5G tariff
- A 5G sim
- 5G coverage
Ready to choose a phone? Get started by checking out our online shop.
Visit our coverage checker to see coverage in your area.
Already got a 5G device on a 4G tariff?
Before our 5G network switch on, all our 5G phones came on a 4G tariff with a 4G sim.
To get onto our 5G network you’ll need to swap to a 5G sim and move to a new 5G tariff. Just get in touch, and we’ll sort it for you.
Once you’ve got your 5G tariff and swapped to your 5G sim card, you may need to complete a software update and enable 5G on your phone.
Finally, to activate your 5G sim, you’ll need to do a sim swap.
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.
If you're not sure about any techy terms, check out our jargon buster.
- Can I use 5G while roaming?
5G roaming isn't currently available with O2, but you'll still be able to roam on our 3G and 4G networks.
- Will 5G improve call quality?
Our 5G network is a data service and doesn't impact calls. For better call quality, you should activate Wifi and 4G Calling.
- Why can't I always get a 5G signal indoors?
5G may have limited indoor coverage to begin with. This is because 5G uses high frequency radio waves (spectrum) which don't travel as far. As low frequency spectrum is added and more 5G cells are built, indoor coverage will improve.
- Why is 5G available in other cities with other networks, but not O2?
Each network operator has their own 5G roll out plans and approaches. Our plan is to have coverage in 20 towns and cities by the end of 2019, increasing to 50 by summer 2020. You can use our coverage checker to find out if 5G is available in your area.
- I have a 5G device and a 5G sim, what happens if I’m in an area without 5G coverage?
If you’re in an area without 5G coverage, your device will automatically connect to the best option available (3G, 4G or wifi).
- Where will 5G be available?
O2 5G is currently available in areas of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London and Slough. By the end of 2019, we're aiming to be live in the following 20 towns and cities: Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bristol, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Eton, Guildford, Leicester, Lisburn, Norwich, Nottingham, Reading, Stoke, and Windsor. For summer 2020, we plan to roll out to an additional 30 towns and cities – reaching 50 in total.
- Why do I get different 5G speeds in different places?
The data speeds you get on our network will be affected by lots of different factors, like the type of mast you’re connected to, how many people are using the network in your location, how far away you are from the mast, or buildings and hills obstructing coverage. Because of this, speeds will change in different places.
- Why does the status checker tell me the network is working fine, but I can't connect to 5G?
You can report the problem on the status checker pages, through the My Network app.
- Why does the coverage checker say I should have 5G coverage in my area, but I don't?
The coverage checker is based on coverage predictions and can never be 100% accurate, because of things like trees, buildings and hills affecting actual coverage. We try to make sure our predictions are as accurate as possible and have edited the coverage checker to take into account these coverage limitations.
You can use the network status checker or the My Network app to check for any known issues with our network, or to report a problem.
- What's the My Network app?
The My network app gives you information on coverage and network status. You can report issues or get updates on known issues. We'll let you know when the problem is fixed and why there were delays, and tell you what’s happening next and when.
The app also lets you set up permanent watch-points for places you use our network regularly, such as home or work. You'll then be told of any planned work or network issues without having to check the app or website.
To help us improve the experience for you and other customers, you can sign up to give us mobile measurement data, which means we can collect network insight to spot issues more quickly.
- What are the benefits of the My Network app?
Using the app means less effort for you. It gives you notifications on known issues and can provide updates on reported problems. You can also set up alerts for areas you're in regularly, like home or work.
- How do I get the My Network app?
- O2 have just announced 5G in a new location, why can't I get 5G coverage there?
Our aim is to announce 5G has launched in a city, once it's reached a high enough threshold of coverage. At that stage coverage won't be complete across the whole area and we'll continue to roll 5G out. This means that even though you're in a 5G city or town, your area might not have been updated yet.
- Will 5G affect my health?
Mobile networks are built to strict government guidelines in the UK, which O2 adhere to, that are informed by the World Health Organisation. Find out more.
- Why does the coverage checker not show indoor coverage as you do for 3G and 4G?
Due to the different nature and construction materials of buildings, indoor coverage for 5G in particular, is very difficult to predict accurately. We prefer not to show you coverage levels that might not be accurate.
- If I'm on 5G, will I still be able to use data while I'm on a call?
We recommend you enable Wifi and 4G calling on your device. This means when you’re making a call, you'll still be able to access 3G/4G data services. If you don't have Wifi and 4G Calling enabled, you won't be able to access data while you're on a call.
- When will I see the 5G icon on my phone?
You'll see the 5G icon on your device when you're in a 5G coverage area, using a 5G device, 5G sim and 5G tariff.
- I have a 5G icon on my device and full signal but my data speed seems slower.
Your device will automatically select the most appropriate technology available (3G, 4G, 5G or wifi, if enabled), for the service or application you're using. In the early stages of 5G rollout, 5G is accessed through our 4G network. Because 5G waves don't travel as far as 4G ones, sometimes you might see a 5G signal indicator, while getting 4G speeds. This is because the phone is accessing the network through the 5G cell site, but is outside the reach of the 5G network, so has automatically switched to 4G instead.
- Is tethering allowed on 5G?
Yes, you'll be able to tether using our 5G network.
- Can I disable 5G on my device?
Yes, you can turn 5G off through the network settings on your 5G device.
- Will using 5G affect the battery life of my device?
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. However, if you choose to download a lot more data over our 5G network, then it's likely to use up the battery quicker.
- Will a 5G device work with my current sim?
Yes, your 5G device will be able to use a 4G sim to receive 4G/3G/2G coverage whenever it needs to. But if you want to use our 5G network, you'll need to move to a 5G tariff and swap to a 5G sim.
- Will 5G use up my data allowance quicker than 4G?
Whether you use 4G or 5G to download a 4GB film, for example, the amount of data used is the same. However with a faster 5G connection it’ll be easier to download more films and therefore use more data.
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