O2 switches on 5G - and it’ll cost the same as 4G

(Image credit: O2)

O2 is the latest operator to bring us 5G. If you have a 5G-enabled phone and data plan, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of super-fast speeds from this very second. 

O2 5G is currently only available in six locations which is a fairly small rollout. The network is available in the following cities Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds and London. The coverage doesn’t appear to be city-wide but currently in specific locations including Waterloo and Kings Cross London, Haymarket in Edinburgh, Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds and Belfast South city centre.

The sixth location is Slough, where O2 is headquartered. This is the first non-city to benefit from 5G, as we will begin to see many more towns following suit. 

 Easy and fair for customers 

"We're also switching on 5G in important parts of towns and cities first, places where it will benefit customers and businesses most."

Mark Evans, chief executive, Telefónica.

Currently, O2 has plans on a number of 5G phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, Samsung Galaxy A90 5G and the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G.

The company has unlimited data plans for 5G, and the bonus is that it won’t cost any more than 4G. O2’s cheapest 5G plan is £25 a month for 5GB of data. The most expensive being unlimited data at £40 a month. All of this obviously doesn’t include the phone.

"We're launching with a range of tariffs that make it easy and fair for customers to access 5G, with flexible plans that cost no more than 4G,” said Mark Evans, chief executive of Telefónica UK. “We're also switching on 5G in important parts of towns and cities first, places where it will benefit customers and businesses most."

Keeping the tariff prices down is certainly a good move, making it much easier for customers to bridge the gap between 4G and 5G networks. And whilst O2’s 5G coverage is still small, it promises another 20 locations by the end of 2019. These locations include Coventry, Nottingham, Blackpool, Derby, Leicester, Reading, Bournemouth, Lisburn, Slough, Bristol, Eton, Stoke, Cardiff, Guildford, Norwich and Windsor.

"Lagging significantly behind"

Some commentators claim that this might be too little, too late, though, as O2 begins to play catch up.   

“A whole five months after EE rolled out its own 5G network, O2 has announced that it will be joining the party, lagging significantly behind its competitors,” said Rob Baillie, mobile comms expert at Compare My Mobile. “It has initially launched in just five major UK cities, already placing it behind EE which is live in nine cities, and Vodafone which is available in 15. At this point in time, it’s actually more surprising to learn that a provider does not have 5G, and this announcement will just make consumers aware of just how far behind O2 is.” 

While O2 is significantly behind its competitors in terms of rollout, consumers aren’t fully adopting 5G yet due to limited availability. As long as O2 can broaden its reach quickly, it should be able to catch up with other operators.

Fiona Leake

Fiona discovered her love for investing and making money from a young age. Since then this interest has grown and now she loves writing about investing and business, and follows the 5G market closely. She is also a technology enthusiast, and so they tend to be her favourite investments.