Unlimited Data for only £11 a month for the first 6 months, the cheapest unlimited data deal in the market! This 24 month contract gives you access to 5G speeds & access to Three’s reward app Three+, which includes discounts on Uber Eats and at selected restaurants.
UK mobile networks are constantly improving their 5G coverage and the new generation of wireless technology is becoming more and more common. So the question is, which mobile networks offer 5G coverage and how can you get 5G from them.
This article will specifically focus on these two questions, but it will also include some extra information you might find interesting. If you don’t know what makes 5G greater than 4G and want to find out, we already have an article pointing out the best 5G SIM Only plans & another one covering the topic: What is 5G?
Read on to see which UK mobile networks have 5G and how to get access to their 5G network.
The four major network operators in the UK – EE, Three, O2 & Vodafone – have 5G, but not all their MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) offer 5G yet. You can see below, which networks have 5G and how to get 5G from them.
Keep in mind that regardless of your network choice, you’ll need a 5G ready handset and also be in an area with your carrier’s 5G network in order to get superfast download speeds.
In the UK, Three offers 5G to all their customers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pay monthly or a pay as you go customer. This includes the carrier’s traditional pay as you go service. The network also offers 4G Calling & Wi-Fi Calling at no extra cost, as well Three Go Roam, which allows you to use your UK allowances in 71 destinations across the world.
Three is currently the fastest 5G mobile network in the country with 201Mpbs average 5G download speeds.
The network’s 5G service is live across 194 cities and towns in the UK. While Three has more locations covered than any other network in the UK, their coverage in these places tends to be rather limited compared to their opponents.
If you want to enjoy superfast download speeds on EE’s network, you should know that their 5G service is only available on selected pay monthly contracts. Make sure to check if the pay monthly plan you’re interested in is 5G enabled before you make a purchase.
When it comes to 4G download speeds, EE is unrivalled, but the story is quite different when it comes to 5G. EE is the slowest 5G network in the UK with 134.7Mbps average download speeds. It’s worth mentioning that they also have the most 5G users in the country, which can lead to slower download speeds overall.
There are 160 towns & cities live on EE 5G and the number is steadily increasing. This means they’re behind Three in terms of total locations covered. However, EE’s 5G coverage per location is significantly larger than Three’s.
The carrier’s 5G service comes at no extra cost and all O2 plans are set up for 5G. If you have a 5G ready device, make sure to ask O2 for a 5G SIM.
O2 has the second fastest average download speeds for 5G, following behind the leader Three. The network’s average 5G download speeds are around 177Mbps, which is more than enough for multiple people to stream full HD and even 4K videos at the same time, while others are gaming online in the same household.
You may read our O2 Review to discover all you need to know about their extras such as O2 Priority and O2 Custom Plans. You can also check out O2’s Mobile Broadband plans and see if they’re a good alternative to your regular fixed broadband. O2 offers 5G in 193 UK cities and towns.
Vodafone’s 5G is available on selected pay monthly plans, and big value bundles. The network offers a traditional pay as you go service, but it doesn’t have 5G. Vodafone Basics plans are also excluded.
We’d also like to remind you that Vodafone’s Unlimited Plans come with speed restrictions except Unlimited Max, meaning if you purchase Unlimited lite or Unlimited plans, you won’t have access to superfast download speeds.
According to OOKLA’s October 2020 speed test results Vodafone’s average 5G download speeds are around 150Mpbs. This means they usually offer faster 5G speeds than EE, but they’re also behind the likes of Three and O2.
You can get Vodafone 5G in 100 locations across the UK and 193 locations across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland. In total, that’s more than any other network. On top of that, Vodafone and their sub network VOXI are the only carriers offering 5G when you’re roaming abroad.
At the time of writing, VOXI’s 5G service is available on the network’s Endless Data (Unlimited), 45GB and 15GB plans. The latter two also include VOXI’s Endless Video feature, which lets you stream YouTube, Amazon Prime, Netflix and other popular video apps without eating through your data. All VOXI plans come with Endless Social Media, so you can use the most popular social media apps without burning through your regular data allowance.
Since VOXI is powered by Vodafone and it has unrestricted access to its parent network’s infrastructure, they offer identical 5G download speeds. VOXI customers would be getting 150Mbps 5G data speeds on average.
The same applies for coverage. All VOXI 5G SIM only plans should offer identical 5G Coverage with Vodafone 5G. You can use VOXI 5G in 100 locations in the UK and in 193 more locations across Europe.
You can have a look at our detailed VOXI Review to see if their deals suit you well. We also have a separate VOXI 5G Review, if you want to discover more about their 5G service. There are no credit checks to pass to join VOXI. It’s commitment-free.
Tesco Mobile’s 5G is only available on selected pay monthly contracts. You’d have to pay a bit more for Tesco’s 5G SIM plans than their regular 4G deals, except the unlimited data option, which is priced the same on both. Tesco Mobile’s pay as you go service doesn’t offer 5G at the moment.
The network is powered by O2, so their average 5G download speeds should be around 177Mbps.
The network’s 5G coverage is live and accessible in 193 locations in the UK. O2 are improving their 5G network at a steady pace and Tesco Mobile customers enjoy the same quality as O2 customers do.
If you want to learn more about Tesco Mobile’s 5G deals, we invite you to have a look at our detailed Tesco Mobile Review.
There are two ways to get 5G on Sky Mobile. All Sky members can join the network’s loyalty programme, Sky VIP and gain free access to their 5G service. Sky Mobile’s existing customers also get to benefit from discounts and get other extras as well.
The other way is to pay £5/month for the network’s 5G add-on. With all the added benefits, we think Sky VIP is the better choice. However, you can’t opt out of Sky VIP once you’re a member, at least not until your contract ends.
Just like Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile is also powered by O2. This means the network’s customers get an average of 177Mbps 5G download speeds in the UK.
The network offers 5G in 193 cities and towns across the country and seeing how fast O2 are improving their 5G coverage, we expect this number to change for the better very soon.
Don’t skip our detailed Sky Mobile Review. You might discover something you didn’t know about the carrier.
All BT Mobile SIMs are 4G and 5G enabled, and all their contracts include 5G at no extra cost. However, BT Mobile only offers long-term contracts as the network doesn’t have a pay as you go service or a similar alternative. You must also purchase your 5G ready device directly from BT Mobile or 5G might not work as intended, might not even work at all.
BT Mobile is using EE’s network to provide 5G to their customers, this means their 5G download speeds are identical to the host network. On average, BT’s 5G download speeds should be around 135Mbps.
BT Mobile’s 5G is available in 160 cities and towns in the UK, same as EE. We expect this number to increase dramatically in the upcoming months.
If you’re interested in joining this network, make sure to give a read to our BT Mobile Review and see if the network meets your expectations. BT Mobile offers over 5million free Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. Their family mobile plans are also quite good, but come with certain restrictions.
The following networks announced that they will launch their 5G services soon, with the exception of Virgin Mobile. Virgin is one of the bigger players on the market, they’re currently powered by EE but they’ll merge their UK operations with O2 fairly soon.
The network is running trials and planning to launch SMARTY 5G soon, but there is no set in stone date yet. They said they’ll focus on improving their coverage and recently launched SMARTY’s Wi-Fi Calling which is working well so far. We expect to see SMARTY’s 4G Calling service to be launched soon too. You can read our SMARTY Review to learn more about their coverage, extra features and deals.
Actually, yes. 4G phones still work on a 5G network, but you won’t get 5G speeds or other 5G related benefits.
Yes, you can use your 5G ready device, wherever you’re getting 4G coverage. It will work with other older generation wireless technologies too.
Yes, you can get commitment-free, no contract 5G SIM plans from VOXI. You can also get 5G at no extra cost on Three and O2, when you get a free SIM from them and use their pay as you go services.
Three has the fastest 5G data speeds, as well as most cities and locations covered. However, EE’s coverage per location is still considerably larger.
You can find 5G ready handsets in most trusted retailers. Your mobile network provider is probably selling 5G devices too, provided they have a phone store.