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O2 Mobile Broadband Review – 4G & 5G Mobile Broadband Plans & Routers

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at O2’s mobile broadband offers in the UK and examine just how good the network’s coverage is and if their plans are worth the price tag.

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Latest Offer: 250GB of data with Apple Music & Disney + for £11!

O2 is offering 250GB of data bundled with 6 months free Disney + and Apple Music for just £11/month for the first 6 months! This is a 24-month contract, but offers great value even at £22! The plan also includes unlimited UK minutes & texts. If Disney+ isn’t for you, there are a number of other perks to choose from, click through to find out.

If you can’t get fixed broadband in your area, or need flexible access to broadband on the move, O2’s 5G and 4G broadband deals may be a good alternative for you.

O2’s mobile broadband plans are bundled with different types of data plans, offering decent download & upload speeds. Their routers and WiFi dongles are easy to set up, but overall it’s hard to say if O2’s mobile broadband is a good alternative to fixed broadband. Customers seem to be satisfied with O2’s 5G broadband, but their 4G broadband has mixed reviews.

In terms of 4G data speeds, O2 ranks last overall compared to the other major network providers in the UK. However, the network ranks second in 5G coverage and 5G data speeds, so we can easily recommend O2’s 5G mobile broadband if you receive coverage in your are.

In this review, we’ll take a more in-depth look at O2’s 5G and 4G broadband routers, WiFi dongles, and bundled price plans. We’ll be covering the following routers and dongles: Huawei 5G Pocket Hotspot Pro, Huawei 4G Pocket Hotspot Pro, Pro Netgear M1 and 4G WiFi Dongles.

Pro's

  • Decent 5G coverage and data speeds
  • Build your own phone contract
  • Thousands of free WiFi hotspots
  • O2 Priority deals and discounts
  • A decent range of handset options
  • 6 months free Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, or more

Con's

  • Most tariffs are pricier than competitors
  • The slowest 4G internet speeds in the UK
  • Not the best 4G coverage

Broadband Plans

You can use O2’s calculator to choose your upfront cost, data allowance and the length of your plan for your mobile broadband device. Alternatively you can pick one of O2’s pre-built plans.

You can connect O2’s devices to 4G over Wi-Fi wherever available. You can also enjoy 5G speeds, if you get the network’s 5G Pocket Hotspot. The device will allow you to get connected to the internet on the go or at your home by picking up O2’s 5G signals.

5G Plans

Currently you can choose between O2’s pre-built 5G plans which are 36-month contracts, or customise your own plan and choose how much you want to pay upfront and per month. However, there’s only one router/hotspot to choose from at the moment.

The following table shows the list of available 5G mobile broadband plans currently available from O2. Unfortunately, there are no unlimited data options at the moment.

150GB£0.00 Upfront£47.95/month
75GB£0.00 Upfront£43.95/month
50GB£0.00 Upfront£39.95/month
15GB£0.00 Upfront£30.95/month
O2’s 5G mobile broadband deals are 36-month contracts.

Huawei 5G Pocket Hotspot Pro

Huawei 5G Pocket Hotspot Pro is quite decent and it’s capable of converting 5G signals to speedy Wi-Fi signals. The device potentially offers download speeds up to 1.65 Gbps, but that’s an ideal scenario and speeds are generally significantly lower. You can manage your 5G Pocket Hotspot using an app on your phone.

The 5G Pocket Hotspot Pro features an 8000mAh battery capacity. The device can stay on for more than 20 days on stand by mode. The Wi-Fi hotspot can be recharged by plugging in a USB or by using the built-in wireless charging pad.

Thanks to dual-mode networking, even 4G devices can use the 5G network over WiFi. All you have to do is insert your data SIM and turn on the device. For a secure connection, we strongly recommend using the mobile app though.

4G Plans

There are three types of offers available for customers wanting to access a 4G broadband deal from O2. You can sign up for a pre-built, long term contract, customise your own contract, or buy the device outright and use O2’s pay as you go service.

The network will separate your airtime plan and device plan, so you’ll have some flexibility and have the option to switch between plans if you want to.

At the moment, the network is selling 4G Pocket Hotspot and Pro Netgear M1 Pocket Hotspot if you want to enjoy O2’s 4G internet on the go. You can also buy a WiFi dongle, but in that case you’ll only be able to connect to the internet on a laptop or other supported devices.

The table below shows O2’s pre-built 4G broadband plans for their 4G Pocket Hotspots 2020 and WiFi Dongles. The second table shows the 4G deals available for Pro Netgear M1.

Huawei 4G Pocket Hotspot Pro

This is O2’s most popular 4G broadband device, but unfortunately it’s usually out of stock and you might have to wait a few weeks for delivery. The device provides solid 4G connectivity on the go and you can connect up to 16 devices at the same time.

As stated earlier, the network allows you to separate your airtime and device plans, and you can also personalise your very own mobile broadband contract. You can even flex your data allowance up and down once a month.

Alternatively, you can select a pre-built plan from O2. The following table shows all the available O2 plans for this device at the time of writing.

150GB£0.00 Upfront£37.38/month
75GB£0.00 Upfront£33.38/month
50GB£0.00 Upfront£29.38/month
15GB£0.00 Upfront£20.38/month
24-month Device Plan - Monthly rolling Airtime Plan

O2’s 4G Pocket Hotspot is quite easy to set up. All you have to do is put in your data SIM and turn on the router. Your device will be ready to get connected in less than a minute.

The pocket hotspot’s battery lasts for up to six hours between charges with a 1500mAh battery. It’s more than enough for watching movies, having gaming sessions and surfing the web. However, the battery will drain faster if the device isn’t getting a strong connection, and providing internet access to multiple devices at the same time. On standby, the device will stay on for up to 350 hours.

Pro Netgear M1

We really like Pro Netgear M1, because it’s a powerful pocket Wi-Fi hotspot. The device can offer download speeds of up to one Gigabit-per-second (1Gbps) and you can support 20 WiFi devices at the same time. The device has an ethernet port, so you can connect a wired device if you wish to.

You can control the device easily thanks to the free Netgear app for your smartphone or tablet. It also comes with parental controls, helping you keep the whole family safe. The device also supports dual band WiFi and has a battery life of up to 24 hours. You can also fast charge it thanks to Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology. The device can last up to 22 days on standby.

O2 also has pre-built plans for this device and the following table shows all the available O2 plans for Pro Netgear M1.

150GB£0.00 Upfront£41.84/month
75GB£0.00 Upfront£37.84/month
50GB£0.00 Upfront£33.84/month
15GB£0.00 Upfront£24.84/month
36-month Device Plan - Monthly rolling Airtime Plan

4G WiFi Dongles from O2

The network is selling three different WiFi dongles at the moment and they’re all from Huawei. You can get a Huawei 4G Dongle on O2’s PAYG and top up whenever you need or get one of their pay monthly deals and pick a mobile broadband data plan. Alternatively, you can customise your own mobile broadband plan.

You can simply plug your 4G dongle into your PC or Mac, and get online via the O2 network. You can plug the dongle in anywhere that has a USB connection and create your own hotspot. However, these dongles aren’t as powerful as mobile routers so try not to connect too many devices at one time.

The table below shows you the available pre-built plans from O2 for 4G Pocket Hotspot 2020, but make sure to check out their customise plan tool too.

150GB£0.00 Upfront£37.00/month
75GB£0.00 Upfront£33.00/month
50GB£0.00 Upfront£29.00/month
15GB£0.00 Upfront£20.00/month
36-month Device Plan - Monthly rolling Airtime Plan

Network Coverage & Data Speeds

O2s 4G network coverage covers 99% of the population. The network’s UK landmass coverage also improved drastically in the last couple of months, reaching 92% and it’s still increasing.

Looking at Open Signal’s October 2020 report, we can see that O2’s 4G download and upload speeds track behind the other mobile network operators. The network’s average 4G download speed is at 18.2Mbps and 4G upload speed is at 6.2Mbps, making O2 the slowest 4G network in the UK.

As always, we strongly recommend checking out a network’s coverage map before buying a plan or a device from them. You can read our in-depth O2 Review to learn more about the network and their SIM deals.

5G Coverage

O2’s 5G has been live since October 2019 and in the last couple of months it’s been improving at a much faster rate than its competitors. The network’s 5G service is live in 193 cities and towns in the UK. This means O2 have the most locations covered in the country.

As for data speeds, we turn to OOKLA’s (speedtest.net) October 2020 network test results. The independent testing body ranks O2 as the second fastest 5G operator in the country with an average download speed of 177Mbps.

You’ll need to have a 5G device and a 5G SIM in order to benefit from O2’s 5G service. You must also be in a 5G coverage area.

Alternative Mobile Broadband Plans

Three Mobile Broadband & Three Home Broadband

Three offers faster 4G data speeds & has comparable coverage to O2. On top of that, Three mobile broadband offers usually get you a few more extra benefits and they are considerably cheaper. If you want a mobile broadband deal from the network, you can choose between their 4G+ MiFi or Huawei B311 devices. If you already have a device, you can get a Three Data SIM and use it on anywhere in the UK and in 71 worldwide locations. Three also gives a free data SIM that comes with 200MB of data, which renews every month.

Three’s 5G Home Broadband service is not available across the country. 5G is a new technology and mobile networks are still building their infrastructure. However, if it’s available in your area, we strongly recommend getting it. Three has the fastest 5G in the UK and they have the most 5G spectrum. Their 5G router is good and requires no engineer visits to set up. It can also pick up 4G signals. You may want to read our in-depth Three Review, if you’re interested in the network’s SIM only deals.

EE Mobile Broadband

EE’s 4G and 5G routers will get you connected to the internet on the go or at your home. The network has the most 5G & 4G coverage in the country, plus they offer the fastest 4G data speeds and it isn’t close. Looking at the data we gathered from objective testing bodies like umlaut, Open Signal and OOKLA, we can easily say EE is the best 4G network in the UK. If you’re looking for a 4G broadband deal we strongly suggest checking out 4GEE WiFi Mini 2020. It’s a pocket sized Wi-Fi hotspot and it packs a punch for its size.

When it comes to 5G data speeds EE lags behind its competitors, but still has the widest 5G coverage in the country with 112 towns and cities covered. You can choose between the 5GEE Home Router with an external antenna, or their own brand 5GEE WiFi Router. Either way, you’ll get access to the internet via EE’s reliable 5G network. EE’s 5G routers also pick up 4G signals so you are covered even if you’re on the go and in an area without 5G coverage. Make sure to read our extensive EE Mobile Broadband Review to discover more! You can also have a look at our EE Review to learn more about their SIM Only deals!

Vodafone Mobile Broadband

Vodafone’s main mobile broadband offers are bundled with their 5G GigaCube and 4G GigaCube. Both devices are manufactured by Huawei and get you internet access anywhere in the UK as long as you have coverage from Vodafone in the area.

The network also sells other 4G devices such as routers, hotspots and Wi-Fi dongles. You can read our Vodafone Review to discover more about the network or check out our Vodafone Mobile Broadband Review to specifically learn more about their 5G & 4G broadband deals.

Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

Credit where it’s due, O2 has been improving both their 5G & 4G coverage at an impressive pace. However despite all the improvement, their mobile broadband service seems to still be behind the likes of EE, Three and Vodafone. Their customers continue to report the same issues with their mobile broadband service.

FAQ

Do I get O2 Priority with mobile broadband?

Unfortunately, no. O2 Priority is a great reward programme, which gets you early access to tickets for events & weekly discounts at popular retailers but it’s not available on mobile broadband deals.

Can I use O2 WiFi with my mobile broadband deal?

Yes, but it’s not an exclusive perk for O2 customers. O2 WiFi is a free service and it’s available to everyone.

Can O2 5G Pocket Hotspot also pick up 4G signals?

Yes, it can pick up both 5G and 4G signals and get you the fastest data speeds available in your area.

Can I get an O2 Mobile Broadband deal on pay as you go?

Yes, O2 allows their customers to buy their device outright and use their PAYG service.