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Tesco Mobile: Network Coverage and Data Speeds Review

Powered by the O2 Network, Tesco Mobile provides decent 4G coverage, but how does Tesco Mobile’s 4G coverage and download speeds compare?


Latest Offer: 100GB £17.50 p/m!

Tesco Mobile is offering a great deal with 100GB of data for just £17.50 a month w/ Clubcard perks. The O2 powered network offers unlimited minutes & texts, access to 5G and EU roaming at this great price!

Running on O2’s network, Tesco Mobile offers 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G coverage in the UK. Tesco Mobile offers decent 4G coverage with over 99% population coverage and the network’s 5G coverage is live in 75 cities and towns in the UK at the moment.

In this review, we’ll have a look at Tesco Mobile’s network coverage in the UK and see what extra features you may or may not get if you choose to purchase a Tesco Mobile tariff.

Tesco Mobile Coverage

Tesco Mobile uses O2 as its network provider and both carriers offer identical 4G network coverage, as well as identical download and upload speeds. According to Open Signal’s latest speed test results, O2’s, & therefore Tesco Mobile’s download speeds are around 18Mbps and upload speeds are around 6Mbps. Of course, the exact data speeds you get are dependent on your location.

Tesco Mobile’s network covers 99% of the UK’s population using 4G, and the network falls back to 3G and 2G for voice calls and texting when necessary. In terms of 4G network coverage and data speeds, EE is unrivalled. The network offers the fastest data speeds and the best network coverage by a long shot.

Tesco Mobile 5G Coverage

5G is the fifth generation technology standard for cellular networks and it’s the planned successor to 4G networks. It’s at least 10 times faster than 4G and offers much better latency.

Tesco Mobile’s 5G is available in 75 cities & towns, and according to OOKLA’s October 2020 speed test results the network’s average 5G download speed is at 177Mbps. This means Tesco Mobile offers the second fastest 5G data speeds in the UK at the moment.

Keep in mind that Tesco Mobile 5G deals are exclusive to pay monthly deals, & PAYG customers don’t get to enjoy 5G data speeds. You can read our Tesco Mobile 5G Review and learn everything you need to know about the network’s 5G service.

If you want to discover more about 5G and see what other networks offer, you can read Half Cooked’s 5G Networks in the UK article. You may also want to read our Three ReviewThree’s 5G Coverage comes at no extra cost and is available to all customers.

Voice Call Quality

At Half Cooked we rely on network tests performed by independent testing bodies like umlaut, Open Signal and OOKLA. They perform the most extensive network tests and produce reliable, objective results. According to umlaut’s latest network tests O2 ranked in third place with a score of ‘satisfactory’, taking over Three, but behind EE and Vodafone.

Test results indicate that the call setup times of Tesco Mobile (O2) were considerably longer than most other networks, but the network seems to be improving at a faster rate than all the others.

4G Calling & Wi-Fi Calling

Both 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling eliminate blackspots where you can’t normally stay connected, get bad reception or get no phone signal at all. They also improve the quality of your voice calls significantly. 4G Calling uses your carrier’s 4G network and utilises it to deliver HD voice calls. With Wi-Fi calling you can make and receive calls by using an available Wi-Fi network.

Sadly, Tesco Mobile doesn’t offer these voice call features. Most MVNOs skip these features to offer competitive prices. You might want to check out Sky Mobile’s offers, as it’s also using O2’s infrastructure and offers both these perks. You may want to read our Sky Mobile Review to learn what the network offers to its customers and more.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

Even though O2 offers over 16,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots, Tesco Mobile doesn’t provide any free Wi-Fi hotspots to its customers. Free Wi-Fi helps you to save your precious mobile data, and unfortunately Tesco Mobile doesn’t offer any large data plans except their unlimited data deals. On the other hand, if you’re a Tesco Clubcard Plus member, you get double data.


Nowadays most mobile devices allow you to turn them into personal Wi-Fi hotspots. This is also known as tethering. When you’re tethering you share your data connection with other devices such as other smartphones, tablets and laptops etc.

Tesco Mobile allows you to tether at no extra cost on all their plans. You can even tether when you’re using their traditional PAYG service, however you’ll be charged Tesco Mobile’s standard rates.

We’d like to remind you that tethering eats up your data at a much faster rate and you might want to sign up for an unlimited data deal, if you plan to tether regularly. If you’re looking for a cheap deal with limitless data, SMARTY might be the best network for you. Make sure to read our SMARTY Review before you make your final decision though!

International Roaming

Tesco Mobile’s international roaming isn’t anything special. The network’s roaming scheme is called ‘Home From Home’ and it lets you take your minutes, texts and data with you to 48 destinations in Europe.

Home From Home Destinations
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland (Republic of), Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Azores, Canary Islands, French Guyana, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Iceland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Madeira, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Norway, Reunion, San Marino, St. Martin, St. Barts, Switzerland, Vatican City.

Tesco Mobile’s fair usage limit is 15GB of data in the Republic of Ireland and up to 7GB while roaming in the EU.

If you’re travelling outside the EU zone we strongly recommend you to check Three’s Go Roam or Vodafone’s Global Roaming Plus. Alternatively, you can read Half Cooked’s extensive global roaming guide to discover all the other options.