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O2 Extends Ultrafast 5G Mobile Network to 108 UK Locations

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 3,216
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Mobile operator O2 has today announced that their new ultrafast 5G based mobile broadband network has been extended to cover a total of 108 UK towns and cities (up from 60 in June 2020), which puts their rollout ahead of schedule and includes locations such as Milton Keynes, Ipswich and Chelmsford.

Unlike other operators, which were hit hard after the Government’s U-turn in July to ban “high risk vendorHuawei from future 5G deployments (here), O2 seems to be benefited from their early decision to go with solutions from rivals Nokia and Ericsson instead. Suffice to say that this is enabling them to catch-up, despite having an otherwise late start to deployment in October 2019.

NOTE: O2’s 5G attracts no premium and includes its “Limitless” plan for unlimited data.

However, the operator, much like some of their rivals, currently only has access to a limited 40MHz slice of the 3.4GHz band, which will make it difficult for them to deliver on 5G’s much hyped gigabit speeds. Further radio spectrum bands are due to be auctioned off by Ofcom at the start of 2021 and that should help.

The 108 UK 5G Locations

Aberdeen, Ashford, Aughton, Aylesbury, Banstead, Basildon, Beaconsfield, Bedford, Belfast, Birmingham, Blaydon, Bradford, Bridge of Don, Brighton, Bristol, Bury St Edmunds, Byfleet, Cambridge, Cardiff, Chadwell St Mary, Chatham, Chelmsford, Chesterfield, Chipstead, Colchester, Coventry, Dartford, Derby, Dewsbury, Doncaster, Dundee, Durham, Dyce, Eastbourne, Edinburgh, Epsom, Esher, Eton and Windsor, Gateshead, Gatton Bottom, Gillingham, Glasgow, Gravesend, Grays, Great Yarmouth, Halifax, Harlington, Harlow, Hemel Hempstead, Hextable, High Wycombe, Hove, How Wood, Huddersfield, Hull, Ipswich, Jarrow, Leeds, Leicester, Lincoln, Lisburn, Liverpool, London, Longford, Loughborough, Lowestoft, Luton, Manchester, Mansfield, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Morley, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newtownabbey, North Shields, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Orpington, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Rainham, Redhill, Rotherham, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Rugby, Sheffield, Shepperton Green, Slough, South Shields, Southend-On-Sea, Staines, Stevenage, Stockton, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunbury, Sunderland, Thundersley, Tynemouth, Warrington, Washington, Weybridge, Whickham, Whitley Bay, Worthing, York.

Take note that O2 are only just starting to deploy 5G in many of the aforementioned areas. Indeed, it often takes a while before coverage levels can realistically match that of their existing 4G infrastructure.

Derek McManus, COO of O2, said:

“When we launched 5G last October [2019], we said it was the first step on a journey. One year on and we have made some incredible progress, not just in terms of our roll-out but in bringing about new capabilities that will make real changes to people’s everyday lives.

No one could have predicted the way this year has turned out, and that almost overnight, customers would turn to their networks more than ever before to keep them connected to loved ones, colleagues and suppliers. Connectivity has never been more important, and we want our network to continue to raise the bar.

We firmly believe 5G has a role in helping to rebuild Britain, unlocking huge possibilities for our economy and society. We’re excited to keep pushing ahead with our rollout along with our partners Ericson and Nokia, to keep supporting our customers, businesses and society.”

We should add that O2 are also actively involved in various 5G centric technology pilots, such as one with the Northumbrian Water Group that enables technicians to remotely guide on-the-ground teams through complex tasks using augmented reality (AR) technology.

On top of that there’s another project that involves connecting to autonomous vehicles (CAVs) and one that will help the NHS to trial a fully connected 5G powered “clinic-on-wheels” in order to track COVID-19 at six care homes in Glasgow. Lest we also forget about the various 5G accelerators in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry.

All of this will no doubt help to benefit their merger agreement with cable broadband ISP Virgin Media, which will hopefully get the final green light soon – provided the UK and EU competition authorities can stop bickering over who should get the final say.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
16 Responses
  1. adslmax says:

    Telford get nothing on 5G

    1. DaveD says:

      We are always one of the last.

    2. Daniel jacobs says:

      There is 5g in telford only on three atm its live in donnington wrockwarddine wood aera and parts of brookside but not in my postcode yet

    3. Joe bloggs says:

      Same i am from Telford and i admitt it i hate virgin media as there are overpriced sadley no 5g in my postcode on three or any mobile network so forced to stay with virgin as they are faster than sky bt ect

  2. Carl says:

    Three had 5g in Chester for 10 minutes on Sunday, then disappeared.

    Hopefully not too much longer they just completed the big network build in my area and went fro. 0.1mbps to 60mbps or more in the past week.

    No network has 5g here yet which is a shame.

  3. JitteryPinger says:

    There’s like 1 mast broadcasting 5G is Birmingham…. Hardly say that’s got it covered.

    1. Gary says:

      Is it the closest one to the O2 shop 🙂

    2. JitteryPinger says:

      Lmao yep!

  4. Sam says:

    Still really patchy, This is just to push iPhone sales. 5G wont be widely available for another 2/3 years yet.

  5. Paul N says:

    Three has been offering 5G in my town for a year.

    Only problem is that it’s about 500 square metres on an industrial estate. Just one site. But they still claim “We’ve got 5G in your town!”. I suppose it’s technically true, but it seems disingenuous.

    I’d be really interested in seeing an O2 5G test compared to the other 5G networks. Only a couple of years back, ofcom said they were the slowest network for data. They improved massively since then though.

    1. Gareth says:

      Same in Bolton! Three have stuck one mast that covers a couple of streets and maybe a few thousand people, the other 200,000 people apparently don’t need 5G 🙂

    2. Andrew says:

      In Burnley I get under 2mbps on 4g plus when you contact them were looking into the problem sir 6 month into a contract still same speeds but if I leave I’m punished let’s hope 5g brings 4g speeds in my town

  6. Buggerlugz says:

    Unless the carriers are going to connect mesh network across towns and cities to their 5g masts its nothing more than a publicity stunt.

  7. freddie says:

    O2 Ultrafast haha!

    I hope it’s better than the 4G shizzle – just had to end a contract mid term as I was getting a whopping 1.6mbps down and 2.3mbps up and was able to use a massive 1.5GB out of my 120GB allowance (managed to use 30GB last month but i was in Sheffield which is 300 miles away)

    2 nasts pointed our way – one 2100mhz one 800 mhz and we are 300 yards from where the 800mhz signal ends (according to cellmapper) but in the shop they got good speeds (which is 1/2 a mile away) but they didn’t say they had a booster in the back! This is the same shop that is currently selling the Iphone 12 on 5G even though we ain’t on that list and won’t be for a while – a lot of upset people as around here they aren’t too bright on the best day.

    Anyway – o2 5G is going to be LOL in many areas, mine included.

    1. MartinConf says:


      Not very nice to talk about the other inmates like that 🙂

  8. Radek says:

    Seriously Mansfield is on that list. They are running one mast around Kingsmill Hospital that covers max 300m2. This state has been for last 6 months. 1 antenna for 6 months great coverage!

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