O2 announce 5G launch plans

The network that runs giffgaff, Sky Mobile and Tesco Mobile is to start rolling out 5G in October.

As with the other 5G UK networks, they’ll be concentrating on areas that need the speed boost the most, with key areas of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds getting the 5G fun first. In total, O2 has confirmed to us that 20 towns and cities will be going live this year and a total of 50 by summer next year.

The network has identified areas which need to have capacity and reliability improved, with business areas, entertainment and sports venues including The O2 and Twickenham Stadium getting in on the action.

To benefit from all this you’ll of course need a 5G phone, and O2 are offering the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G from August 8th. They’ll also offer the Xiaomi Mix 3 5G later that same month. There will be further 5G phones on the horizon.

Pricing hasn’t been revealed as yet, but O2 tell me that ..

Industry-leading custom plans ensure that customers have the flexibility to take advantage of 5G on their terms. Customers on O2 custom plans can move to 5G at any time they chose. For customers who want to stick with their current handset, custom plans gives them the flexibility to trade in their existing non-5G handset and take out a new 5G handset and tariff any time after launch.

O2 5G will also be used by the likes of Northumbrian Water, who are assessing how 5G smart sensors can help proactively monitor water quality and detect and reduce leaks to reduce water waste. They’re even using 5G-enabled AR headsets for real-time support, putting instructions onto the engineer’s AR headset. Network Rail is also discussing 5G test environments.

Although 5G is the “new thing”, the network will continue to invest in 4G, upgrading its 4G network across the country. O2 currently offers 4G in almost 19,000 cities, towns and villages across the UK and spends the equivalent of £2 million a day on maintaining and building this.

Further details on which towns and cities will be covered can be found below. Strangely Birmingham is not listed to go live this year at all.

Head to the O2 website for more info.