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O2 Coverage: How Does the Network Perform?

O2 company logo

The O2 network reported over 25 million users in 2018 and this number is steadily increasing. So with such a significant customer base it’s safe to say that when it comes to mobile phone service O2 mobile is a pretty big fish. With so many users relying on O2 coverage, how does it perform in terms of quality? Let’s take a look.


The O2 mobile network

O2 is one of the four mobile networks in the UK that provide phone service infrastructure alongside Three, Vodafone and EE. Piggyback virtual mobile network operators like Sky mobile, Giffgaff and Lycamobile receive their phone signal from O2 meaning that if the O2 network is poor quality or goes down entirely, these piggyback networks may suffer as well. It’s pretty important that O2 offer a pretty darn good level of coverage, don’t you think?

How good is O2 coverage?

Mobile network tower

O2 does well for overall coverage across the UK hitting the 99% indoor mobile coverage mark across 2G, 3G and 4G networks. Ofcom reported that 87% of O2 customers surveyed were satisfied with their signal strength, the industry average for this figure. This level of satisfaction comes despite a major outage to the 4G network in December 2018 that lasted an entire day and affected all smartphone users.

O2 Network Coverage Across Service Type
Network Coverage across the UK population
2G 99%
3G 99%
4G 99%

The O2 network: how does it compare?

A coverage rate of 99% sounds pretty good, right? It does, but we think the best way to understand this figure is to see it in context. So how do the other service providers compare to O2 for overall mobile coverage?

The O2 network is mostly on par with its competitors on a 4G network, with the exception of the network Three, which comes in at 0.8% higher. With all networks ranking neck-in-neck for overall coverage it is recommended that you use a service checker to test the level of service you would receive in the areas you live in or are likely to travel to.

Network Coverage Comparison
Mobile Network 4G Coverage across the UK population
O2 99%
EE 99%
Three 99.8%
Vodaphone 99%

Download Speed

Download speed

When it comes to download speed unfortunately O2 ranks the slowest on a 4G network. If you’re looking to download speed TV series or movies to your mobile device at the drop of the hat, well this slower download speed may be an issue for you. For most people though, 15.16 Mbps will be speedy enough for day to day usage. Here’s how O2 stacks up against the other three service providers in the UK.

Download speed comparison
Mobile network 4G coverage across UK population
O2 15.16 Mbps
Three 18.8 Mbps
Vodafone 21.9 Mbps
EE 29 Mbps

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O2 free wifi

O2 free wifi hotspot location

Ok so O2 4G download speed is not the best in town but the good news is that O2 wifi hotspots are up to ten times faster than a normal mobile internet connection! Superfast wifi whilst saving on your mobile data plan? Yes, please!

Not only are there 15000 free wifi spots across the country but if you’re a Sky mobile customer you’ll be automatically connected to all of these hotspots without needing to register. Win!

Verdict

In determining whether or not O2 is the best mobile network for coverage it really depends on an individual’s needs. If one is hoping to download or stream content at lightning-fast speeds then O2 does not come out on top as a network. As for overall signal strength though, O2 does really well. If you’re thinking of joining O2 we recommend using a coverage checker to get a sense of what level of coverage is available to you in the areas you live in or are likely to travel to.

The O2 coverage checker

So what is the O2 coverage checker? It’s a handy coverage map tool that will show you the amount of coverage you’ll receive in any given postcode, town or area in the UK. Once you’ve searched for the location you want, you'll be able to see the result for 2G, 3G, 4G and 4G calling. When you receive your results they will be divided into good indoors and outdoors, good outdoors, no service for each generation.

What can be done on the different generation networks?2G = Calling, SMS and MMS. 3G = Same as 2G but you can use basic mobile internet and video calling. 4G= Same as the 3G network but faster internet speeds plus the capability for gaming services, HD streaming and internet activities that require a faster download speed. 5G= O2 release their 5G network in selected areas in September 2019. Think the 4G network but faster internet with no buffering and better service in crowded areas.

How to use the O2 coverage checker

Here at Selectra we always recommend using a coverage checker if you’re unsure whether or not a provider will offer coverage in your area. So how does it work?

  1. First you’ll need to head to the O2 coverage checker page.
  2. Enter your postcode or town into the top left-hand side of the screen.
  3. Press the enter key on your keyboard or press the search icon.
  4. Now you’ll receive your results! They will be broken down into three categories for 2G, 3G, 4G and 4G calling: Good indoors and outdoors, good outdoors, no service.

O2 network connection issues - check your status

Network issues

Something up with your O2 phone? Or do you use a provider that piggybacks off the O2 network and it’s giving you grief? Whether you’re having voice, text or data issues - this tool may be just the thing to help you out! Keep reading for a step by step guide on how to use it.

How to check your network status with O2

  1. First you’ll need to head to the O2 status page.
  2. Select the service you’re having trouble with (voice, data, text, or all of the above).
  3. Next you’ll need to enter your postcode, area or place name in the search bar at the right-hand side of the screen. If you’d rather see results for your current location, press the compass button next to the search bar.
  4. And now you’ll receive your results on the left-hand side of the screen divided into 2G, 3G, 4G and 4G calling.

O2 coverage pros and cons

So how do O2 perform for mobile coverage all things considered? Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons:

  • Slower download 4G speed than its competitors.
  • Not the highest level of network coverage in the market.
  • Free and fast wifi - saving you data.
  • Their overall network coverage is on par with most network competitors.
  • Useful tools available like status and coverage checkers.

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