O2 has launched its 5G network in six locations across the UK, with a range of new tariffs, including an unlimited data option, at the same price as its 4G equivalents. The network has also released an exclusive partnership tariff with Oculus from Facebook and MelodyVR, which delivers VR music experiences.
The 5G network is launching initially in London, Leeds, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Slough (home to O2’s UK headquarters in case anyone thinks it’s a random choice – Ed.), though not in all parts of those cities.
As O2 puts it, “the network will initially switch on where it’s needed most, including busy footfall areas around London Waterloo and Kings Cross; Haymarket in Edinburgh; Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds; and Belfast South city centre; or in busy match-day hotspots around Twickenham or the Emirates Stadium.”
The network will be live in a total of 20 towns and cities by the end of the year, and 50 by summer 2020. It is being built by Ericsson and Nokia.
“Today is a significant moment for our customers and our business as we switch on the O2 5G network,” said Telefónica UK CEO, Mark Evans. “We’re launching with a range of tariffs that make it easy and fair for customers to access 5G, with flexible plans that cost no more than 4G. We’re also switching on 5G in important parts of towns and cities first, places where it will benefit customers and businesses most.
“I believe 5G is going to revolutionise the way people and businesses use mobile connectivity, unlocking huge possibilities for our economy and society. No one in the country has all the answers today, but I’m excited about getting it into the hands of our customers and working with leading partners to help shape the future of 5G for the next generation.”
Matt Warman, Digital Minister, described O2’s investment in 5G as: “a great step forward in rolling out the technology across our home nations, providing world-class infrastructure to help us grow our economy and compete strongly."
O2’s plans allow customers to move from a Refresh tariff onto 5G at any time they choose. Tariffs come with 12 months subscription to MelodyVR and an Oculus Go virtual reality headset.
O2 currently offers four 5G-enabled devices, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G; Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G; Samsung Galaxy A90 (5G); and the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G.
O2 has also launched 5G business tariffs to suit businesses of every size, whatever their data requirements. SMB and Enterprise customers will benefit from the ‘no premium’ 5G Access bolt-on, which can be added to a customer’s subscription, without the need to change their contract. O2 said it will announce more announced in the following months. The network also plans to launch new 5G Wayra innovation spaces across the UK to make next-generation 5G test environments accessible to businesses of all sizes.