O2 is a mobile network that has a strong 2G network but one of the weaker and less expansive 3G networks. It also throttles its PAYG customers compared to its contract customers. However, the network is much stronger in large conurbations for mobile data so if you live in a city centre rather than the countryside you’ll probably find your signal quality and download speeds are much high. You can check the O2 coverage map to find out exactly how good the signal strength is in your local area.
O2 launched its 4G mobile network in August. It acquired the third largest amount of spectrum in the Ofcom auction and originally only covered three cities. They predict that they will have 98% 4G coverage by 2015 and only use the 800 MHz frequency.
O2 currently has 4G connectivity in: Antrim, Bradford, Birmingham,Bridgend, Brighton, Burnley, Coleraine, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Leigh, Liverpool, Livingston, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, London, Macclesfield, Newtownabbey, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Pontypool, St Albans, Sittingbourne and Tamworth.
O2 is one of the oldest mobile phone networks. It started off in the UK as being owned by British Telecom, the old phone monopoly. Way back in 1999 it was branded as BT Cellnet and is one of the country’s few non-virtual mobile phone networks. Since 2002 it has been called O2 after a buyout by Spanish company Telefónica.
Since it operates all its own hardware and network infrastructure, it has complete control over signal and coverage. O2 has good legacy 2G coverage but since the advent of 3G it has been trying hard to catch up. Compared to other mobile networks its 3G coverage isn’t the best. However, having said that, it is very good indeed in built-up areas such as towns and cities and the download speeds for mobile internet are usually very strong. As the 2G coverage is good you’ll have some sort of signal pretty much everywhere but it’s worth checking the precise situation using the coverage map mentioned on this page.