Mobile Networks Using Coverage From O2 & The Best Value Deals

February 2nd, 2016

You don’t need to be an O2 customer to get coverage from O2. Find out which other mobile networks piggyback on the O2 signal & the best deals currently available with O2 coverage.

O2 Coverage Map 2016

O2 has 99% population coverage. You can also access O2 coverage from giffgaff, Lycamobile and Tesco Mobile.

In the UK, there are only four “real” mobile networks: EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. All other mobile networks piggyback on one of the four coverage providers. This means you can still get fantastic nationwide coverage using a lesser-known mobile network which charges less than the big four.

For anyone wanting coverage from O2, there’s currently a choice of four different mobile networks. The first choice is getting a SIM card directly from O2. The prices will tend to be higher than on average but you’ll get all the bells and whistles like O2 Priority Moments. For a lower-cost alternative, you can instead get a SIM card from giffgaff, Lycamobile or Tesco Mobile. You’ll get exactly the same coverage, including high-speed 4G internet, but often at a much lower price compared to on O2. The drawback is you won’t have access to O2 customer exclusives like the Priority Moments app.

In this article, we’ll find out which mobile networks are using coverage from O2. We’ll then go on to compare the best value SIM cards giving you coverage from O2.

Mobile Networks Using O2 Coverage

In the UK, there are currently four mobile networks using coverage from O2:

  • giffgaff is a fully-owned subsidiary of O2, giving you much lower prices but without an O2-branded service.
  • Lycamobile is a specialist provider of international calling. They allow you to call abroad from as little as 1p/minute.
  • Finally, Tesco Mobile is another low-cost network. Tesco Mobile is run as a joint venture between O2 and Tesco.

In 2016, Sky is due to launch a new mobile phone service using coverage from O2. TalkTalk is also planning to move their mobile phone service to O2 in the future (they’re currently still using coverage from Vodafone).

Best SIM Cards With O2 Coverage (By Price):

O2 MVNO Brands

You can often get a better value deal on O2 MVNOs such as giffgaff and Tesco Mobile.

A low-cost SIM card from giffgaff or Tesco Mobile offers you the exact same coverage as on O2, often for a much lower price. giffgaff is our top choice if you want ultimate flexibility: their goodybags are offered on Pay As You Go so you’re able to change your plan every month. If you’re willing to sign a Pay Monthly contract, Tesco Mobile can sometimes offer an even better deal. However, you’ll normally need to sign up for a 12 month or 18 month contract to get the best deals.

In the rest of this article, we’ll list and compare the best value SIM cards with coverage from O2. We’ve split all of the available tariffs by price range and by type. In the tables below, you’ll see the deals split up into two separate columns: Pay Monthly contracts are listed on the left and Pay As You Go bundles are listed on the right.

Please select your preferred price range to see a list of currently available deals:

Less than £10/month

5 Pound Note

If you’re a fairly light user, O2’s cheapest available SIM-only deal is their £9.50/month tariff which gives you 250 minutes, unlimited texts and 250MB of 4G internet (you’ll need to sign a 12 month contract to get this deal). On giffgaff and Lycamobile, the cheapest available deals start from £5/month (this is on a Pay As You Go bundle so there is no need to sign any contracts).

Our recommended deal for light users wanting coverage from O2 is the £7.50/month tariffs from Tesco Mobile and giffgaff. On Tesco Mobile, you’ll get 250 minutes, 5000 texts and 500MB of 4G internet for £7.50/month (this is on a 12 month contract). On giffgaff, you’ll also get unlimited text messages and there’s no need to sign any contracts (the £7.50 goodybag can be changed every month).

The following table shows SIM cards available with coverage from O2 for less than £10/month:

Pay Monthly

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Tesco Mobile2505,000500MB£7.50

Pay As You Go

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaff125500100MB£5.00
Lycamobile10010050MB£5.00
giffgaff250Unlimited500MB£7.50
Lycamobile150150500MB£7.50

From £10/month

10 Pound NoteFrom £10/month, there’s a wide variety of SIM cards available with coverage from O2.

On a Pay Monthly contract, Tesco Mobile has the widest choice of tariffs. Their best deals, however, require you to sign either a 12-month or 18-month contract (you can hover your mouse over the mobile network logo for more information about the length of the contract).

On Pay As You Go, O2 offers a £10 Big Bundle with 250 minutes, 1000 texts and 500MB of 4G internet. As our recommended alternative, it’s worth trying out the £10 goodybag from giffgaff. With giffgaff, you’ll get 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of 4G data for the same monthly price (that’s twice as many minutes and double the data compared to on O2’s Big Bundle). A similar deal is also available on Lycamobile’s £10 UK Plus bundle.

Pay Monthly

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Tesco Mobile5005,0002GB£10.00
Tesco Mobile1,0005,0001GB£10.00
Tesco Mobile5005,0001GB£10.00
Tesco Mobile1,0005,000500MB£10.00
Tesco Mobile5005,000500MB£10.00
O2250Unlimited250MB£10.00
Tesco Mobile2505,0002GB£11.00
O2250Unlimited250MB£12.00
Tesco Mobile1,0005,0004GB£12.50
Tesco Mobile1,0005,0002GB£12.50
Tesco Mobile5005,0002GB£12.50
Tesco Mobile1,0005,0001GB£12.50
Tesco Mobile5005,0001GB£12.50
O2500Unlimited500MB£12.50
O2500Unlimited500MB£14.50

Pay As You Go

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaff500Unlimited1GB£10.00
Lycamobile500Unlimited1GB£10.00
O21001001GB£10.00
O22501,000500MB£10.00
Lycamobile1,000Unlimited2GB£12.00
giffgaff500Unlimited2GB£12.00

From £15/month

15 Pound NotesAt the £15/month price point, there are a variety of Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go SIM cards with coverage from O2.

Our recommendation is giffgaff’s £15 goodybag on Pay As You Go. This will give you 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of 4G internet per month. As it’s a Pay As You Go bundle, there are no credit checks and no contracts to sign. You also have complete control over the amount you spend and there is ultimate flexibility to change your tariff at any time.

The following SIM cards will give you coverage from O2 from £15/month:

Pay Monthly

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Tesco Mobile3,0005,0003GB£15.00
Tesco Mobile3,0005,0002GB£15.00
Tesco Mobile1,5005,0001GB£15.00
O21,000Unlimited1GB£15.00
Tesco Mobile7505,0004GB£16.00
O21,000Unlimited1GB£17.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,0003GB£17.50
Tesco Mobile3,0005,0002GB£17.50
O2UnlimitedUnlimited2GB£18.00
Tesco Mobile7505,0008GB£19.00

Pay As You Go

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaff1,000Unlimited4GB£15.00
Lycamobile1,000Unlimited4GB£15.00
O27502,0002GB£15.00
giffgaff2,000Unlimited6GB£18.00
Lycamobile2,000Unlimited5GB£18.00

£20/month and more

20 Pound NoteThere are a number of SIM cards available from £20/month and more.

A notable tariff at the £20/month price point is giffgaff’s £20 goodybag with Always On data. This gives you unlimited downloads with 4G internet and tethering on the first 6GB per month. You’ll also get 2000 minutes and unlimited text messages.

The following SIM cards will give you coverage from O2 for £20/month or more:

Pay Monthly

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Tesco Mobile7505,00020GB£20.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited10GB£20.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,0003GB£20.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited2GB£20.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,0006GB£22.50
O2UnlimitedUnlimited4GB£24.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£25.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,0006GB£25.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited8GB£30.00

Pay As You Go

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£20.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£20.00
O21,5004,0003GB£20.00
O23,0004,0005GB£25.00
O23,0004,00020GB£30.00

For more information about data speeds and tethering, you can hover your mouse over the data allowances in the table above. For Pay Monthly contracts, hover your mouse over the mobile network’s logo for information about the length of the contract.

More Information

For further information about mobile coverage in the UK, please see our in-depth guide on this topic. You may also be interested in reading our mobile network reviews (we have in-depth reviews of O2, giffgaff, Lycamobile and Tesco Mobile). Finally, before you sign up to either of these four networks, it’s worth checking O2’s online coverage map. This is the best way of making sure you can get a signal in your area.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

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