Networks like giffgaff, Lycamobile, Sky Mobile and Tesco Mobile piggyback on O2’s network for coverage.

The UK has only four network coverage providers: EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. Alongside them, there are a number of “virtual network operators” that piggyback on coverage from one of the four big networks.

If you’d like access to O2’s coverage on your phone, it isn’t always necessary to be an O2 customer. This is because you can also get an O2 signal when you’re using a SIM card from giffgaff, Lycamobile, Sky Mobile or Tesco Mobile.

In this article, we’ll present a list of mobile networks that offer coverage from O2. We’ll start by looking at some of the best value deals with O2 coverage including SIM-only deals, unlimited data plans and Pay As You Go bundles. We’ll then look at each mobile network in more detail, including the specific features and plans they offer.

O2 Coverage: 99% UK population coverage
Networks Using O2:
5G Coverage:

Available in 193 UK towns and cities from:

Best Unlimited Data Plan: £26/month on O2
(with 5G coverage and 6 months free Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video)
Best Pay As You Go Bundle: 10GB data for £10/month on giffgaff
(£10 golden goodybag with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts & 10GB data)

Overview Of Networks Using O2

Aside from O2, there are four other mobile networks that also offer coverage from O2’s network in the UK. These networks are giffgaff, Lycamobile, Sky Mobile and Tesco Mobile.

If you’re using one of these four networks, you’ll get the same coverage as customers on O2. However, you’ll pay a different price for your plan. You may also have different features and benefits on your plan.

The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of mobile networks using coverage from O2:

Mobile Network Plans From O2 Coverage Key Features
giffgaff £6/month 4G & 5G
  • No contract & no credit check on all plans
Lycamobile £5/month 4G
  • Low-cost international calls
O2 £10/month 4G & 5G
  • Access to O2 Priority app & offers
  • 6 months free Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video
Sky Mobile £6/month 4G & 5G
  • Unlimited streaming on Sky TV apps
Tesco Mobile £7.50/month 4G & 5G

You’ll only have access to O2’s 5G network if you’re using a 5G-ready plan from giffgaff, O2, Sky Mobile or Tesco Mobile. If you’re using a 4G plan, you’ll be restricted to coverage from O2’s 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

SIM Only Plans

If you’re looking for a low-cost SIM-only deal, you can choose from a range of plans at giffgaff, Sky Mobile and Tesco Mobile in addition to O2:

  • giffgaff tends to be a good option if you’re looking for lots of flexibility as all of their plans are available with no contract and no credit check. This also gives you the flexibility to change your plan every month (e.g. upgrading to a plan with more data or downgrading to a cheaper plan to save some money).
  • O2 gives you 6 months of free Disney+ or another O2 Extra on their SIM-only plans. You’ll also get access to exclusive discounts and offers through the O2 Priority app (e.g. a free coffee from Caffè Nero each week).
  • Sky Mobile offers SIM-only deals with unlimited data for streaming through Sky TV apps (e.g. for streaming Sky Go or Sky Sports on your phone). You’ll also be able to store unused data within your Sky Piggybank for up to 3 years.
  • Tesco Mobile offers SIM cards on a 12-month and 18-month contract. You can earn Tesco Clubcard points on all of your Tesco Mobile spend. Tesco Clubcard Plus members will also get double data on their Tesco Mobile plan.

The following table shows a selection of the best value SIM cards that use O2 coverage:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£6.00
12 months
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£8.00
12 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited25GB£12.00
12 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£14.00
18 months
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£25.00
1 month

You can compare the full range of available SIM-only deals using our interactive comparison tool.

5G SIM Only Plans

If you want access to O2’s 5G network in 193 UK towns and cities, you can choose a 5G-ready plan from one of the following providers:

  • giffgaff offers 5G coverage to members choosing a golden goodybag from £10 per month. Regular goodybags are limited to 4G.
  • O2 offers 5G at no extra cost on all of their Pay Monthly plans, as long as you tell them you have a 5G phone when signing up.
  • Sky Mobile offers 5G at no extra cost when you sign up to their Sky VIP loyalty programme (free to join). If you’re not a Sky VIP member, it will cost you an extra £5/month for 5G.
  • Tesco Mobile offers a range of 5G-ready SIM cards from £7.50/month.

The following table shows a selection of the best value SIM cards with 5G coverage from O2:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£14.00
18 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited150GB£20.00
24 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited250GB£23.00
24 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£26.00
24 months

Unlimited Data Plans

If you’d like an unlimited data plan with coverage from O2, you can currently choose between unlimited data SIM cards from giffgaff, O2 and Tesco Mobile.

On giffgaff, you can get Always-On data for £25 per month. This gives you unlimited downloads with 4G speeds on the first 80GB per month. If you want unlimited data with uncapped download speeds on 5G, you’ll need to pay £35 for giffgaff’s golden goodybag with unlimited data.

On Tesco Mobile, unlimited data is available from £27.50 per month. Meanwhile, you can get an O2 unlimited data plan for £26 per month. Both O2 and Tesco Mobile offer uncapped 5G speeds on their plan.

The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of unlimited data plans using coverage from O2:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£25.00
1 month
O2UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£26.00
24 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£27.50
18 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£30.00
12 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£33.00
12 months
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£35.00
1 month
O2UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£36.00
1 month

For more information, see our full guide to unlimited data plans in the UK.

Pay As You Go Plans

If you’re looking for a Pay As You Go service that offers coverage from O2, it’s possible to choose from one of the following providers:

  • giffgaff: You can use giffgaff on a Pay As You Go basis without a regular monthly fee. You’ll just pay 25p/minute, 10p/text and 10p/MB. Alternatively, you can get a one-month goodybag from £6 which comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and some data included.
  • Lycamobile: In the UK, Lycamobile also offers Pay As You Go plans with low-cost international calls.
  • O2 Big Bundles: You can use O2’s Big Bundles plan on Pay As You Go without the need for a credit check. Bundles start from £5/month with unlimited minutes & texts. You can get a bundle with inclusive data from £10/month.

The following table shows a selection of the best Pay As You Go bundles using coverage from O2:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited500MB£6.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£8.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£10.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£20.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£25.00

For more information, see our guide to the best Pay As You Go SIM cards in the UK.

Mobile Networks Using O2 Coverage

In the following section, we’ll look at each of the mobile networks using coverage from O2 in more detail.

giffgaff

If you’re looking for a low-cost SIM card with coverage from O2, giffgaff offers goodybag bundles from £6 without the need for a credit check. All of giffgaff’s plans are available on a one-month rolling basis, allowing you to change it or to cancel it whenever you like.

The following table shows giffgaff’s goodybag plans:

TariffMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
£6 GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited500MB£6.00
£8 GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£8.00
£10 Golden GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£10.00
£12 GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£12.00
£15 Golden GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited25GB£15.00
£20 Golden GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£20.00
£25 GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£25.00
£35 Golden GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£35.00

If you choose a golden goodybag from £10 per month, you’ll get access to O2’s 5G network if you’re using a 5G-ready phone. Other goodybags are currently restricted to 4G coverage, including the £25 goodybag with Always-On data. This gives you unlimited data with 4G speeds on the first 80GB per month, followed by speeds of up to 384kbps between 8am and midnight for the rest of the month.

It’s also possible to use giffgaff on a pure Pay As You Go basis without the need to top-up your phone every month. If you do this, you’ll pay 25p/minute, 10p/text and 10p/MB.

Plans From Key Benefits Contract Length Coverage

£6/month

Flexible plans with no credit check

No contract

5G Coverage
(Golden Goodybags)
5G coverage is only available when you have a giffgaff golden goodybag from £10 per month.
giffgaff’s £25 Always On goodybag gives you unlimited data with 4G speeds on the first 80GB per month.

For more information, see our giffgaff review.

Lycamobile

In the UK, Lycamobile offers Pay As You Go plans with low-cost international calling. You can get a Lycamobile bundle from £5/month, with extra data and discounts available when you order your SIM card online:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
Lycamobile
UK Plan Smart
1,000
+100 intl.
1,0002GB
(1GB offline)
£5.00
Lycamobile
National Plus
Unlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited10GB
(6GB offline)
£10.00
Lycamobile
All In One 10
Unlimited
+500 intl.
Unlimited6GB
(3GB offline)
£10.00
Lycamobile
UK Plan Super Plus
Unlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited25GB£15.00
Lycamobile
All In One Plus 15
Unlimited
+unltd intl.
Unlimited15GB
(7GB offline)
£15.00
Lycamobile
UK Plan Mega Plus
Unlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited100GB£20.00
Lycamobile
All In One Plus 20
Unlimited
+unltd intl.
Unlimited20GB
(10GB offline)
£20.00
Lycamobile
Go Unlimited
Unlimited
+100 intl.
UnlimitedUnlimited£25.00
Lycamobile
Go Unlimited Plus
Unlimited
+unltd intl.
UnlimitedUnlimited£30.00

The following table shows the key things to know about plans on Lycamobile:

Plans From Key Benefits Contract Length Coverage

£5/month

Low-cost international calls

No contract

4G Coverage

For more information, see our Lycamobile review.

O2

At present, it’s possible to get a SIM-only deal on O2 from £10/month.

The two main benefits of joining O2 as a direct customer are that you’ll get access to the O2 Priority app along with 6 months of free Disney+ (or a different O2 Extra such as Amazon Prime Video if you prefer).

The following table shows O2’s best value SIM-only deals:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
O2UnlimitedUnlimited5GB£10.00
24 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited12GB£14.00
24 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited25GB£16.00
24 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited60GB£18.00
24 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited150GB£20.00
24 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited250GB£23.00
24 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£26.00
24 months

You’ll get access to 5G at no extra cost on all of O2’s Pay Monthly plans. Simply tell them you have a 5G phone when you sign up.

You can also use O2 on a Pay As You Go basis without the need for a contract or credit check. O2’s Big Bundles are available from £5/month with unlimited minutes & unlimited texts, or from £10/month if you’d like an inclusive allowance of data to go with it.

Plans From Key Benefits Contract Length Coverage

£10/month

O2 Priority & free Disney+

1, 18 or 24 months
(no contract bundles available)

5G Coverage
(Pay Monthly plans)
O2 unlimited data plans are available from £26 per month.
O2 also offers Big Bundles from £5 on Pay As You Go with no credit check & 4G coverage.

O2 also offers a range of phones on an O2 Refresh Pay Monthly plan. For more information, see our guide to O2.

Sky Mobile

On Sky Mobile, you can get a SIM-only deal from just £6 per month.

All Sky Mobile plans include unlimited data for streaming on Sky TV apps including Sky Go, Sky Sports Mobile TV, Sky Cinema and more (you’ll still need to pay for a subscription to the relevant service on your TV). You’ll also benefit from data rollover with your unused data being stored in a piggybank for up to 3 years.

Sky Mobile’s SIM-only deals are as follows:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£6.00
12 months
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£8.00
12 months
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£10.00
12 months
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£12.00
12 months
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£15.00
12 months
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited50GB£25.00
12 months

You’ll get access to 5G at no extra cost on Sky Mobile when you sign up for Sky VIP (which is free to join). Otherwise, access to 5G on Sky Mobile will cost you an extra £5 per month after the first month.

Customers buying a Pay Monthly phone from Sky can benefit from Swap Pay Monthly plans. These plans will allow you to upgrade your phone, every 12 months or every 24 months.

Plans From Key Benefits Contract Length Coverage

£6/month

Unlimited Sky TV app streaming

12 months

5G Coverage
(with Sky VIP)
Unused data from your Sky Mobile SIM can be stored in your Sky Piggybank for up to 3 years.
5G is available at no extra cost when you join Sky VIP for free (otherwise, an extra £5 per month).

For more information, see our Sky Mobile review. You can also read our in-depth guide about the coverage on Sky Mobile.

Tesco Mobile

On Tesco Mobile, you can get a SIM card with O2 coverage from just £7.50 per month. Tesco’s SIM-only deals tend to offer very good value, especially in the £6 to £15 per month price range.

You’ll earn Tesco Clubcard points on all of your spending at Tesco Mobile. In addition, if you’re a Clubcard Plus customer, you’ll get double data on your plan as well.

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£7.50
18 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£7.50
12 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£9.00
18 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£14.00
18 months

The following table shows the key things to know about Tesco Mobile:

Plans From Key Benefits Contract Length Coverage

£7.50/month

Tesco Clubcard points & benefits

12 or 18 months

5G Coverage
Tesco Clubcard Plus members get double data on all Tesco Mobile plans.
Unlimited data is available on Tesco Mobile for £27.50 per month.

For more information, see our Tesco Mobile review.

Other Networks

You’ll also get O2 coverage if you’re using a SIM card from CUniq UK. This is a specialist mobile network from China Unicom and is targeted at the Chinese expatriate community in the UK.

In the past, TalkTalk had announced their intentions to launch a mobile network using coverage from O2. However, this arrangement was cancelled in 2018. TalkTalk customers were instead offered a discounted SIM card from O2.

Compare O2 Coverage Deals

If you’d like to compare all of the SIM-only deals using coverage from O2, you can use the following interactive comparison tool.

Start by choosing how much data you’d like, followed by the contract length you’d be happy to sign up for, and the mobile networks you’re considering. You’ll then be shown a list of available deals that match your criteria.

How much data do you want on your plan each month?

How long are you willing to commit for on a contract?

Which networks would you be happy to take a plan from?

Showing 70 of 70 price plans that match your criteria

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
Lycamobile1,0001,0002GB£5.00
No contract
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£6.00
12 months
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited500MB£6.00
No contract
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£7.50
18 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£7.50
12 months
Tesco Mobile5005,0002GB£7.50
No contract
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£8.00
12 months
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£8.00
No contract
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£9.00
18 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£10.00
12 months
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£10.00
12 months
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£10.00
No contract
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£10.00
No contract
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00010GB£10.00
No contract
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£10.00
No contract
O2UnlimitedUnlimited7GB£10.00
No contract
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£10.00
No contract
O2UnlimitedUnlimited5GB£10.00
24 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited25GB£12.00
12 months
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£12.00
12 months
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£12.00
No contract
O2UnlimitedUnlimited1GB£12.00
12 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited25GB£12.50
18 months
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00015GB£12.50
No contract
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£14.00
18 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited12GB£14.00
24 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited50GB£15.00
18 months
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£15.00
12 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited25GB£15.00
12 months
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited25GB£15.00
No contract
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited25GB£15.00
No contract
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00025GB£15.00
No contract
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£15.00
No contract
O2UnlimitedUnlimited15GB£15.00
No contract
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£15.00
No contract
O2UnlimitedUnlimited5GB£15.00
12 months
O21,000Unlimited1GB£15.00
1 month
O2UnlimitedUnlimited25GB£16.00
24 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£17.50
18 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited50GB£17.50
12 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited60GB£18.00
24 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£18.00
12 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited3GB£18.00
1 month
O2UnlimitedUnlimited150GB£20.00
24 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£20.00
12 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited100GB£20.00
12 months
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£20.00
No contract
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£20.00
No contract
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited80GB£20.00
No contract
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00050GB£20.00
No contract
O2UnlimitedUnlimited30GB£20.00
No contract
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£20.00
No contract
O2UnlimitedUnlimited9GB£21.00
1 month
O2UnlimitedUnlimited250GB£23.00
24 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited15GB£23.00
1 month
O2UnlimitedUnlimited150GB£24.00
12 months
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£25.00
No contract
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£25.00
No contract
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited50GB£25.00
12 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited25GB£25.00
1 month
O2UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£26.00
24 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£27.50
18 months
O2UnlimitedUnlimited250GB£28.00
12 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£30.00
12 months
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£30.00
No contract
O2UnlimitedUnlimited100GB£30.00
No contract
O2UnlimitedUnlimited50GB£30.00
1 month
O2UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£33.00
12 months
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£35.00
No contract
O2UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£36.00
1 month

If you’d also like to compare deals using a different coverage provider, see our full guide to SIM-only deals in the UK.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who uses the O2 network?
In the UK, the following mobile networks offer coverage from O2:
Will I get the same coverage on another network that piggybacks on O2?
If you’re using another network that piggybacks on O2, you’ll have access to the same 2G, 3G and 4G coverage as customers on O2. In addition, you’ll also have access to O2’s 5G network if you’re using a 5G-ready plan from giffgaff, Sky and Tesco Mobile.
Which mobile networks offer O2 5G coverage?
O2 offers a 5G mobile service in 193 UK towns and cities. You can access O2’s 5G coverage on the following mobile networks:
What coverage does O2 offer in the UK?
O2 currently offers the following types of coverage in the UK:
  • 5G Coverage: 193 towns and cities
  • 4G Coverage: 99% population coverage
  • 3G Coverage: 99% population coverage
  • 2G Coverage: 99% population coverage

More Information

For more information, read our full guide on O2’s network and coverage in the UK. You can also read our in-depth reviews of giffgaff, Lycamobile, Sky Mobile and Tesco Mobile.

Your Comments 9 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 9 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • I live in a remote area and want to use 4g as my main broadband. O2 are the only ones who have a strong enough signal. They have an unlimited data deal, but the small print says you can only use it in a phone and not a ‘modem’. Seems crazy, as I could tether a phone and use just as much data, but it would be messy compared to a dedicated 4g router/modem… I’ll probably need about 400Gb per month.

  • Joseph hague said:

    I have been a giffgaff customer for a few years now,and have been very happy with it,until my internet connection went and there is no one to contact about it?

    • M bethell replied:

      You can look on giffgaffs website and email a adviser with you problem. To be fair I have been with giffgaffs for years and if I have ever had I problem it has been sorted out in a timely manner

  • I want a low usage tariff like O2’s ‘Classic Pay As You Go’, but I am confused by their terms and conditions.

    In one section it states you must Top Up every 6 months
    Classic Pay As You Go
    When you join Classic Pay As You Go, you pay for what you use, as you go. The minimum
    top up requirement is £10.
    ‘If you don’t top up, or add a Bolt On at least once in any six month period, your mobile will be
    disconnected and you’ll lose any credit on your account. If you want to be reconnected you’ll
    be given a new mobile number.’

    But in the Terms and Conditions paragraph 7.1. it states that you are only required to use the SIM every 6 months
    7.1. If you do not carry out any chargeable activity at least once in any 6 month period your
    Mobile Phone will be disconnected and you will lose any remaining credits balance on your
    Account. If you wish to be re-connected after this time you will be given a new Mobile Phone
    number.

    Do I have to only use the SIM every 6 months as it states. Or do I need to ‘Top Up’ £10 every 6 months as well as using the SIM?

    • Hi Grant,
      Thanks for your comment. This is a question that lots of people have discussed in the comments on my full guide to O2 Classic Pay As You Go. I believe the general consensus is this was sloppy wording from O2, and you just had to use your phone for a chargeable activity once every 6 months. However, if this is likely to be an issue, I’d recommend double-checking directly with O2.
      Ken

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