Vodafone offers 99% population coverage in the UK. Find out about Vodafone’s coverage and their upcoming 5G service.
In the UK, Vodafone offers 99% population coverage using their 2G, 3G and 4G network. At present, you can get up to Category 9 LTE download speeds on Vodafone’s 4G network. Vodafone’s 5G network also recently launched in July 2019, giving average download speeds of 150-250Mbit/s.
In this article, find out how to check the Vodafone coverage in your area and about the different types of coverage that are available on Vodafone. We’ll also discuss the upcoming launch of Vodafone’s 5G mobile network and the coverage whilst you’re abroad in other countries.
Vodafone Coverage Checker
Vodafone provides an online coverage checker where you can enter your postcode to get an estimate of the coverage in your area.
Before signing up to a new tariff from Vodafone, we strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on Vodafone’s online coverage map:
The coverage map will give you an estimate of the coverage level in your area, including for 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G coverage. You’ll also receive a range of expected data speeds for each type of coverage (click on the “Data speed info” button after entering your postcode to see this information).
For further background, read on to find out more about the different types of coverage on Vodafone. You can also learn more about Vodafone’s upcoming 5G service and international coverage.
Vodafone offers three types of mobile coverage in the UK: 2G, 3G and 4G. In addition, they also have a 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling service, and the upcoming launch of 5G coverage (Vodafone FutureNet 5G) in 2019.
Vodafone’s oldest type of network is their 2G network, which has been in operation since 1993. Nowadays, the 2G network is rarely used by consumers but it is still available as backup for making phone calls and text messages. It’s also possible to do a bit of basic web browsing at EDGE speeds (up to 0.3Mbit/s) when connected to 2G.
Vodafone offers 99% population coverage on their 2G network, primarily using spectrum at 900MHz. In addition, an extra 2G service is available in some areas at 1800MHz.
Vodafone’s 3G network launched in 2003, carrying phone calls, text messages and data. It’s the 3G network your mobile phone will connect to when 4G coverage isn’t available on your phone. Normally, your mobile phone will also switch to 3G when you’re making or receiving a phone call (unless you’re using 4G Calling or Wi-Fi Calling technology).
Vodafone’s 3G network offers download speeds of up to 42Mbit/s using dual-carrier HSPA+ technology. They offer 99% population coverage on their 3G network:
Vodafone’s 4G network launched in 2013, offering high-speed internet connectivity that can rival fibre broadband. The 4G network supports up to Category 9 LTE download speeds (up to 450Mbit/s), but actual speeds in practice will normally be closer to 25-35Mbit/s.
At the time of writing, Vodafone says they have 99% population coverage on 4G. You can check the coverage in your area through Vodafone’s online coverage map:
In the UK, Vodafone’s 4G service primarily uses coverage in band 20 (800MHz) and band 7 (2600MHz). In certain areas, additional 4G coverage is also available in band 3 (1800MHz) and band 1 (2100MHz). This is mainly in selected urban areas where older 2G and 3G spectrum has been upgraded to 4G.
4G Calling & Wi-Fi Calling
Both of these features make it more seamless to make and receive phone calls on Vodafone. For instance, 4G Calling can give you better indoor coverage and faster download speeds whilst you’re on a phone call. Meanwhile, Wi-Fi Calling enables you to make and receive phone calls even where a mobile signal isn’t available (e.g. whilst you’re travelling on the Underground).
At the time of writing, you can use Wi-Fi Calling on the following handsets:
- Samsung – Galaxy A3 (2016 and 2017), A5 (2016 and 2017), J3 (2017), J5 (2016 and 2017), Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge plus, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy Note8, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9 plus, A8, XCover 4, Galaxy Note 9, A6, J6, Galaxy J4+, A9, Galaxy A7, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10+
- iPhone – iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
- Huawei – P 10, P10 Plus, P10 Lite, Mate 10 Pro, P Smart, P20 Lite, P20, P20 Pro, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 Lite, P30 Pro, P30
- Sony – XZ Premium, XZ1, XZ1 Compact, XA2, XZ2, XZ3
- Vodafone – Smart ultra 7 and Smart platinum 7, Smart N8, Smart V8, Smart N9 Lite
- Google – Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
If you’re using an Android-powered smartphone, it will normally need to have been purchased directly from Vodafone to work on their Wi-Fi Calling and 4G Calling service. This restriction doesn’t apply if you’re using an iPhone, which can be purchased from any retailer.
Vodafone 5G Coverage
Vodafone started rolling out their 5G mobile network in July 2019. Branded Vodafone FutureNet 5G, the fifth-generation mobile network offers greater capacity, faster download speeds and reduced latency. It will also enable a wide range of new devices and use cases such as augmented reality, connected cars, remote healthcare and the internet of things.
The new 5G network currently gives average download speeds of 150-250Mbit/s. This compares to around 25-35Mbit/s for present-day 4G mobile network technology. Over time, as the 5G service matures, average speeds will increase towards 1,000Mbit/s (1Gbit/s).
Behind the scenes, Vodafone is making use of the new spectrum acquired at a recent Government auction to enable the faster speeds of 5G. Their 5G network also uses ‘Massive MIMO’ technology to further improve download speeds, increase network capacity and to reduce interference. Latency is reduced on the network by making use of faster radio processing and multi-access edge computing technology. See Vodafone’s guide to 5G for businesses for more in-depth information.
At present, Vodafone’s 5G service is available in the following UK towns and cities:
|Now Live||15 towns and cities are live on Vodafone 5G (September 2019)|
Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bolton, Bristol, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow, Lancaster, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newbury, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton
|7 towns and cities planned|
Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton, Warrington (End of 2019)
Within individual towns and cities, the 5G coverage may still differ based on area and postcode, so it’s worth double checking this on the Vodafone 5G coverage map.
You’ll need a 5G-ready handset and a 5G price plan to use Vodafone’s 5G service when it launches later this year.
If you’re travelling abroad to other countries, Vodafone offers an international roaming service so you can continue using your smartphone when abroad (excluding on Vodafone Basics price plans). This includes 4G roaming in more than 137 destinations – significantly more than on any other UK network. You’ll get “full speed roaming on 4G” with no throttling or restrictions on download speed.
On Vodafone Red Entertainment plans with Global Roaming Plus, inclusive roaming is available in 77 destinations at no extra charge (including most of Europe, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and more). Other plans come with inclusive roaming in 48 ‘Roam-free’ destinations in Europe (excluding Vodafone Basics which is a UK-only plan).
The following table summarises the cost of international roaming on Vodafone:
- Vodafone Pay Monthly (Red Entertainment): Inclusive roaming in 77 destinations (including Europe, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and more).
- Vodafone Pay Monthly (other plans except Basics): 48 Roam-free destinations and 104 Roam-further destinations (£6/day to use your normal UK allowance).
- Vodafone Basics: No roaming available (UK only).
- Vodafone Pay As You Go: 48 Roam-free destinations. Standard roaming rates apply.