Vodafone offers 99% population coverage in the UK. Find out about Vodafone’s network coverage and their new 5G mobile service.
In the UK, Vodafone offers 99% population coverage on their 2G, 3G and 4G networks. When using Vodafone’s 4G network, you can get up to Category 9 LTE download speeds. Vodafone’s 5G network has also recently launched in 15 towns and cities, 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 Vodafone’s 5G mobile network and the coverage whilst you’re travelling 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 available 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. If you tap on the “Data speed info” button after entering your postcode, you can also see the expected range of download speeds and upload speeds for each type of coverage in your area.
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 5G network rollout and the international coverage when you’re abroad in other countries.
In the UK, Vodafone offers four types of mobile network coverage: 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G. In addition, they also have a 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling service. 5G coverage started rolling out on Vodafone in July 2019 and is currently available in 15 UK towns and cities.
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. However, it’s still available as backup coverage for when newer types of coverage are not available.
2G coverage is primarily suited 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 mobile network offers download speeds of up to 42Mbit/s using dual-carrier HSPA+ technology. There’s 99% population coverage on Vodafone’s 3G network:
Vodafone’s 4G network launched in 2013, offering high-speed internet connectivity that can rival fibre broadband. Vodafone’s 4G network supports Category 9 LTE download speeds (up to 450Mbit/s), but actual download speeds can vary in practice (normally being 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) spectrum.
In addition, further 4G coverage is available in some areas using five additional 4G bands: band 1 (2100MHz), band 3 (1800MHz), band 8 (900MHz), band 32 (1500MHz) and band 38 (2600MHz). This additional coverage can mainly be found in urban and suburban areas where Vodafone has added extra 4G spectrum to increase the capacity of their network.
4G Calling & Wi-Fi Calling
Having access to these two features can 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 allows 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 – Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G, Samsung Galaxy Note10+, Samsung Galaxy Note10, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10 5G, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9 plus, Galaxy Note9, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy Note8, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, A20e, A40, A50, A70, XCover 4, XCover 4S, Galaxy J3 (2017), J4+, J5 (2016 and 2017), J6 2018, Galaxy A3 (2016 and 2017), A5 (2016 and 2017), A6, A7, A8, A9
- 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 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE
- Huawei – Mate 20X 5G, Y6 2019, P30 Pro, P30 Pro, P30 Lite, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 Lite, P20, P20 Pro, P20 Lite, P Smart, P Smart 2019, Mate 10 Pro, P10, P10 Plus, P10 Lite
- Sony – Xperia L3, Xperia 10, Xperia XZ2, XZ3, Xperia XA 2, Xperia XZ1, XZ1 Compact, Xperia XZ Premium
- Vodafone – V10, Smart X9, Smart E9, Smart N9 Lite, Smart V8, Smart N8, Smart Platinum 7, Smart Ultra 7
- Google – Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a
- Xiaomi – Mix 3 5G, Mi 9
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. It might not work on devices purchased elsewhere e.g. from the Carphone Warehouse. This restriction doesn’t apply if you’re using an iPhone, which will work regardless of which retailer you buy it from.
Vodafone 5G Coverage
Vodafone started rolling out their 5G mobile network in July 2019. Currently available in 32 UK towns and cities, 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.
Vodafone’s 5G network currently gives average download speeds of 150-250Mbit/s. This compares to around 25-35Mbit/s for today’s 4G mobile networks. 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 new spectrum acquired at a recent Government auction to enable the faster speeds of 5G. Their 5G network uses “Massive MIMO” technology to further improve download speeds, to increase network capacity and to reduce interference. Latency is also 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 about the benefits of 5G.
At present, Vodafone’s 5G service is available in the following UK towns and cities:
|Now Live||38 towns and cities are live on Vodafone 5G (January 2020)|
Bebington, Belfast, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bolton, Bootle, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheadle, Droylsden, Eccles, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Horwich, Huyton-with-Roby, Isle of Scilly, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Llandudno, London, Manchester, Mangotsfield, Newbury, Paisley, Penarth, Plymouth, Prestwich, Rochdale, Salford, Solihull, Stockport, Stoke-on-Trent, Stretford, Wallasey, Warrington, Wolverhampton
|6 towns and cities planned|
Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton (End of 2019)
Within individual towns and cities, 5G coverage may still differ based on area and postcode. It’s therefore worth checking Vodafone’s 5G coverage map to see the availability where you live and work.
You’ll need a 5G-ready device to access Vodafone’s 5G service. You’ll also need a price plan that gives you access to 5G.
At the time of writing, 5G coverage is available on all Vodafone Unlimited plans and on Vodafone Red price plans with at least 5GB of data per month. You can also get 5G coverage on VOXI’s Endless Data plan. 5G coverage isn’t currently available on Vodafone Basics or Vodafone Pay As You Go.
You can currently get 4G roaming in more than 137 destinations on Vodafone (significantly more than any other UK network). You’ll get “full speed roaming on 4G” with no throttling or restrictions on download speeds.
If you have a 5G-ready price plan, it’s also possible to roam on 5G in 47 towns and cities across Europe. This includes major towns and cities in Spain, Italy and Germany (including Milan, Rome, Naples, Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Berlin, Hamburg and Munich).
If you have a Vodafone Unlimited Max price plan, you’ll get Vodafone’s Global Roaming Plus. This gives you inclusive roaming in 77 destinations at no extra charge (including most of Europe, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and more). Other price plans, excluding Vodafone Basics, come with inclusive roaming in 48 European ‘Roam-free’ destinations.
The following table summarises the cost of international roaming on Vodafone:
- Vodafone Unlimited Max: Inclusive roaming in 77 destinations with Global Roaming Plus (including Europe, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and more).
- Vodafone Unlimited, Unlimited Lite and Vodafone Red: Inclusive roaming in 48 European Roam-free destinations. There are also 104 Roam-further destinations where you can pay £6/day to use your normal UK allowances.
- Vodafone Basics: No roaming available (Vodafone Basics is a UK-only plan).
- Vodafone Pay As You Go: 48 Roam-free destinations. Standard roaming rates apply.