What are the Best 5G Deals in 2021?

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5G mobile broadband is likely to transform the way in which we consume broadband while on the go. With 5G we’ll be able to achieve speeds comparable to a full-fibre ultrafast connection while we’re out and about. 5G is still in its relative infancy, with the rollout beginning in May 2019. However, it’s now available in many major cities and towns across the country.
Last update: October 2021


Here, we’ll look at some of the best 5G deals on the market, what you can expect to pay for them, and what handsets you’ll need to connect to the 5G network.

Is it worth getting 5G?

As 5G is a fairly new technology that is not yet broadly available in the UK. It’s not available in every town, or on every handset, and requires a little extra investment when compared to the average 4G plan. As such, you may be wondering if it’s worth being a (relatively) early adopter. In order to help you decide, let’s take a look at what exactly 5G is…

What is 5G?

5G is a cellular network that is composed of geographic areas known as cells. These networks are powered by mobile base stations which broadcast the 5G signal. These networks are owned, managed and maintained by four Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone.
It is the 5th generation of mobile internet, hence the name 5G. As well as being significantly faster than previous generations of mobile broadband, it has far greater capacity, so more devices can access the network at the same time. This has huge potential for a broader range of internet-enabled devices to be online at the same time.

How does 5G work?

5G works in much the same way as 3G and 4G, transmitting data via radio waves. The primary difference is that they use much higher radio frequencies that are less cluttered. As such, a lot more information can be transmitted at a much faster rate.

What kind of speeds can I expect with 5G?

5G speeds are currently about as high as most Fibre To The Premises connections with speeds in excess of 250 Mbps. There’s scope for speeds to get much higher. Already 5G speeds can exceed 1 or even 2 Gbps. Theoretically, 5G can reach speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

4G vs 5G Speed

In terms of speed, 4G tops out at around 100 Mbps. A thoroughly respectable speed on a par with a mid-to-high quality fibre broadband connection. If we get to the point where real-world speeds match 5G’s theoretical capability of 10 Gbps, this will mean that 5G is 100 times faster than 4G.

4G vs 5G Capacity and Latency

5G doesn't just out-perform its predecessor in terms of speed. It also far exceeds it in capacity. In fact, it’s estimated that 5G can support 1,000 times more devices per metre than 4G.
Likewise, 5G seriously outperforms 4G in terms of latency. This is the delay experienced as the data travels across the network to get to its destination (your handset). 4G networks have a latency of 50 milliseconds. 5G networks, on the other hand, have a real-world latency of 21-26 milliseconds. And that number is only going to plummet as 5G has a theoretical latency of just 1 millisecond.

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What are the best 5G phone deals?

At Broadband Plans we can help you find the right deal and the right handset to start your 5G journey.
Now that we know more about what 5G can do (and what it will be able to do in the future), let’s take a look at the deals that will allow you to connect to this burgeoning network. Here we’ll explorer the best 5G phone deals from the UK’s 4 main networks.

What UK networks are offering 5G?

Believe it or not, the UK only has four true networks. These are Three, EE, O2, and Vodafone. These are the UK’s Mobile Network Operators. However, there are lots of smaller Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) that pay to access the networks provided by the “Big Four”. However, because the 5G networks are smaller and more expensive to access, relatively few MVNOs offer 5G.

Best 5G Deals on O2

O2’s 5G network is available in over 150 towns and cities across the UK. In the table below, you can see the best 5G deals from O2 on a wide range of handsets:


Handset Data Allowance Minutes Texts Contract Length Upfront Cost Monthly Cost Retailer
Google Pixel 5 128 GB OLED 100GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £0 £37 Buymobiles.net
Samsung Galaxy S21 128 GB 150 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £49.99 £35 Mobile Phones Direct
Sony Xperia 1 II 256 GB 5 GB Unlimited Unlimited 36 months £20 £35.50 O2 Mobiles
Apple iPhone 12 Mini 64 GB 20 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £0 £37 Buymobiles.net
Apple iPhone 12 150 Gb Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £49.99 £41 Affordable Mobiles


Best 5G Deals on Three

Three has the UK’s fastest-growing 5G network, available in 154+ cities and towns across the UK. You can see a range of affordable 5G-ready tariffs with generous data allowances below:


Handset Data Allowance Minutes Texts Contract Length Upfront Cost Monthly Cost Retailer
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus 128 GB 30 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £49 £38 Fonehouse
Samsung Galaxy S21 128 GB 100 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £49.99 £35 Affordable Mobiles
Google Pixel 5 100 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £35 £39 Fonehouse
OnePlus 8 4 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £0 £29 Three
Apple iPhone 12 64 GB 100 Gb Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £59 £38 Mobile Phones Direct


Best 5G Deals on EE

Owned by BT, EE is the UK’s biggest mobile network and the largest 5G presence, available in over 160 cities and towns across the country. You can see some of their best value 5G handsets and tariffs in the table below:


Handset Data Allowance Minutes Texts Contract Length Upfront Cost Monthly Cost Retailer
Samsung Galaxy S21 128 GB 75 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £49 £41 Fonehouse
Google Pixel 5 50 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £0 £35 EE
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus 128 GB 75 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £29 £41 Fonehouse
Oppo Reno 5G 1 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £0 £19 Fonehouse
Apple iPhone 12 64 GB 75 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £25 £41 Fonehouse


Best 5G Deals on Vodafone

Vodafone’s 5G network is a little more modest than the rest of the “Big 4”, but it’s certainly on the up. It’s available in 114 towns and cities across the nation. Below, you’ll find some of their best deals on the most popular handsets:


Handset Data Allowance Minutes Texts Contract Length Upfront Cost Monthly Cost Retailer
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus 128 GB 100 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £19 £39 Fonehouse
Google Pixel 4a 30 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £0 £26 Mobiles.co.uk
Sony Xperia 1 II (256 GB) 100 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £0 £43 Carphone Warehouse
Google Pixel 5 25 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £25 £31 Mobiles.co.uk
Apple iPhone 12 64 GB 100 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £69 £39 Fonehouse


Can I get a 5G SIM only deal?

Yes. There are 5G SIM-only deals available from all the UK’s major networks. You can see some of the best available in the table below.


Network Data Allowance Minutes Texts Contract Length Monthly Cost Retailer
Three Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £16 Three
EE 120 GB Unlimited Unlimited 24 months £20 EE
Vodafone 100 GB Unlimited Unlimited 12 months £16 Mobiles.co.uk
Vodafone 20 GB Unlimited Unlimited 1 month £33 Mobiles.co.uk
O2 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 12 months £33 O2 Mobile



However, before you invest in a SIM only deal, you need to make absolutely sure that your handset is a 5G-ready model. Which brings us to…

Guy on his phone using the best 5G phone deal

What are the best 5G phones?

Are you sure that your handset will be able to connect to the 5G network? It’s definitely a good idea to check. Connection to 5G requires special hardware and software that’s only supported by a relative few handsets at the time of writing.
Here we’ll look at the best 5G handsets.

Will I need a 5G enabled handset and tariff?

Yes. You will need both of these to access the network. As we can see a 5G-ready SIM is relatively affordable. But you need to know that your handset will support it.

What are some 5G-ready phones?

Below you’ll find a comprehensive list of every 5G-ready handset on the market. What makes these handsets different? Firstly, 5G-ready handsets require a 5G-specific modem. They also need a larger battery and more powerful processors to support the more data-heavy tasks associated with connecting to 5G.
5G-ready handsets on the market today are as follows:

  • Google Pixel 5
  • Google Pixel 4a 5G
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • OnePlus 8
  • OnePlus 8 Pro
  • Oppo Reno 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy S21
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
  • Sony Xperia 1 II

What are the cheapest 5G phones?

In the table below, you’ll find 5 of the cheapest 5G ready phones on the market and their best market price at the time of writing. These are SIM-free prices, meaning that you can buy the handset outright and get a SIM-only contract with whichever network you like.


Handset Name Best Market Price Retailer
Google Pixel 5 64 GB £350 Amazon.co.uk
Google Pixel 4a 128 GB £395 Amazon.co.uk
Sony Xperia 1 II 256 GB £399.97 Laptops Direct
Oppo Reno 128 GB £399.99 Carphone Warehouse
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G 256 GB £449.97 Laptops Direct


When will 5G be available in the UK?

5G is already available in much of the UK, although we are some way off full national coverage. At the time of writing, the 5G rollout has picked up speed, and it is expected that most of the country will have 5G coverage by 2022.

Where is 5G available in the UK?

At present, 5G is available in over 100 major cities and towns across the UK. Some networks have wider coverage than others, with EE having the most expansive 5G network followed by Three, then O2, then Vodafone.
Cities with 5G availability from at least one network include:
Aberdeen, Birmingham, Belfast, Manchester, Cardiff, Bath, Bristol, Chelmsford, Coventry, Edinburgh, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Oxford, Plymouth, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Lichfield, Lisburn, Newcastle, Nottingham, Salford, Sheffield, Stirling Sunderland, Wakefield and Wolverhampton.
Towns include:
Aldershot, Altrincham, Ashford, Ashton-under-Lyne, Barrhead, Bellshill, Birkenhead, Blackpool, Borehamwood, Bury, Bransholme, Brentwood, Castleford, Castlereagh, Chatham, Cheshunt, Chesterfield, Chester-le-Street, Chorley, Clevedon, Clifton (Notts), Clydebank, Crawley, Cumbernauld, Dartford, Dinnington, Doncaster, Dudley, Epsom, Grays, Gillingham, Guildford, Ilkeston, Hamilton, Hoddesdon, Harlow, Huddersfield, Inchinnan, Jarrow, Kimberley, Kingston-upon-Thames, Loughborough, Loughton, Maidstone, Milnrow, Minster, Mirfield, Motherwell, Newton-le-Willows, Northampton, North Shields, Nuneaton, Oldham, Paisley, Pontefract, Porthcawl, Potters Bar, Rochdale, Rochester, Romford, Rotherham, Rugeley (West Midlands), Shipley, Solihull, Southend-on-Sea, South Shields, Stafford, Staines-upon-Thames, Stevenage, Sutton Coldfield, Swadlincote , Sydenham, Walsall, Waltham Abbey, Waltham Cross, Walton-on-Thames, Warwick, Washington, Watford, West Bromwich, Westhoughton, Weston-Super-Mare, Weybridge and Wickford.

Which countries are moving to 5G?

You may be wondering if you can used 5G internationally? The good news is that you can, with all major networks offering 5G roaming. New countries that are in the process of adopting 5G include Canada, Hong Kong, Brazil, Thailand, Japan, India, Vietnam, Taiwan, Nigeria, Morocco and Colombia.
5G is currently available in the following countries, which are ordered here by continent:

Europe

  • Austria
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Monaco
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • UK

The Americas

  • Suriname
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • United States
  • Uruguay

Africa and the Middle East

  • Bahrain
  • Kuwait
  • Lesotho
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • United Arab Emirates

Oceania and Asia

  • Australia
  • China
  • Maldives
  • New Zealand
  • South Korea

Let the Broadband Plans team help you find the perfect 5G deal

It’s clear to see that 5G is the future, with the capacity to transform mobile broadband as we know it. But if you’re still not sure which 5G deal and handset are best for you, get in touch with the Broadband Plans team. We can help you find the perfect broadband deal for your needs, both at home and on the go.
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FAQ

What’s the difference between 4G and 5G?

Both 4G and 5G work in the same way, transmitting data via radio waves. However, 5G operates at a much higher (and less crowded) frequency. It is capable of achieving 100 times the speed of 4G and has much greater capacity, allowing for 1,000 times more connections per square meter.

How fast is 5G?

Real-world 5G speeds are pretty consistently around 200 Mbps, twice as fast as 4G on its very best day. However, 5G is capable of real-world speeds of over 1 Gbps and theoretical speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

Can I use 5G when roaming abroad?

Yes, dozens of countries all over the world also use 5G. UK networks have roaming deals that will allow you to access 5G networks overseas.

Is 5G dangerous?

No. Absolutely not. A lot of bizarre and unfortunate conspiracies have arisen around 5G including theories linking it to the transmission of COVID-19. 5G operates at a wavelength that is non-ionising radiation. As such, the signal does not produce enough energy to damage the cells of the body.

Updated on 9 Aug, 2021

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