From £15 per month
Tesco Mobile has just turned on its 5G connections in 24 towns and cities, offering superfast mobile internet provided you have A) a 5G-capable phone and B) a 5G tariff with the provider.
Oh, and you have to live in one of those locations, which currently consists of Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Lisburn, Liverpool, London, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Sheffield, Slough and Stoke-on-Trent.
The company says that this list will be rapidly expanding, and will more than double to 50 locations in time for the summer. Tesco hasn’t revealed the full list of places in this second wave, but has namechecked four: Bournemouth, Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Wolverhampton.
Tesco Mobile shares the same network as O2, so coverage will be similar. The site does have a coverage checker, too and while it seems just to give an overall rating of service quality, if you enter a postcode it will tell you what the 5G coverage is like. In my corner of south London the answer is, alas, “non-existent.”
But if you find yourself in an area that’s supported, then the prices are pretty reasonable. If you’re happy to sign up to a SIM-only contract of 12 months, then prices start at £15 per month for 5GB, rising to £30 for 100GB. Frankly, the way 5G can suck up data, you’ll probably want to err on the side of caution, and get at least 20GB for £20 or 50GB for £25. If you prefer to avoid signing a long-term contract, contract free options are a fiver more for each tier.
The company also has 5G contracts with phones which sound appealing as they start at £29.99 per month for the excellent Galaxy A90 5G. That’s for a ridiculous 36-month contract, though, so do be careful with what you’re signing up for. To Tesco Mobile’s credit, all options let you customise everything from upfront cost to contract length, so there are certainly worse ways of jumping on the 5G bandwagon.
For my money, however, you’re best off buying the Galaxy A90 5G for £399 (down from £579) from Samsung and then getting a SIM-only 5G deal. Shop around for the price and coverage that works for you.