How to listen to BBC 5 Live abroad - main

BBC 5 Live’s excellent coverage of the Premier League (…and international rugby, cricket, tennis etc) is unparalleled. The problem is that listening to 5 Live when you’re outside the UK is tricky. But don’t worry. In this article, we show you how you can listen to listen to BBC 5 Live when you’re abroad.

How to listen to BBC 5 Live abroad: Quick guide

  1. Get ExpressVPN (£4.80/month)
  2. Download and install the app
  3. Connect to a server in the UK
  4. Open BBC iPlayer Radio and listen to 5 Live

Note: if you’re having problems accessing 5 Live via the BBC iPlayer Radio app on your smartphone or tablet (with a VPN), use the TuneIn Radio app or built-in browser instead.

Can the 693/909 AM signal reach you?

Accessing BBC Radio from overseas isn’t straightforward. If you’re within 300 miles of the UK, there’s a chance you might be able to pick up BBC 5 Live from the traditional analogue AM signal on the 693 or 909 frequencies. However, regular 5 Live listeners will know that the signal can be patchy, even when you’re in the UK. So don’t bank on it!

The best way to access BBC iPlayer abroad is via the internet… with one slight tweak. (See also: How to listen to TMS abroad.)

How to listen to BBC 5 Live abroad?

How to listen to BBC 5 Live abroad

The BBC doesn’t own the rights to broadcast a lot of 5 Live content outside of the UK. This is why you can access 5 Live via the iPlayer Radio app when a news programme is on, but not when it’s covering a major sporting event such as the Premier League or international football, rugby, cricket or tennis (etc).

This means the Beeb has to block access to 5 Live streams from any IP address (internet connection) that’s not coming from within the UK for “rights reasons”.

The solution is to spoof your internet connection to make it appear as if it is coming from inside the UK. And using a VPN  (Virtual Private Network) is the best way to do this.

VPNs work by encrypting your device’s data and relaying it to one of its servers (internet connections) in a location of your choice. In theory, this basic redirection of your internet traffic is all that’s needed to successfully spoof your location and listen to 5 Live from anywhere in the world.

Just make sure you use the right VPN because BBC iPlayer has started detecting and blocking certain VPNs.

Which VPNs work with BBC 5 Live?

BBC iPlayer will blacklist any IP address with abnormal activity. This captures cheap VPNs that share their UK servers with too many customers.

We suggest using:

  1. ExpressVPN (£4.80/month)
  2. NordVPN (£2.04/month)
  3. PureVPN (£2.49/month).

All three of these VPNs play a game known as Cat and Mouse with BBC iPlayer. This means if/when one of their IPs get blacklisted by iPlayer, they react by creating a new one. I’ve been using ExpressVPN (£4.80/month) to watch and listen to BBC iPlayer since May without any problems. It servers always work with iPlayer and connecting is fast and simple. Setting up NordVPN is simple too, all you need to do is download the app on your Windows, Mac, iOS or Android device then login and you’re ready to go.

I’ve been using ExpressVPN (£4.80/month) to watch and listen to BBC iPlayer since May without any problems.

Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN have full-time technical teams that monitor its connections to BBC iPlayer (and other services). This gives them a competitive edge when it comes to the game of Cat and Mouse, as they can start work on creating a fix as soon as a problem is detecting.

Each service also has a 24/7 Live Chat feature available on their websites, where customers can speak to a support agent for connection assistance.

Read next: Netflix detecting VPN? Here are 3 VPNs that still work!

David Court
David is a professional journalist. He's been reviewing lifestyle and technology products since 2007. His CV boasts a series of high-profile websites that he's previously edited and managed. These sites include,,, and is his new project.


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