EE is the UK’s most popular, widespread, and fastest mobile network. It was the first UK network to launch 4G back in 2012 and has used its head start to deliver the most comprehensive coverage and zippiest speeds.
At a glance
|The good:||The bad:|
|Most extensive 4G coverage in the UK||Mobile plans are at the more expensive end of the scale|
|Fastest 5G connections in the UK||Pay monthly contracts last for a minimum of 18 months|
|3 months free access to BT Sport on selected plan||Data rollover only available on pay as you go plans|
|6 months free access to Apple Music on pay monthly contracts||Subject to mid-contract price hikes|
|Mobile data boost for EE broadband customers|
|4G and WiFi calling where no signal is available|
|UK-based customer service|
|Unlimited SIM only deals available|
|Share your data with family plans|
|Wide range of mobile deals to choose from|
|Set limits on your monthly spending|
|Free roaming outside of Europe on certain plans|
About EE Mobile - Chart-Topping Coverage
Independent mobile researcher OpenSignal found that EE performed the best in all metrics it studied, including 4G availability, video experience, download speed experience, upload speed experience, and latency experience. Users of EE’s network are able to access its 4G (rather than slower 3G) 89% of the time. And once on that 4G network, they find average download speeds of 32.5 Megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 10.4 Mbps - the fastest in the UK and equivalent to lower tier fibre optic home broadband packages.
EE has the largest number of virtual mobile network operators (MVNOs) hitching a ride on its spectacular network, including Tesco Mobile, BT Mobile, and Plusnet Mobile. But EE makes it worthwhile to get their data straight from the source, with reputable customer service and bonuses, although you might pay a bit more for the privilege.
Two Tiers of Contracts
EE offers two tiers of pay-monthly phone contracts - Essential and Smart. Cheaper Essential plans come with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and data ranging from 1GB to 100GB. Until May 2019, EE capped speeds on these plans to “up to 60 Mbps” (which is still fast, considering that entry level fibre optic broadband packages offer average download speeds of around 36 Mbps). But that barrier has been removed for new customers and they can ride full-throttle on a 4G network that boasts speeds of “up to 150 Mbps,” a privilege previously reserved for subscribers to the Smart or discontinued Max plans.
EE Mobile Perks and Benefits
Smart plans with EE are more expensive but come with ‘Swappable Benefits’ - perks you can add onto your plan and then swap for another after seven days, if you wish. These bonuses include a Video Data Pass, which gives you unlimited data to stream content on Netflix, Amazon Prime, TV Player, and BT Sport, without eating into your data allowance, and a Music Data Pass that gives you the same benefit for Apple Music, Deezer and Tidal (but notably, not Spotify). You can also choose to ‘Roam Further,’ using your inclusive minutes, texts, and data at no extra cost in Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States, or to get the BT Sport App (BT purchased EE in 2016).
However, the lifting of the speed barrier on Essential plans has removed the incentive to plump for a high-tier plan with EE, unless you love to stream Netflix on the go. In fact, both Essential and Smart plans come with three to six-month trials of Amazon Prime, MTV Play, the BT Sport App, and Apple Music. During these trial periods, all the mobile data used on these apps will be unlimited and will not impact your allowance.
EE SIM-Only Deals
EE also sells SIMs, on a pay-monthly basis on 12-month contracts (these are all Essential Plans, with no ‘Swappable Benefits’) or on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Discounts for BT Broadband Customers
If you’re already subscribed to BT’s broadband deals, you notch discounts on your mobile contract - usually £5 off each month of your contract with a handset.
EE Mobile Customer Service
EE has also invested in its customer service recently, improving it to match its network infrastructure. It now has call centres based exclusively in the UK and Ireland and 24-hour online and app-based chat help services. EE came joint second in Ofcom’s latest customer service league tables, behind giffgaff and tied with Vodafone, with 93% of its customers reporting overall satisfaction with the company. 88% of its customers said they were satisfied with EE’s mobile reception and signal strength. This ranked them joint third out of the seven surveyed providers, but EE was beat mostly by MVNOs which piggyback on its network, including Virgin Mobile and Tesco Mobile. In its latest figures Ofcom also found that EE received a below average number of complaints - just three out of 100,000 customers, compared to the industry average of four out of 100,000.