Dan Howdle | January 9th, 2024
EE is hailed as the UK’s number one mobile network thanks to its extensive 4G and 5G coverage but can EE's broadband services match its mobile reputation?
We interviewed 6,000 household broadband decision makers in 2021. This is how SSE broadband customers rated their service:
|Value for money
|Likeliness to recommend
EE has been owned by BT for many years at this point, and as such shares much of its technology – including its routers – and offers similarly specced broadband packages. EE is, however, more than just a BT subsidiary and has to some extent fostered its own unique and respected broadband identity that looks to tie together your broadband, mobile and indeed TV under one banner. So what does it have to offer in 2024?
If you’re already an EE Mobile customer you can get up to a discount on your monthly broadband fee. You’ll also get free additional data to on your mobile deal (provided it's not already unlimited) add to your existing limits if you also sign up to EE Broadband. With ‘unlimited’ fast becoming the preferred option on mobile data, however, it’s arguable whether this offer will continue to be useful down the line.
The Smart Hub Plus router was launched in June 2023 and is one of the best free routers out there (fre as in it comes with your broadband deal). Especially considering that EE Broadband isn’t expensive, that means you’ll be getting pretty good value for money. It's capable of delivering up to 1.6Gbps (way more than any currently available broadband package from EE offers, so quite future-proof). It uses up to and including the latest Wi-Fi 6 protocols meaning it's both fast and rangey.
With full fibre (called Fibre Max in the EE family of packages), you can get speeds of up to 900Mbps. However, availability is limited to around one in four homes at the time of writing (check the date at the top of this page). Virgin Media on the other hand offers these sorts of speeds to most of the country (around three in five homes), so if you can't get those top speeds with EE and you want them, it's worth checking if you can get Virgin Media.
BT clearly no longer wants to focus on TV, having in 2023 both sold its BT Sport service (now owned by Warner Bros under the TNT Sports brand), and abandoned BT TV altogether, rebranding it EE TV – a move that's quite confusing both for existing BT TV customers and to anyone planning to get a BT Broadband and TV bundle.
The good news is that since BT TV was a fully fleshed out service with the ability to get both live TV, Freeview, Sports, Movies, kids and so on as you please, so too now is EE TV – and you can now get it with your EE Broadband deal. Both the EE TV Box Pro (formerly the BT TV Box Pro) or the Apple TV device are offered rolled in with those deals. The former is a dedicated EE TV set-top box, while the latter is an anything box which ultimately has a bit more flexibility.
Here’s a quick look at what you can expect to find in an EE broadband deal.
|Average download speed
|Average upload speed
|ADSL, Fibre, Full Fibre
|£21.50 per month
EE offers three speeds for broadband customers. Standard broadband comes with an average speed of 10Mbps, but is now only sold to customers who cannot get anything else. We do not recommend it as it is far too slow for most modern households.
There are two mid-range speeds averaging 36Mbps and 67Mbps on offer with EE Fibre 36 and EE Fibre 67 respectively. They're going to be fast enough for a lot of households, but as technology moves ever forward even what we once called 'superfast' is beginning to look a little slow. Households with a lot of gamers and streamers are going to want something faster if it's available.
Full Fibre means the cabling bringing the connection to your home is fibre optic all the way along the route to your door. It can therefore offer very fast speeds. However, at this stage the rollout of these faster packages is slow and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get these speeds yet, with only around a quarter of homes able to do so at the time of writing (beginning of 2024). EE Full Fibre is available at speeds of 36Mbps, 51Mbps, 149Mbps, 500Mbps and 900Mbps.
|Fibre 36 Essentials
|Fibre 67 Essentials
|Full Fibre 36 Essentials
|Full Fibre 50 Essentials
|Fibre Max 150 Essentials
|Fibre Max 500 Essentials
|Full Fibre Gigabit Essentials
EE’s standard broadband package has an upload speed of 1Mbps, which is fairly low. Its 36Mbps broadband has an upload speed of 9Mbps, which is on a par with the likes of Sky and BT. EE’s 67Mbps broadband has an upload speed of 18Mbps, which is also pretty standard. If you’re currently working from home and need to upload a lot of documents to the cloud, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a fast upload speed.
Full Fibre upload speeds are a bit better, ranging from 28Mbps to 110Mbps, though average upload speeds are likely to be lower. Keep in mind that Full Fibre isn’t available everywhere in the UK yet, so you’ll need to confirm what’s available in your area.
While we don't believe there will be a time anytime in the near future where you can't get a landline from any broadband provider, EE Broadband is one of the handful of major providers which is, right now, ceasing to advertise (or 'push') landlines on or to its customers. You can add a landline or calling package during the checkout process, but for the most part, EE Broadband is putting its focus on offering broadband either without a landline, or with pay-as-you-go calls.
EE Broadband recently (June 2023) updated its router offering. It now provides the same excellent router for all of its packages, the EE Smart Hub Plus.
Here are the basic specifications for the EE Smart Hub Plus:
Here are the specs for the EE Smart Hub:
You can sign up to EE broadband online, over the phone or in-store. There is no more waiting for letters in the post from your supplier – EE will email and text you, letting you know the date of your broadband activation day.
You can also track your order online in your My EE account, once you’ve set it up. The router will be delivered by post and should fit through your letterbox, so there’s no sitting around waiting for an engineer to visit.
Your router will come with setup instructions but there are also guides on the EE website detailing how to do it and the best places to keep it, such as away from thick carpets, windows or other electrical devices. Plug your router in and turn the power on and you will see the light on the front run through several colours. Once it goes a steady aqua-blue your Hub will be ready.
EE says it will fine-tune your line when it is activated to make sure you’re getting the fastest and most reliable connection possible. You may notice your connection drops or your speed goes up and down during the first ten days while this is being done.
Check out our guide for more information on how to switch broadband providers.
EE may be owned by BT, but it doesn’t seem to have the same reliability issues as its parent company, possibly on account of its much smaller user base. It is worth checking its online forums though, as some customers do report times when the network seems to be slow.
In recent years, EE has been one of the most complained about broadband providers, but the latest Ofcom figures shows another annual improvement (the latest in a series), with a 17% drop in customer complaints in Ofcom's latest report, indicating its problems are either a thing of the past or certainly being addressed.
EE is streets ahead of many of its competitors when it comes to answering its calls though, should you need to get in touch directly, with a call waiting time of just 53 seconds. Impressive when you consider waiting times with competitors like Virgin Media and Sky are four times and twice as long respectively.
There are several options for speaking to EE customer service. You can visit one of its branches or phone them at their UK or Ireland-based call centres. You can also contact EE support through social media using Twitter or Facebook if you prefer.
EE also offers a sporadic live chat service on its website, or you can find self-help solutions in EE’s free mobile app or a range of ‘how to’ videos on their YouTube channel. Alternatively you can visit the EE online community to find answers to questions you may have.
There is a big window to get through on the phone though and EE does at least have one of the industry’s shortest waiting times. Phone lines are open from 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 8pm on weekends.
Calls from EE mobiles on pay monthly or EE landlines are free at any time. PAYG customers are charged 25p per calls, and calls from non-EE landlines or mobiles will be subject to varying charges.
One helpful option for technical support with your home broadband is to text ‘HELP’ to 60071 from your mobile phone (charges may apply at your standard rate). EE will then run tests on your connection and book you an engineer appointment or have their support team contact you, depending on the outcome. EE broadband support by SMS is available Monday to Friday 8am to 9pm, and Saturday and Sunday 8am to 8pm.
If you are also an EE Mobile customer or even better, thinking of becoming one, at the time of writing (check date at top of this page) EE was offering £20 off new unlimited SIM deals if you take out EE Broadband.
EE Broadband has changed a lot in the past 12 months. It now has a rather good TV option available where previously there was none. Its router, the EE Smart Hub Plus, is up there among the best 'free' routers offered with a broadband deal. And instead of giving EE Mobile customers a bit of extra data they probably don't need, you can get £20 per month off an EE unlimited SIM when you take out EE Broadband.
What’s our overall verdict? EE broadband is definitely worth considering if you are looking for fibre broadband, and especially if you are already or considering becoming an EE Mobile customer. The 24 month contracts are too long. There's no getting round that. And like BT, EE Broadband is more expensive than it has any right to be on such a lengthy contract. But, you can do a lot worse.