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EE vs Vodafone mobile

Hannah Ricci
Tuesday, December 12th 2017

We’ve been quizzed on social media about which of these two mobile giants offers the best deal, so here’s our head-to-head guide on EE and Vodafone.

Both offer superfast 4G and a wide choice of tariffs, plus chunky data allowances and the latest handsets. However, there are a few differences. Read on for our verdict, and find out who comes out on top.

At a glance

EE and Vodafone have very similar mobile phone services, with the key exception of 4G coverage. As one of the earliest adopters of 4G technology, EE remains well ahead of most mobile providers in its 4G coverage. However in most other areas these two providers are frustratingly closely matched.

3G coverage 98% 96%
4G coverage 99% 95%
Network carrier EE Vodafone
Data allowance 250MB to 40GB 250MB to 40GB
Pay-as-you-go    
Pay monthly    
SIM-only (30 Days) From £13.99 From £12.50
SIM-only (12 Months) From £10.99 From £10.50
Handsets 90+ 44+
  See deals → See deals →
EE
3G coverage
98%
4G coverage
99%
Network carrier
EE
Data allowance
250MB to 40GB
Pay-as-you-go
  •  
Pay monthly
  •  
SIM-only
  •  
Handsets
90+
Prices from
£10.99 per month
Vodafone
3G coverage
96%
4G coverage
95%
Network carrier
Vodafone
Data allowance
250MB to 40GB
Pay-as-you-go
  •  
Pay monthly
  •  
SIM-only
  •  
Handsets
90+
Prices from
£10.50 per month

Plans

EE

EE customers wanting a nice new phone will either need to commit to a 24-month pay monthly contact or pay to buy a handset outright on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) tariff. If you just want a new SIM card for an existing phone, you can take one on a PAYG basis or sign up to a 12-month or 30-day rolling contract.

Vodafone

Vodafone is one of the most PAYG-friendly providers around. Not only is there a wide choice of options (with top-ups starting from £5) for both new phone and SIM-only plans, you’ll also collect points each time you top up that can be spent on a range of great rewards like meals out and shiny new gadgets.

Price

EE

EE’s entry-level packages aren’t cheap. For SIM-only customers, prices start from £10.99 per month for 250MB of data on a 12-month contact. The same deals on 30-day terms start from £13.99.

Customers looking for a new phone on a pay monthly tariff have a range of deals to choose from.

Vodafone

Over at Vodafone, SIM-only prices start from £10.50 per month for 250GB of data on a 12-month contact. The same tariffs on a 30-day contract start from £12.50. However, 30-day contracts are only available with up to 10GB of data.

PAYG bundles From £10 From £10
SIM-only plans From £9.99 From £9.50
Pay monthly From £14.99 From £17
UK calls 30p per minute From 30p per minute
Standard UK texts 12p per text From 14p per text
UK data As per add on Varies with plan
Picture messages 40p per message 45p per message
Video calls   45p per minute
Customer care calls Free  
  See deals → See deals →
EE
PAYG bundles
From £10
SIM-only plans
From £9.99
Pay monthly
From £14.99
UK calls
30p per minute
Standard UK texts
12p per text
UK data
As per add on
Picture messages
40p per message
Video calls
  •  
Customer care calls
Free
Vodafone
PAYG bundles
From £10
SIM-only plans
From £9.50
Pay monthly
From £17 per month
UK calls
From 30p per minute
Standard UK texts
From 14p per text
UK data
Varies with plan
Picture messages
45p per message
Video calls
45p per minute
Customer care calls
  •  

Data speeds

EE

Mobile internet is getting faster and faster, and EE is at the core of this speed revolution with the recent launch of 4G Extra. The network now promises download speeds up to 60Mbps on some of its plans. According to Ofcom, EE’s average 4G speed came to 33Mbps.

Vodafone

Vodafone’s download speeds are pretty swift, but not quite as quick as it claims. It advertises 4G speeds up to six times faster than its 3G speeds (which currently average 7Mbps, although Vodafone’s 4G speed is clocking in around 20Mbps.

Coverage

EE

EE is the pioneer of superfast 4G and launched the first network back October 2012. Consequently, it has the widest 4G coverage in the UK: currently available to 97% of the UK population. Since its merger with Orange and T Mobile in 2010, EE has also become the largest 2G and 3G provider in the UK.

Check EE Mobile coverage →

Vodafone

Vodafone entered the 4G fray in August 2013 so it has some catching up to do to rival EE’s coverage. Vodafone has expansive 2G and 3G networks covering over 96% of the UK. Its 4G network currently covers 95% of the population.

Check Vodafone coverage →

Handsets

EE

If you’re looking for a new phone to go alongside your calling plan, you’ll have a choice of all the latest models from Apple, Samsung, HTC, Nokia and Sony at both EE and Vodafone. At EE, all the handsets are 4G-ready and there are currently 50+ to choose from.

Vodafone

Vodafone offers a wide choice too, from the Samsung Galaxy S8 to the brand new iPhone X. Alternatively customers can save by opting for a nearly new handset: phones that have been returned to the provider within seven days and been fully refurbished, tested and repackaged – and reissued with a new warranty.

Customer service

EE

Following the launch of 4G in October 2012, EE had a rocky start on the customer service front with customers reporting problems with even making basic phone calls. While EE’s technical and customer service appears to be improving, it has little track record as a standalone provider but a pretty poor reputation elsewhere in the business.

Vodafone

Vodafone on the other hand, has faired well in recent years. It has a good customer service record and a strong reputation as the founding brand of the UK mobile phone market.

Benefits and features

EE

EE customers can buy tickets to live music events and England international football matches before they go on general sale. The EE Film Club also has hundreds of movies available which, with discounts offered on rentals between Monday and Wednesday every week. New pay monthly customers can also enjoy three months of the BT Sport app for free.

Vodafone

With Vodafone you get access to public wi-fi, and if you are on a pay-as-you-go plan you can use the Vodafone Call Back feature. When you’ve run out of the credit, Vodafone Call Back texts the person you’re trying to contact, asking them to call you. This service is free, and can be used up to twice a day.

Vodafone customers on the Red Entertainment plans can enjoy free access to NOW TV Entertainment, Spotify Premium or SKy SPorts Mobile TV.

Conclusion

This is an interesting battle as each provider appears to operate on a very different business model. EE focuses on being the fastest network around and attracting customers with a need for speed and top of the range handsets, while Vodafone feels more welcoming with a big selection of options for all types of consumers, including those heavy users as well.

As always, it comes down to what you want from your mobile service so it’s worth thinking about your wishlist and seeing which provider ticks the most boxes within your budget.

If you want to know more about these two networks, you can read our ‘Is EE any good?’ guide or ‘Is Vodafone any good?’ review.

Compare EE mobile deals → Compare Vodafone deals →

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