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EE SIM-only review

EE offers SIM-only deals on 12-month or 30-day contracts, and they all come with unlimited texts. Furthermore, all its 30-day SIM plans include unlimited minutes and a collection of extra features.

There are no unlimited data plans and, compared to the competition, EE’s mobile plans are pretty expensive. Moreover, its most popular extra – two-for-one cinema tickets and pizzas (Orange Wednesdays) – is no longer available, having been discontinued early in 2015.

Cable.co.uk overall rating
3.4

EE has the fastest download speeds of any mobile provider and operates the largest 4G network in the UK. But it is relatively expensive, and there are no unlimited data plans. Its most popular extra – Orange Wednesdays – is no longer available, and putting an EE SIM into an unlocked phone may lock the phone to the EE network.

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Coverage & data speed

Rating

5

EE operates the largest 4G network in the UK. A 4G connection lets you get online with your smartphone, and provides faster download speeds than 3G, the older mobile internet network. EE’s 4G coverage is 99%. Its 3G coverage is 98%. This refers to the percentage of UK homes and businesses covered, rather than geographical area.

EE’s average 4G speed is 33Mbps. That’s faster than many home broadband services, and is more than sufficient for watching online videos, browsing the web, sending emails, and downloading apps. On 3G, speeds are a little slower, averaging 7Mbps. Its 4G and 4G average speeds are higher than those of other providers, making EE the fastest provider in the UK for using the internet on your phone.

3G coverage
98%
4G coverage
99%
Average 3G speed*
7Mbps
Average 4G speed*
33Mbps
Call allowance
250 - unlimited
Text allowance
Unlimited
Data allowance
250MB - 30GB
Minimum contract
30 days
*According to Ofcom
Prices from
3G coverage 98%
4G coverage 99%
Average 3G speed* 7Mbps
Average 4G speed* 33Mbps
Call allowance 250 - unlimited
Text allowance Unlimited
Data allowance 250MB - 30GB
Minimum contract 30 days
Prices from £9.99 per month
*According to Ofcom
Info

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Data usage

Rating

3

Your data allowance is a monthly limit, set by your provider, on how much data you can download, including websites, video and music. All EE’s plans come with a data allowance. There are no unlimited plans, and the top allowance is a hefty 30GB – plenty for even the most intense data user.

EE permits mobile tethering with all its plans. When you tether, you connect another device (like a laptop) to your phone’s internet, allowing you to share the connection. You can tether up to the full amount of your data allowance – so if you have 4GB on your plan, you can use all 4GB to tether.

Traffic management applies to EE plans. This means EE may slow your internet connection down at set times of the day if you using a particularly large amount of data.

Calls & texts

Rating

4

All EE’s SIM-only plans come with unlimited texts. This means you can send as many text messages to UK mobiles as you wish. While standard text messages are free, picture messages aren’t. They cost 40p each. Many plans also include unlimited minutes. These only apply to calls made to UK landline and mobile numbers. and only cover the first hour of a call. You have to hang up and redial before that hour elapses, or you will pay EE’s standard call rates of 40p per minute. If you call an overseas number, you will have to pay more, and those calls won’t be included in your standard allowance.

If you are going abroad, you can choose an EE roaming add-on. There are several options available to reduce how much you pay for calls, texts, and data when away from the UK. There are also international add-ons, to make calls to international numbers more affordable.

Extra features

Rating

3

EE has recently abandoned its most popular extra feature, Orange Wednesdays. Previously, this would have let you purchase two cinema tickets for the price of one, on Wednesdays, at co-operating cinemas. But while this extra no longer exists, several others remain.

One extra, EE Film Club lets you purchase and download a film from Wuaki.tv for just a pound, between Monday and Wednesday every week. Downloading this film won’t affect your data allowance.

Another lets you use public wi-fi on the London Underground for free. Over 150 Underground stations have public wi-fi (provided by Virgin), and as long as you’re on the platform or in the ticket hall, you can connect and go online with your smartphone. You won’t be able to use it while on the train, however.

The final extra lets you take a second SIM from EE (known as a second line) for a 10% monthly discount. You have to take this extra SIM on a 12-month contract; 30-day contracts aren’t available.

Value for money

Rating

2

EE isn’t a cheap option. Compared to its competitors, EE's SIM-only contract plans are expensive. The cheapest plan costs £9.99. It comes with 250 inclusive minutes, 250MB of mobile data, and requires a 12-month commitment. The most expensive plan costs £34.99. This includes unlimited minutes and 16GB of mobile data, and comes on a 12-month contract. EE’s plans rarely remain static, and are likely to change from month to month. Nevertheless, you will usually pay more than you would with another provider for the same allowances.

There are 30-day plans and 12-month plans. Of the two, the pay-monthly, year-long plans are cheaper. If you choose a second SIM as part of EE’s second line offers, only the 12-month contract is available.

A few hidden costs also apply. If you want to unlock your smartphone (your mobile may lock to EE’s network when you insert an EE SIM), you have to pay £8.99. You have to wait at least six months before you can unlock. If you lose your SIM or it breaks, you have to pay £10.20 for a replacement.

Overall Rating

3.4

EE is a premium provider. Its plans are expensive – more so than the majority of its competitors’ plans. But it also operates the largest 4G network in the UK, and its download speeds are fast – faster even than many home broadband services. Bear in mind that if you put an EE SIM in an unlocked phone, it will become locked to EE’s network.

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