Our cookies

We use cookies, which are small text files, to improve your experience on our website and to show you personalised content. You can allow all or manage them individually.

⚙ Manage cookies individually

You can view our cookie policy and update your preferences any time here.

Choose which cookies to allow:

Lyca Mobile vs EE: what network differences are there?

Lyca Mobile vs EE

The retailers featured on this page may compensate us when our readers follow links to their websites and make a purchase. More

We look at the 5G / 4G coverage, data speeds and other things you'll get when you join Lyca Mobile or EE to see which is best. Last updated: 4th September 2023.

In our Lyca Mobile vs EE guide

Latest offer news

Comparing their networks

How signal compares on EE vs Lyca Mobile

Which network has the stronger 2G/3G/4G/5G network?

EE and Lyca Mobile logo with mobile signal bars

Lyca and EE are now both on the same excellent network 

Screenshot of network FAQs

Read network FAQs

at lycamobile.co.uk
(opens in new window)

For a long time, Lyca Mobile used the O2 network but now they've made the positive move to using EE for coverage. We've used both an EE and Lyca in the same phone, so here's what we've found:

With calls and texts, the signal is identical between EE and Lyca. Everywhere there's EE, you'll get the same bars on Lyca Mobile. The cheapness of Lyca's plans doesn't mean there's an in-built disadvantage here.

For 4G data (see 5G below), you will mostly notice no difference in coverage. Lyca don't yet access EE's band 20 4G. This boosts capacity urbanly and coverage in the sticks. So there's a minor technical difference.

But whether you join EE or Lyca, we think you'll get the best overall mix of coverage there is in the UK. Do use both networks’ coverage maps below though before you join. Check everywhere you'll use your phone.

Useful link: EE’s investments into their network

5G coverage is the same on both networks

A map of EE's 5G locations

5G rollout news

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

We also tested whether you get 5G in all the same places on Lyca, as you do on EE. And we're pleased to say we found absolutely no difference between them. You get 5G included on every Lyca Mobile plan.

5G is live in these 317+ UK towns and cities on both networks. But realistically, it's more. That's because EE only claim a location as live once 5G is available in 50% of its area. So there are unlisted places that do have it.

We will say that on both networks, we've often found that 5G data's only real advantage over 4G is capacity, rather than outright speed (see more about speeds below).

But overall EE are doing a great job at getting the 5G transmitters up broadcasting to wide areas. And Lyca directly benefit from that. But do use either network's coverage checker here to see if you get 5G in your area.

Useful link: Lyca Mobile’s guide to their 5G

Use a coverage checker before you join

Check signal at home and other places you'll use your mobile

Lyca Mobile coverage checker

Lyca Mobile coverage checker

Check Lyca signal

at lycamobile.co.uk
(opens in new window)

EE coverage checker

EE coverage checker

Check EE coverage

using their official map
(opens in new window)

Alternative coverage checkers

Independent coverage checkers

Use Ofcom checker

Our verdict on coverage:

Slight technical win for EE

"For the majority of people, joining on Lyca is a no brainer due to near-indentical coverage. But until 4G is also truly identical, EE do pip Lyca here."

Compare pricing and deals

Data speeds on EE and Lyca Mobile

Do you get slower speeds on Lyca vs being on EE directly?

Lyca Mobile and EE logos with speedometer icon

Plans on Lyca are actually faster than most on EE!

5G at Lyca Mobile banner

Read their 5G guide

at lycamobile.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Most EE plans now have a speed cap of either 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps. Only their most expensive are full speed. Lyca on the other hand offer all SIMs at full speed. Our tests found no disadvantage built-in on Lyca vs EE.

That’s absolutely a good thing, as results from independent network testers Opensignal show the EE network delivers the fastest typical 4G speeds in the UK, at 47.7 Mbps. That's home fibre broadband fast.

In our own real-life tests we've experienced 4G download speeds as high as 130+ Mbps in the city centre on EE/Lyca. Speeds would often hover as low as 12 Mbps in the countryside. But that's still very usable.

So in this case there’s no downside to being on the cheaper network. Both blow other networks out of the water when it comes to 4G speeds and are excellent if speed is a priority for you.

Useful link: Read EE’s full guide to their 4G network

5G speeds are also the same on both networks

5G on EE banner

Read their guide

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

We use results from independent network testers Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla to see which networks have the fastest typical and peak 5G speeds. So what can you expect on EE/Lyca?

Typical 5G speed results sat between 108.91 Mbps - 122.3 Mbps, with peak speeds up to 272.77 Mbps. These speed results have gone down over time, but are still healthy enough for data heavy activities.

There are no speed caps on Lyca Mobile, but there are some speed caps on certain EE plans, however. You can see which plans have speed limits when you look through their range (the lowest is 10 Mbps!).

As it stands, EE seem to be withholding their fastest speeds as a premium benefit while you’ll get the best possible speeds on Lyca Mobile’s cheapest plans. So we do have to count that against EE.

Useful link: Our guide to the best 5G networks

Our verdict on data speeds:

Win for Lyca

"If you’re on EE’s most expensive plans, then there will be no differences between the two networks. But as only EE's most premium plans aren't speed capped, this is a surprise win for Lyca!"

Compare pricing and deals

WiFi calling on Lyca Mobile and EE

Which network has the better WiFi calling and 4G calling schemes?

Lyca Mobile and EE logos with phone

EE have great WiFi calling, Lyca don’t have it at all

WiFi calling EE banner

Check supported phones

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

EE aren’t as good at getting their call signal (3G/2G) into buildings as other networks, so it’s good that they offer WiFi/4G calling. This lets you connect to calls via WiFi/4G signal where call signal is weak.

This technically improves coverage for calls too as you can connect to calls via EE’s widespread 4G network. And you can send and receive SMS texts via WiFi/4G signal as well, which is handy from time to time.

It’s also easy to get it working as EE support lots of iPhone and Android models for WiFi calling. And WiFi calling should work on devices not bought from EE directly, so it should work for most people.

In all, it’s a very handy feature that Lyca don’t have. If you get weak call signal in your home on Lyca you’ll have to stick by the window or go outside to make calls. So, this is a big advantage for EE.

Useful link: EE’s full list of supported WiFi calling devices

Lyca Mobile's eSIM support is a great extra network feature

Lyca Mobile eSim banner

Join Lyca instantly

at lycamobile.co.uk
(opens in new window)

We think it's currently not possible to join EE directly on an eSIM via their website. That puts Lyca ahead of them. You can join Lyca nearly instantly on any plan. We've done it ourselves and it's very impressive.

EE do give their customers access to free WiFi hotspots on the TFL network, meaning you can connect to WiFi on the London Underground. That’s great for staying connected where you’d otherwise get no signal.

You get WiFi at ticket barriers and Underground stations, but not on the tunnels themselves. Still, it can be great in an emergency or if you need to check train times or anything else.

It also pairs nicely with their WiFi calling as you can stay connected to calls and texts on your commute as well. But if you live outside of London you won’t really get much out of this scheme.

Useful link: The best networks for WiFi hotspots

Our verdict on extra network features:

EE win

"Lyca Mobile don’t offer WiFi calling or any WiFi hotspots, so EE win this one by default. But, that’s not to take anything away from them, EE’s extra network features are genuinely great."

Compare pricing and deals

Perks and benefits

Roaming on Lyca Mobile vs EE

Which network is better for taking your SIM abroad?

Lyca Mobile and EE logos with a globe

Lyca Mobile include EU roaming on all plans

Lyca Mobile EU countries

See EU destinations

at lycamobile.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Lots of UK networks have removed inclusive EU roaming from their plans, but Lyca Mobile aren’t one of them. That means you can use your regular mins, texts and data in these 30 EU/EEA countries at no added cost.

But your data usage will be limited while you’re abroad. Your data limit depends on the size of your plan. Most of their small plans have no limits, but their medium and larger data plans do.

If you go over that you’ll have to top up with credit and pay for extra data at these rates. And to roam beyond the EU you’ll have to pay for your usage at their international rates (check your destination here).

In all, it’s great that Lyca Mobile still let you use your plan abroad at no added cost. But their scheme is more suited for short trips to the EU as their data limits can become restrictive on longer journeys.

Useful link: Our guide to the best roaming networks

EE only include EU roaming on premium plans

Inclusive roaming on EE

EE's roaming guide

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

EE removed inclusive EU roaming from their regular pay monthly plans a while ago. It costs £2 per day to use your EE plan in the EU, unless you take EE’s Roam Abroad pass with one of their premium plans.

You’ll have to take a Full Works or All Rounder plan and to get their Roam Abroad pass as an Inclusive Extra. This lets you roam in these 47 EU countries and these extra worldwide countries without paying more.

You can take EE’s Roam Abroad pass as an Inclusive Extra on all of these plans:

As you can see, it’s really a choice between paying for a more expensive plan to be able to roam or paying their daily rate while abroad. Either way you’re paying extra just to use your plan in the EU.

But EE can be good for going beyond the EU, as you can use up to 50GB of your data in the EU and those 5 worldwide countries. And you can buy Travel Data passes for countries not covered by their Roam Abroad pass.

Useful link: How much it costs to roam on EE

Our verdict on roaming:

Win for Lyca Mobile

"Between the two only Lyca Mobile let you use your SIM in the EU at no extra cost. You might be better off on EE if you want to go beyond the EU, but most customers will care more about EU roaming. So, Lyca Mobile take this one."

Compare pricing and deals

Better benefits on EE

What do EE offer that you don’t get on Lyca Mobile?

Lyca Mobile and EE logos with phone streaming

EE offer discounts on extra plans and let you gift data

EE data gifting banner

How it works

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

EE’s best benefit is the discount they give you for adding extra plans onto your account. If you’ve got friends or family members who need a new plan you get 30% off their plan if you add it to your account.

That applies to any SIM only plan and the usage plan (mins, texts, data) of any Flex Pay phone contract. There’s no limit to how many you can add (except your credit score) so you can save a lot overall.

What’s even better is that you can gift data from one user to another as the account holder. This is great if you’ve got kids and don’t want them to go over their allowance and rack up a massive bill.

In all, this is a great benefit for those looking to add multiple plans to their account. The discount isn’t applied to the account holder’s plan, but in all you can save a lot of money with this benefit.

Useful link: Read more about EE’s family account benefits

EE’s premium plans give you extra benefits

Collage of EE's different plan types

What you can get

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

If you take one of EE’s premium All Rounder and Full Works plans you get extra benefits with your deal. Their All Rounder plans let you take one Inclusive Extra, while their Full Works plans let you take three.

The kinds of benefits you can get are a subscription to TNT Sports, Netflix, Apple Music and these other entertainment services. Or you can take EE’s Roam Abroad pass that lets you roam in the EU and beyond.

You’ll take these at the check out when you buy your plan. It’s typically cheaper to take one of these plans than to take a lower end EE plan and the benefits separately, but it’s worth checking before to make sure.

Apple users will like that their Full Works plans give you a subscription to Apple One, which bundles these Apple subscriptions into one one. Just make sure the extra cost of these plans is worth it before you buy.

Useful link: How to get your Inclusive Extras

Better benefits on Lyca Mobile

What do you get on Lyca Mobile that you don’t on EE?

Lyca Mobile and EE logos with globe

Lyca include international minutes on most plans

Lyca Mobile's international calling FAQs

See all plans

at lycamobile.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Lyca Mobile offer inclusive international minutes on all of their SIM only plans and usage plans on phone contracts. These let you make calls to these countries without having to pay extra to do so.

The amount of international minutes you get depends on which plan you take out. The deals with more mins are a bit more expensive than the deals with the same amount of data and fewer mins included.

Lyca Mobile include international minutes on all of their plans. You can see how many international mins you get with each plan below:

If you use up all your inclusive mins then you’ll have to top up with credit and pay at Lyca’s rates. Thankfully, calls to some countries can be as low as 1p per minute (check the country you want to call here).

Overall, it’s a fantastic benefit considering the low cost of Lyca Mobile’s plans. If you call abroad often then this benefit can genuinely save you a lot of money in the long run.

Useful link: The best networks for calling abroad

Lyca Mobile offer very flexible 1-month deals

Lyca Mobile no credit check banner

Read more

at lycamobile.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Lyca Mobile sell most of their plans on 1-month deals with no contracts. This means you can switch your plan each month or leave Lyca Mobile altogether whenever you please without having to give notice.

So if you find you’re paying more than you need for your plan or you find yourself having to buy extra data then you can change to a plan that better suits your needs. That can save you money in the long run.

You also pay for your mins, texts and data up front, which means you don’t need to pass a credit check to join. That makes Lyca a great alternative if you’ve been denied for an EE contract due to your credit score.

That also means there’s no way to rack up a massive bill on extras as you can only use what you’ve paid for. If you don’t want to be tied down to a longer contract then Lyca Mobile are a great choice.

Useful link: The best networks for 1-month deals

Our verdict on extra benefits:

Depends what you prefer

"Your choice between EE and Lyca Mobile will really come down to what you want out of your plan. If you want a more flexible deal or want to call abroad, Lyca are better. If you want more premium benefits, EE might be better."

Compare pricing and deals

Comparing pricing, offers and deals

SIM only on EE and Lyca Mobile

How do the two networks compare for SIM only prices and flexibility?

EE and Lyca Mobile logos with SIM card



1p Mobile logo
Three logo
ASDA logo
Boshhh Mobile logo
Coop Mobile logo
EE logo
Genius logo
giffgaff logo
Honest logo
ID logo
IQ logo
Lebara logo
Lycamobile logo
O2 logo
Sky logo
spusu logo
Talkhome logo
Talkmobile logo
Tesco logo
Vodafone logo
VOXI logo


Data: (0MB+)

Minutes: (0+)


Maximum length: (Any)

Added features

Phone contracts on EE vs Lyca Mobile

Which network offers better prices and flexibility on phone contracts?

Lyca Mobile and EE logo with phone

Phone options


Apple logo
Samsung logo
Alcatel logo
CAT logo
Doro logo
Emporia logo
Fairphone logo
Google logo
Honor logo
Huawei logo
IMO logo
Microsoft logo
Moto logo
Nokia logo
Nothing logo
OnePlus logo
Oppo logo
realme logo
Sony logo
TCL logo
Vivo logo
Xiaomi logo
OS box
Features box


Upfront: (Any upfront cost)

Monthly: (Any monthly cost)


Length: (6 - 36 months only)

Data: (Any)



Three logo
EE logo
giffgaff logo
ID logo
O2 logo
Sky logo
Talkmobile logo
Tesco logo
Virgin Mobile logo
Vodafone logo
VOXI logo
Sort arrows Sort by lowest: Monthly cost | Upfront costTotal contract cost

Loading phone deals...

Loading wheel

EE offer flexible credit agreements for phone contracts

Phone comparison tool screenshot

Compare EE deals

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

EE offer two types of phone contracts. They have more traditional contracts where your phone and usage plan (mins, texts, data) are on one bill and they offer finance agreements where your bill is split into two.

You basically get one credit agreement (a loan) for the cost of your phone while your usage plan is on another contract. You can choose to pay off the cost of your device over 24 or 36 months and upgrade whenever.

That means you’re always free to get the newest device. You will have to stay on your usage plan until your contract is over, however, and EE don’t let you switch to a smaller usage plan if you’re paying too much.

EE tend to offer their phones at competitive prices, but costs for their usage plans are fairly high. But overall, EE provide a nice mix of flexibility and good costs that we think most users can be happy with.

Useful link: Compare EE phone contracts

Lyca Mobile offer great flexibility on phone contracts

Lyca Mobile Klarna phone contract options

How it works

at lycamobile.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Lyca Mobile offer a wide range of phones on finance agreements that are handled by Klarna. They’re a service that help you manage the payment of your phone, while your usage plan is made with Lyca directly.

They let you pay off the cost of your phone whenever you want, let you pay for it in three separate monthly payments or choose a contract length of 6, 12, 24 or 36 months to suit your budget.

Your usage plan is basically the same as getting a SIM only plan with Lyca, meaning you can switch plans month to month or leave Lyca altogether while still paying off your device with Klarna.

The main drawback is that Lyca tend to sell their phones at higher prices than EE, but their usage plans are much cheaper. Lyca offer great flexibility on their phone contracts as well as decent prices.

Useful link: See Lyca Mobile’s whole range of phone contracts

Our verdict on phone contracts:


"The two networks are quite close on price, but Lyca offer a great deal more flexibility both in how you set up the payment for your phone and with your usage plan, though you can’t manage both in the same place."

Compare pricing and deals

More EE guides

Other Lyca Mobile guides