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Various logos of UK mobile networks

Vodafone vs EE: roaming, 4G speeds and network coverage head-to-head

Comparing EE and Vodafone

Our detailed guide pits EE against Vodafone to see who has the better 4G speeds, mobile signal, roaming, deals and benefits in 2019. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: 16th January 2019

In our head-to-head guide

Mobile network quality
Vodafone vs EE's mobile network

4G, 3G and 2G coverage
Download speeds on 4G
WiFi calling and 4G calling

Vodafone's network vs EE's

Perks and benefits
EE and Vodafone perks and benefits

Inclusive roaming
Free app subscriptions
Extended returns policies

Differences in EE and Vodafone benefits

Pricing and deals
Deals on EE and Vodafone

SIM only plans
Phone contracts
Special offers

How Vodafone and EE deals compare

Offer alerts

EE £21 for 20GB SIM only deal

EE 20GB EE SIM only deal

There's decent pricing on EE's biggest data allowance 12-month SIM only deals this month, including:

20GB for £21 a month

30GB 40GB for £25 a month

60GB for £30 a month

See all EE offers > (opens in new tab)

Vodafone's 100GB for £20 SIM only deal

Vodafone 100GB SIM only banner

There's the largest amount of data ever in a Vodafone SIM only deal, for their best price we've seen too:

100GB for £20 SIM only (12-month contract)

Available only until 21st March.

See all Vodafone offers > opens in new tab

Mobile network quality: EE vs Vodafone

How mobile coverage compares on Vodafone and EE

Do EE or Vodafone have the best reception?

Vodafone and EE UK maps

4G: you'll get it in more locations on EE than Vodafone

EE 4G coverageVodafone 4G coverage
99%
99%
4G

EE were the first mobile provider to offer 4G in the UK. They started building their 4G network first and have kept the advantage over Vodafone and others ever since:

Coverage statistics show that EE's 4G reaches more than 99% of the UK population (households), compared to Vodafone, which reaches and estimated 99% flat.

EE have now also published an ambitious target to cover 95% of the landmass of the UK with 4G too by 2020 (so you can use 4G in places people don't live too like on roads and railways).

Vodafone edge out EE for 3G coverage

EE 4G coverageVodafone 4G coverage
98%
99%
3G

Don't rule out 3G coverage as unimportant because it still gets used for making phone calls on both networks and it's a backup for when there's no 4G available in your location.

The latest 3G population coverage statistics put Vodafone ahead of EE by 1%:

Vodafone offer 99% 3G coverage, compared to EE's 98%.

Use a coverage checker before signing up

General coverage statistics are one thing. But we recommend checking a network's coverage in all the places you're actually going to be using your phone first.

Vodafone coverage map

Vodafone coverage checker

Check Vodafone signal

using their official checker
(opens in new window)

EE coverage map

EE coverage checker

Check EE signal

using their official checker
(opens in new window)

Our verdict on coverage:

A close win for EE

"The overall coverage statistics have never been closer but EE still just about have the edge over Vodafone. The more important thing is to check each network's signal where you actually are."

Compare pricing and deals

How 4G speeds compare on EE vs Vodafone

Are EE's downloads still faster than Vodafone's?

EE and Vodafone's branded 4G symbols

EE's 4G speeds are faster than Vodafone's

EE 4G coverageVodafone 4G coverage
31 Mbps
21 Mbps

EE tend to do a fair amount of bragging about how fast their 4G network is. And it's not without reason: we estimate EE's network to be almost 50% faster than Vodafone's for their typical customer.

On average, we put EE customers as experiencing 4G speeds around the 31 Mbps mark, which is the fastest of all providers. Vodafone customers are looking at something more like 21 Mbps (a healthy speed still).

Both networks give you fast internet browsing and even HD video streaming with no buffering. The speed difference will only really be noticeable if you regularly download large files, attachments or apps using mobile data on a regular basis.

EE have faster 4G+ in more locations than Vodafone

4G speeds up to 90 Mbsp

See 4G+ locations

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

Vodafone and EE are the only two networks in the UK to offer what's known as LTE-Advanced. It's essentially an even faster way of delivering 4G signal to your phone than regular 4G. Think of it as 4.5G or 4G+.

EE make more of big deal about it and say theirs offers speeds up to 90 Mbps - a speed that will beat most home broadband connections and trounce other types of mobile signal.

It's not available everywhere but you can check if EE offer their 4G+ service in your town and city here using their official network map (you'll need a phone that supports 4G+ and a plan that includes it though).

Vodafone are bit more coy about where their 4G+ masts are located, possibly because there's not a huge number of them. They're not highlighted on Vodafone's coverage checker.

Useful link: EE plans that include 4G+ from EE's guide

Our verdict on 4G speeds:

Win for EE

"EE customers can expect to have faster network speeds than than Vodafone. If having the fastest speeds is important to you, the choice at the moment is still pretty simple."

Compare pricing and deals

How WiFi calling compares on Vodafone and EE

Both EE and Vodafone have WiFi calling, so which scheme is best?

Vodafone and EE's branded WiFi calling symbols

Vodafone's WiFi calling is more flexible if you're joining on SIM only than EE

Vodafone WiFi calling scheme

See supported phones

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

In our guide to the UK mobile networks with WiFi calling schemes, we rate Vodafone's programme better than EE's. It's not that it's got more features, it's just more likely to work if you're bringing a phone to Vodafone:

At our last check, Vodafone WiFi calling supported 35 different models of phones (be sure your phone's on Vodafone's latest list here), which is actually less than EE's 45+ devices.

But unlike EE, Vodafone are more confident that if you join them on SIM only and bring your own Android phone with you that has WiFi calling as a feature, it will work with their scheme.

If you're taking a phone contract with Vodafone, WiFi calling works on any model that's listed as having it as a feature (check specifications pages on each model).

Useful link: Vodafone's WiFi calling info page at Vodafone.co.uk

EE's WiFi calling supports more phones but there's a catch with some

See supported phones

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

If you're looking to join EE on a phone contract, WiFi calling is guaranteed to work as long as you pick one of the models listed on sale here as being compatible.

Where EE can be a bit less flexible than Vodafone is if you're joining on SIM only and planning on using your existing phone that you've bought somewhere else:

If you have an iPhone 5c or any newer iPhone version, with the latest iOS installed, EE say WiFi calling should work fine on SIM only with your phone.

If you have an Android phone, check the list here to make sure your phone's on there. EE say these should work on their WiFi calling but don't make any guarantee.

Useful link: EE's guide to WiFi calling

Our verdict on WiFi calling:

Very narrow win for Vodafone

"As long as your phone's supported, there's no real difference in quality between Vodafone and EE's WiFi calling schemes. Vodafone's scheme is a little more flexible for joining on SIM only."

Compare pricing and deals

Perks and benefits on EE vs Vodafone

How roaming compares on Vodafone and EE

Every network now has to offer free EU roaming, but what about further afield?

Branded roaming icons from EE and Vodafone

Vodafone's Global Roaming is more comprehensive

Vodafone Global Roaming passes

See all countries

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

The number of inclusive roaming destinations you get as standard on Vodafone depends on which plan you sign up to. Most pay monthly deals only include EU destinations at no extra cost (see the list here).

So what do they mean when they say that Global Roaming is included with them all? On most plans, they mean the ability to buy a daily add-on that lets you use your regular allowances in 56 more countries.

At our last check, these cost £6 per day to use allowances you've already paid for, so are by no means free. Although, if you take a more-premium Red Entertainment bundle, Vodafone won't charge you for that pass in 29 destinations, including the USA, Australia and Canada.

We rate the scheme higher than EE's equivalent at the moment, although we still think Three's Go Roam scheme with free roaming in 71 destinations still beats both for simplicity and being genuinely no extra cost.

Useful link: All roaming costs on Vodafone

EE's worldwide roaming restricted to premium phone plans only

Free EU roaming on EE

See latest destinations

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

Like Vodafone, most of the plans on EE only get you inclusive roaming within the EU (here's their list of countries). Also like Vodafone, you'll need to pay extra to get more worldwide deestinations included on EE.

On EE, it's only a five extra destinations you can access by choosing a more-premium Max Plan with EE's fastest 4G speeds. And those are only available on phone contracts, not SIM only.

Otherwise, EE operate roaming in a more conventional way, where you either pay just for what you use abroad or buy travel passes that get you chunks of data to use in select countries (read EE's full roaming guide here).

Whether this matters to you will depend on where you tend to travel and how often. In general though, we'd say EE have fallen behind Vodafone for roaming.

Useful link: All other roaming costs on EE

Our verdict on roaming:

Vodafone win

"Both networks charge you more for inclusive roaming outside the EU. But it's Vodafone that have a more comprehensive list of destinations than EE."

Compare pricing and deals

How other extra benefits compare on EE and Vodafone

What other good stuff is there on each network?

Branded icons for Vodafone and EE's added benefits

EE give you Apple Music and BT Sport app access for free

How it works

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

Join EE on any of their pay monthly plans (phone contract or SIM only) and you'll qualify for a free subscription to two different services to use on your phone:

First up, you'll get a 6-month subscription to Apple Music, a music/audio streaming service from Apple, which works on Android phones and iPhones (read full details on the offer here at EE.co.uk).

Secondly, you'll get at least a 3-month free subscription to the BT Sport app, which lets you watch sport covered on the BT Sport channels on your phone (this lasts for your whole contract on a Max plan).

The nice thing about EE's free subscriptions compared to Vodafone's is that you don't have to choose between them, you can add both, or just one or neither to your deal.

But it's worth pointing out you'll pay full price for the services if you don't cancel them after the free trial is up.

Useful link: FAQs on EE's added services from their online help section

Choose a "free" subscription with Vodafone's premium plans

Entertainment subscriptions on Vodafone

See all you get

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

Vodafone have something similar to EE when it comes to free entertainment subscriptions. And in some ways it's better, in some ways it's worse:

If you join Vodafone on a SIM only plan or phone contract that's a so-called "Red Entertainment Bundle", you can pick one free subscription from a set list to last throughout the whole length of your phone contract.

At the moment the choice is between a Spotify Premium membership (worth approx £9.99 a month), a NOW TV Entertainment Pass (worth £7.99) or Sky Sports Mobile TV or Amazon Prime Video.

So why do we say "free"? It's because Red Entertainment bundles are the higher priced plans, so you can effectively be paying more for the sake of getting the subscription.

Useful link: Red Entertainment bundle contents and pricing at Vodafone.co.uk

Our verdict on extra benefits:

EE win

"In terms of value, EE's extras are actual freebies, even if they do expire, while Vodafone's extras all cost extra. In the end, it's about which services you actually prefer yourself."

Compare pricing and deals

Vodafone and EE deals and pricing

Comparing SIM only plans on Vodafone and EE

Are EE or Vodafone's SIM only deals cheaper?

Vodafone and EE SIM cards

Choose what you want in your deal:

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Our verdict on SIM only pricing:

No clear winner

"Both Vodafone and EE are a little more expensive than their no-frills rivals for SIM only, and evenly matched between themselves for value. Look out for their promotional plans, particularly on big data plans."

Compare pricing and deals

Special offers running on Vodafone and EE

A quick look at the promotions running on both networks this month

Special offers logos in Vodafone and EE branding

Decent SIM only prices with app subscriptions included

Vodafone SIM offersSee this deal

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

You've been able to get an entertainment subscription included with Vodafone's Red Entertainment bundles for quite a few years. But you've previously still effectively paying extra for it (vs plans without it).

This month's SIM only pricing means that you're now getting this much more of a genuine freebie. The following plans include a subscription and are not more expensive as a result:

20GB for £20 SIM only (12-month contract), 40GB for £25 SIM only (12-month contract) and 60GB for £30 SIM only (12-month contract).

If you're looking for a phone contract, take a look at Vodafone's offers page here with the latest deals.

Useful links: See all Vodafone offers

EE £21 for 20GB SIM only deal

EE 20GB EE SIM only deal

See this deal

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

The best pricing on EE's 12-month SIMs this focusses on ones with the largest amount of data. The bigger you go, the better value:

20GB for £21 a month

30GB 40GB for £25 a month

60GB for £30 a month

Meanwhile, if you're after a smartphone contract, be sure to look at the page here for iPhone deals on EE, and the one here for Samsung Galaxy plans, which show all the promotional plans EE have this month.

Useful link: See all EE's latest offers > (opens in new tab)

Comparing phone contracts on EE and Vodafone

Are you better off taking a pay monthly handset from Vodafone or EE?

EE and Vodafone logos with a generic white phone

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Data speed (3G or 4G) >
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Vodafone and EE offer similar contracts at similar prices

Compare phone contract prices

Use phone deal finder

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

Both EE and Vodafone offer what we'd term as "traditional mobile contracts" - ones that last for 24 months and aren't based on finance or split contracts. There's little scope for free early upgrades with either.

Unlike Vodafone, EE offer an annual upgrade programme on their top-end phone models, which lets you upgrade your phone after just 12 months. But you do have to trade it in with EE for cash (you don't get to keep the old phone). Read their guide to how it works here to see if you think it's worth it.

Their ranges of handsets are similar, with all the Apple and Samsung Galaxy models you'd expect and cheaper mid-range Android too. If we had to generalise, we'd say Vodafone are priced very slightly lower than EE.

In terms of extras and benefits, take a look at our comparison in the section further up the page here. This will come to down to personal preference but in our view neither Vodafone nor EE have any killer benefits that massively trump the other on phone contracts.

Useful link: Use our phone contract comparison tool

Our verdict on phone contracts:

Little to split them

"While Vodafone's phone contracts might be a smidge cheaper than EE's, there's little to split them for benefits. Their network in your local area and which of their perks you like best might be the deal clincher."

Compare phone prices

Compare other networks

Comparing EE and Three

EE vs Three

Read our EE vs Three comparison

Comparing EE and O2

EE vs O2

Read our EE vs O2 guide

Comparing EE and BT Mobile

EE vs BT Mobile

Read differences between EE and BT Mobile

Comparing Vodafone and Three

Vodafone vs Three

Read our Vodafone vs Three guide

Comparing Vodafone and O2

Vodafone vs O2

Read our Vodafone vs O2 guide

SIM Sherpa can help you find your next SIM only deal

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