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EE Flex plans explained: pros and cons of EE's no-contract SIMs

EE logo and a SIM cardVisit EE.co.uk

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We walk you through EE's 1-month Flex SIMs, look at their benefits, disadvantages and how they compare with other networks. Last updated: 15th October 2021.

Our verdict

SIM Sherpa rates EE Flex SIMs as a very good option ★★★★☆ (4/5, excellent)

EE Flex phone

Get a free SIM

at EE.co.uk
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“We really rate EE’s Flex SIMs as the most flexible way to get on the UK’s largest and fastest 4G network. They’re a great way to test drive their network without a long commitment or for joining EE without passing a credit check.

It’s a real bonus that EE have added WiFi calling and 4G calling functionality to their Flex plans. If only they’d remove the 60 Mbps speed cap and add 5G, you’d be getting the full EE experience. That stops us rating them any higher.

Price-wise Flex are cheap for EE, though beatable if you shop around. Other than that, we can’t see many reasons people won’t be perfectly happy on EE Flex for multiple months.”

The 3 best bits

1) Flexibility to switch plans or leave
2) Data rollover and free data boosts
3) No credit check required

The 3 worst bits

1) No access to 5G
2) None of EE's pay monthly extras
3) Still pricier than other networks

EE Flex SIMs: How they work

EE Flex Plans are 30-day deals without a contract

EE Plan banner

You’re free from contractsRead Flex SIM FAQs

at EE.co.uk
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EE Flex Plans are normal SIM only plans, but rather than being tied to a long term monthly contract, you pay up front for your minutes, texts and data to use within 30 days.

You have a choice of four plans - typically from £10 to £30 a month. Between them, you should be able to find a plan to suit your needs. And there's a near-permanent triple data offer on every plan for your first six months.

Unlike traditional pay as you go, there’s no need to top-up, as your plan will automatically renew every 30 days. You can stop this any time or change plans right until the date of renewal.

With no contracts, direct debits or credit checks it could hardly be simpler. You’ll have no accidental extra-charges or bills to worry about.

Read on to find out how to get and manage your Flex Plan. You can see more benefits below.

Useful link: See all Flex Plan options

Order a free SIM card and pay by debit or credit card

Debit card and an EE Flex SIM card

It's completely free to order with no commitmentOrder free SIM card

at EE.co.uk
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Getting an EE Flex SIM card is easy. Just go to their order page here at EE.co.uk and enter some basic information. Then you’ll have your SIM card delivered to you. It’s totally free to order with no need to use it.

Once you’ve got your SIM card, you’ll receive all the information you’ll need to activate it and set up your account. You don’t need to do this right away if you’re still unsure.

Once you’re ready to pay, register your UK debit or credit card with EE. As you’re paying for your plan up front, there’s no need to give EE your bank details or set up a direct debit.

Then you just choose the plan that’s right for you. EE will guide you every step of the way from there. To manage your account online, go to the My EE area.

Useful link: EE's guide to getting started on Flex

EE Flex SIMs: The benefits

Access EE's quality network without long term commitment

EE's coverage map

EE is the UK's biggest / fastest 4G networkCheck your signal

at EE.co.uk
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EE rank top of the UK’s networks for 4G coverage and speed. And their Flex Plans offer a way to access this excellent network without signing a big long contract:

The only other way to get a competitively priced 1-month deal on the EE network is through Plusnet. EE's own 30-day contracts are expensive and BT Mobile’s shortest plans are 12-month deals.

EE's Flex Plans are another decent option to get onto the EE network without the commitment to a plan that you’re not sure will suit you.

We expect typical download speeds on Flex SIMS to average about 31 Mbps. This is what you’d expect from a mid-range fibre home broadband fast and is enough to stream HD videos without buffering, for example.

Useful link: About EE's 4G speeds

No required credit checks to join EE’s Flex Plans

Debit card and an EE Flex SIM card

Upfront payment removes the need for credit checks How billing works

at EE.co.uk
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Credit checks are commonly used by network companies to make sure customers can reliably pay their bills for any extra usage, at the end of each month.

Normally, a mobile network will look into your history of paying bills for things like telecoms and utilities, to check you’ve got a good record of paying them on time and in full.

EE Flex SIM plans do away with the need for credit checks as you’re paying for everything, including add-ons, up front. If you’ve already paid for it, there’s no risk to EE that you can’t pay later.

This is great news for those new to the UK, young people with no credit history, or people that don’t have the best credit history.

Useful link: Compare all no credit check SIMs

The data you don’t use will be added to the next month

EE data rollover

Your unused data is available to use the month afterHow it works

at EE.co.uk
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One issue with monthly deals is that they set a consistent price for something that always changes: your usage. Some months you’ll use more data and some months you’ll use little.

Usually if you don’t use all your data you’ll lose the rest of it by the end of the month when your allowances refresh. And that’s that.

But EE Flex SIMs come with data rollover, meaning all the data you don’t use is added to the next month’s allowance. This way you’re keeping what you paid for, for a little longer.

It’s not the most generous data rollover deal as the leftover data only carries over for a month where on some networks it’s longer. But it already makes Flex an even better deal.

Useful link: EE's full guide to data rollover

You’re always free to change, pause or stop plans

Change, pause and stop words and icons

More flexibility than a long term contractHow to stop your plan

at EE.co.uk
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Flex plans live up to their name in being very flexible. Compared to other 1-month or 30-day contracts, Flex plans are even more flexible. Here's why:

You always have the final say when you want to change, pause or stop your EE Flex SIM. You’re free to do this when you want by logging into your account.

Don’t worry if you find your deal is too expensive or if you want more from it. You can change it by logging in, choosing a new plan and deciding when you want it to start.

You’re also completely free to pause or cancel your plan by clicking Pause Plan on their website. By doing so you won’t be charged on the renewal date and everything will work as usual until then.

Useful link: Guide to managing your EE Flex Plan

EE’s Flex Plans now offer WiFi calling

EE WiFi calling banner

WiFi calling now works for Flex SIMsRead WiFi calling guide

at EE.co.uk
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EE’s Flex Plans used to offer very few network extras that you would get with their monthly plans. But now you’ll be getting WiFi calling as a feature with your Flex Plan.

This will let you connect to EE’s mobile network for calls via a WiFi connection rather than a conventional mobile signal. And it puts Flex at an advantage over other low-cost alternatives.

It also helps where there is poor mobile signal but a decent WiFi connection like inside a building.(read our indoor coverage guide here).

With WiFi calling and EE’s 4G calling service (VoLTE) now offered on their Flex Plan, coverage and call quality will improve where WiFi and 4G are available.

Useful link: How we rate each network's WiFi calling schemes


EE's new 5G service is not available on Flex

Map of UK with 5G locations

You still get a 4G/3G/2G serviceRead latest 5G news

at EE.co.uk
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EE were the first mobile provider in the UK to offer a 5G connection in a list of selected towns and cities that has only expanded since then. This feature is absent on some of their plans however.

Despite 5G being rolled out in more areas and its faster data speeds and reliability, most people still can’t get it. Not all phones support 5G and its coverage is still limited.

The lack of 5G connection shouldn’t ruin the Flex Plan for most people. The plan offers 4G up to 60 Mbps which is more than enough for anyone apart from expert users.

With no need to commit, you can always pause or cancel your plan and switch back in the future when 5G coverage and support has improved.

Useful link: EE's 5G rollout latest news

EE's Flex SIMS lack most pay monthly extras

EE Entertainment Subscriptions

Very few freebies on EE Flex PlansSee pay monthly extras

at EE.co.uk
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Since the Flex Plan is a no-frills deal with minimal commitment, you should expect a lack of extras. But it’s worth knowing what you would get with a monthly deal that you’ll be missing out on:

Firstly, you won’t have EE's Smart Benefits, a list of extras like extended roaming, free data for video or audio streaming or BT Sport subscriptions that you can add to your account.

You’ll also be missing out on the free trials of entertainment services available to monthly users (6 months of Apple Music, Apple News+, BritBox and 3 months of BT Sport App). Even the data used for these trials is free.

Useful link: All EE Pay Monthly benefits

Similar deals on other networks

What networks offer similar plans

These deals aren’t far off from EE's Flex

SMARTY use Three’s network and are usually cheaper

SMARTY coverage checker

Check your coverage

at SMARTY.co.uk
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SMARTY’s pre-paid bundles at pay monthly prices with no credit checks are similar to EE’s Flex Plan. But there are key differences to be aware of when comparing the two.

SMARTY have less 4G coverage when you’re out and about in some areas. This is because SMARTY use Three's network, which is less widespread than EE's (check SMARTY signal here). You can also expect 4G speeds to be slower than EE.

How much customer service matters to you is also a factor. You’ll only get online customer service with SMARTY, where you can ring EE directly. But this lets SMARTY offer cheaper deals than EE.

One advantage of using SMARTY is that they will pay you back for unused data each month on some of their smaller data plans. A nice benefit that could arguably be even better than EE's data rollover.

Useful link: Read our full SMARTY review

giffgaff offer a similar flexibility on the O2 network

giffgaff free credit offer

Get free £5 credit

at giffgaff.com
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If avoiding credit checks and having the flexibility to change or cancel plans is what you’re looking for, giffgaff offer similar plans to EE’s Flex plans, which makes them an alternative choice.

giffgaff works on the O2 network (check coverage here),which is tied with Vodafone as the second largest network behind EE. We then expect giffgaff’s 4G speeds to be typically lower.

Like SMARTY, giffgaff only offer online customer service, while on Flex you can call EE or go online. EE flex is also able to offer you data rollover which giffgaff lacks.

With WiFi calling now a feature, the Flex Plan outshines giffgaff in flexibility of calling. But, giffgaff do offer £5 free joining credit when you top up with £10 or buy a £10+ Goodybag bundle.

Useful link: Get a free giffgaff SIM card

VOXI’s alternative to the Flex Plan on Vodafone’s network

VOXI unlimited social data

See all benefits

at VOXI.co.uk
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VOXI’s SIM only plans all work similarly to EE’s Flex.. They use Vodafone’s network and have a range of medium to large monthly plans that offer a way to pay up front for 30 days of usage.

VOXI’s deals are the same in terms of flexibility as you can change, pause and cancel when you want and there are also no credit checks.

What you won’t get on EE is VOXI’s excellent benefit ofunlimited data for use of certain social media apps, or even for video streaming apps on their higher-end plans.

VOXI have also matched EE by including WiFi calling and 4G calling to their deals. VOXI’s data coverage should be similar, but speeds will likely be slower (check your VOXI signal here).

Useful link: All benefits to joining VOXI

How does EE’s Flex compare to other main networks?

Do Vodafone, Three or O2 offer anything similar?

You’ll get less flexibility with Vodafone’s Basics SIMs

Vodafone Basics banner

See Basics SIMs

at Vodafone.co.uk
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Other major networks offer simple and cheap deals similar to EE’s Flex such as Vodafone's stripped back Basics SIMs (read our review of them here).

With Vodafone’s Basics SIMs you’ll be paying less overall, but you’ll have less flexibility as they’re only offered on 12-month contracts. You get what you pay for as there’s no data rollover or roaming.

There are also pre-paid bundles available on Vodafone, which offer the same flexibility as Flex. They also let you keep unused minutes, texts and data, but will work out a bit more expensive.

EE's Flex SIMs should come out on top when comparing network performance. EE’s Flex typically have faster 4G speeds and cover more of the UK's landmass(check Vodafone signal here).

Useful link: Read our full EE vs Vodafone guide

O2 and Three offering similar pay as you go bundles

SIM only results

Compare all bundles

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O2 and Three offer pre-paid 30 day bundles that aren’t too different from EE’s Flex. But EE’s Flex offers more value than these bundles when comparing them to their pay monthly deals.

These two don’t require a credit check and have the same flexibility as EE’s Flex. O2 offer data rollover where Three do not.

Download speeds should be typically lower with O2’s bundles than EE’s Flex. Three’s Add-Ons should also be a bit slower than EE, but not as slow as O2.

If credit checks are a roadblock for you then both networks offer good value bundles that are worth considering. If not, a full 1-month SIM only contract is usually a better option.

Useful link: Compare pre-paid SIM only plans

Where to next?

More guides about EE