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

EE logo and a SIM card

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

We walk you through EE's 1-month Flex SIMs, look at their benefits, disadvantages and how they compare with other networks. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: 2nd September 2019.

Our verdict

SIM Sherpa rates EE Flex SIMs as a very good option ★★★☆☆ (3/5, very good)

EE Flex phone

Get a free SIM

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"EE's Flex Plans aren't bargain basement cheap but they do offer a rare, fairly-priced way to get on the UK's biggest and fastest 4G network, without having to commit to a long contract.

We think customers will appreciate the freedom to switch, pause or stop plans altogether without giving any notice. And many will benefit from not having to pass a credit check to join."

Our guide below takes you through EE's Flex SIMs, how they work, plus their pros and cons, to help you decide if they're right for you.

The 3 best bits

1) Loads of flexibility
2) Data boosts and keep unused data
3) No credit check to join

The 3 worst bits

1) No WiFi calling feature
2) Capped 4G speeds and no 5G data
3) None of EE's pay monthly extras

How EE Flex SIMs work

EE Flex Plans are 1-month bundles of mins, texts and data

EE Plan banner

There's no contract to sign at allRead Flex SIM FAQs

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In a nutshell, EE Flex Plans are just SIM only plans, where you pay up front for a monthly bundle of minutes, texts and 4G data to use up within 30 days - with no contracts or commitment.

There are four basic plans to choose from starting from £10 a month. Each gives you more minutes and data than the last - with a good spread of data allowances from 2GB to 20GB to fit most people's needs.

Once you chose a plan, it will automatically renew every 30 days until you say stop. Or you can change to a different plan too. You can do either right up until the day your plan renews.

It's a simple system with no contracts, direct debits or credit checks. And there are no bills or surprise extra charges either. See more benefits below or keep reading for how you get a Flex Plan and manage it.

Useful link: See all Flex Plan options

You 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

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To get an EE Flex SIM card, all you do is go to their order page here at, enter some basic details and they’ll send you your SIM card through the post. It’s totally free to order. And there's no commitment to use it.

Once your SIM card arrives, follow the instructions in the pack to go online and activate your SIM card and set up your account. You don't have to do this immediately if you're not ready to switch straight away.

You’ll register a UK debit or credit card to pay for the plan. You don’t give EE your bank details or set up a direct debit. Everything is paid for up front using the card.

Then you choose the plan that you want and you're away. It's a simple process that EE guide you through at every step. You can then manage your account online in the My EE area.

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

Benefits of EE's Flex SIMs

Get directly on EE's quality network on a short-term deal

EE's coverage map

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

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EE have the largest 4G network in the country and it's the fastest one on average too. But there aren't actually many ways to get on EE's network on 1-month deal directly or indirectly:

BT Mobile and Virgin Mobile only have 12-month SIMs. EE's own 30-day contracts are eye-wateringly expensive. Only Plusnet Mobile offer competitively priced 1-month deals on EE's network.

So EE's Flex Plans fill the gap as a lower-cost way to get your phone on EE's quality network, without having to commit to a longer contract elsewhere.

We'd expect typical download speeds on Flex SIMs around 31 Mbps. This is mid-range fibre home broadband fast. And will comfortably support even data-heavy activities like HD video streaming without buffering.

Useful link: About EE's 4G speeds

There’s no credit check to pass with EE’s Flex Plans

Screenshots of getting starting with an EE Flex SIM card

Paying by card upfront avoids credit checksHow billing works

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Most pay monthly mobile networks including EE require you to pass a credit check to be accepted for their SIM only or phone contracts, because you’re billed for extra usage at the end of the month.

They need to make sure customers have a good record of paying telecoms and other providers before they let them potentially run up big bills that they might not pay.

But because you pay for EE Flex SIM plans up front, and you can’t run up extra expenses without manually buying add-ons up front, EE don’t need you to pass a credit check.

That makes them a good choice for anyone who’s new to the UK, young people with no credit history, or people who’ve got blips in their credit history too.

Useful link: Compare all no credit check SIMs

You get to keep any unused data for next month

EE data rollover

Unused data is added to next month's allowanceHow it works

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Everyone’s data usage varies month-to-month depending on where we’ve taken our phones and what we’ve been doing. Some months you’ll use more, some you’ll lose less.

On conventional pay monthly deals, if you don’t use all the data in your plan, then it just gets lost at the end of the month when your allowances refresh.

EE Flex SIMs are different because they come with data rollover. Any data you don’t use gets added to your allowance for next month, so you don’t lose what you’ve paid for.

You can only carry data forward for one month (on some networks it’s longer), so it doesn’t just keep piling up. But even a month is better than nothing. So it’s a good feature on Flex.

Useful link: EE's full guide to data rollover

You can change plans month-to-month or stop/pause

Change, pause and stop words and icons

More flexibility than a SIM only contractHow to stop your plan

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The whole point of EE's Flex Plans is flexibility. And they're actually even more flexible than a similar 1-month or 30-day contract. Here's why:

On a regular 1-month contract, if you want to leave the network or maybe take a break from your plan, you have to give 30 days' notice. With Flex, you just log in to your account and then hit Pause Plan.

Once you do that, EE won't take payment for your plan next time it's due and your service will stop. But up until that date, everything will work as normal.

Changing plan is just as easy, if you find you're on too big/ too expensive deal or that you want a bigger plan. Again, you just log in, choose a new plan and decide if you want it to start now, or when your old one expires.

Useful link: Guide to managing your EE Flex Plan


You don’t get WiFi calling on EE’s Flex Plans

EE WiFi calling banner

Doesn't work on EE's Flex SIMsRead WiFi calling guide

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EE's Flex Plans are basically no-frills. So you don't get all the usual network extras that you'd get on a full EE SIM only contract. One of these is WiFi calling.

WiFi calling is a useful feature that allows your phone to connect to EE's mobile network via a WiFi connection rather than conventional mobile signal - without any extra apps or doing anything yourself.

This is useful as sometimes mobile signal can struggle to get through into buildings, meaning it's more difficult to make calls whilst indoors (read our indoor coverage guide here).

Flex Plans also can't use EE's 4G calling service (voLTE) either, which offers improved HD audio call quality and better coverage for calls too. It's only available to EE pay monthly customers.

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

You don't get access to EE's new 5G service with Flex

Map of UK with 5G locations

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

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EE were the first mobile network in the UK to turn on their 5G network in a few selected cities around the country. But they're keeping the faster data technology for their more premium products.

5G brings even greater data speeds and reliability. But realistically, not many people already have phones that support it. On top of that, 5G coverage is still very limited

For those reasons, we don't think it's currently much of an issue that you don't get 5G on EE's Flex Plans. We'd say 4G up to 60 Mbps is ample for anyone apart from real early adopters.

And as 5G support and coverage improves, the freedom to drop your Flex plan with no notice means you can switch to get 5G easily in future.

Useful link: EE's 5G rollout latest news

Flex SIMs don't come with any of EE's pay monthly extras

EE Entertainment Subscriptions

No extra freebies on EE Flex PlansSee pay monthly extras

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The main other differences between EE's Flex SIMs and their contract SIM only plans is the number of added extras you get on top of your deal. There's a fair amount you won't get on EE Flex:

You don't get any of EE's Swappable Benefits, a choice of extras like extended roaming, free data for video or audio streaming or BT Sport subscriptions you can add or remove from your account as you please.

You also won't be entitled to claim a >free trial of four different entertainment services with your Flex Plan like you can on EE's contract SIMs (6 months of MTV Play, Amazon Prime Video and Apple Music and 3 months of BT Sport App), plus get the data they use free during the trial too.

If you're after a no-frills deal, with no long commitment and often cheaper pricing than EE's pay monthly, we doubt you'll miss these services anyway.

Useful link: All EE Pay Monthly benefits

Similar deals on other networks

Similar plans on other networks

These providers offer similar deals to EE's Flex

SMARTY are often cheaper but on a different network

SMARTY coverage checker

Check your coverage

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If you like the idea of buying pre-paid bundles at pay monthly prices like on EE Flex, SMARTY offer very similar deals - with no credit checks. They are some advantages and some disadvantages vs Flex though.

SMARTY uses Three's network, which is smaller than EE's, so you won't necessarily have as good 4G when you take your phone out and about (check SMARTY signal here). Typical 4G speeds will be lower too.

You'll also only get online customer service, as you can't ring SMARTY like you can on EE. Because of this, SMARTY's deals do tend to work out cheaper than EE Flex Plans.

They also come with a nice benefit that SMARTY will pay you back for unused data each month. You could argue this is even better than EE's data rollover.

Useful link: Read our full SMARTY review

giffgaff offer similar flexibility on the O2 network

giffgaff free credit offer

Get free £5 credit

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If you like the idea of paying up front, avoid credit checks and having the flexibility to change plans or leave altogether with no notice, giffgaff are a similar option to EE’s Flex plans.

giffgaff use the O2 network (check coverage here), which is the joint second largest with Vodafone but behind EE. We do expect giffgaff to offer slower 4G speeds on average than EE Flex though.

You’ll also only get online-only customer service with giffgaff, while on Flex you can ring EE or go online. There’s no extra benefits like EE’s data rollover on giffgaff either.

There’s also no WiFi calling or 4G calling on giffgaff just like there isn’t on EE Flex. You can get £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 plans are pre-paid like Flex but on Vodafone’s network

VOXI unlimited social data

See all benefits

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Another option but this time using the Vodafone network is VOXI, with a small range of medium to large monthly plans that you pay for up front and last 30 days at a time.

They give you the same ability to move up and down plans or pause/stop your plan altogether without having to give notice or pass a credit check to join them in the first place.

VOXI also have some nice extra benefits you can’t get on Flex, like unlimited data for using these social media apps, no matter which plan you join on.

Like Flex, you don’t get WiFi calling or 4G calling on VOXI. We’d expect slightly slower data speeds too but almost as good coverage (check your VOXI signal here before you join).

Useful link: All benefits to joining VOXI

EE's Flex compared with other main networks

Do Vodafone, Three or O2 offer anything similar?

Vodafone's Basics SIMs are less flexible than EE's Flex Plans

Vodafone Basics banner

See Basics SIMs

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If you're looking for a no-frills plan from one of the major networks, you may have come across Vodafone's stripped back Basics SIMs (read our review of them here).

Vodafone Basics may work out marginally cheaper than EE Flex Plans but they lack a lot of benefits. They're a 12-month contract, so less flexible. They include no roaming whatsoever. And don't have data rollover either.

There are also similar pre-paid bundles on Vodafone, which typically work out a little more expensive than EE's Flex SIMs but offer the same flexibility and let you keep unused minutes, texts and data.

We'd also expect a marginally superior network performance on EE's Flex SIMs vs Vodafone, with faster 4G speeds on average and slightly better coverage of the UK's landmass (check Vodafone signal here).

Useful link: Read our full EE vs Vodafone guide

Three and O2 both offer pay as you go bundles too

SIM only results

Compare all bundles

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If you’d rather go with one of the other big networks, you’ll find similar pre-paid 30-day bundles on O2 and Three, although they’re not as well-priced vs each network’s pay monthly contracts.

They offer similar flexibility to EE’s Flex and you won’t need to pass a credit credit check to join on them. O2’s come with data rollover, Three’s do not.

We’d expect O2’s Big Bundles to offer noticeably slower 4G downloads speeds compared to EE Flex on average. We’d expect Three’s Add-Ons to be slightly slower but less noticeable.

On both networks, it’s only really worth taking the bundle plans if you know you won’t pass a credit check, otherwise you’ll almost always be better on a full 1-month SIM only contract.

Useful link: Compare pre-paid SIM only plans

More EE articles

Full EE review

EE logo and review stars

EE compared with BT Mobile

EE and BT logos

EE compared with O2

EE and O2 logos

EE compared with Three

EE and Three logos

EE compared with Virgin

EE and Virgin Mobile logos

EE compared with Vodafone

EE and Vodafone logos

SIM Sherpa can help you find your next SIM only deal

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