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EE review 2024: is their 5G/4G network worth the extra cost?

EE Mobile reviewVisit EE.co.uk

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

We look everything you get with EE like coverage, speeds and benefits to see if it's worth paying a bit more to join them on a SIM only or phone contract. Last updated: 15th September 2023.

Overall rating

SIM Sherpa rates EE as a good provider
 (3/5, good)

“The main reason to join EE is pretty clear. They have the largest 4G network and their 4G data is the fastest in the country on average too. Their 5G rollout’s going well but they’re beatable on speed.

What stops us giving them a better score is how cynically expensive they are. Everything costs extra. You want their full speed 4G/5G? Pay for a premium plan. Want EU roaming? Pay more.

It’s a shame because they do have some innovative things like data gifting on their family plans and their WiFi calling / 4G calling is class leading.

Our advice? Join a cheaper provider like 1pMobile that offer all the benefits of EE’s network but skip all the worst bits about EE’s actual products.”

The 3 best bits

1) Biggest and fastest 4G network
2) Excellent WiFi calling / VoLTE
3) Nice shared plans for families

The 3 worst bits

1) More expensive than competitors
2) Speed caps on most plans
3) No EU roaming

Is EE actually the fastest network?

For 4G, all the independent testing and our own experience says yes. For 5G, Three are coming out faster than EE currently.

Is EE actually the biggest 4G network?

Yes. Independent network testing maps and mast data suggests EE have more of the country covered with 4G than any other network.

Can I keep my number on EE?

Yes you can. Just get a PAC from your old network by texting them the word PAC to 65075 from your old SIM and give this to EE when you sign up or whenever you’re ready.

Does EE have good customer service?

EE have an improving record with the government regulator Ofcom when it comes to complaints. They did have a reputation for bad customer service but they’ve brought more of their call centres back to the UK.

Information symbol We're a professional reviews website but we bought our EE SIM card as a regular consumer, to test what it's actually like for real life paying customers. The contents of this review are a combination of our expert industry knowledge and what we experienced during our test.

You don't have to pay EE's prices to get their network quality

Screenshot of 1pMobile's 5G coverage checker

Identical coverage and WiFi callingSee for yourself

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

While we rate EE's network, we don't rate their prices. Alongside Vodafone, they're the UK's most expensive providers. Yet you can get the same network experience for a fraction of the cost.

We recommend 1pMobile for this (read our full review here). 1p have equal access to EE's full 5G, 4G, 3G and 2G networks, no speed caps and WiFi calling / 4G calling - all with no contract for a fraction of the price:

There are some other choices but these don't technically have identical coverage and they lack features like WiFi calling. 1pMobile are the only virtual operator with all that, now BT Mobile are closed to new customers.

Useful link: Our guide to the cheaper providers on EE

Rating EE's mobile network

Coverage on EE is probably the UK’s best overall

Check EE 4G/3G coverage

Great urban and rural 4G signalCheck your EE signal

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

Owned by BT, EE are one of the main UK networks, meaning they use their own network to provide signal. Of all providers, we’d say EE offer the best overall mix of call and data signal around the country.

They cover more of the UK’s landmass for 4G data (which you can use for 4G calling) than any other network. If you’re out and about you’ve got a better chance staying on 4G with EE.

We tested EE’s coverage by taking an EE SIM card to different locations to see if their real life coverage aligns with what their website claims. We tested in the countryside, in suburban areas and in the city.

In our experience, you have to be somewhere geographically unusual to lose call signal entirely, like on a beach or behind hills. With data, it’s a similar story. Total blackspots are incredibly rare.

We did find that indoor coverage for calls can be flakier on EE than some networks. But their 4G calling and WiFi calling would mostly come to the rescue in those places.

One thing we have found is that EE SIMs are now very reluctant to switch down to 3G when they’ve got poor 4G. This is possibly in advance of EE’s 3G phase out. We often ended up stuck on basically non-existent 4G, knowing full-well 3G could have helped.

EE’s call signal (3G/2G) isn’t quite as widespread as on their rivals Vodafone and O2, but is still quite strong (indoor signal is a weakness, however). You can see all the providers that use EE here.

But it’s always worth checking their network map here to see how good signal is in your local area. And it’s worth looking at providers such as 1pMobile who share coverage with EE but offer much cheaper deals.

Useful link: EE’s guide to their network

The 5G rollout on EE is going well too

EE 5G locations map

Widespread 5G in covered locations5G rollout news

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

All the main networks have invested into their 5G networks to provide the fastest speeds in the highest number of places. EE claim to have 5G in 317+ UK towns and cities and are the best at covering the locations they name.

This is because EE only declare their locations as covered once 5G is available in 50% of its area, while the other main networks sometimes claim to cover a location with just a few streets with 5G transmitters.

Even if your location is on their list, it’s still worth using their coverage checker to see how much of it is covered. See the dropdown below for the best current plans that get you access to EE’s 5G:

Both Lyca Mobile and 1pMobile offer cheaper deals that get you full access to EE’s 5G network. You can compare their deals with EE’s below:

Network testers Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla measured typical 5G speeds between 108.91 Mbps - 122.3 Mbps, with peak speeds of 272.77 Mbps. They’re not the fastest, but those are still healthy speeds.

Useful link: See all 5G-ready EE SIM only plans

Our coverage rating:
★★★★★ (best choice)


Similar to:

4G data speeds are EE’s main strength

EE 5G location map

The fastest 4G speeds of all networksSee EE awards

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

By joining EE or any of the providers that use their network, you’ll get access to the fastest possible 4G data speeds of any network. Results from network testers Opensignal back this up.

In their latest report, typical 4G speeds on EE went up to 47.7 Mbps. Those are the sorts of speeds you’d get on mid to high-end home fibre broadband and will let you stream 4K videos comfortably.

Sometimes with other networks, their speed results can be bumped up by higher speeds in urban areas while slowing down massively outside the city centre. We got speeds between 30-40 Mbps in suburban areas on EE.

While doing our coverage tests we also decided to check speeds in the same variety of locations, from the city centre to the suburbs to rural areas.

In the city centre we got speeds between 70-110 Mbps. And we got a healthy 30-40 Mbps in the suburbs on EE, whereas we typically slowed down to below 20 Mbps in the same areas on other networks.

When in rural areas your 4G will slow down to 8-15 Mbps both in smaller towns and in the countryside. That’s still enough to stream standard definition video without buffering.

What we found was that EE’s 4G speeds are faster than other networks’ in real life as well as in the network testers’ speed results. If you switch to EE from another network you would likely notice a difference right away.

EE’s speeds will depend per location, but they’re consistently the fastest network for 4G and offer healthy 5G speeds as well. But you can get the same speeds at much lower costs on 1pMobile.

Useful link: EE's network development latest news

Our data speed rating:
★★★★★ (best choice)


WiFi calling and 4G calling features are excellent

WiFi calling on EE reviewed

Check if your device is supportedSee supported models

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

The only major downside of EE’s network is that their call signals (2G/3G) are broadcast on frequencies that aren’t ideal for getting into buildings. But, they have got features to help out with this.

You get WiFi calling and 4G calling included on any pay monthly SIM, phone contract or Pay As You Go plan. This lets your phone connect to calls using WiFi or 4G signal rather than conventional call (2G/3G) signal.

EE support lots of devices, even a lot of older Android devices on there. So you have a better chance of getting WiFi calling to work with EE than other networks. It makes sense as they’ve had it for ages.

We tried out EE’s WiFi calling by popping our SIM into an old Android model (Galaxy S7) that was not bought from EE directly and an iPhone 7. We got away from call signal and found WiFi calling worked on both.

Unless you already have strong call signal, WiFi calling should take over automatically whenever you try to make a call with a decent WiFi connection. It’s simpler to get it to kick in than on some networks.

We also tested if we could get a call transferred from WiFi to 4G signal without it dropping. When we went out of WiFi range we were switched to a 4G call without issue. But your call will drop if you then lose 4G.

Overall, EE’s WiFi calling and 4G calling works smoothly in the background and definitely helps make up for their generally weaker indoor signal.

The audio quality was as good as being on conventional signal and EE let you send/receive texts over WiFi/4G as well which is useful. In all, it’s a simple to use feature that does exactly what you’d want it to.

Again, to get WiFi calling on an EE-based network, do have a look at 1pMobile who offer the feature at a fraction of the cost of EE.

Useful link: EE's guide to their 4G calling

Our WiFi Calling rating:
★★★★★ (excellent)

Joint 1st

Similar to:

Better than:
O2, Vodafone, Sky

There are loads of extra network features too

Free WiFi on the Underground with EE

Free WiFi on the London UndergroundHow to connect on EE

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

EE offer access to lots of free WiFi hotspots on the Underground. This helps you stay connected in areas you’d otherwise get no signal and pairs well with their WiFi calling scheme so you’re rarely out of reach.

Tethering is also allowed on any EE plan, letting you turn your phone into a WiFi hotspot using your data signal. You can use your whole data allowance for this, and there are no limits on unlimited data plans.

You can also forward incoming calls to a different number on any EE plan. This is handy for keeping one line free from calls. And EE support visual voicemail, letting you sort through your voicemails one by one.

Finally, EE also offer eSIMs. So if you’re on a compatible device you can get your eSIM using the MyEE app, meaning you don’t have to wait for your QR code to be delivered. In all, EE offer a lot of handy features.

Useful link: How free WiFi on the Underground works

Our free WiFi rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Joint 4th

Not as good as:
Virgin Mobile, O2

Same as or better than:
Everyone else

EE benefits reviewed

Family plans are well set up on EE

EE data gifting

Gift data to users on your accountHow data gifting works

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

No doubt the greatest benefit of being on EE is their excellent network, but they don’t really offer a tonne of extra benefits outside of that, especially when compared to some other networks.

EE give you 30% off any SIM only plan on a 12 or 24-month contract and any usage plan (mins, texts, data) on their Flex Pay phone contracts. That’s on top of the added convenience of having your plans in one place.

And you can gift data from one user to another if they’re on the same EE account, which is handy if one user gets through all their data. It’s a great way to avoid extra data charges, especially if you’ve got kids.

You also get a 1GB data boost for every user added to your account, which you can gift to other users if need be. In all, it’s a great scheme for setting up a family account (but there are better choices out there).

Useful link: All benefits of EE's family accounts

Our group plan rating:
★★★★☆ (very good)


Not as good as:

Better than:
All others

There are premium added extra options too

EE Smart Benefits promotional banner

One way to get EU roaming includedSee your choices

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

If you’re looking for a premium experience then EE’s Full Works and All Rounder plans might just be for you. These come with different numbers of added benefits you don’t get on other plans at an added cost.

Taking either kind of plan will let you take these Inclusive Extras. You can choose one of these on an All Rounder plan and three on a Full Works plan and you can take either plan on a SIM only or phone contract.

Some of the benefits include a subscription to TNT Sports, Netflix, Apple Music, Apple TV+, an unlimited video data streaming pass and their Roam Abroad pass (see EE’s guide to their roaming).

Whether these appeal to you depends on what you want. Bear in mind, they’re not freebies. So if you don’t really want any of these, it’s smarter to not take a more expensive premium plan.

Useful link: EE's guide to their Inclusive Extras

Some nice free trials to Apple services on any plan

EE subscription screenshots

Free trials to three Apple servicesSee what you get

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

On any EE plan you’ll get six months free trials to Apple Music and Apple News+ and you can also get a six months free trial to Apple TV+ if you take out an iPhone. These give you a bit of extra value on your plan.

What’s even better is that the data you use for Apple Music during the trial period won’t come out of your allowance, which can save a handy bit of data. But after the trial period it will use up your data like normal.

You get all of these trials on top of your plan. It’s just a shame they don’t offer trials to TNT Sports anymore. Android users miss out on Apple News+ and Apple TV+ meaning Apple users get more out of their plan.

But in all it’s a nice benefit to have that could save you a lot of money. Just remember to cancel these subscriptions once the trial is over or you’ll start being charged for them. They’re not total giveaways.

Useful link: How to claim your free trials

Our free subscriptions rating:
★★★★★ (best choice)


Slightly better than:

Much better than:
All others

Inclusive roaming is sadly only a premium feature

EE's inclusive roaming plans

EU roaming will cost you extraWhy it’s changing

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

Like most of the main networks, EE no longer offer free EU roaming as standard on their pay monthly plans. Any new customers will have to pay a daily fee while abroad to access their regular UK allowance.

Roaming used to be included as standard on all pay monthly plans. You used to be able to access your whole monthly allowance in 48 EU destinations and some worldwide ones (check them here).

On EE’s regular plans you’ll have to pay £2 a day to use your UK allowance in EE’s covered EU countries. The only way around this is to get their Roam Abroad pass as an Inclusive Extra or for an added £10 a month.

So, your choice is either to pay more or pay slightly less on EE. But there are still a lot of providers that use EE’s network that offer inclusive EU roaming, with 1pMobile being our favourite choice out of these.

Useful link: Full roaming costs on EE

Our roaming rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Better than:

What else you get on EE

EE data cap alerts

Cap extra spending on EEHow it works

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

EE let you set caps on extra spending, so you can control how much you spend on things outside of your plan. You can choose to put no cap or set a limit in £5 increments (which isn’t as flexible as some networks).

Some EE plans include their Stay Connected data benefit which lets you keep using data once you’ve used up your allowance, but with max speeds of 0.5 Mbps. That’s great for avoiding having to pay for extra data.

These plans give you EE’s Stay Connected data benefit:

You can call abroad on EE, but calls to some countries are quite expensive. For this, EE let you take an International Pack that gives you a bundle of international calls and reduces the cost of calling abroad.

EE also let you switch your plan up at any point and move it back down to your original plan. You can’t move to a smaller plan than your original, but this is still more flexible than what some networks let you do.

Finally, EE let you set stricter controls on what your kids can access on mobile data. This is great for keeping your kids safe online, but you’ll have to set separate controls on your home broadband for full protection.

Useful link: How EE's spending caps work

What you don’t get on EE

EE data rollover scheme

Data rollover on Pay As You Go onlySee qualifying plans

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

EE don’t include data rollover on their pay monthly plans. This usually lets you keep your unused data for a month or longer. They do offer it on their PAYG plans, but these are worse value than their regular deals:

You also don’t get free data streaming or social media use as a standard benefit like you do with VOXI’s Unlimited Social Media and Video benefits or Sky’s data free streaming for their TV apps.

Also if you run out of data in one month on EE it’s £8.34 for just 1GB. Compare that to SMARTY who offer data add-ons of just £1 for 1GB and you can see why avoiding extra data charges is important on EE.

EE don’t have a rewards app like the other main networks do. They do reward you for referring friends to them, but the rewards for doing so are moderate, so EE customers don’t get much for their loyalty.

Useful link: Our guide to the UK networks with data rollover plans

EE's deals compared

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Overview of EE SIM only options

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Find the best deal with our toolCompare EE deals

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

EE now offer both traditional 24-month contracts and more flexible credit agreements (loans) that split your bill into one payment for your phone and another for your usage plan (mins, texts, data).

The main benefits of this are that you can set your contract length at 24 months or 36 months depending on your budget. And you can set your upfront payment higher or lower to suit you (but you can’t set it to £0).

You can also pay off your loan at any point if you want to upgrade to a new device. You will have to stay on your usage plan until your contract is over, however, so you can’t just leave EE when you want.

EE offer a nice bit of added flexibility with their contracts. But the fact that these are loans means it can be harder to pass a credit check, so you might have to look elsewhere if you have a poor credit history.

Useful link: Use our price comparison tool

Pay As You Go: monthly packs of mins, texts and data only

Pay As You Go rates for 1pMobile

1pMobile offer 1p rates on EE’s networkSee their tariff

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

EE don’t offer a traditional pay as you go scheme, where you top up with credit and your usage comes out of that (1pMobile offer the cheapest rates in the UK and get full access to EE’s network).

If you compare EE’s Pay As You Go bundles to their pay monthly SIM only contracts, you’ll see you get much better value per GB with their contracts and you can potentially get Inclusive Extras on your plan.

There are a few good things, however: there’s no credit checks, you get data rollover and the flexibility to stop and change plans whenever you wish. You also get access to WiFi calling and 4G calling as usual.

If you want to stay on EE long term, then their pay monthly SIM only contracts are the better choice. But their PAYG bundles are good for testing out their network before joining them for a longer term.

Useful link: Get a free EE SIM card

EE customer service reviews

Customer service: EE’s complaints record has got worse

Ofcom complaints data

Quite a lot of customer complaintsEE's UK call centres

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

When customers can’t get their issues resolved with their network, they can log a complaint with government regulator Ofcom. They publish the amount of complaints received about a network per 100,000 customers.

In Ofcom’s latest report the average number of complaints across all networks has gone up. The amount of complaints received about EE has gone up from 1 per 100,000 to 3 per 100,000 customers.

That’s not a good sign. It’s a shame considering they used to be one of the best networks for customer service. At the very least they only get an average number of complaints and aren’t as bad as some networks.

We’re not sure exactly why their record has got worse, but there are still lots of ways to get help on EE and their call centres are still UK based which is handy. Their customer service is still good, it’s just worse than it used to be.

Useful link: Read about EE's UK & Ireland call centre

Other mobile network reviews

Other EE guides

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