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Networks that use EE: the best piggybacking providers ranked

EE logo with a mobile mast

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We rank the mobile providers who use EE's network from best to worst in terms of coverage, speeds and plans they offer. Last updated: 9th November 2022.

Alternatives to EE on their network

Access EE’s excellent network without the high costs

A network mast, EE logo and SIM card

Use EE’s network with a different providerSkip to the networks

In our review of the EE network, we rated their network as having the best blend of coverage. Their coverage for calls isn’t incredible, but their 4G/5G data signal is strong enough to make up for it, not to mention their leading data speeds.

But this quality comes at a high cost. And now that EE have pulled out of comparison websites, their deals have got more expensive than ever. They're up there with Vodafone and O2 as the priciest network to join.

In this guide, we’ll go over all the lower cost providers that use EE’s network and what sorts of speeds, coverage, benefits and deals you’ll get with them vs being on EE directly.

Skip to: Networks on EE | SIM only plans | Phone contracts

Who uses EE?

BT Mobile: excellent but no longer taking on new customers

Screenshot of BT's coverage checker

They no longer offer new SIMs or phonesRead their FAQs

at BT.com
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Existing customers still get access
Green plus sign Same 5G/4G/3G/2G network as EE
Green plus sign Extra features like WiFi hotspots and EU roaming

What we don't like:
Red minus sign No longer offering deals to new customers

BT Mobile have recently removed all their SIM only and phone contracts, so unless you’re an existing customer, there is now no way to join their network. Shame, because we used to rate them as the best alternative to EE.

This was mostly down to the extra network features they offered. This included an excellent WiFi calling scheme, massive WiFi hotspot network, full access to EE’s network (including 5G) and a few others.

And they even offered some benefits that EE don’t. BT offered EU roaming on all plans while EE removed theirs. And you got £5 off as a BT broadband customer and a free BT Sport app subscription on some plans.

You still get all of that if you’re already on a BT Mobile contract. But they're no longer taking new customers, 1pMobile are our new number one pick for smaller providers on EE’s network.

Useful link: Read our full BT Mobile network review

1pMobile: the best alternative to joining EE directly

Screenshot of 1pMobile's coverage map

The same signal coverage as being on EESee for yourself

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign New pay monthly plans
Green plus sign Get full access to EE’s 5G/4G/3G/2G
Green plus sign Cheap pay monthly and pay as you go
Green plus sign Extra network features like WiFi calling

What we don't like:
Red minus sign PAYG minimum top up requirement every 120 days
Red minus sign Massive data plans get expensive

You might not have heard of 1pMobile but they're a cheap and cheerful brand, whose network is way better than their name and appearance might first suggest.

1pMobile get full access to EE's 5G, 4G, 3G and 2G networks, with identical coverage (a few years ago, there were some difference but not now). And you also get WiFi calling and 4G calling too.

And they've now started doing some very well-priced monthly plans, with no contract or credit check:

Or you can do traditional pay as you go, where you top up and just pay for what you use, at the UK's cheapest rates (1p per minute, text or MB data). Here's that tariff for you:

Useful link: Our full network review of 1pMobile

Plusnet Mobile: cheap deals but inferior to EE directly

Screenshot of Plusnet's coverage checker

They do miss out on 5GCheck near you

at plus.net
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Generally cheap SIM deals
Green plus sign Flexible 1-month contracts

What we don't like:
Red minus sign No 5G, WiFi calling or 4G calling
Red minus sign 4G signal not the same as EE's

We've put Plusnet Mobile this high up the rankings mainly thanks to the price, rather than the quality of their mobile network, which is beatable by providers lower down.

There's quite a lot missing on Plusnet Mobile. You don't get access to all the 4G frequency bands that EE and 1pMobile have at their disposal, meaning coverage is inferior to both on Plusnet.

There are also no network extras like 5G data, WiFi calling or 4G calling like you'd get on EE or 1p, so it's a much more basic 4G/3G/2G service you're getting.

But if you know all that and aren't fussed, we still think Plusnet deserve a reasonably high place in this guide, simply because of the out-and-out value they offer, especially for their own broadband customer, who get a free 2GB data boost.

Useful link: How Plusnet compare with EE

IQ Mobile: an interesting option now they've got 5G

IQ Mobile website screenshot

The same coverage as being on EERead about IQ

at helloiq.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Same coverage as EE
Green plus sign 5G data

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Commit to 3 months at a time

You'll actually get a better network experience on IQ than Plusnet Mobile. They've got 5G data and they're on EE's more-modern "MVNO stack" meaning you get access to all the same 4G bands (Plusnet aren't).

But it's hard to see what IQ's advantage over 1pMobile is. IQ are more expensive and you have to commit in 3-month batches (vs 1-month on 1p). Here are their latest plans:

You'll pay for 3 months up front, which will work out to the monthly amounts you see here:

You can use IQ Mobile SIMs in tablets and mobile broadband dongles too and they offer a range of data-only SIMs that beat EE directly on price.

Useful link: See IQ Mobile plans

To The Moon Mobile: a bit of an odd proposition

Screenshot of TTM mobile coverage checker

You'll now get 5GCheck local signal

at tothemoonmobile.com
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Alright pricing
Green plus sign No credit checks

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Horrible website and joining experience
Red minus sign Beatable prices

We're now getting onto the networks that you've probably never heard of. One of which is To The Moon. They're a strange network that use EE's full 5G, 4G, 3G, 2G network.

The network seems mainly aimed at getting you to join their financial products, which are things like pre-paid debit cards and less about getting an actual mobile plan.

But they do have a range of pre-paid deals. In fact, they have a massive range (something like 80 different plans) for every 1GB increment of data you could imagine.

They’re not a bad network if you can find a deal that suits you. But there’s typically better value available on networks with more features.

Useful link: See To The Moon's website

Co-op Mobile: all plans on 1-month contracts but few benefits

Lady on a phone

Use your mins, texts data in the EUSee their SIMs

at broadband.yourcoop.com
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Flexible 1-month contracts
Green plus sign Nice EU roaming scheme

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Coverage isn’t the same as EE
Red minus sign No 5G access or WiFi/4G calling
Red minus sign Not particularly great value

Co-op Mobile are functionally very similar to Plusnet Mobile in a lot of ways. They offer all their plans on 1-month contracts and don’t get full access to EE’s network. The main difference is Co-op are a lot pricier.

Their deals are similar in cost to EE’s 1-month contracts which tend to be some of the priciest deals on the market. It’s still great to get the flexibility of a 1-month contract, but it does come at a high cost.

Despite the high costs, you don’t get access to EE’s 5G network. And Co-op also offer an inferior 4G experience than their hosts for coverage.

And Co-op claim you can only get speeds of up to 100 Mbps. We’re not sure if this is evidence of a speed cap or just them being defensive about expectations.

Useful link: See Co-op Mobile's website

Networks that used to use EE’s signal

Virgin Mobile logoASDA Mobile logoTPO Mobile logo

These providers are no longer on the EE network

In the past there have been a few other providers that used EE’s network, but have moved on to other networks since then.

We reckon this is down to them wanting to get cheaper rates by using other networks rather than them deciding that they’d be able to offer better signal via a different network.

Virgin Mobile were the biggest network to move away from EE which happened when BT (Virgin’s main rival for broadband) purchased EE. BT still own EE and have merged their mobile brands with them, while Virgin now use O2’s network.

ASDA Mobile also did something similar. They moved all their customers over to Vodafone.

If you’ve never heard of The People’s Operator, it’s because they’re a now defunct brand. But they used to be on Three’s network after having moved from EE. And a few other small brands have come and gone as well.

SIM only plans on EE-based networks

SIM only plans

Compare SIMs from providers that piggyback on EE

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Networks

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ID logo
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