EE mobile review 2018 - is EE any good?

As one of the biggest networks in the UK, EE has it all: fast 4G, tons of phones and - we presume - an encyclopaedias-worth of blackmail material on Hollywood superstar Kevin Bacon. Well, there must be a reason he's willing to be in all those ads. But is the network any good?

Join us as we dive deep into the world of EE. We'll review everything from customer service and coverage, to handsets and extras, and hopefully uncover the answer to the ultimate question: is EE an Excellent Enterprise or a load of Exasperating Excrement?

What's good about EE

  • Excellent coverage
  • Fastest 4G in the UK
  • Wide selection of handsets
  • Plans range from 250MB to 60GB data
  • Family plans let you share data
  • Cool extras, including BT Sport and Apple Music

What's bad about EE

  • Quite expensive
  • Not the best customer service
  • No unlimited plans
  • 30-day SIMs not available online
  • Those Kevin Bacon adverts

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EE mobile phones

One thing that the major networks (O2, Three, Vodafone, etc) have in common is that they attempt to be all things to all people. EE is no different - it has one of the widest selection of handsets out there, from low-cost phones for those on a tight budget to all-singing, all-dancing flagships from the likes of Apple or Samsung. In fact, it's usually one of the first to get the big phones when they're released.

This is one of EE's greatest strengths. At the time of writing, some of the handsets available through the network include:

That's just a small sample - it's a pleasingly broad selection of iOS and Android handsets, and although you may end up paying more than on some other networks (more on that later), you really are spoiled for choice.


EE phone contract plans

If the choice of handsets on EE is broad, the variety of deals on offer would block out the sun - particularly if you include resellers.

Monthly data ranges from 500MB up to a hefty 60GB - though the big data's only available with some handsets sadly. Prices range from an affordable £15 a month to an wallet-wilting £88 a month, depending on the handset. That top figure's for the iPhone X by the way - yikes!

Contracts tend to be 24-months for the more popular phones. That's pretty standard across the big networks, but it's still quite a long time to be locked into a contract. If you're not sure you're ready for that level of commitment, you may be better off buying a cheap phone and SIM-only plan, or looking at another network.

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Now let's look at some of the most popular plans:

EE iPhone plans

More than 10 years after its debut, the iPhone remains one of the hottest types of mobile phone out there. So of course EE carries Apple handsets, and with lots of choice over data and minutes.

Here's the broad strokes - use the compare deals button if you want to see more detail:

EE plan details
Data Monthly cost Upfront cost
iPhone 8 1GB - 60GB £49 - £78 FREE - £429.99 Compare deals
iPhone 8 Plus 1GB - 60GB £54 - £83 FREE- £529.99 Compare deals
iPhone 7 1GB - 30GB £39 - £68 FREE - £289.99 Compare deals
iPhone 7 Plus 1GB - 30GB £49 - £73 FREE - £399 Compare deals

NOTE: Data taken from CompareMyMobile results grid 27/02/18. Prices may have changed since. Use our comparison grid to see current plans.

EE's iPhone plans can become a lot more affordable if you choose an older model, or go with a reseller. Since Apple's handsets tend to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, there's not a dramatic difference between this year's version and the last one.

Obviously, if you care about having the latest and greatest thing, you should go for the best, but if you're more concerned about money, you won't lose a huge deal by going back a generation.

See EE iPhone plans

EE Samsung Galaxy phone plans

The Samsung Galaxy range is a smash hit too, probably because they're just really, really good phones. EE carries a few models, with an impressively broad variety of airtime and data options. Here's a general overview:

Model Data Monthly cost Upfront cost
Samsung Galaxy S9 1GB - 60GB £39 - £63 FREE - £519.99 Compare deals
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus 1GB - 60GB £15 - £73 FREE - £549 Compare deals
Samsung Galaxy S8 1GB - 60GB £44 - £63 FREE - £350 Compare deals
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus 1GB - 60GB £49 - £68 FREE - £350 Compare deals

NOTE: Data taken from CompareMyMobile results grid 27/02/18. Prices may have changed since. Use our comparison grid to see current plans.

As with the iPhone, older models typically work out better value - and it's often only the camera and processor that get a major improvement, so don't be afraid to back to last year's Galaxy to find a better deal.

See EE Samsung Galaxy plans


EE SIM-only plans

As you'd expect, EE is all over SIM-only plans. There's a good number available, starting at 250MB data (only really appropriate for light browsing and checking email) and going up to a substantial 40GB - well suited for anyone who wants to, say, watch Netflix on the daily commute. Plans come with unlimited calls and texts too - in short, they're pretty good.

Here's a quick overview of the available SIM-only deals:

Data Minutes and texts Contract term Price
250MB - 40GB Unlimited 12 months £11 - £35 Compare deals

NOTE: Data taken from CompareMyMobile results grid 27/02/18. Prices may have changed since. Use our comparison grid to see current plans.

EE's family plans are also great. They let you share data your data allowance across multiple SIM cards, rather than pay for all that extra data. It's much more cost-effective. We approve.

While overall impressive, we are disappointed that EE doesn't sell 30-day SIM-only plans online. They're available from EE's high street stores, but it's hard see how they compare to the competition if you to go to a physical location to get them. That result is that EE's online-available SIM-only plans are about as flexible as an ironing board - it's 12 months or GTFO. To a shop.


EE coverage

EE has amazing coverage - most reports agree that it's the widest in the UK. Its 4G network now reaches 99% of the UK population, so there's a very good chance you'll be able to get a solid signal where you live and work.

In terms of geographical coverage, EE sits at around 85% of the UK. That compares favourably to its competition, but there are still parts of the country where you'll get no signal at all, so make sure you use EE's coverage checker to see if you can connect in areas you regularly visit.

EE coverage checker


EE 4G mobile internet

Fast 4G is one of the big selling points of EE. Not only is its coverage the widest, it's also often credited as the fastest. The most recent RootMetrics report on the UK's mobile networks, for example, puts EE firmly at position one in five categories, including speed and reliability.

EE's standard plans are pretty nippy, but if you need even more oomph, you can get double speed 4G. It'll cost extra of course, but your download speeds will be among the best in the UK.


EE Pricing

Let's not sugar-coat it - EE is one of the pricier networks in the UK. There are some affordable options, but those tend to be a little stingy with the data, and since EE's all about superfast 4G you'll want enough data to get the most out of it. That's when the costs start to add up.

A glance at our results grid reveals that some plans work out more expensive than the equivalent on rival networks like O2 or Three (though deals can change that), and especially mobile virtual network operators like giffgaff or Tesco Mobile.

Overall though, we do think EE justifies the cost of its plans. There are loads of phones and plans to choose from, the available extras are pretty good, and let us not forget that the network speed and 4G coverage are both best in class.

Bear in mind that we're talking generally here. Mobile deals change often, and networks and resellers regularly launch special offers. On occasion, EE may actually work out cheaper than its rivals, so make sure you compare plans get the best deal possible.

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EE Customer service

Ofcom's most recent customer service report (2017) reveals that people are mostly satisfied with EE's customer service. Satisfaction in the reports sits at 85% - slightly lower than Three and O2, but higher than Vodafone.

Anecdotally, EE users at CompareMyMobile HQ have reported positive experiences with the online chat. It's UK-based, and every time someone's needed an answer they've been given the correct information. So a thumbs up from them.


EE Extras and benefits

You'd hope a network that charges premium prices would throw in some decent perks, and EE certainly does. In fact, we think its extras - which include free subscriptions to pricy streaming services - are pretty good. Here are some of the network's best:

  • BT Sport - EE plans include up to 24 months' free use of BT Sport, to watch online and on a smartphone app. The channel shows Premier League matches, rugby and more.
  • Apple Music - Plans include six months' free Apple music subscription. A really nice touch is that any streaming won't be deducted from your allowance. Good show EE.
  • Broadband - If you get home broadband from EE, you get an extra 5GB data every month. (Incidentally, here's a shameless plug - have you checked out our sister site broadbandchoices?)
  • Wi-Fi calling - If you're on a Wi-Fi connection, EE will use it to improve the quality of calls.
  • Wi-Fi on the London Underground - EE customers can connect to Virgin Media Wi-Fi hotspots on the London Underground for free.


EE data-only SIMs, tablet plans and dongles

If you want a SIM for your iPad, or a dongle for working on the go, there are plenty of data-only plans from EE. You can see an overview of them below:

Data Contract term Price
2GB - 30GB 1 / 12/ 24 months £13 - £30 Compare deals

Unfortunately, there's no unlimited data option - and you can't get 60GB like you can with phone plans. 30GB is generous enough for most travellers, but super-heavy users or anyone who wants to use mobile internet as their primary connection may be better served by a different network.

On the plus side, EE sells its own branded dongles, portable Wi-Fi devices and car Wi-Fi devices. You'll need a tolerance for EE's… erm… eclectic colour scheme for some of them, but if you can tolerate lemon yellow, you'll find they work well.


Overall Verdict

EE gets the fundamentals right - it's a comprehensive network with the fastest 4G speeds, widest coverage and tons of choice for loads of different types of users. Honestly, that alone would be enough to recommend it.

The biggest downside from EE (outside of its colour scheme and Kevin Bacon ads) is the price. It's one of the pricier mobile networks out there, and those on a tight budget will likely be better served by a smaller operator. It's also not the best choice for super heavy users - big data plans are particularly costly, and you can't get unlimited data.

For most people though, the coverage and speed of the network, combined with some useful perks like data-sharing family plans, Apple Music, BT Sport and Wi-Fi access, will justify the expenditure.

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Frequently asked questions about EE

Got a question about EE and its deals? Here are some of the most common we encounter:

How do I buy an EE deal?

It's easy to find a great EE deal - simply head over to our comparison grid to see all your options. Use the filters on the page to refine your results and organise by data, monthly cost, total cost, upfront cost and more.

FAQ: Can I keep my phone number if I switch to EE?

You can indeed.

  1. Switch to a new plan. The easiest way to do this is to compare deals on CompareMyMobile, and find one that you like the look of. Click the link and we'll take you to company's website where you can sign up.
  2. Request a PAC (Port Authorisation Code) from your current operator. You'll receive a unique code - typically by text message. This code will remain usable for 30 days.
  3. When your new SIM card arrives, activate it, then contact your new operator. Give them your PAC, and they'll assign your old number to your new SIM.

FAQ: How much data do I need for EE?

The more you do online, the more data you'll need. Online browsing, and email tends to just use a few GB, while streaming music and podcasts will eat more. Video is particularly data-hungry, so if you plan to watch services like Netflix or iPlayer on the go, you'll need a fair amount of data.

To calculate how much data you may need, check out our guide to mobile data usage:

How much data do I need?

Bear in mind that EE's 4G is pretty good, and this can have an effect on usage. Look at it like this: because you can do more stuff online, you will do more stuff online. Many people find that it's good to have a bit of a buffer compared to what they expect to use - though obviously if you have more discipline, feel free to go with the lower option.