EE UK network review: Everything you need to know (March 2018)


EE is technically the U.K.’s youngest network, formed in the merger of Orange U.K. and T-Mobile U.K. in 2010. First the company was called Everything Everywhere, but in August 2012 the company announced the EE brand would offer 4G in the U.K. and Everything Everywhere would become the legal entity and parent company of all three brands. It was then bought by the BT Group in 2016, becoming part of the BT Wholesale and Ventures division, yet retaining its band identity and retail stores under the EE name.

Read: UK network overview – the best plans and options

The network brought LTE to market nearly a year before its rivals (although regulator Ofcom had a hand in it), launched its own TV and Broadband services, and has established one of the best networks in the U.K.. Since then, EE has managed to cultivate a network that covers marginally more of the U.K.’s population than any of its rivals — 99 percent of it.

What does the future hold for the youngest-yet-largest operator in the U.K.? Let’s find out in EE review!

EE Network technology

EE’s network currently uses the following frequencies:

Frequency Protocol Class
1800MHz GSM / GPRS / EDGE / LTE 2G / 4G
2100MHz UMTS / HSDPA / HSPA+ / DC-HSPA+ 3G
800MHz LTE 4G
1800MHz LTE 4G
2600MHz LTE 4G

EE 4G LTE

Along with the spectrum it owned and acquired, EE was granted permission to repurpose its existing 1800MHz spectrum for LTE use and brought out the U.K.’s first 4G network in October 2012 — almost a year ahead of its rivals.

Initially launching in 11 cities, the network took just two years to roll out 4G coverage for over 75 percent of the U.K. population. After reaching 75 percent, the network set about improving its network by launching the U.K.’s first “double-speed” LTE-Advanced network in London, offering theoretical download speeds of up to 300Mbps on the go. Actual speeds top out at around 160 Mbps, but this is still faster than the U.K.’s fastest broadband.

Editor’s Pick

The introduction and rollout of LTE-Advanced across the country added additional for all LTE users, and average EE speeds have increased over the years. In September 2017 EE announced it will convert its 2G airwaves to 4G, gradually moving its 1800 MHz over entirely to LTE usage.

The carrier is also increasing its rollout of higher next-generation LTE technologies in a number of cities, like Cat 9 and Cat 12 smartphones, under an initiative EE has named 4G+. The 4G speeds are certainly impressive and coverage is marginally considered the best in the country, covering 99 percent of population, but what’s the rest of EE like? Let’s take a look.

EE Pay Monthly Handsets

EE’s Pay Monthly (PAYM) plans are split up across a selection of options. The 4GEE Plans offer a selection of data sizes at varying costs, but EE also offers more expensive options if you’re looking for an annual upgrade path.

The 4GEE Essential plan is the company’s cheapest handset option, offering 500 MB of data at speeds up to 60 Mbps, 500 minutes, unlimited text, EU roaming includes, and 3 months use of the BT Sport app. This can be boosted to 1GB of data and unlimited texts under the slightly more expensive 4GEE Plan.

There are a wider selection of 4GEE Max Plan options, but they all come with unlimited minutes and text, Roaming in the EU, Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, and the U.S., 24-month access to the BT Sport app, and access to the carriers faster 4G speeds. Data packages come in 3, 8, 15, 25, 40, and 60 GB offerings with increasing price tags to match.

Adding the annual upgrade option to a 15 GB or higher package increases the monthly cost of your contract, but tends to reduce the upfront handset cost. Exact prices vary depending on the handset. In addition to all of the above, EE’s pay monthly plans all come with free Wi-Fi calling and texts and six months free access to Apple Music.

EE Pay Monthly SIM Only

While most consumers buy their phone as part of a monthly contract, some users will buy phones outright or use an existing phone and just get a PAYM SIM. For these customers, networks offer SIM Only (SIMO) plans and the market has become increasingly competitive over the past couple of years.

EE offers 4G SIMO plans with up to 40 GB data each month if you’re willing to sign up to a 12 month commitment. Alternatively the carrier offers 30-day rolling commitments but these are a tad more expensive and cap out at just 6 GB of data per month. EE currently lets you upgrade to a handset at any point after the first 3 months of your contract, or you can save £20 off a new purchase if you wait 6. Either way, you won’t be able to leave the network until you’ve completed the 12-month period.

Here are the EE PAYM SIMO packages:

Data Minutes Texts 12-month plan cost 30-day plan cost
250 MB 250 Unlimted £10.99/m £13.99/m
500 MB 500 Unlimted £13.99/m £16.99/m
1 GB 1000 Unlimited £15.99/m £18.99/m
2 GB 2000 Unlimted £17.99/m £20.99/m
4 GB Unlimited Unlimted £24.99/m
6 GB Unlimited Unlimted £22.99/m £25.99/m
12 GB Unlimited Unlimted £32.99/m
20 GB Unlimited Unlimited £36.99/m
40 GB Unlimited Unlimited £44.99/m

EE Pay as You Go Plans

Like many networks, EE divides its PAYG offering into packs, offering a combination of minutes, texts and data for different purposes. Packs last a month and EE’s retention offer means the longer you stay, the better it gets; every three months, you can add more minutes, texts or data at no extra cost.

Here’s EE’s PAYG packs:

Pack Cost Minutes Texts Data Duration
Everything Packs
£5 50 250 150 MB 30 days
£10 250 Unlimited 1 GB 30 days
£15 1000 Unlimited 2 GB 30 days
£20 1500 Unlimited 4 GB 30 days
£25 2000 Unlimited 8 GB 30 days
£30 3000 Unlimited 16 GB 30 days
Talk & Text Packs
£1 100 200 10 MB 7 days
£10 5000 Unlimited 50 MB 30 days
Data Packs
£10 100 Unlimited 2 GB 30 days
£15 500 Unlimited 5 GB 30 days

EE’s offers here have changed quite a bit over the years, with an increasing emphasis on the Everything Packs, no doubt as consumers have gravitated towards packages offer more data while wanting to keep their call allowances. EE PAYG plans offer up to 16 GB 4G data and up to 3000 inclusive minutes each month, making them perfect for both the casual user or heavy consumer alike.

EE Quad Play

The rise in demand for mobile services means mobile operators are encroaching on traditional household services like TV, internet and landline telephones (Do you even use a landline anymore? Let us know down below). We can’t complete our EE review without looking at these options.

EE currently offers four broadband packages: Standard, which offers up to 17Mbps; Fibre, which offers up to 38Mbps, and Fibre Plus and Max, which offer up to 76Mbps. If you have an EE pay monthly mobile plan or a 12-month SIM plan, the carrier will boost its monthly data allowance by 5 GB, or 50 GB if you take out a Fiber and mobile Max plan. Let’s take a look at how they compare:

Package Details Standard Broadband Fibre Fibre Plus Fibre Max
Max Broadband speed 17Mbps 38Mbps 76Mbps 76Mbps
Unlimited downloads? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Anytime calls to landlines £4/m £4/m £4/m £4/m
Anytime & Mobile calls package £8/m £8/m £8/m £8/m
International Extra package £10/m £10/m £10/m Included
Contract Length 18 months 18 months 18 months 18 months
Cost (including line rental) £21.50/m
£10 setup
£29/m
£35 setup
£33/m
£35 setup
£45/m
£35 setup

EE also offers EE TV, a household TV freeview service which has a really unique feature — it lets you use both the TV box and your phone or tablet to watch TV or your recordings in any room in the house.

EE TV lets you watch up to four different programmes at the same time across your TV and compatible devices and use your tablet or phone as an enhanced remote to control your TV box. It also lets you seamlessly move something you’re watching on your tablet or phone to your TV with just a flick of your finger.

Let’s take a look at how much EE TV costs:

Package Details EE TV and Unlimited Broadband EE TV and Unlimited Fibre Broadband EE TV and Unlimited Fibre Plus Broadband EE TV and Unlimited Fibre Max Broadband
Max Broadband speed 17Mbps 38Mbps 76Mbps 76Mbps
Unlimited downloads? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Weekend calls only package £4/m £4/m £4/m £4/m
Anytime & Mobile calls package £8/m £8/m £8/m £8/m
International Extra package £10/m £10/m £10/m Included
Contract Length 18 months 18 months 18 months 18 months
TV and Broadband Cost (including line rental) £33/m
£10 setup
£37/m
£35 setup
£42/m
£35 setup
£53/m
£35 setup

Final thoughts

ee-store

EE’s network has undergone great transformations since its beginning as a plucky carrier racing ahead with its 4G rollout. It’s become the biggest and a source of frustration for its rivals. Sure, the national regulator played a crucial role in the network’s growth by allowing it to repurpose existing spectrum and launch 4G ten months before it was physically possible for its rivals to do so, but the growth of the company has been down to focusing on LTE.

My personal number is on EE and while I’ve had my own fair share of problems over the past few years, I would still recommend the network. At one point, the network offered horrendous customer services with call centres abroad not offering the level of service desired by customers but I’ve personally noticed that most, if not all, of my calls to customer services are now answered by U.K.-based call centres.

Editor’s Pick

It’s difficult not to recommend the best network in the U.K. None are perfect in all places or in every way, but EE certainly does a good job. If you’re based in the U.K. — or travelling to the U.K. on holiday and need a SIM — EE will certainly do the job for you.

More UK carriers reviews – Choose yours below!

  • O2 UK network review: Everything you need to know
  • Vodafone UK review: Everything you need to know
  • Three UK network review: Everything you need to know

What do you think of EE’s network and our EE review? Let us know in the comments below and if you are or have been an EE customer, vote in our poll below to tell everyone what you think of the U.K.’s biggest network.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

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EE UK network review: Everything you need to know (March 2018)

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