EE Pay As You Go Review: PAYG Packs With 4G Internet & Quarterly Free Boost
May 26th, 2016
EE offers three types of bundle on Pay As You Go: Everything Packs, Talk & Text Packs and Data Packs. Bundles start from £1/week and include a ‘free boost’ every quarter.
Customers on EE Pay As You Go have a choice of three different types of Pay As You Go bundle. Known as ‘pay as you go packs’, the bundles will convert your Pay As You Go credit into either a 7-day or 30-day allowance.
The most popular type of pack is the EE Everything Pack. This is an all-round bundle for regular users with a smartphone (e.g. the £10 Everything Pack comes with 150 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of internet). Other types of pack include the Talk & Text Pack (for non-smartphone users) and the Data Pack (for customers who mainly use data). Customers who buy a pack every month will qualify for a ‘free boost’ bonus every quarter.
In this article, we review EE’s Pay As You Go service. We’ll start by looking at the different types of pack and how they compare to bundles available on other networks. We’ll then also look at the coverage available on EE and at how you can keep an existing phone number when moving to the network.
- 1 Bundles & Pricing
- 2 A Cheaper Alternative
- 3 How To Buy & Stop Packs
- 4 Comparison To Alternatives
- 5 Handsets
- 6 Coverage
- 7 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 8 More Information
Bundles & Pricing
In the UK, EE is one of the largest providers of a Pay As You Go mobile service. Their offering is mainly based around ‘pay as you go packs’. With packs, money is deducted automatically from your Pay As You Go credit. It’s converted into a time-limited allowance for which you’ll have either 7 days or 30 days to use.
There are three types of pack currently available:
- Everything Packs (from £10/month): The most popular type of pack. Generally the best for regular users and for users with a smartphone. An Everything Pack gives you a set allowance of minutes, texts and mobile internet for which you’ll have 30 days to use.
- Talk & Text Packs (from £1/week): Good if you don’t have a smartphone. A Talk & Text Pack will only give you minutes and texts. There’s very limited access to the mobile internet so this isn’t really suitable for anyone with a smartphone.
- Data Packs (from £1/week): A Data Pack gives you a set allowance of 4G mobile internet. There’ll also be a small number of inclusive minutes and texts. This can sometimes be a better value option for heavy data users.
It’s also possible to use EE Pay As You Go without buying a pack. This is possible if you only use your SIM card for calling and texting. Instead of paying a fixed amount every week or every month, you’ll pay 30p/minute and 12p/text. Basic Pay As You Go isn’t suitable for anyone with a smartphone: you’ll need a pack if you want to access the mobile internet.
For most users, an EE Everything Pack will provide the best value: it has calls, texts and mobile internet included on one bundle. For £10/month, you’ll get 150 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of 4G internet (this is the most popular bundle for customers on EE Pay As You Go).
At present, there is a choice of six Everything Packs:
You’ll get 4G internet as standard on all packs. With Everything Packs of £15/month or more, you’ll also get double-speed 4G internet.
‘Free Boost’ Loyalty Bonus
If you renew a pack every month for 3 months, you’ll get a ‘Free Boost’ loyalty bonus in the form of extra airtime. This can either be 50 additional minutes or 500MB of additional data. The loyalty bonus will be added to all of your subsequently purchased packs. Furthermore, you’ll get an additional Free Boost for every 3 months you stay on EE. Your Free Boost airtime can continue building up (e.g. after 6 months, you might have 1GB of additional data per month).
After 6 months on the £10 Everything Pack, you could have earned an extra 1GB of data to use every month.
Talk & Text Packs
For users who don’t have a smartphone, Talk & Text Packs can offer better value. They do this by replacing the data allowance with some additional minutes. For instance, the £10/month Talk & Text Pack gives you 250 minutes and unlimited texts (this is 100 minutes more than on the £10 Everything Pack).
For light users, there’s a £1/week Talk & Text pack giving you 25 minutes and 50 text messages.
The following table shows EE’s current line-up of Talk & Text packs:
for 7 days
for 30 days
for 30 days
for 30 days
As with the Everything packs, there’s a ‘Free Boost’ loyalty bonus available on the Talk & Text packs. You’ll be eligible for a bonus after buying the pack for three months (so you’ll either need to have bought 12 lots of the seven-day pack or three lots of 30-day packs). On the weekly pack, you can add either 10 extra minutes, 25 extra texts or 50MB of extra data. On the monthly packs, you can add either 50 extra minutes or 500MB of extra data.
Note: Talk & Text packs comes with a very small allowance of 10MB of data. This isn’t really suitable for usage on a smartphone. You can, however, still access the internet when you’re using wi-fi at home.
Finally, for customers who are mainly concerned about having data on their smartphone, EE currently offers a choice of Data packs. The cheapest way of accessing the internet is on their £1/week Data Pack: this gives you 100MB of 4G internet, 10 minutes and 10 text messages.
There are also £10/month and £15/month data packs, with 1GB and 4GB of data:
for 7 days
for 30 days
for 30 days
As before, a ‘Free Boost’ loyalty bonus will also apply when you buy an EE Data Pack for more than three months. Once you’ve bought 12 lots of the seven-day pack, you can add either 10 extra minutes, 25 extra texts or 50MB of extra data. Alternatively, once you’ve bought 3 lots of the 30-day pack, you can add either 50 extra minutes or 500MB of additional data.
Out Of Bundle Charges
If you don’t have a Pay As You Go pack or if you’ve already used up the allowances included, you’ll pay EE’s standard rates for Pay As You Go. At present, EE charges the following on their Pay As You Go tariff:
|Voice Calls||30p/minute (any network, any time)|
|Calls to Voicemail||30p/minute|
|Calls to Special Rate Numbers||44p/minute access charge
+ service charge from the company you’re calling
|Text Message (SMS)||12p|
|Picture Message (MMS)||40p|
|Mobile Internet||Not available: a data add-on is required for data.|
Outgoing phone calls have a minimum call charge equivalent to 1 minute (so you’ll pay a minimum of 30p per call). Thereafter, you’re charged for calls on a per-minute basis so the length of all phone calls will be rounded up to a full minute. To give an example, an outgoing phone call lasting for 61 seconds will be charged by EE as a 2-minute call (2 x 30p = 60p).
The charges of 30p/minute and 12p/text make EE one of the UK’s most expensive networks for Pay As You Go. Rival offerings like ASDA Mobile, which also uses coverage from EE, charge just 8p/minute and 4p/text (this is less than one-third of the rates on EE Pay As You Go).
A Cheaper Alternative
For a better value alternative to EE Pay As You Go, we’d recommend ordering a free SIM card from ASDA Mobile. A lower-cost network that also uses coverage from EE, ASDA Mobile gives you larger allowances for a lower monthly price.
For £10/month, EE will give you 150 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of internet. For the same monthly price, you’ll get 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 1.5GB of data on ASDA Mobile (this is 4 times as many minutes and 3 times as much data). Alternatively, you could save money with ASDA’s £7 bundle which gives you 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of internet (twice as many minutes for £3/month less).
The following table shows the bundles available from ASDA Mobile:
Because ASDA Mobile piggybacks on the EE network, you’ll continue receiving 99% population coverage from EE. The main disadvantage is you won’t have access to the fastest 4G speeds: you’ll only have access to 2G and 3G.
For light users, ASDA Mobile is also a better value option if you want to pay as you go without the commitment of buying a bundle. They charge just 8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB (whereas EE charges 30p/minute and 12p/text).
How To Buy & Stop Packs
If you’re already an EE Pay As You Go customer, you can buy a pack by logging in to the My EE website or app. You can also buy a pack by calling 150 or by sending a text message to 150 with the relevant shortcode:
|Required Pack||Instructions for Adding Pack|
|£10 Everything Pack||Text EP10 to 150|
|£15 Everything Pack||Text EP15 to 150|
|£20 Everything Pack||Text EP20 to 150|
|£25 Everything Pack||Text EP25 to 150|
|£35 Everything Pack||Text EP35 to 150|
|£1 Talk & Text Pack||Text TTP1 to 150|
|£10 Talk & Text Pack||Text TTP10 to 150|
|£15 Talk & Text Pack||Text TTP15 to 150|
|£1 Data Pack||Text DP1 to 150|
|£10 Data Pack||Text DP10 to 150|
|£15 Data Pack||Text DP15 to 150|
You’ll need to make sure you have a sufficient amount of credit before buying a pack. If you aren’t sure how much credit is remaining on your account, you can check by texting BA to 150.
If you currently have an active pack on your account, you can text AL to 150 to check your remaining allowances. Alternatively, you can check through the My EE website or application.
Upon the expiry of your pack, EE will try to automatically renew the same type of pack. For instance, if you were to buy a £10 Everything Pack today, EE would try to automatically re-purchase another £10 Everything Pack at the end of the 30 days. If you don’t want this to happen automatically, you should text STOP PACK to 150.
If you aren’t currently an EE Pay As You Go customer, you can order a SIM card and choose your pack via this link.
Comparison To Alternatives
In the following section, we compare EE’s Pay As You Go bundles to rival offerings from other networks:
£10 per month bundles
For the same monthly price, ASDA Mobile will give you much better value. You’ll still be getting coverage from EE but you’ll get 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 1.5GB of internet (1.5GB = 1,500MB). This is four times as many minutes and three times as much data to use every month for the same price.
Alternatively, the £7/month bundle from ASDA Mobile comes with 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of internet.
£15 per month bundles
On their £15 Everything Pack, EE currently offers 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of internet.
For the same monthly price, you’ll get twice as many minutes and twice as much data on giffgaff (you’ll get 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of data on giffgaff’s £15 goodybag). giffgaff is a low-cost network using coverage from O2.
If you want a cheaper alternative that uses coverage from EE, ASDA Mobile’s £15 bundle comes with 1,000 minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of data.
£20 per month bundles
The £20 Everything Pack comes with 750 minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of internet.
This can easily be beaten by the offering on rival networks. For instance, giffgaff’s £18 goodybag has more than twice as many minutes and twice as much data (you’ll get 2000 minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of internet for £18/month).
For more information, please see our full comparison of the UK’s best value Pay As You Go bundles.
There are two ways of joining EE Pay As You Go.
If you’d like a brand new smartphone, you can buy one from the EE website (prices currently start at £19.99). You can also buy an EE Pay As You Go handset from a third-party retailers like Argos and Amazon.
If you already have an unlocked smartphone that you’re happy to keep, just order a free Pay As You Go SIM card from EE. If your handset is currently locked to a network, you may find it useful to read our guides on unlocking an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy.
2G, 3G and 4G Coverage
EE has 99% population coverage across the UK. This includes 98% population coverage on 3G and 95% population coverage on 4G. This is the widest 4G coverage of any UK network (see our review of the coverage on EE for more information).
It isn’t necessary to have a 4G handset to use the EE network (EE is also compatible with 2G and 3G handsets).
Before joining EE Pay As You Go, we strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on the EE website:
Customers with an Everything Pack of £15/month or more will be able to access EE’s double-speed 4G network (average download speeds of 24-30Mbit/s). Customers on all other packs are restricted to the normal 4G network (average download speeds of 12-15Mbit/s).
Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with other devices (e.g. with your laptop or tablet). On EE Pay As You Go, you can tether without any restrictions using your inclusive data allowances. This is in contrast to many other mobile networks which sometimes have a restriction on tethering.
For frequent users of tethering or personal hotspot, both ASDA Mobile and giffgaff are also worth considering. As they tend to offer larger data allowances than available on the tariffs from EE, they might be more suitable for use with this feature.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’re switching from another network to EE’s Pay As You Go service, it’s a straightforward process to keep your current phone number. By moving your phone number to EE, you can save yourself the hassle of having to telling everyone a brand new phone number.
To get started, order your free SIM card on the EE website. You’ll need to have an EE SIM card before the transfer can take place. After ordering the SIM card, you should then contact your old network and ask them for a PAC Code. The PAC Code will authorise the transfer of your phone number to EE.
When you receive the new SIM card from EE, you should head over to this online form. In the form, you can submit your PAC Code to EE to have your number switched over. Your phone number transfer will then normally be scheduled for the next working day.
For a step-by-step guide on moving your number to EE, please select your current mobile network from the drop down menu below:
|PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to EE|
My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.
Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.