EE offers two types of Pay Monthly plan: EE Max and EE Essential. Find out how the two tariff types compare.
If you’re looking for a Pay Monthly handset from EE, there are now two types of tariff you’re able to choose from.
EE’s flagship 4G tariff is known as EE Max. Starting from £30/month, EE Max gives you the fastest download speeds available and a data allowance of up to 60GB per month. Customers with an EE Max tariff can access 4G+ coverage on compatible handsets in Greater London and a number of other major UK cities. Customers also get inclusive roaming in Europe, Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the USA as well as access to BT Sport for the duration of their contract.
If you’re looking for a lower-cost alternative, EE’s cheaper alternative is known as EE Essential. With EE Essential, you’ll get a data allowance of up to 30GB per month and access to EE’s double-speed 4G network. You’ll also get inclusive roaming in Europe, but at slower-than-UK speeds, and a 3-month free trial of the BT Sport app.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the EE Max and EE Essential tariffs, comparing the features available on each one.
EE Max VS EE Essential: At A Glance Comparison
The following table shows the key differences between the two types of tariff from EE:
|EE Max||EE Essential|
|Monthly Price||From £30/month||From £12/month|
|Data||8GB to 60GB||500MB to 30GB|
|Data Speed||Fastest speeds available
|Up to 60Mbps
|Roaming data speed||Fastest available speeds||Standard (slower than UK)|
|BT Sport||✔ 24 months||✔ 3 month trial|
|Apple Music||✔ 6 months||✔ 6 months|
|Early Upgrade||✔ On selected 60GB & 100GB plans||✘|
One of the main differences between EE Max and EE Essential is the maximum download speed you’re able to obtain when on EE’s 4G network.
The fastest download speeds are reserved for customers on an EE Max tariff. As long as you have a compatible smartphone supporting Category 6 LTE or higher, and providing you live in an area with the relevant coverage, you’ll be able to access to EE’s 4G+ service (also known as 4.5G or LTE-Advanced). On 4G+, you’ll get download speeds of up to 90Mbps (this is 3 times faster compared to a normal 4G connection and 24 times faster than a standard 3G connection). You can check on EE’s website to see whether you’re living in a 4G+ coverage area.
Customers on EE Essential will have access to double-speed 4G. This gives download speeds of up to 60Mbps (about 16 times faster than a standard 3G connection).
In our opinion, the difference in download speed between EE Max and EE Essential will only make a very small difference to your experience on the network. As a benchmark, you only need about 4Mbps to stream high-definition video from the internet. For large downloads, the difference in download speed may be slightly more noticeable but is still likely to be measured in a number of seconds. For more information, see our review of 4G+ and double-speed 4G. You may also find it interesting to read our guide on mobile download speeds.
Since May 2017, all EE plans have included European roaming at no extra charge. When travelling inside the EU, you’ll be able to use your inclusive minutes, texts and internet as if you were in the UK. A fair usage policy of 15GB/month applies if your data plan contains more than 15GB of data.
According to EE, customers on an Essential price plan will get standard-speed roaming which is “likely to be slower than in the UK but fast enough to use your phone as you normally would, including streaming music and standard definition video”.
Customers on EE Max will get the “fastest available speeds” when abroad. It’ll also be possible to use your UK allowances at no extra charge in 5 countries outside of Europe (Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the USA).
A complete list of inclusive destinations is provided on the EE website:
Roaming countries included: Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Canary Islands, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guyana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Islands, Romania, San Marino, Saint Martin (French), Saint Barthelemy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City (Italy).
Note: Turkey (you may connect to a Turkish network in Northern Cyprus) and Andorra are outside the EU/EEA and not included in our European Roaming Zone.
4GEE Max plans include the above plus Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and USA.
Customers who regularly travel abroad to countries like Australia and the USA may also wish to consider Three’s Feel At Home offer as an alternative.
For customers choosing EE Max, there’s an inclusive subscription to the BT Sport app for the duration of your contract (i.e. for the full 24 months of your contract).
For customers on EE Essential, there’s a 3-month free trial available for the BT Sport app. After your initial three months, you’ll need to pay £5/month for ongoing access to BT Sport.
The BT Sport app allows you to watch BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport 3 and ESPN on your EE smartphone. You’ll be able to watch live games from the Barclays Premier League, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. There is also a range of other sporting action including Aviva Premiership Rugby, Moto GP, UFC and more.
The subscription only covers you to watch BT Sport on your smartphone (i.e. it doesn’t cover watching BT Sport on your TV). For more information, see the BT Sport FAQs on EE’s website.
If you choose an eligible 60GB or 100GB EE Max plan with flagship smartphones from Apple, Samsung or Google, you may be eligible for EE’s annual upgrade offer.
With the offer, you’ll be able to trade-in your handset after 12 months to upgrade to a newer version (for instance, you could replace your Galaxy S9 with a new Galaxy S10 this time next year). EE will waive any early termination fees but you’ll need to commit for another 24 months when upgrading your handset. Your new plan must also cost either the same or more each month. There may also be an upfront charge to get your new handset.
If your old device is damaged when you trade it in, a charge of at least £100 will be made. There is also a charge of between £240 and £480 if you don’t have an old device to trade-in.
Remember, it’s also possible to upgrade your handset at any time by purchasing an unlocked smartphone outside of your contract.
On EE, almost all smartphones are now offered on a choice of either EE Max or EE Essential.
The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of how much the two tariffs will cost for an iPhone XS or Galaxy Note 9 on a 24-month contract:
For a full list of available handsets and tariffs, please see the EE website.
EE has 99% population coverage, including on 2G, 3G and 4G. At present, this is the widest 4G coverage of any UK mobile network.
For faster download speeds, EE’s double-speed 4G network currently offers about 80% population coverage. 4G+ or LTE-Advanced is available to EE Max customers in London and some other major urban areas.
Before ordering your handset from EE, you should enter your postcode on EE’s online coverage map to see the level of 4G coverage available in your area.
If you’re not able to access 4G+ coverage in your area, it might not make sense to pay a premium for this service.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’re joining EE from a different mobile network, it’s a straightforward process to keep your existing phone number.
You should start by ordering your new phone or SIM card from EE’s website. Once you’ve done that, contact your old mobile network and ask them for a PAC Code. A PAC Code is nine-digits long and will authorise the transfer of your phone number to EE.
After your new phone arrives from EE, head over to this online form. Here, you can enter your PAC Code and submit it to EE. Once you’ve done this, your phone number transfer will normally be scheduled for the next working day.
For a step-by-step guide on moving your phone number to EE, please select your current mobile network from the dropdown menu below:
For more information about EE’s pricing and available deals, please see their official website.