EE offers Reserve Data on Smart Pay Monthly plans, allowing you to stay connected at 2Mbps when you run out of data.

EEIn the UK, EE has added Reserve Data to their Smart Pay Monthly plans. This allows you to stay connected to the internet, even when you run out of your core data allowance.

The Reserve Data feature allows you to continue accessing the internet at speeds of up to 2Mbps with no limits on how much you can browse and download. According to EE, it should be fast enough for things like “WhatsApp, Google Maps and Apple Music”, essentially making this an unlimited data plan with a 2Mbps download speed limit.

In this article, we’ll review EE’s Reserve Data feature. We’ll start by looking at how Reserve Data works, what you can do with a 2Mbps connection and how to restore full-speed mobile data. We’ll then discuss EE’s price plans with Reserve Data, the coverage you can expect on the service and how to keep your current phone number.

EE Reserve Data

What is EE Reserve Data?

EE now offers a feature called Reserve Data as standard on all of their Smart Pay Monthly plans (including Smart handset plans and Smart SIM-only deals). The feature allows you to “stay connected even when you run out of data”.

On your core data allowance, you’ll get access to the fastest download speeds available in your area. This includes access to both 4G and 5G, if 5G coverage is available in your area. Your core data allowance is between 4GB and 200GB per month, dependent on your plan.

Once you’ve used up your core data allowance, you’ll move to Reserve Data. This gives you unlimited downloading but speeds are capped at a maximum of 2Mbps for the rest of the month. This is still enough for most online activities like browsing the internet, sending messages, using maps and listening to music. The speed limit only applies when you’re using mobile data and doesn’t affect the download speeds you get on wi-fi.

The EE website has a full list of Pay Monthly handsets and SIM cards on which the Reserve Data feature is offered.

Reserve Data is available on EE Smart plans taken out since the 27th May 2020. Older plans taken before this date won’t have access to the feature. It also isn’t currently possible to get the Reserve Data feature on other plans like EE Essential, EE Flex and EE Pay As You Go.

What Can I Do With Reserve Data?

Your Reserve Data is limited to a maximum download speed of 2Mbps. This is roughly equivalent to a decent 3G-speed connection.

According to EE, the 2Mbps limit should be fast enough for staying in touch with friends and family and for streaming music from the internet:

Reserve Data is fast enough to access apps like WhatsApp, Google Maps and Apple Music, so Smart Plan and Smart SIM customers can stay connected with friends and stream music until next months’ data starts again.

It should also be possible to browse the internet, to watch standard-definition video and to use the majority of applications.

Things that might not be possible on a 2Mbps connection include:

  • Streaming HD-quality video. For instance, YouTube requires 2.5Mbps for high-definition video. BBC iPlayer and Netflix require 5Mbps for high-definition. You’ll still be able to stream standard-definition video (this only requires 0.5Mbps on YouTube and 1.5Mbps on services like BBC iPlayer and Netflix).
  • Using HD-quality group video calls. For instance, Zoom requires 3Mbps for a high-definition group video call (1080p). You can still use 1:1 video calling and group video calling in 720p quality.
  • Playing online multiplayer games. Some online multiplayer games may have a minimum speed requirement in excess of 2Mbps.
  • Tethering to multiple devices. You’ll still be able to use tethering and personal hotspot but the 2Mbps speed limit will be shared across all of your tethered devices.

One thing that’s worth noting is that Vodafone sells an Unlimited Lite price plan with a 2Mbps speed limit. This is similar to EE’s 2Mbps speed limit for Reserve Data, making it a comparable alternative to unlimited data on Vodafone.

Your Reserve Data can be used in both the UK and EU.

Restoring Full Speed Data

Once your Reserve Data kicks in, there are three ways to restore full-speed data:

  1. Wait until your monthly data allowance refreshes. Each month, you’ll receive a fresh allowance of full-speed data on your EE Smart plan. Therefore, you could simply wait until your data allowance refreshes.
  2. Buy a data add-on. You can buy a data add-on to restore full-speed mobile data. For instance, you can pay £7.99 for an extra 1GB of data that lasts until the end of your current billing cycle. All of the data add-ons currently available are listed in EE’s non-standard price guide.
  3. Use data gifting on your EE family account. If you have multiple lines on your EE family account, you can use the data gifting feature to transfer data between accounts. Data that is gifted to you will give you full-speed data usage.

You can also side-step the 2Mbps speed limit by using wi-fi instead of mobile data. This is because the 2Mbps limit only applies to mobile data usage on EE’s network.

EE Plans with Reserve Data

You’ll get Reserve Data on all new EE Smart plans, including those with a Pay Monthly handset and on SIM-only deals.

Pay Monthly Handsets

You can currently choose from a range of smartphones on EE including the latest iPhone and the latest Samsung Galaxy smartphones. The cost of your EE Smart plan will depend on your core data allowance, but all EE Smart plans will give you access to Reserve Data:

  • 4GB Smart Plan: Available from £26/month.
  • 10GB Smart Plan: Available from £30/month.
  • 20GB Smart Plan: Available from £30/month.
  • 40GB Smart Plan: Available from £34/month.
  • 100GB Smart Plan: Available from £54/month.

See all EE Smart Plans & Handsets →

Other benefits of your EE Smart Plan include Swappable Benefits (e.g. inclusive Amazon Prime Video or BT Sport), anytime upgrades and an EE Service Pack.

SIM Only Deals

Reserve Data is also available on the following EE Smart SIM-only deals:

24 months

See all EE SIM Only Deals →

As before, you’ll get full-speed 4G or 5G internet on your core data allowance. After that, your Reserve Data kicks in allowing you to use as much data as you like with speeds of up to 2Mbps.


2G, 3G & 4G Coverage

In the UK, you’ll have access to 99% population coverage on EE’s 2G, 3G and 4G mobile networks.

According to EE’s website, they currently cover 84% of the UK’s landmass with 4G and have average 4G download speed of 43Mbps.

Before signing up to join the EE network, we’d strongly recommend double-checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on EE’s online coverage map:

Check EE Coverage ( →

For more information, read our in-depth review of the coverage on EE.

5G Coverage

If you’re using a 5G-ready handset in a 5G coverage area, you’ll have access to EE’s 5G network at no extra cost on all EE Smart plans. Compared to 4G, the 5G network offers greater network capacity, faster download speeds and reduced amounts of latency.

According to EE, the average download speed on their 5G network is 205Mbps (approximately five times faster than 4G).

EE’s 5G network is currently available in the following UK towns and cities:

Now Live160 towns and cities are live on EE 5G (May 2021)
Aberdeen, Aldershot, Aldridge, Alexandria, Altrincham, Ashford Surrey, Ashton-under-Lyne, Aylesbury, Ayr, Barnsley, Barrhead, Bath, Belfast, Belshill, Biggleswade, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Borehamwood, Bransholme, Brentwood, Brighton, Bristol, Burton upon Trent, Bury, Cannock, Cardiff, Castleford, Castlereagh, Chatham, Chelmsford, Cheshunt, Chester, Chester-le-Street, Chesterfield, Chorley, Clevedon, Clifton, Clydebank, Colchester, Coventry, Crawley, Cumbernauld, Dartford, Dinnington, Doncaster, Dudley, Dundee, Edinburgh, Epsom, Exeter, Gillingham, Glasgow, Grantham, Gravesend, Grays, Grimsby, Guildford, Halifax, Hamilton, Harlow, Harrogate, Hoddesdon, Huddersfield, Hull, Ilkeston, Inchinnan, Ipswich, Jarrow, Kimberley, Kingston-upon-Thames, Leeds, Leicester, Lichfield, Lincoln, Lisburn, Liverpool, London, Loughborough, Loughton, Maidstone, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milnrow, Milton Keynes, Minster, Mirfield, Motherwell, Neath, Newcastle, Newton-le-Willows, North Shields, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Oldham, Oxford, Paignton, Paisley, Plymouth, Pontefract, Poole, Porthcawl, Portishead, Portsmouth, Potters Bar, Rickmansworth, Rochdale, Rochester, Romford, Rotherham, Royal Leamington Spa, Rugeley, Runcorn, Salford, Sheffield, Shipley, Solihull, South Shields, Southend-on-Sea, Southport, St Albans, Stafford, Staines-upon-Thames, Stevenage, Stirling, Stockport, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sunbury, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Swadlincote, Swansea, Swindon, Swinton, Sydenham, Tamworth, Wakefield, Walsall, Waltham Abbey, Waltham Cross, Walton-on-Thames, Warwick, Washington, Watford, West Bromwich, Westhoughton, Weston-Super-Mare, Weybridge, Wickford, Widnes, Wigan, Wolverhampton, Worcester, York
Planned &
5 towns and cities planned
Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Southampton (2021)

Check 5G Coverage on EE →

For more information, see our in-depth guide to 5G coverage in the UK.

International Coverage

If you’re travelling abroad, you can continue using EE Smart Plan through international roaming.

When travelling to one of 48 European destinations, you can use your normal UK allowances at no extra charge. This includes Reserve Data if you’ve already used up your core data allowance (subject to the normal 2Mbps speed limit which also applies to Reserve Data in the UK). There’s a fair usage limit of 50GB per month in the EU, after which you’ll be surcharged at a rate of 0.36p/MB (£3.60 per GB).

As part of the Swappable Benefits on your EE Smart Plan, you can also add the Roam Further Pass. This allows you to use your core allowances in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately, however, Reserve Data cannot be used outside the UK and EU.

For more information, please see the EE website or read our full guide to using your mobile phone abroad.

Tethering & Personal Hotspot

Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s mobile data allowance with another device (e.g. with your laptop or tablet). It’s a convenient way of getting access to mobile broadband without needing to pay for a separate device or plan.

On EE Smart, it’s possible to share the entirety of your data allowance through tethering. This includes your Reserve Data, though the 2Mbps speed limit will apply to all of your devices as a whole. For instance, you might be able to watch a 0.5Mbps video stream on your smartphone and on up to 3 other devices that are tethered to your phone.

There’s no limit on how many devices you can connect through tethering, subject to the hardware limitations of your phone. The only exception to this is if you choose an EE unlimited data plan where tethering is limited to a maximum of 12 devices at one time.

For more information, see our full guide to tethering and personal hotspot usage in the UK.

Keeping Your Phone Number

If you’re leaving another mobile network to join EE on a Smart Plan, it’s a straightforward process to keep your existing phone number.

Start by ordering your new mobile phone or SIM card from EE’s website. Once you’ve done that, you can request a PAC Code from your current network. This can be obtained through your mobile network’s website or app or by texting PAC to 65075.

Once your new phone or SIM card arrives from EE, head over to this form on EE’s website. You’ll be able to submit the PAC Code from your old mobile network and your phone number will then normally be transferred on 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:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to EE

Select your current mobile network:

  More Options

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Reserve Data on EE?
Reserve Data is available on EE Smart plans taken out since the 27th May 2020. If you run out of data on your plan, Reserve Data will kick in. This allows you to stay connected with unlimited data and a speed limit of 2Mbps.
What can I do with the 2Mbps speed limit on Reserve Data?
The 2Mbps speed limit on Reserve Data will still allow you to message friends and family, to browse the internet, listen to music online, watch SD-quality video and to use the majority of applications. It won’t work for HD-quality video, some online multiplayer games and tethering to lots of devices at the same time.
How much does it cost to get a plan with Reserve Data?
You can get an EE Smart plan with Reserve Data for as little as £26/month with a new Pay Monthly smartphone (a 24 month contract applies). Alternatively, you can get an EE Smart SIM card from £25/month.
Can I use tethering and personal hotspot with Reserve Data?
Yes. You can still use tethering and personal hotspot with Reserve Data. However, the 2Mbps speed limit will be shared across all of your tethered devices. For instance, you could stream a 0.5Mbps video on your phone and on 3 tethered devices at the same time.
Can I use Reserve Data when travelling abroad?
Yes. You can use Reserve Data when travelling in 48 European countries, subject to a 50GB per month fair usage limit and the normal speed restriction of 2Mbps. If you’re travelling outside Europe, it unfortunately won’t be possible to use Reserve Data.
What coverage will I get on EE Smart Plan?
In the UK, you’ll get access to 99% population coverage on EE’s 2G, 3G and 4G mobile networks. You’ll also get access to 5G coverage in selected UK towns and cities providing you have a 5G-ready device. You can check the coverage in your area by entering your postcode on EE’s online coverage map.
Can I keep my current phone number?
Yes. It’s easy to keep your current phone number. Simply ask your current mobile network to provide you with a PAC Code. This can be obtained through your mobile network’s website or app, or by texting PAC to 65075. You should then provide EE with the PAC Code after ordering your new EE Smart plan.

More Information

For more information about the Reserve Data feature, please see EE’s official website.

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