EE offers two types of Pay Monthly price plan: EE Smart and EE Essential. Find out how the two plans compare and how you can use ‘swappable benefits’.

EEIf you’re looking for a Pay Monthly handset or SIM card from EE, there are two types of price plan you’re able to choose from.

EE’s flagship price plan is known as EE Smart. Starting from £27/month, EE Smart plans give you up to three inclusive Swappable Benefits. These benefits can include a subscription to Amazon Prime Video or the BT Sport mobile application. Alternatively, you can choose the Roam Further Pass for inclusive roaming in 5 countries outside Europe. There are also a range of zero-rated data passes like the Video Data Pass, Music Data Pass and Gamers’ Data Pass. Access to EE’s 5G network is available when you choose a 5G Smart Plan.

If you’re looking for a lower-cost alternative, EE’s standard price plan is known as EE Essential. You’ll be able to get 4G+ download speeds (up to 60Mbit/s on SIM-only plans or uncapped 4G+ speeds on handset plans). There are no Swappable Benefits included in EE Essential, but you’ll get most of the other benefits available on EE Pay Monthly.

See all EE price plans →

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the EE Smart and EE Essential plans, comparing the features available on each one.

EE Smart VS EE Essential: At A Glance Comparison

The following table shows the key differences between the two types of price plan from EE:

EE Smart EE Essential
Monthly Price
From £33/month (with handset)
From £27/month (SIM only)
From £15/month (with handset)
From £13/month (SIM only)
Minutes Unlimited Unlimited
Texts Unlimited Unlimited
Data 10GB – Unlimited 500MB – Unlimited
Data Speed Uncapped 4G+ speeds (4G Smart Plan)
Uncapped 5G speeds (5G Smart Plan)
Uncapped 4G+ speeds (with handset)
Up to 60Mbit/s (SIM-only)
Tethering
Inclusive Roaming
EU countries
Other countries 5 countries with Roam Further Pass:
Australia
Canada
Mexico
New Zealand
United States
Other Features
Swappable Benefits Yes (up to 3 dependent on plan) No
Amazon Prime Video 6 month trial (or use Swappable Benefit) 6 month trial
BT Sport App 3 month trial (or use Swappable Benefit) 3 month trial
MTV Play 6 month trial 6 month trial
Apple Music 6 month trial 6 month trial
EE Service Plan When purchased directly from EE When purchased directly from EE

If you’d like access to 5G, you’ll need to choose an EE 5G Smart Plan. Unlimited data plans are also available on EE – both through EE Smart and EE Essential. For more information, see our full guide to EE’s unlimited data plans.

Compare EE Smart and EE Essential Plans →

EE Max and EE Essential Plans (Before May 2019)

Prior to May 2019, customers were offered EE Max plans instead of EE Smart plans. On EE Max, you would receive a 24-month subscription to the BT Sport app and inclusive roaming in 5 countries outside of Europe (Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the USA). This is equivalent to taking the BT Sport and Roam Further Pass swappable benefits on EE Smart.

Customers choosing an EE Essential plan prior to May 2019 have a maximum download speed of 60Mbit/s on their plan. Since May 2019, this 60Mbit/s speed limit only applies on Essential SIM-only plans.

Swappable Benefits

You can change swappable benefits every 30 days.

Customers choosing an EE Smart plan will receive up to three inclusive Swappable Benefits. This is an extra feature you can add to your EE plan such as Amazon Prime Video, the BT Sport app, inclusive roaming in 5 non-European countries or a range of zero-rated data passes.

A key advantage of Swappable Benefits is you can change them at any time through the ‘Plans, Benefits & Add-Ons’ section of the My EE app. Alternatively, you can text SMART to 150. Once you’ve changed your Swappable Benefits, you’ll need to wait for another 30 days before swapping it again.

Amazon Prime Video

One of the most popular Swappable Benefits on EE is the inclusive subscription to Amazon Prime Video (worth £5.99/month). This allows you to watch lots of films and TV shows on-demand including The Grand Tour, Good Omens and The Marvellous Mrs Maisel.

Your subscription to Amazon Prime Video isn’t restricted to only your mobile phone or tablet. It’ll be tied to your Amazon account login, but you can also use it on other devices like your games console, smart TV, Apple TV or Amazon Fire Stick. The full Amazon Prime service with next-day delivery isn’t included with EE’s Swappable Benefit.

BT Sport App

Another popular option for your Swappable Benefit is access to the BT Sport app. This allows you to watch a range of sporting content from the Premier League, Champions League, UFC, boxing and more.

Unlike Amazon Prime Video, the BT Sport Swappable Benefit is limited to only working on your EE phone or tablet. It doesn’t include casting to a TV – you’ll need to pay an extra £5/month to get Large Screen Access. The benefit also doesn’t cover your mobile data usage within the BT Sport app – this will still be deducted from your allowance as normal unless you also have a Video Data Pass.

Customers on a 5G Smart Plan will get BT Sport in high dynamic range (HDR). Please see the EE website for more information about this.

Roam Further Pass

Customers with an EE Smart plan can also choose the Roam Further Pass. This allows you to use the minutes, texts and data from your plan at no extra cost when travelling in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

For EE Smart plans with more than 15GB of data, a fair usage policy of 15GB per month applies when you’re abroad.

The Roam Further Pass offers significant cost savings against EE’s standard international roaming rates (e.g. £1.20/minute, 60p/text and £4.80/day for 500MB of data when you’re travelling in the USA). However, it’s worth noting that you have the flexibility to change this Swappable Benefit at any time (as long as you haven’t already changed your Swappable Benefits in the last 30 days). For this reason, you can choose a different Swappable Benefit, changing to the Roam Further Pass shortly in advance of your next trip abroad.

Our guide to international roaming may be of interest if you regularly travel abroad to other countries.

Video Data Pass

If your EE price plan doesn’t include unlimited data, the Video Data Pass swappable benefit gives you unlimited zero-rated data for use in the following applications:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • BT Sport
  • MTV Play
  • TV Player
  • BBC iPlayer
  • YouTube

Any video that you stream through these applications will not count towards the normal download allowance on your plan. You’ll still need to pay the regular subscription fee for the underlying service however (for instance, an extra £5.99 to £9.99 per month for a subscription to Netflix). Alternatively, the Video Data Pass can be used in conjunction with another Swappable Benefit like Amazon Prime Video or the BT Sport app.

The Video Data Pass works in every country covered by your normal data allowance, so you can also use it when you’re travelling abroad in Europe. You’ll need to make sure you have some of your regular data allowance remaining in order to use the Video Data Pass. It isn’t possible to use Data Gifting with your Video Data Pass allowance.

Music Data Pass

The Music Data Pass is another of EE’s swappable benefits, available to customers who don’t have an unlimited data plan from EE.

The Music Data Pass gives you unlimited zero-rated data for use in the following applications:

  • Apple Music
  • Deezer
  • Tidal
  • Spotify

As before, the Music Data Pass only covers your mobile data usage, and a subscription fee may still apply for the underlying service. For instance, a personal subscription to Apple Music costs £9.99 per month (although a six-month free trial is available to all EE Pay Monthly customers).

The Music Data Pass will work in all countries covered by your EE price plan so will also work when you’re travelling abroad in Europe. You’ll need to make sure you have some of your regular data allowance remaining, and it isn’t possible to use Data Gifting with your Music Data Pass.

Gamers’ Data Pass

Finally, EE also offers the Gamer’s Data Pass. This allows you to play the following games on your mobile phone, without it counting toward your download allowance:

  • Twitch
  • Pokémon Go
  • Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
  • Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
  • FIFA Mobile

Subscription fees may still apply for the games themselves, as the Gamers’ Data Pass only covers your mobile data usage.

Other Features

Inclusive Entertainment

All of EE’s Pay Monthly plans (including both EE Smart and EE Essential plans) include a free trial of four entertainment services:

  • Amazon Prime Video (6 month trial): You’ll get six months of free entertainment from Amazon Prime Video, allowing you to access box sets and movies like The Grand Tour, Hanna, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. After the six-month free trial, you’ll be charged £5.99 per month unless you cancel your Amazon Prime Video subscription.
  • MTV Play (6 month trial): You’ll get six months of free access to MTV Play, with access to high-brow entertainment such as Geordie Shore, Catfish, Teen Mom UK and Ex on the Beach. After the six-month free trial, you’ll be charged £3.99 per month unless you cancel the MTV Play subscription.
  • BT Sport App (3 month trial): All EE customers will get three months of free access to the BT Sport app allowing you to watch live action from the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, UFC, boxing and more. After the three-month free trial, you’ll be charged £15 per month for continued access to BT Sport.
  • Apple Music (6 month trial): With Apple Music, you’ll be able to stream over 40 million songs on-demand to your smartphone. After the six-month free trial, you’ll be charged £9.99 per month if you’d like to maintain your ongoing access to Apple Music.

During the free trial period, all of the mobile data usage associated with the free trial apps will be covered by EE.

Download Speeds

The maximum download speeds you’re able to get depend on the type of price plan you choose from EE:

  • Uncapped 4G+ and 5G download speeds are available when you choose a 5G Smart plan.
  • Uncapped 4G+ download speeds are available on 4G Smart plans and Essential plans with a new handset included.
  • Up to 60Mbit/s download speeds are available on EE Essential SIM-only plans.

In order to access 5G coverage, you’ll need to be in a 5G coverage area and will need a handset that supports 5G networks.

With a compatible 4G smartphone in a 4G+ coverage area, you can access up to Category 9 LTE download speeds on EE. The maximum download speed possible on 4G is 450Mbit/s, but EE says a more realistic figure is “up to 90Mbit/s”. On EE Essential SIM-only plans, the maximum download speed is restricted to 60Mbit/s.

You should check on EE’s website to see whether you’re living in a 4G+ or 5G coverage area.

European Roaming

All of EE’s Pay Monthly price plans include European roaming at no extra charge. Whilst you’re travelling inside the EU, you’ll be able to use your inclusive minutes, texts and data as if you were in the UK. A fair usage policy of 15GB per month will apply if your data plan contains more than 15GB of data.

A complete list of inclusive roaming 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.

Customers who regularly travel abroad to countries like Australia and the USA can choose the ‘Roam Further’ swappable benefit on EE Smart. Alternatively, Three’s Go Roam offer is also worth a look as it’s available on a wider choice of price plans than EE’s Roam Further add-on.

EE Service Plan

Customers buying a handset directly from EE will get the EE Service Plan included. This gives you three key features:

  1. A “lifetime guarantee” for your phone. This will cover your handset against “manufacturer faults for the lifetime of your contract, until you upgrade or leave” your contract. It’s worth noting that this might not actually give you very much in the form of added protection over the standard manufacturer warranty (besides Apple and Motorola, most other smartphone manufacturers already offer a 24-month warranty on their handsets).
  2. Annual device and account MOT. This involves an annual appointment at your nearest EE retail store for them to check your device and tariff. According to EE, they’ll give your phone a “full service report” and will also “check for any apps or software that could help you to get more” from the phone.
  3. £10 of credit towards accessories. You’ll get £10 of credit towards an accessory from EE such as a screen protector or case for your phone.

The EE Service Plan is not available if you buy your handset from third-party retailers like the Carphone Warehouse or Mobiles.co.uk.

Coverage

2G, 3G & 4G Coverage

EE offers 99% population coverage on their 2G, 3G and 4G networks. This equates to roughly 90% geographical coverage, with EE stating on their website that they aim to increase this to 95% by the end of 2020.

For faster download speeds, EE’s double-speed 4G network currently offers about 80% population coverage. 4G+ or LTE-Advanced coverage is available to customers in London and 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.

Check EE Coverage (ee.co.uk) →

Customers on both EE Smart and EE Essential can access 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling with a compatible handset. Both types of price plan also support tethering, allowing you to share a mobile broadband connection with other devices.

5G Coverage

If you choose a 5G Smart price plan, you can access EE’s 5G network with a compatible 5G-ready smartphone. This offers greater network capacity along with faster download speeds and reduced latency.

At present, EE’s 5G network is available in the following towns and cities:

Now Live6 towns and cities are live on EE 5G (September 2019)
Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Manchester
Planned &
Announced
19 towns and cities planned
Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield (End of 2019)
Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Wolverhampton (2020)

Check 5G Coverage on EE →

For more information, please read our full review of the coverage on EE.

Keeping Your Phone Number

If you’re joining EE from another 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 the EE 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 mobile phone or SIM card 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 drop down menu below:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to EE

Select your current mobile network:

  More Options

More Information

For more information about EE Smart and EE Essential plans, please see the official EE website. You can also read our in-depth guide to the coverage available on EE.

Your Comments 24 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 24 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • It’s a great comparison you have done, bravo! However when you read the terms and conditions from EE it still says the essential plans getting “up to 60mbps” instead of the fastest, only Smart plans do.

    • Hi Charlie,
      Thanks for your comment. I believe the speed restrictions have been removed for new EE Essential plans? At least, this is what I understand from the EE website – I’m not sure if they’ve updated all of their terms and conditions to reflect this. Let me know if I’m mistaken!
      Ken

  • Companies like Buymobiles.net etc used to sell EE’s Essential and Max plans – but now they only offer the Essential plan and not EE’s new Smart plans. Does anybody know if EE are keeping the Smart plans just for themselves to sell, and all other companies can only sell the Essential plan?

  • shahrukh khan said:

    EE has launched smart plan, customers will get multiple benefits, however earlier they can use roam further and BT sport now they can use only one of them what if someone is in abroad like in USA and wants to use roam furthrer plus Video data pass….

    My second question is why Smart plan starts from £50 per month that is bit costly it means only people with good money can use this benefit there should be something that every people can use. I know we have Essential plan but that will not give us service plan benefit nor swappable benefit.

    • Hi Shahrukh,
      Yes, agreed – it is a shame that only one of these benefits can now be held at a given time, whereas previously you could have both on EE Max. On the flip side, the good thing is you can easily swap your benefits at any time. For instance, you could enable “Roam Further” just before your trip abroad, and then swap back to a different benefit once you get home. There’s a bit of extra faff to do this, but it means the Roam Further add-on doesn’t need to permanently occupy your choice of a Swappable Benefit.
      Ken

    • Hi Peter,
      Thanks for your comment. I believe the price bands for EE Essential and EE Max differ depending on the handset you choose. For this reason, you could still be on an Essential contract when purchasing certain handsets on a fairly expensive plan!
      Ken

  • Hi, you state here that ‘Customers on EE Essential will have access to double-speed 4G…..’. I have just spoken with EE and they say that isn’t the case. Double speed 4G (up to 60Mbps) is reserved for 4GEE plans, not 4GEE Essential which is only a max 20Mbps. They also mention 4GEE Max is up to 90Mbps if you are in the right city area.
    4GEE Essential roaming speed is hopeless and has been highlighted on SuperShoppers (TV Show) this year. I have tried to use in the past in Spain and couldn’t even download a simple new app – it was taking hours!! EE announced that they would lift this restriction (which is called ‘standard 4G’ abroad) but I spoke with a friend yesterday in Marbella who has an Essential SIM and he confirms the DL speed is not useable, so either they are lying about the ‘upgrade’ for roaming or it just isn’t deployed in Spain. Incidentally I use a 4GEE plan I find UK & roaming speeds OK and would recommend but of course people buy the Essential plans because it seems to offer a lot for the price, but beware – it just doesn’t…….

    • Hi Mark,
      Thanks for your comment. In the past, it definitely used to be the case that EE would restrict ‘4GEE Essential’ plan customers to a maximum speed of 20Mbps. When EE decided to “simplify” their tariffs a while back, this was increased to 60Mbps on the newer ‘EE Essential’ plans (previously they used to have three tiers of tariff capped at 20Mbps, 60Mbps and uncapped speeds – they now have 60Mbps and uncapped speeds). I’m not sure if customers on the older ‘4GEE Essential’ plans were given the increase in speed, or if this was only given to new customers who joined after the refresh.
      With regards to data speeds when using your mobile phone abroad, thanks for sharing your experiences on this. I won’t comment as I haven’t tested data speeds abroad on an Essential plan myself, but I hope this will be helpful to other readers of the website 🙂
      Thanks again,
      Ken

  • Just put my wife on EE essentials plan 10 G with new upgrade phone
    EE to use in Europe is included is it also able to be used off the plan in USA SHE S GOING TO NEW YORK IN JULY

  • Hi Ken

    Do Ee have any plans with more data than 25gb? (Max)

    I like downloading roms and used my data up last month! £12 for an extra 5gb to tide me over

    • Hi Roman,
      I believe EE does offer up to 60GB per month (and occasionally, up to 100GB if you purchase selected handsets). As an alternative, if you do need just 5GB extra each month, it might be worth having a look at EE home broadband (this will give you an extra 5GB of data every month on your EE mobile phone plan).
      Ken

  • My sim only Max plan is almost at the end of it’s contract and I went into an EE shop to enquire if they had any better deal to offer (I like the Max plan as it offers five added countries as well as EU roaming). I was told that the Max plan offering five extra countries had been discontinued, although this does not seem to be the case on EE’s website. Is this true?

    • Hi John,
      Many thanks for your comment. Yes, unfortunately, the Max plan was discontinued for SIM only tariffs on the 7th February 2018. All of EE’s SIM Only plans now map on to EE Essentials in terms of their feature set (e.g. up to 60Mbps download speed, free EU roaming only, etc). If you want the added speed and inclusive roaming of EE Extra, you’ll now need to buy a handset on a 24-month plan.
      Ken

      • Thanks for explaining that. Very helpful. The simple answer, then, is to keep the sim on a rollover basis and get all the benefits of roaming in five extra countries and higher speeds etc until EE come up with a better offer. Thanks again.

  • I am a frequent traveller to Europe and the USA. I became frustrated with Three’s feel at home as it restricts you to only a 3g service in the states. It’s shamefully slow and unreliable on either Tmobile or At&t. I recently took advantage of an offer from EE for a 4GEE max contract costing me £26 a month. Sim only. I am currently in the USA reading your article and I’m pleased to say that I am obtaining 4G coverage almost everywhere I go. The phone truly works as well it is it does back in the UK.

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