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 the ‘swappable benefits’.

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

EE’s flagship 4G tariff is known as EE Smart (this replaces a similar tariff called EE Max which was available until April 2019). Starting from £50/month, EE Smart gives you an inclusive ‘swappable benefit’. This can be a video data pass, a music data pass, access to the BT Sport app or inclusive roaming in 5 countries outside of Europe (known as the ‘Roam Further Pass’). You’ll also get a lifetime guarantee on your smartphone as part of EE’s Service Pack when you buy your handset directly from EE.

If you’re looking for a lower-cost alternative, EE’s standard price plan is known as EE Essential. As of May 2019, previous limitations on the maximum download speed have been removed from this plan. This means you’re able to get 4G+ speeds, subject to coverage in your area and your handset supporting it. You won’t get any “swappable benefits” included in your plan, but you’ll get all of the standard benefits that are 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 £50/month From £15/month
Minutes Unlimited Unlimited
Texts Unlimited Unlimited
Data 10GB to 100GB 1GB to 100GB
Data Speed Fastest speeds available
4G+
Fastest speeds available
4G+ (since May 2019)
Tethering
Inclusive Roaming
EU countries
Other countries 5 other countries with the
‘Go Further’ Swappable Benefit:
Australia
Canada
Mexico
New Zealand
United States
Other Features
Swappable Benefit Yes No
Amazon Prime Video 6 month trial 6 month trial
MTV Play 6 month trial 6 month trial
BT Sport App 3 month trial 3 month trial
Apple Music 6 month trial 6 month trial
EE Service Plan When purchased directly from EE When purchased directly from EE

EE’s SIM-only plans do not include a swappable smart benefit. For this reason, they are more similar to EE Essential plans than to EE Smart plans.

Compare EE Smart and EE Essential Plans →

EE Max and EE Essential Plans (Before May 2019)

Prior to May 2019, customers choosing an EE Max plan would receive both the inclusive roaming in 5 non-European countries (Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States) and a 24-month subscription to the BT Sport app. Only one of these features can now be active at a given time as part of the swappable benefits on EE Smart.

Customers choosing an EE Essential plan prior to May 2019 have a maximum download speed of 60Mbit/s applied to their plan.

Swappable Benefits

You can change your swappable benefit up to once every 7 days.

Customers choosing an EE Smart plan will receive an inclusive ‘Swappable Benefit’. This is an extra feature you can add to your plan such as unlimited data for use on selected video or music applications, roaming at no extra cost in five non-European countries or inclusive access to the BT Sport app.

You can change your Swappable Benefit 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 swapped benefits, you’ll need to wait for at least another 7 days before swapping it again to a different benefit.

Video Data Pass

The Video Data Pass swappable benefit gives you unlimited “zero-rated” data for use on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, MTV Play, TV Player and BT Sport. It means that any video you stream through these applications will not count towards your normal download allowance.

The Video Data Pass only covers your mobile data usage within these applications. You’ll still need to pay the regular subscription fee for the underlying service (for instance, an extra £5.99 to £9.99 per month for a subscription to Netflix or Amazon Prime Video).

The Video Data Pass works in every country covered by your normal data allowance, so you can also use it whilst 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.

Music Data Pass

The Music Data Pass is another of EE’s swappable benefits, this time giving you unlimited zero-rated data for use on Apple Music, Deezer and Tidal. Any data you stream through one of these applications will not count towards the normal data allowance on your EE Smart plan.

As before, the Music Data Pass only covers your mobile data usage, and an extra subscription fee is required for the underlying service. For example, 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.

Roam Further Pass

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

The Roam Further Pass can offer a fairly significant saving on 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).

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

One thing to note with the Swappable Benefits is that you’re able to change them whenever you like (unless you’ve already changed your swappable benefit in the past 7 days). For this reason, there’s no point in choosing the Roam Further Pass as your swappable benefit unless you have immediate plans to travel abroad to one of five supported countries. Instead, you’d be better off choosing something different as your benefit and then swapping to the Roam Further Pass only just before your trip abroad.

BT Sport App

Finally, it’s possible to choose access to the BT Sport app on your smartphone and tablet as a Swappable Benefit. This will allow you to watch sporting content from the Premier League, Champions League, UFC, boxing and more on your phone.

This Swappable Benefit does not include casting to a TV – you’ll need to pay an extra £5/month if you want Large Screen Access. This benefit also doesn’t cover your mobile data usage in the BT Sport app – this will be deducted from your allowance as normal.

Other Features

EE Service Plan

Customers buying a handset directly from EE will get an 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.

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

Customers on both EE Smart and EE Essential can now access the same download speeds on EE’s 4G network.

With a compatible smartphone in a 4G+ coverage area, you can access up to Category 9 LTE download speeds. Theoretically, the maximum download speed possible is 450Mbit/s, but EE says a more realistic figure is “up to 90Mbit/s”.

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

Prior to May 2019, only customers with an EE Max plan could access the fastest 4G+ download speeds. Customers with an EE Essential plan could only access download speeds of up to 60Mbps (“as fast as fibre broadband” according to EE). This restriction no longer applies on new EE Essential price plans taken out since the 1st May 2019.

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.

Coverage

EE has 99% population coverage, including on 2G, 3G and 4G. 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.

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 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 mobile 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 drop down menu below:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to EE

Your current network provider:

  More Options

More Information

For more information about EE’s pricing and available deals, please see their official website.

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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