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’.
If 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.
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.
- 1 EE Smart VS EE Essential: At A Glance Comparison
- 2 Swappable Benefits
- 3 Other Features
- 4 Coverage
- 5 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 6 More Information
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|
|Data||10GB to 100GB||1GB to 100GB|
|Data Speed||Fastest speeds available
|Fastest speeds available
4G+ (since May 2019)
|Other countries||5 other countries with the
‘Go Further’ Swappable Benefit:
|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.
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.
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.
EE Service Plan
Customers buying a handset directly from EE will get an EE Service Plan included. This gives you three key features:
- 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).
- 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.
- £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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
For more information about EE’s pricing and available deals, please see their official website.