Mobile networks like ASDA Mobile, BT Mobile, Plusnet Mobile and Virgin Mobile piggyback on EE’s coverage in the UK.

In the UK, there are only four network coverage providers: EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. Around them, there’s a number of “virtual network operators” that piggyback on coverage from one of the big four.

A number of other mobile networks piggyback on coverage from EE including ASDA Mobile, BT Mobile, Plusnet Mobile and Virgin Mobile. On all of these mobile networks, you’ll get access to the same underlying coverage that’s available to customers on EE. This includes EE’s 99% population coverage, and often with more data at a lower monthly cost.

In this article, we’ll present a list of mobile networks using coverage from EE. We’ll also compare some of the best value SIM cards using coverage from EE, ranging in price from £5/month up to £20/month and more.

Mobile Networks Using EE Coverage

In the UK, EE offers 99% population coverage and 90% geographical coverage. Their geographical coverage on 4G is due to increase to 95% by the end of 2020. In 2019, the first 5G services will also start rolling out in 16 UK towns and cities.

The following table shows a list of mobile networks piggybacking on EE. On all of these mobile networks, you’ll get coverage from EE:

Mobile NetworkCoverage Provider2G3G4G5GCoverage Checker
1pMobileEECheck 1pMobile Coverage
ASDA MobileEECheck ASDA Mobile Coverage
BT MobileEECheck BT Mobile Coverage
CMLinkEECheck CMLink Coverage
Co-operative MobileEECheck Co-operative Mobile Coverage
CTExcelEECheck CTExcel Coverage
EcotalkEECheck Ecotalk Coverage
EEEECheck EE Coverage
IQ MobileEECheck IQ Mobile Coverage
OrangeEECheck Orange Coverage
Plusnet MobileEECheck Plusnet Mobile Coverage
RWG MobileEECheck RWG Mobile Coverage
T-MobileEECheck T-Mobile Coverage
Utility WarehouseEECheck Utility Warehouse Coverage
Vectone MobileEECheck Vectone Mobile Coverage
Virgin MobileEECheck Virgin Mobile Coverage

As of 2019, the biggest players from this list are ASDA Mobile, BT Mobile, Plusnet Mobile and Virgin Mobile. Some of the smaller providers like 1pMobile can be good for light usage whereas others like Vectone Mobile can be better for international calling.

Please note that certain types of coverage may be restricted depending on the mobile network and price plan you choose. For instance, 5G coverage is only available to customers choosing a 5G-enabled EE Smart Plan. Similarly, Wi-Fi Calling and 4G Calling are not always available when choosing a cheaper alternative to EE. Most networks will now give you access to 4G coverage, but some of the cheaper networks are still restricted to 3G speeds.

Tariff Information & Coverage Information

You can find out more information about each network by tapping on the relevant logo to visit their website:

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to EE that still gives you EE coverage, we’d recommend BT Mobile and Virgin Mobile for the widest choice of Pay Monthly plans. Plusnet Mobile is a good low-cost alternative if you’re looking for a Pay Monthly SIM card and ASDA Mobile is a good alternative if you’re looking for a flexible Pay As You Go bundle.

Deals By Price Range

Through the rest of this article, we’ll compare the best value SIM cards giving you coverage from EE. We’ve separated the plans out by price range and tariff type to make it easier for you to find the most appropriate deal.

Please select your preferred price range to see a list of currently available deals:

Under £10/month

If you’re looking for a low-cost SIM card that gives you coverage from EE, some of the cheapest deals are available from just £5/month.

On a Pay Monthly contract, Plusnet Mobile and Virgin Mobile offer a choice of SIM cards for less than £10/month. On Plusnet, you can choose from a range of deals, either on a 12-month or on a 30-day contract. Meanwhile, Virgin Mobile exclusively sell their Pay Monthly SIM cards on a 12-month contract.

For greater flexibility and no need for a credit check, look at the Pay As You Go bundles from ASDA Mobile and EE. For instance, ASDA Mobile offers 125 minutes, 2000 texts and 250MB of data for only £5/month. Alternatively, get 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data for £7/month.

Pay Monthly Contracts

Plusnet MobileUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£6.50
Virgin Mobile1,500Unlimited3GB£7.00
Plusnet MobileUnlimitedUnlimited2.5GB£7.00
Plusnet MobileUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£8.00
Plusnet MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£9.00
Virgin Mobile1,500Unlimited2GB£9.00

Pay As You Go Bundles

ASDA Mobile200Unlimited500MB£5.00
ASDA Mobile300Unlimited2GB£7.00

From £10/month

The range of alternative price plans starts to increase as you go beyond the £10/month threshold.

Here, you can find Pay Monthly deals from BT Mobile, Plusnet Mobile and Virgin Mobile. All of them piggyback on EE coverage and give you much more data compared to if were going directly to EE. You’ll normally need to sign a 12-month contract to get the cheapest available deals, but some rolling 30-day SIM cards are still available from Plusnet. Customers on BT Broadband can get a £5/month discount on BT Mobile SIM cards.

For added flexibility and no need to undergo a credit check, a number of mobile networks offer Pay As You Go bundles with coverage from EE. In general, ASDA Mobile offers the best value bundles (e.g. 600 minutes, unlimited texts & 3GB data for £10/month) but there are also Virgin Mobile JAM Packs and bundles from The Phone Co-Op.

Pay Monthly Contracts

Plusnet MobileUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£10.00
Virgin Mobile5,000Unlimited12GB£12.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£12.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£13.00

Pay As You Go Bundles

ASDA Mobile600Unlimited4GB£10.00
Virgin Mobile5005002GB£10.00
Co-operative Mobile5001,0001GB£10.00
ASDA Mobile800Unlimited5GB£12.00

From £15/month

The following deals are available from £15/month on mobile networks that use coverage from EE:

Pay Monthly Contracts

BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£17.00
Virgin Mobile5,000Unlimited45GB£18.00

Pay As You Go Bundles

ASDA Mobile1,000Unlimited8GB£15.00
Virgin Mobile1,0001,0006GB£15.00
Co-operative Mobile7501,0002GB£15.00

£20/month and more

The following deals are available from £20/month on mobile networks that use coverage from EE. Of particular note, Virgin Mobile offers a tariff with unlimited data but this is exclusive to customers to have Virgin TV or home broadband.

Pay Monthly Contracts

BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£20.00
Virgin Mobile5,000Unlimited120GB£23.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£25.00
Virgin MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£32.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£35.00

Pay As You Go Bundles

ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£20.00
Virgin Mobile2,0002,00010GB£20.00
Co-operative Mobile1,0001,0004GB£20.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£25.00

For more information about download speeds and tethering, tap the data allowances in the table above. For Pay Monthly contracts, you can also tap on the mobile network’s logo for information about the length of the contract.

Traditional Pay As You Go

If you’re looking for a traditional Pay As You Go tariff without the need to top-up every month, you can choose from networks like 1pMobile, ASDA Mobile, The Phone Co-Op and Virgin Mobile. They’re good alternatives to EE Pay As You Go and give you coverage from the EE network. There are also some specialist mobile networks such as CMLink (for calling China) and Vectone Mobile (for low-cost international calling).

If you’re looking for the lowest possible Pay As You Go rates, this can currently be found on 1pMobile. With a SIM card from 1pMobile, you’ll pay just 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB. These are the lowest Pay As You Go rates currently available on any mobile network in the UK. However, you’ll need to top-up your SIM card with at least £10 of credit every 120 days, meaning there’s effectively a minimum spend of £30 per year.

For greater flexibility, we think ASDA Mobile is one of the best Pay As You Go mobile networks with coverage from EE. You’ll pay 8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB with comprehensive 2G, 3G and 4G coverage from EE. There’s no need to top-up your phone every month (just use it at least once every 270 days to keep your SIM card active). You can also top-up from as little as £1 each time, with bundles available from £5/month for more regular usage.

More Information

For more information, see our guide to mobile phone coverage in the UK. You can also read our in-depth reviews of each UK mobile network.

Your Comments 11 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 11 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Don’t forget talkhome mobile. They also run on EE and have very good bundles

    That said, non of the MVNOs have access to EEs band 20 (800MHz) which provides better coverage indoors and VoLTE.

    Luckily though, their band 3 is very extensive in coverage and most people won’t notice a thing.

  • Tracy Tong said:

    Hi Ken You say EE is £25 per month for unlimited mins and TX and 50gb internet.How do I get this deal.

  • Hi Ken. Just tries an ASDA SIM Only Data bundle to test a Huawei Y7 2019 with, after seeing friend’s wife getting very bad RF performance with her Huawei phone. Sat in their living room my Nokia was on 4 bars 4G+, and she was struggling to get 1 bar of signal. Turned out her provider was no longer on EE network but was on O2, so definitely worth getting a cheap PAYG SIM to check as you say 👍
    My Nokia is using a Plusnet SIM on a 30 day no Contract contract, and no complaints, especially as getting what they call bMates Rates for having fibre + phone package with them. They’ve also started doing very good 12 month SIM only Contracts, e.g.presently 5gb data unlimited texts and unlimited minutes. I have just auto stopped the Asda bundle though, as I’d grabbed the double data deal when it was on, but nowhere did it say that the deal only lasted for 30 days. Only slightly naughty though, as the telesales lady pointed it out to me, and with how good the RF performance has been, I wouldn’t let it put me off, and I’ll probably just keep the SIM going with simple PAYG use for the backup phone. Great performance with it in the Y7 2019 by the way. But I do see the Security issues with Chinese tech now, the permissions it’s given itself really aren’t nice, and I certainly wouldn’t use it for critical things like banking, NFC, Customer Contacts, etc. All the best, Bob.

  • Hi Ken.

    It might be a good idea to include real average and highest RPG inflation percentages for the previous 5 years to allow folk to budget for a Contract.

    Also, BEFORE a contract is taken out, it is a very good idea to try a PAYG Sim from a possible Provider, so that one knows what the signal strength, stability, reliability and download speed in your individual using area is.

    This is a good and useful site.
    Good work.

  • Wondering if notwithstanding them both being on EE You could shed any light on why Asda Internet: is so superior to 1pMobile? The Latter flags as ‘Club’ whereas Asda it’s own name . . . Same phone in same flat – 1pMobile like a most of time grounded Jumbo that does sod all fae ages then after ages whooshes whereas Asda performs as 3G should and with only 2 Bars?
    Hard to believe no 2+ tier system exists in practice lol!

    • Hi Dan,
      Many thanks for your comment. Whilst both networks use EE as their coverage provider, there can still be differences in network priority, data speeds, etc. Unfortunately, this is pretty hard to quantify as the figures are not published anywhere publicly and your mileage may differ depending on factors like your network, location, time, and congestion on the local mast. If you find that the ASDA Mobile SIM card performs a lot better, this may be a good reason to use it over the SIM card from 1pMobile.

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