In this article, we provide a comprehensive review comparing EE & BT Mobile. Read on below to get Half Cooked’s full breakdown.
EE’s best selling plan is a 5G ready 160GB data plan with unlimited texts & minutes for just £20. It’s a 24-month basic plan. It may not contain any extras, but you’ll be getting the most 4G and 5G coverage, as well as the fastest 4G data speeds in the UK!
This deal comes with 6 months of free Apple Music, and 3 months of BT Sport.
EE is a British mobile network operator and one of the four major network carriers in the UK. It’s also the largest mobile provider in the country at the moment. EE launched back in 2012 with the merger between T-Mobile & Orange. More recently, EE was acquired by BT, in January 2016. EE offers the fastest 4G data speeds and best 4G network coverage in the country. The network also provides the widest 5G coverage in the country. However, the best coverage and fastest 4g speeds come at a higher price point. EE’s 4G coverage reaches 95% of UK geography and over 99% of the population. The carrier’s 5G is active in 160 cities and towns in the UK.
BT Mobile is one of the biggest mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) in the UK. It uses EE as its network provider, this means BT Mobile offers over 99% population and 95% landmass coverage. The carrier offers pay monthly contract deals for both handsets and SIM only deals. If you’re a BT Broadband customer, you’ll also benefit from discounts; BT Halo customers get discounts and double data on their plans.
You also get to enjoy 5G data speeds with BT Mobile, provided you bought your 5G ready device directly from their stores.
There are two different types of SIM only deals on EE. If you need larger data allowances or unlimited data deals with 5G data speeds then EE’s ‘Smart Plans’ are the right way to go. Smart Plans also come with at least one free ‘Swappable Benefit’ which you can change every month. To access these perks or larger data allowances you’ll need to sign up for a long-term contract.
The lower-cost alternatives are called ‘Essential Plans’ and they don’t offer any free Swappable Benefits, but some of them come with 5G coverage. You also still get the fastest 4G download speeds and the best 4G network coverage in the UK, so these plans still offer great value.
Neither of these two choices offer great flexibility. Both Smart and Essential plans lock you into a long term commitment with EE (for at least a year). If you want to explore them a bit more, we’ve prepared a detailed comparison of EE Essential vs Smart plans.
BT Mobile doesn’t offer any 30-day rolling pay monthly offers. To join their network you have to sign up for a 12 month or 18 month contract. If you’re already a BT Broadband customer you automatically get £5 off a month. BT Halo customers also get double data on all plans, including two unlimited data deals.
The network allows you to change your data monthly on all their deals. If you’re looking for an unlimited data deal, but don’t have BT Halo you should read Half Cooked’s networks in the UK with unlimited data deals guide.
We think this is somewhat a close race. You get slightly more data per £ with BT Mobile’s plans, but EE offers faster 4G data speeds and more value with their premium plans. If you’re a BT Broadband and/or a BT Halo customer we’d recommend going with BT, otherwise EE edges it.
You can join EE on a pay as you go basis and use EE’s PAYG in a traditional sense at 30p/minute and 15p/text. However, going old school with EE means you won’t be able to connect to the internet. If you want to use EE’s PAYG service and also access the internet you have to purchase a ‘PAYG Pack’. These are EE’s 30-day PAYG bundles and they offer monthly data allowances. Except the 4GB data pack, all EE PAYG deals come with unlimited minutes & texts.
You may also want to check out EE’s Flex Plans. Both options are similarly priced, but you get a limited amount of minutes with Flex plans.
BT Mobile doesn’t offer any PAYG deals, whether that be a 30-day option or a traditional top up and go PAYG service. You might want to check out giffgaff’s flexible goodybags, SMARTY’s budget friendly mobile plans or VOXI’s deals with endless social media if you’re looking for monthly rolling deals.
Given how BT Mobile doesn’t offer any PAYG deals or even monthly rolling plans it’s a clear win for EE here.
EE has a wide range of mobile devices for customers to choose from, these include flagship phones from Apple, Samsung etc. to low-end devices and even refurbished alternatives. BT Mobile’s store provides mainly the latest devices, which means there is less of the back catalogue than you could get with EE. Older mobile devices tend to offer better value for money so you’ll be missing out on both variety and potentially better deals with BT. On top of that, EE provides lifetime warranty for their devices, which you won’t find with BT Mobile.
BT Mobile offers a much smaller range of devices when compared with most of the other networks. EE on the other hand offers the widest range of handsets and lifetime warranty, even for the refurbished ones they’re selling.
EE is owned by BT, but BT Mobile uses EE as its network coverage provider. Therefore both networks customers get the exact same network coverage. Given how EE offers the best 2G, 3G and 4G network coverage in the UK, BT Mobile customers also enjoy the best coverage.
There is, however, a difference in download speeds. Even with EE’s basic plans you can reach as high as 60Mbps download speed, while on BT Mobile the most you can get is 30Mbps, unless you purchase the BT Mobile Extra Speed 4G add-on. This will increase the maximum 4G download speed to 60Mbps. The Extra Speed add-on is a monthly rolling contract priced at £4/month. However, if your EE plan is eligible for 4G+, you may get as high as 90Mbps download speeds.
Opensignal’s April 2021 test results refer to EE as the fastest UK network when it comes to 4G data speeds. EE’s average 4G download speeds are around 39Mbps. BT Mobile customers can enjoy the same, super-fast data speeds, but unlike EE customers they have to pay for the add-on.
Since EE and BT Mobile are running on the same network, their network coverage is identical. However, EE makes sure there’s a difference between them and BT Mobile, and it’s the maximum download speeds. EE plans generally offer faster 4G download speeds.
As stated above BT actually owns EE, but both networks use EE’s infrastructure. This means both carriers offer 5G in the very same locations across the country. Currently, EE provides 5G coverage in 160 cities and towns. Their customers get identical 5G download speeds as well, but unfortunately BT Mobile’s 5G service only works with devices directly bought from their stores and there are only a handful of phones to choose from.
If you wish to join EE, you should know that EE Smart plans, as well as some selected Essential plans, come with 5G, while all BT Mobile plans provide 5G perks at no extra cost.
According to Opensignal’s 5G speed test results EE offers the fastest 5G download speeds in the UK, at 140Mbps.
As always, we’d like to remind you to check the networks’ coverage map before you invest in a 5G handset or a tariff.
EE and BT Mobile offer identical 5G network coverage and data speeds, but the latter’s 5G only works with devices directly bought from their stores and sadly there aren’t many choices.
To measure a network’s voice call quality, we rely on tests performed by independent bodies such as Open Signal, OOKLA and umlaut, as personal experiences may differ depending on location & timing.
Looking at the results published by Open Signal and umlaut, we see that EE takes the top spot again with a score of ‘very good’. This of course means so does BT Mobile. EE has been ranked as the best in the last couple of years, because the network has great audio quality & faster call setup times than other carriers. EE is advancing its technology and increasing coverage consistently so we expect them to hold the top spot in the near future. Vodafone challenges EE in terms of voice call quality, but both Three and O2 are miles behind these two networks.
EE and BT Mobile have the same level of quality when it comes to voice calls. There are no differences between the two networks in this regard.
4G Calling allows you to make and receive phone calls over a carrier’s 4G network. If you have a compatible device, you can turn on the feature to make higher definition calls.
Wi-Fi Calling will let you call and text over Wi-Fi. You’ll stay connected even if you’re not getting any phone signal. These two features improve your voice call quality, but keep in mind that they only work in the UK. They’re not available when roaming abroad.
EE’s 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling are exclusive to pay monthly customers. All BT Mobile tariffs come with both of these perks. EE and BT say if you’ve got your handset from elsewhere, 4G calling & Wi-Fi calling might still work but they won’t guarantee it.
If you wish to enjoy 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling with monthly rolling plans, we strongly recommend you to check Three and iD Mobile. iD Mobile uses Three as its network provider and offers some extra features with competitive prices. Since both carriers use the same network, you might want to read our iD Mobile vs Three review too.
Both networks offer 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling and the overall quality is pretty good. You can’t go wrong with either EE or BT Mobile.
EE customers with eligible plans can use free Wi-Fi hotspots on the London Underground at over 250 stations, provided by Virgin Media. Some premium EE plans allow you to access BT Wi-Fi hotspots but you’ll have a 3GB monthly limit.
At Half Cooked, we think BT Mobile is the best network when it comes to free Wi-Fi hotspots, as all BT customers have unlimited access to the carrier’s free Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK. There are over 5 million free hotspots at hotels, cafes, city centres, train stations & shopping centres. BT doesn’t set a limit so they’re truly unlimited, which means you can save your mobile data for when you really need it.
EE provides some free Wi-Fi here and there, but they can’t compare to BT Mobile’s millions of free Wi-Fi hotspots. Easy win for BT Mobile here.
Turning your mobile device to a personal hotspot will allow other devices to use it to connect to the internet. It’s possible to tether on both EE and BT Mobile, however, EE’s tethering comes with certain restrictions. You can only tether to a maximum of 12 devices and the fair usage limit is set at 1000GB. BT Mobile’s tethering page doesn’t mention any limits, but you need BT Halo to get an unlimited data plan.
You’ll be going through your mobile data at a faster rate when you’re tethering, so remember to turn tethering off when you’re not using it.
While EE sets some limits to tethering, the network at least offers unlimited data plans to all. If you don’t have BT Halo, you won’t be getting any unlimited deals on BT Mobile. We think it’s a narrow win for EE.
Since the introduction of EU roaming regulation in 2017, all the mobile networks in the UK have to provide inclusive EU roaming.
EE & BT Mobile offer inclusive roaming in the EU so you can use your UK allowances freely in selected destinations. If you want to use your UK allowances in more countries EE offers an add-on called the ‘Roam Further Pass’. If you have an EE Smart plan you can also take it as your ‘Swappable Benefit’. The roaming pass adds Australia, USA, Mexico, Canada & New Zealand.
Unlike EE, all BT Mobile plans offer the same basic EU roaming deal, but you can purchase the ‘Travel Data Pass’ add-on, which gets you a 500MB data allowance for £6 a day in the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, Turkey, UAE, Thailand, India, China, South Africa and Andorra.
Neither EE nor BT Mobile offer an amazing roaming deal though. If you travel abroad quite often you might want to have a look at Three’s ‘Go Roam ’ feature. Go Roam lets you use your UK allowances freely in 71 destinations, at no extra cost. Another great option is Vodafone’s ‘Global Roaming Plus’ perk, which increases the number of inclusive roaming destinations upto 81 locations around the world.
Do you want to discover more about international roaming in the UK? Make sure to read Half Cooked’s detailed roaming abroad guide.
EE and BT Mobile will always give you 4G data speeds where they are available in the country you’re visiting. They offer the same base inclusive roaming in the UK. The tie-breaking difference is EE’s ‘Roam Further Pass’.
Swappable Benefits are extra perks available with EE’s ‘Smart Plans’ at no extra cost, however, you can only pick one for free. The network allows you to swap between them once per month. On an EE Essential plan you have to pay for each benefit separately. There are currently five Swappable Benefits available.
There are five more add-ons, but even Smart Plan customers have to pay for them. You can get 6 months free trials for Apple Music and MTV Play on EE, and may cancel them at any time.
Roam Further Pass: This feature allows customers to use their inclusive minutes, texts and data in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand with no extra charges.
Amazon Prime Video: With this perk you can use Amazon Prime Video on your phone or tablet. If you are on EE Smart Unlimited or have Video Data Pass too, you won’t go through any data.
BT Sport App: You can watch BT Sport on your phone or your tablet. If you are on EE Smart Unlimited or have a Video Data Pass, you won’t go through any data.
BritBox: You can stream the biggest box of British boxsets on your mobile device and if you have the necessary tech, on your TV as well.
Apple Music: You can listen to more than 60 million songs without ads. You can also listen to your favourite tracks and even play them offline.
Apple TV+: You can watch series, dramas, documentaries as well as Apple Originals with this Smart Benefit.
Apple Arcade: You get unlimited access to 100+ games, no ands, no in-app purchases. You may even download them and play offline.
Music Data Pass: You won’t burn through your data listening to music on Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and more. You should still check if your preferred music app is covered by EE.
Video Data Pass: This benefit lets you watch as many videos and streams as you wish without draining your data. Works with Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, BT Sport, MTV Play amongst others.
Gamer’s Data Pass: This perk covers all the data you use playing Pokémon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, FIFA Mobile & Star Wars: Galaxy. Most importantly it works with Twitch, the world’s number one video game streaming platform.
MTV Play: You can use MTV Play on up to 4 devices. The add-on comes with exclusives like Geordie Shore, Just Tattoo of Us and Ex on the Beach. You can cancel your subscription any time.
Music Data Pass & Gamer’s Data Pass were ‘Swappable Benefits’, but as of May 2020 they are both now regular add-ons.
We think EE’s rewards and extra perks are good, but you’ve got many other options available so we prepared a detailed guide for extra perks like unlimited social media data usage.
Currently, there’s only one unlimited data plan available to EE customers. As of May 2020, EE‘s Essential unlimited data plan doesn’t exist anymore. The Smart unlimited data plan offers the fastest 4G download speeds as well as 5G coverage in 125 cities and towns whilst locking you in to a 24-month contract. You also get a free ‘Swappable Benefit’ which you can change on a monthly basis.
|EE Smart Unlimited Data Plan||Unlimited |
Minutes & Texts
|Unlimited Data with 5G Data Speeds||£35/month 18 Months|
EE’s unlimited data deal comes with a fair usage policy of 1000GB & the carrier limits tethering to 12 devices per month. If you go over the fair usage policy or tethering limit, you’ll be caught on the network’s radar. EE says “If you regularly tether 12 or more devices, we will consider this non-personal use and have the right to move you to a more suitable plan.” so be careful.
Three has the best value unlimited data deals in the UK, we detail these in our Three review, check it out.
EE’s data rollover perk is exclusive to PAYG packs and Flex customers. Data rollover will take your unused data from the previous month and add it to the following month’s data allowance. You’ll be burning through your rolled over data first, but you should know that you need to start your next PAYG pack or Flex plan within seven days or else your leftover data expires.
You can read Half Cooked’s detailed Data Rollover in the UK guide to learn more about the feature and discover which other mobile networks offer this data saving perk.
We strongly recommend checking out our SMARTY and Sky Mobile reviews, if you’re constantly finding yourself with leftover data from previous months. SMARTY proposes a discount on your next bill for your unused data and Sky Mobile saves leftover data for up to three years!
EE offers a free data boost programme to PAYG and Flex customers. The network rewards your loyalty with extra 500MB data for every three months you use the same pack (£10 or above) or flex plan. The boost stays as long as you continue purchasing the same pack and once every three months you’ll get another 500MB data as a reward. Let’s say your data allowance is 5GB, after three months it will grow to 5.5GB and in six month you’ll have 6GB.
When a friend/family member purchases a £10 or above PAYG pack or a Flex Plan via your unique referral link, you both get a £10 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card from EE. The network will send your reward within the first seven days after the transaction.
Only existing EE PAYG or Flex customers with a £10 or above tariff are eligible for this reward.
EE offers a 10% discount and also an extra 1GB data for each additional plan added under the same account. The main account is given full control, including moving the spare data between additional plans.
To activate EE’s Family Account you need at least two eligible plans under the same bill payer. You can control all the additional sim only family deals via the ‘My EE’ App or on EE’s website.
There are over five million BT Wi-Fi hotspots available to BT Mobile customers across the UK. The best part is they are free for all BT customers, no exceptions. BT Wi-Fi’s free hotspots can be found around shopping centres, train stations, cafes, restaurants and other popular places.
All BT Mobile plans with at least 20GB of data will give you free access to the BT Sport mobile app. You can watch live games and sporting events with the app, but you should keep in mind that the app will still burn through your monthly data allowance. The live games include Premier League and FA Cup matches too.
If you’re an existing BT Broadband customer you get an automatic £5/month discount on all BT Mobile price plans. The bill doesn’t have to be under your name, but you’ll have to provide proof that you’re living in a household with a BT Broadband connection. If you also have BT Halo, you’ll be getting double data on all BT Mobile plans.
BT Mobile’s spending cap is designed to stop you from spending more than you plan to by giving you full control over your plans and bills. Thanks to this you won’t be facing any bill shocks at the end of a month. You can easily change your monthly spending cap via ‘My BT’.
When it comes to family plans, BT Mobile is probably one of the best networks you can choose. The network’s family plans are straightforward with great value, plus if you’re an existing BT Broadband member you get even better discounts. BT Halo customers are in for an even better treat as they’re rewarded with double data on all plans.
One downside to BT’s family plans is all family members must be on the same price plan. You can save upto 20%, but the more plans you add (maximum five SIMs per family plan) and the pricier ones you pick, the more you’ll be saving with BT Mobile.
If you’re interested in a different kind of family deal, you should read Half Cooked’s best family mobile plans in the UK guide. Perhaps another network is offering exactly what you’re looking for.
BT Mobile ties you in for at least a year once you sign up with them, but the network also offers great flexibility by allowing you to switch between all available tariffs. You’re given the option to change your data once per month. However, if you’re looking for SIM only no credit check plan to just use monthly we’d recommend checking out giffgaff’s flexible goodybags.
We like BT Mobile’s extras & special features, but EE’s perks add more value to their plans and there’s certainly more variety. We’re giving the win to EE, but this was a close one.
While both EE and BT Mobile are running on the same network, EE seems to offer just a little more on everything, except free Wi-Fi hotspots.
Wider range of plans and handsets also make the EE the better choice in this comparison. Unless you’re a BT Broadband customer, we’d recommend going with EE.
Yes it does. EE is the first mobile network provider to offer 5G in the UK. The network provides 5G coverage in 125 cities and towns at the moment.
Yes, EE still uses 2G but only for calls and texts. 2G is still a reliable option when staying connected in rural locations.
Yes, EE has 4G Calling but it’s exclusive to pay monthly customers of the network. Also to be on the safe side you should purchase your handset directly from EE or else the 4G calling may not work.
Yes, EE offers Wi-Fi Calling, but it’s also exclusive to pay monthly customers. With EE’s Wi-Fi Calling you’ll stay connected even when you’re not getting any phone signals. You’ll need a compatible device for it to work though.
Yes, EE offers the fastest 4G data speeds in the UK, but it seems like the network offers the slowest 5G download speeds though. EE is the fastest 4G network for sure, and the gap between EE and the others is pretty huge in terms of coverage and data speeds.
Yes, your EE SIM should work fine in the USA, but the country is not included in base inclusive roaming. You’ll need the ‘Further Roaming Pass’ add-on if you wish to use your UK allowances at no extra cost in the States.
Yes, EE’s mobile app is called ‘My EE’. We think it’s user friendly and it will improve your EE experience.
Swappable Benefits are EE’s special extras that come free on Smart Plans. If you’re on an Essential Plan you have to purchase them monthly.
Yes, you can easily add more SIMs to your account.You may also turn your regular account into a family account by adding more SIMs.
Yes, but the other plans have to be under the same bill payer. You should also know that there’s a 100GB/month limit on unlimited tariffs.
You may use your EE inclusive roaming in Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Canary Islands, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, 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). If you have ‘Further Roaming Pass’ all of the above plus Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and USA.
Yes, BT Mobile offers free usage of BT Sport mobile app, however, it only comes with BT Mobile plans with at least 20GB of monthly data allowance.
BT Mobile is powered by EE’s network. Therefore both carriers offer the same network coverage in the UK.
You must first log into your account and then head down to ‘Tools to manage your spend’ and choose the amount you want to set.
Yes, all BT Mobile customers take advantage of Wi-Fi Calling. All you need is a compatible device.
Yes, BT Mobile offers 4G Calling and it’s available to all BT Mobile customers. You’ll still need a compatible device for the feature to work though.
Yes, BT Mobile offers 5G coverage in 125 cities and towns in the UK, but only if you also purchased your 5G Ready device from their stores.