EE Review 2020: Get the fastest 4G internet speeds and widest 5G coverage with the ‘UK’s largest Mobile Network’

EE has the widest network coverage and the best speeds in the market with some excellent perks . Read on below to get the full breakdown.

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EE October 2020 Latest Offer

Latest Offer: 100GB data just for £20 a month!

EE’s latest offer is a 100GB data plan with unlimited texts & minutes for just £20 if you sign a 24-month contract! Hurry up and get this best selling deal before it expires!

ee-article-logoEE was formed back in 2010 as a joint venture between T-Mobile and Orange under the name of Everything Everywhere. The company launched its 4G mobile service in 2012 and in the summer of the same year changed its name to EE. The network was acquired by BT in January 2016 and it still is a division of BT Group.

EE is the largest network operator in the UK. It provides 99% population coverage and over 90% land mass coverage on 2G, 3G & 4G in the UK. EE’s 5G network coverage in the UK is also leading the way. Multiple independent testing bodies such as OOKLA and umlaut selected EE as the best overall network in the UK consecutively for the last couple of years.

The network offers the best 4G and 5G coverage, also highest quality on voice calls, fastest internet speeds, decent international roaming options, rich rewards thanks to BT and there are also some core features you won’t find in most other network providers. However, all these advantages make EE a costlier option.

Pro’s

  • Best 3G, 4G & 5G coverage in the UK.
  • Fastest speeds in the UK.
  • A wide range of handset options.
  • Decent rewards and long trials for valuable add-ons.

Con’s

  • Some tariffs are significantly pricier than competitors.
  • Not as great as its rivals when it comes to international roaming.

Half Cooked’s overall rating for EE: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Skip to the Half Cooked breakdown to find out how EE performed in each of our main categories by clicking here.

If you wish, you can read our full review or skip to a specific section by choosing from the table of contents below.

Table of Contents

 

EE Plans & Pricing

EE SIM only Deals

SIM Only Deals

essential_planEE proposes two different types of pay monthly SIM only deals to choose from.

The lower-cost options are called EE Essential Plans and there are seven of them. These plans don’t include 5G coverage, but offer up to 60Mbps 4G data speeds. EE is the fastest network in the UK and its 4G download speeds are unrivalled. The network offers up to 60Mbps download speeds on 4G alone. Great as these plans may sound they are quite costly compared to many other networks. The cheapest essential plan is priced at £13 and it only provides 250MB of data. It’s not much and combined with the fast download speeds you’ll be getting with EE, your data will drain in no time. For instance, on SMARTY for £15.00 you’d be getting 100GB of data with unlimited minutes/texts.

TariffDATAPRICE
12 Month Plans
EE Essential250MB £13.00
EE Essential1GB£16.00
EE Essential3GB£19.00
EE Essential20GB (5G Available)£22.00
EE Essential40GB (5G Available)£25.00
All EE Essential plans come with unlimited minutes and texts.
24 Month Plans
EE Essential100GB (5G Available)£20.00
EE Essential200GB (5G Available)£23.00

smart_planThe pricier alternatives are called EE Smart Plans and there are currently four of them. With Smart Plans you’re allowed to pick a ‘Swappable Benefit’ at no extra cost. If you want to learn more about these benefits, please jump to the related section by clicking here. All EE Smart Plans come with superfast 5G coverage. Keep in mind though, to be able to use 5G you need a 5G ready handset and also be in an area, where EE offers 5G coverage.

Neither Essential nor Smart plans offer any flexibility as they lock you into a long term commitment with EE. If you want to be on EE, but also need flexibility and freedom you should either go with a PAYG bundle or check out EE’s Flex Plans. Don’t worry! We covered both of them, just continue reading below.

TARIFFDATAPRICE
EE Smart100GB£29.00
EE Smart200GB£25.00
EE SmartUnlimited (With 1 Smart Benefit)£37.00
EE SmartUnlimited (With 3 Smart Benefits)£41.00
All EE Smart Plans come with unlimited UK minutes and texts and 5G.
Currently, all EE Smart plans are 24 month contracts.

We prepared a comparison table below to help you visualize the differences between the two types of EE price plans:

Plan DetailsEssential PlanSmart Plan
Data250MB-1GB-3GB-20GB
40GB-60GB- 100GB
60GB-100GB
200GB-Unlimited
Minutes & TextsUnlimited Unlimited
Coverage4G, Double Speed 4G
4G+
4G, Double Speed 4G
4G+, 5G
Swappable Benefits
Amazon Prime VideoNot IncludedIncluded
BT Sport App
Not IncludedIncluded
Video Data PassNot IncludedIncluded
Roam FurtherNot IncludedIncluded
BritBoxTrial - 6 MonthsTrial - 6 Months
Add-Ons
Apple MusicTrial - 6 MonthsTrial - 6 Months
MTV PlayTrial - 6 MonthsTrial - 6 Months
BT Sport & large screen accessTrial - 3 MonthsTrial - 3 Months
Gamer’s Data PassMust be purchasedMust be purchased
Music Data PassMust be purchasedMust be purchased
International Roaming
EU RoamingIncludedIncluded
Rest of the world RoamingRoaming rates apply5 more countries with Roam Further Pass: Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, United States

If you think the current deals from EE are a bit beyond your budget, we’d like to remind you that Black Friday is on the horizon, and EE’s Black Friday SIM deals are likely to be quite wallet-friendly

Pay As You Go

EE Pay As You Go Deals

There are currently two types of Pay As You Go options, if you want to be on EE’s network.

You can use EE’s PAYG services in a traditional sense at 35/p minute and 15p/text. While EE allows you to go old school, it won’t let you use any data, meaning you won’t have access to the internet.

If you want to use EE’s network to connect to the internet you’ll have to buy a ‘pack’ with your credit. These are 30-day bundles sold by EE and the only way to use EE PAYG with mobile data. Thankfully these packs come with some perks like data rollover and depending on the packs you use, a quarterly free boost. However, you’ll have to top up on a monthly basis to benefit from either feature. For your data to rollover, you must start another pack within 7 days. You’ll be enjoying EE’s unrestricted 4G internet speeds with these packs.

TARIFFDATAPRICE
EE PAYG4GB £10
EE PAYG8GB£15
EE PAYG15GB£20
EE PAYG30GB£25
EE PAYG60GB£30
All EE PAYG packs come with unlimited minutes and texts, except 4GB Pack which comes with 100 minutes & unlimited text.

If you are looking for a more wallet friendly alternative or perhaps a bit more flexibility between price plans we’d recommend you to check out giffgaff. The cheapest PAYG deal in the UK is offered by 1pMobile with just 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB data. 1pMobile is powered by the EE Network too so you still get amazing coverage & internet speeds.

Flex Plans

ee-flex-plansOn an EE Flex plan, customers set up monthly recurring payment. The upside is just like on pay as you go there’s no contract, and as you can guess the downside is the value of the plan as you pay more for less data and minutes.

You can change your flex plan or completely stop using it whenever you want. If you top up on a monthly basis, your data rolls over to the following month. Just like on EE PAYG, every three months the network will boost your monthly data allowance by an extra 500MB.

At the time of writing, EE is offering triple data for up to six months on all their Flex Plans.

DataMinutesPrice
6GB 1000£10
15GB2000£15
30GB3000£25
60GB3000£30
All EE Flex plans come with unlimited texts.

Pay Monthly Phones

EE Pay Monthly Phone Plans

EE has a wide range of mobile devices for you to choose from. You’ll find devices from all the top tier manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Sony but also more budget friendly options such as Alcatel and Doro.

These devices come with EE’s ‘Service Pack’ feature, which is offering lifetime guarantee for your device at no extra cost. There are about 300 handsets to pick from EE’s shop.

Network Coverage & Speeds

2G, 3G & 4G Coverage

EE 4G Coverage

Network coverage and internet speeds are EE’s strength. The network is unrivalled in these two main categories. EE’s 2G, 3G and 4G population coverage is over 99% and its landmass coverage has reached beyond 90%. While all the UK based carriers offer 99% population coverage nowadays, EE’s landmass coverage is still head and shoulders above when compared to other major networks. Not to mention the UK’s new emergency services network is being built on EE’s 4G network.

All EE plans, even the most wallet friendly ones, benefit from unrestricted 4G internet speeds. EE also provides double-speed 4G, which is at around 80% population coverage and also 4G+ (LTE-Advanced) in most major cities and towns. On 4G+, customers may get as high as 90Mbps download speeds, but it usually doesn’t peak over 60Mpbs.

According to Open Signal’s latest speed test results, EE is still the fastest mobile network in the UK. The carrier’s average 4G download speeds are around 36.4Mbps, while their average 4G upload speeds are around 9.1Mbps. The network’s 4G speeds are significantly faster than Vodafone, Three and O2’s.

We strongly recommend you check out EE’s coverage in your area, before you order a SIM or a handset from the provider. We stand by our words, EE has the best coverage hands down but your frequent areas might be in one of EE’s blind spots. Better safe than sorry!

If you wish to learn more about which networks offer the best 4G download & upload speeds, and network coverage – check out Half Cooked’s detailed 4G Networks in the UK guide.ee-covergae-check-map

5G Coverage

EE 5G Coverage

EE is the first network to launch 5G in the UK. The network provider turned on the country’s first commercially available 5G signals back in May 2019 in six cities (London, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Belfast & Edinburgh).

To use EE’s 5G you’ll need a 5G compatible handset, as well as an EE Smart Unlimited plan. There are 112 towns and cities live on EE 5G at the moment. Make sure to check EE’s network coverage map before you invest in 5G handsets or tariffs.

As of now, EE has the most cities and towns covered among the four major networks in the UK. Meanwhile, Vodafone offers 5G in 57 locations in the UK and also in 193 other locations in the EU across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland. If you are a frequent traveler, Vodafone’s 5G might be the better choice for you.

Examining OOKLA’s October 2020 speed test results we see that EE offers the slowest average 5G download speeds among the four major network operators with 134.7Mbps. Having said that, EE also has the highest 5G time spent in the United Kingdom, twice more than second placed Three, this could negatively affect the average 5G data speeds of the network. Three offers the fastest 5G download speeds in the country with 201Mpbs.

Voice Call Quality

EE Voice Call Quality

EE has been the number one network when it comes to network coverage and voice call quality for the last couple of years. In the most recent network tests done by umlaut (an independent testing body, widely accepted as authoritative and objective) EE ranked at the top of the list, followed by Vodafone but not closely. On top of this EE offers both 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling, features which grant better coverage and voice call quality.

EE was selected as the best in this category due to its audio quality & fast call setup times. This will continue to improve, because EE is constantly advancing its technology and increasing coverage. As always, we’d like to remind you that even the best networks have blind spots in the UK, so make sure your frequent areas get good coverage before you settle on a network.

Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling

EE 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling

If your device supports Wi-Fi calling you’ll be able to make HD voice calls using a Wi-Fi network, which has access to the internet. This feature lets your phone use a Wi-Fi connection instead of your provider’s network, making you connected even when the area you are at isn’t covered by 2G, 3G, 4G or 5G.

4G Calling (known also as VoLTE) allows you to make higher definition phone calls over a 4G network. This service provides increased indoor and rural coverage, plugging many blackspots you’d normally have. With 4G Calling activated your calls will become clearer and you will be available in more locations than before.

Keep in mind though, your handset must be compatible to benefit from these features and your network should offer these services.

EE provides both these great features to its pay monthly customers, PAYG customers are missing out on both. If your phone is compatible make sure to activate these to make and receive higher quality calls. However, they are only available on the EE version of all compatible Android and Windows devices which can only be bought directly from EE’s stores. If you’ve got your device from elsewhere, they might still work but EE won’t guarantee it.

Given how EE’s price plans are a bit pricey you might be looking for a lower-cost network, which proposes both these features. We’d recommend you to check out iD Mobile, as it’s the only MVNO offering 4G Calling & Wi-Fi Calling. Make sure to read our guide to learn more about the best networks with Wi-Fi Calling in the UK.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

EE Free WiFi Hotspots

Eligible customers on the EE network are allowed to use WiFi on the London Underground, provided by Virgin Media. The service is available only in ticket halls, walkways and platforms at over 250 stations.

Depending on your price plan you might also have access to BT Wi-Fi, which will allow you to use thousands of BT Openzone hotspots, but there’s a 3GB data monthly limit. You’ll also need the BT Wi-Fi app to be able to connect to these hotspots. BT FON hotspots are not included.

There are some other networks in the UK that provide free Wi-Fi Hotspot services. If you find this data saving feature essential, you might want to check them out before you come to a final decision.

Tethering

EE Personal Hotspots

Tethering will turn your mobile phone into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, which will allow other devices to connect to your phone’s network and use its data to access the internet.

Tethering is included in all the EE plans. If you tether to any other device, the data it will use will come out of your monthly allowance. You should always be extra careful when tethering, if you go over your price plan’s allowance, EE will charge you for the data at the standard rate.

We can’t stress this enough: when tethering is on, your data gets eaten up at a faster rate. It wouldn’t hurt to check out all the other network’s and their unlimited data plans in the UK.

International Roaming

EE Roaming Abroad

Like all the other networks in the UK, EE must also provide inclusive EU roaming in its price plans (due to EU roaming regulation changes that came into effect in the summer of 2017) and well, they do. Just not as great as you’d expect from the number one network in the UK.

EE’s roaming package adds only an additional 5 destinations. These countries are Australia, USA, Mexico, Canada & New Zealand. To take advantage of the extra destinations customers must be on EE’s Roam Further Pass. You may select it as a ‘Swappable Benefit’ if you are on a EE Smart plan or get it as an add-on. For countries not included in the EU, you can use EE’s roaming costs tool and learn how much it will cost you to text, call or use your data.

If you travel abroad often, Vodafone offers the most when it comes to international roaming. Compared to EE’s 48 inclusive destinations Vodafone proposes 52, and its ‘Global Roaming’ perk works in 81 destinations. Overall, you get Vodafone coverage in 152 worldwide destinations. Three’s Go Roam is also a great alternative, as it has 71 inclusive roaming destinations.

If you want to learn more about international roaming in the UK we have a detailed roaming abroad guide. Give it a look!

EE Features

Swappable Benefits & Add-Ons

ee-swappable-benefitsSwappable Benefits are add-ons offered by EE. On Essential plans you have to pay for each one separately, but some exclusive deals pop up here and there and they include some of these add-ons free of charge. EE Smart Plans allow you to pick one Swappable Benefit for free and as the name suggests, you can swap these once a month.

There are five more add-ons, but they are not free of charge regardless of your plan. However, EE proposes 6 months free trials for Apple Music and MTV Play, with the option to cancel any time. Swappable Benefits can be selected and swapped on the My EE app or by visiting My EE online.

Swappable Benefits

ee-pass-roam-furtherRoam 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.

ee-pass-amazon-prime-videoAmazon 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.

ee-pass-bt-sportBT 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.

ee-add-on-britboxBritBox: 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 EE Smart BenefitApple 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 Smart Benefit EEApple TV+: You can watch series, dramas, documentaries as well as Apple Originals with this Smart Benefit. 
 

Apple Arcade Smart Benefit EEApple Arcade: You get unlimited access to 100+ games, no ands, no in-app purchases. You may even download them and play offline.


Add-Ons

ee-pass-music-dataMusic 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.

ee-pass-video-dataVideo 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.

ee-pass-gamers-dataGamer’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.

EE Add-on MTV PlayMTV 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.

Please keep in mind that, EE may change an add-on to a Smart Benefit and vice versa. 

At Half Cooked, we think EE’s rewards and extra perks are solid, but if you want to discover more about what other networks offer to their customers you can check our detailed guide on extra perks such as unlimited data usage.

Unlimited Data Plans

In the UK, EE now offers an unlimited data plan with 5G speeds, where you can download as much as you like. Currently there’s only one unlimited data plan and it ties you to an 18 month contract. With the unlimited data plan you also get a ‘Swappable Benefit’ of your choice.

TariffData, Minutes & TextsPRICE
EE Smart (1 Smart Benefit included)Unlimited £37 - 24 months
EE Smart (3 Smart Benefits included)Unlimited £41 - 24 months
EE Smart plans come with fastest data speeds available, including 5G coverage & download speeds.

While EE calls both these plans unlimited, there’s actually a fair usage limit you are subject to. You are allowed to use up to 1000GB (1TB) of data. If you reach 1TB in multiple months, EE might consider you a business customer & move you onto a business plan. International roaming is also limited to 50GB of data usage. Usage past this 50GB limit will be charged at 0.36p/MB.

And lastly, you can only tether upto a number of 12 devices at the same time. Going over the limit will put you on EE’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 warned.

Data Rollover

ee-data-rolloverData Rollover is somewhat common among the UK based operators, and EE proposes this perk too. Basically, if you haven’t finished up the data in your monthly PAYG pack or Flex plan your leftover data will be added to the next month, giving you a second chance to use it. You’ll have to start your next pack or plan within seven days for this perk to kick in. Keep in mind, only EE pay as you go and EE Flex plan customers benefit from this perk. Pay monthly members don’t get to roll their unused data to the following month.

EE’s data rollover is quite limited compared to some of the other data rollover plans on the market with SMARTY offering customers money off their plans for unused data. To learn more about SMARTY, check out our SMARTY vs giffgaff review where we compare two of the best low-cost virtual operators on the market.

Free Data Boosts

While free data boosts sound great on paper, EE’s take on of this feature isn’t the best. When you buy the same pack (£10 or above) or flex plan three months in a row, you get a 500MB free boost to your data with your third pack. This boost stays with you as long as you continue buying the pack and every three months you get another free boost added on. So let’s say your pack allowance is 8GB, after three months it will grow to 8.5GB and in six month it will become 9GB and so on.

To take advantage of the free data boosts you have to be on either EE PAYG or EE Flex plans, as monthly price plans aren’t included.

Share EE, Share £20

There’s a £10 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card offer from EE when you refer friends to a £10 or above pack. If you are an existing EE PAYG customer with a £10 or above pack you are eligible. All you need to do is sign up for the scheme and get a unique referral link to share with your friends. Once your friend follows this link and joins EE by buying a 30-day PAYG pack you both get a £10 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card within the first seven days.

Family Account – Data Gifting

ee_familyEE’s approach to family plans is “One simple account for the whole family”, this means any additional plan you add to your account comes at a 10% discount and also a 1GB data boost. The main account has full control over the additional plans and can also gift any spare data linked accounts have. Only the person who runs the main account can give away data, but they can move it around from any account.

You’ll only need two or more eligible plans on the same account under the same bill payer to activate EE’s Family Account. This can be done via the My EE App or on EE’s website.

Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

EE Review

  • Network Coverage and Speeds – With the best network coverage for 3G, 4G & 5G and fastest internet speeds EE’s got you covered!
  • Voice Call Quality – EE is still rocking the top spot on voice call quality tests done by multiple independent bodies.
  • Tethering – EE limits tethering to a total of 12 devices at the same time. Quality of the service is top notch and we don’t find this limitation to be a big deal.
  • Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling – Both these perks are offered by EE, but only to pay monthly customers and only on devices bought from EE stores.
  • Wi-Fi Hotspots – Wi-Fi hotspots are limited to only Virgin Wi-Fi on the London underground and BT Openzone hotspots. You must have an eligible plan to benefit from Virgin Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • International Roaming – One of the better schemes in the market with USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada & Mexico included on top of 48 EU destinations, but behind both Vodafone & Three.
  • Swappable Benefits – EE offers five free add-ons for its Smart Plans and five more paid add-ons, but two of these come with 6 months free trials. All are good value services and features.
  • Unlimited Data Plans – EE Smart Unlimited Plan takes advantage of EE’s 5G network, as well as all one to three swappable benefits of your choice.
  • Data Rollover – Only available to PAYG and EE Flex customers.
  • Free Data Boost – Just like data rollover, this is only available to PAYG and EE Flex members. Happens every three months, you get an extra 500MB data boost.
  • Share EE, Share £20 – Another PAYG only perk. Both you and your friend have to be on at least a £10 package.
  • Family Discounts – Data Gifting – 10% discount and extra 1GB on any additional plans on your account and ‘data gifting’ gives you the option to transfer data between plans on your account.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does EE support 5G?

Yes, EE is the first network carrier in the UK to support 5G coverage and currently has the most locations covered. The UK’s largest mobile provider is continuously working on improving both its 4G and 5G network.

Does EE support 2G?

Yes, EE still supports 2G. EE still uses 2G for calls and texts.

Does EE have 4G Calling?

Yes, EE provides 4G Calling on compatible devices bought from EE stores. However, PAYG and EE Flex plans are not included.

Does EE have Wi-Fi Calling?

Yes, it does. Just like 4G Calling EE offers Wi-Fi Calling too. You need to be on a pay monthly plan and have a compatible device for it to work.

Is EE the fastest mobile network in the UK?

Yes, EE is the fastest mobile network in the UK. EE’s average 4G download speeds are over 30Mbps. With 4G double speed you may even see peak download speeds around 60Mbps and with 4G plus all the way up to 90Mbps. However, the average download speed lingers around 30Mbps to 60Mbps depending on your area. However, when it comes to 5G, Three is offers the fastest speeds at the moment.

Does EE work in the USA?

Yes, EE’s network works 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 allowance without any extra cost.

Does EE have an app?

Yes, EE does have an app and it’s called My EE. It’s a handy app and will improve your EE experience for sure.

What are Swappable Benefits?

Swappable Benefits are essentially just add-ons but with a fancy name. EE offers these add-ons for free on its Smart Plans and with extra charge on their Essential Plans.

Can I add another phone to my EE plan?

Yes, you can. EE allows you to add additional SIMs to your account.

Can I gift my data to someone else on EE?

Yes, but only if you and the other plan/s are under the same account. The main account can move extra data freely between all the plans.

Where can I use my inclusive roaming allowance on EE?

You can use your inclusive roaming allowance in 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). If you have ‘Further Roaming Pass’ all of the above plus Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and USA.

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