EE Pay As You Go Review: All You Need to Know About Bundles and Packs
EE are the largest mobile operator in the UK. And if you’re looking for a decent PAYG mobile plan, then they are certainly one to consider.
Currently, EE offers three types of bundle on Pay As You Go: Everything Packs, Data Packs and Talk Packs. Bundles can be purchased for just £1 per week and include a quarterly free boost.
But how do EE prices compare and are they any good? We’ve got everything you need to know about pay as you go service from EE right here.
Table of Contents
Is PAYG for Me?
Before we get into the details, it’s worth considering if pay as you go is really the right option for you. There are pros and cons here.
On the plus side, you won’t need to pass a credit check. You also won’t be paying for tons of minutes, texts or data that you won’t be using, which could be the case on a mobile contract with large monthly limits. If you’re a light phone user particularly then PAYG could save you a bunch of money.
On the other hand, prices tend to be higher on PAYG than on contract, so if you’re a more regular phone user you’ll probably get savings by opting for a contract. Plus, with PAYG there’s always the chance that you can run out of credit when you need it, which isn’t possible on contract.
The choice is really yours, but do consider your options carefully before deciding whether to sign a contract or opt for a PAYG SIM.
PAYG Options with EE
Anyone can order a free PAYG SIM from EE. However, once you’ve got that SIM then you’ll need to decide how exactly to use it. Technically, you can load money onto your SIM card and just use your phone (for prices on that see the “out of bundle charges” section below).
However, you’ll be required to purchase a PAYG bundle at least once before you can just use your phone in a traditional PAYG fashion. Plus, buying bundles with EE definitely saves you money in the long run.
EE offers several different bundles to PAYG customers. A bundle is basically an allotment of minutes, texts, and/or data that you pay a set price for and that is then valid for 30 days (though if you go over your limits you’re free to buy another bundle before that 30-day limit has passed). And EE has plenty of PAYG bundles to choose from.
EE’s Everything Packs are PAYG bundles that include minutes, texts and data. All are valid for a 30 day period, and there are six options:
- 100 minutes, 250 texts, and 150 MB of data for £5
- 250 minutes, unlimited texts, and 1 GB of data for £10
- 1000 minutes, unlimited texts, and 2 GB of data for £15
- 1500 minutes, unlimited texts, and 4 GB of data for £20
- 2000 minutes, unlimited texts, and 8 GB of data for £25
- 3000 minutes, unlimited texts, and 16 GB of data for £30
If you really only use your phone for data, or if you’ve gone over your data limit in one of the bundles above but still have plenty of minutes and texts left, then you can also opt for a data pack. These give a low amount of minutes but a larger amount of data. There are two options and both are valid for 30 days:
- 100 minutes, unlimited texts, and 2 GB of data for £10
- 500 minutes, unlimited texts, and 5 GB of data for £15
Alternatively, if data isn’t your thing, or if you don’t have a smartphone, then you can opt for a talk pack that will give you minimal data but more minutes. Again, there are two options:
- 25 minutes, 50 texts, and 10 MB of data for £1 valid for 7 days
- 5000 minutes, unlimited texts, and 50 MB of data for £10 valid for 30 days
In general, once the validity period of your bundle is over then all remaining credit disappears. The exception to that rule is data if you’ve bought an Everything Pack or a Data Pack. If you buy either of these and you renew the pack within 7 days of the old pack expiring then any unused data in your old pack will roll over to your new pack. You can only do this once, and there are a few conditions, but you can get the full low-down on data rollover on EE’s website here.
Out of Bundle Charges
If you decide not to buy bundles and just want to use your PAYG phone, or if you go over the limits of your bundle, then standard out of bundle charges will apply. These aren’t cheap, so be warned. Out of bundle charges with EE are as follows:
- 35p per minute for calls to any network and for voicemail calls
- 44p per minute to special rate numbers, not including any fees from the number itself
- 15p per text message
- 40p per MMS
Note that there’s no out of bundle charge for data. This is because EE will NOT allow you to use mobile data without a bundle!
Extras and Benefits for EE PAYG Customers
You do get a few extras for being an EE PAYG customer as well, so be sure to take advantage of these! Here are the benefits you can expect:
- Quarterly Boosts: renew a pack three times and you’ll get a boost of your choice of 500 MB of data, 50 calling minutes, or 250 texts (except for the £5 Everything Pack which gets a choice of 100 MB of data, 25 calling minutes, or 50 texts)
- Free-Roaming: use your PAYG phone anywhere in the EU for the same prices as you pay at home
- Frequent Special Offers: EE very often offers extra data to PAYG customers, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their publicity emails/texts!
EE makes it easy to deal with PAYG credit. You can always deal with adding, checking, or stopping auto-renewal of credit by calling EE’s customer service, but accessing your online account, or by using the My EE app on your phone. Alternatively, you can do all this by text message, which is the most convenient option.
Loading Credit By Text
To load credit by text you’ll need to send a text to 150. The body of the text depends on which pack you want. For Everything Packs you’ll need to text EP followed by the price of the pack (so EP5, or EP10, or EP15, for example). For Data Packs you’ll need to text DP followed by the price of the pack (so DP10 or DP15). And for Talk Packs you’ll need to text TTP followed by the price of the pack (so TTP10, for example).
Checking Credit By Text
Checking the remaining balance of your pack or credit is easy. To check how many minutes, texts or how much data is left in an active pack simply text AL to 150. To check how much overall credit you have remaining simply text BA to 150.
Stopping Auto-Renewal By Text
All bundles with EE automatically renew as long as there’s enough credit in your account to pay for them. If you do NOT want this to happen then you’ll need to text STOP PACK to 150 before the expiration date of your current pack.
How Does PAYG with EE Compare to Other Operators?
PAYG prices tend not to vary too much amongst operators, however, EE does do pretty well in comparison to other services when it comes to cheap bundles, though less well when things get more expensive.
On the lower end of the scale, £5 gets you 100 minutes, 250 texts, and 150 MB of data with EE. The same amount gets you 150 minutes, 250 texts and 100 MB of data with Vodafone. Whilst £6 gets you 300 minutes, 500 texts and 500 MB of data with Giffgaff. However, the winner here is Asda Mobile, which gets you 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 500 MB of data for £5.
For £10 bundles, EE doesn’t do quite as well. The EE £10 pack gets you 250 minutes, unlimited texts and 1 GB of data. However, you can get unlimited texts and minutes and 4 GB of data for the same price from Three, or unlimited texts and minutes and a whopping 6 GB of data from Giffgaff for £10.
£15 gets you 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 2 GB of data from EE. But you’ll get unlimited texts and calls and 10 GB of data for the same price from Three, or unlimited texts and calls and 15 GB of data from Giffgaff. And £20 buys you 1500 minutes, unlimited texts and 4 GB of data from EE. But you can get unlimited texts and calls and 12 GB of data for the same price from both Asda Mobile and Three, or unlimited calls and texts and 40 GB of data from Giffgaff.
The bottom line here is that if you’re not going to be buying a lot of credit then EE is a great choice. Bigger phone users, however, will probably find that they get better prices with other operators…
Coverage and Tethering with EE
EE do offer some of the best coverage in the UK with around 99% coverage across the country for 2G, 3G, and 4G. But it’s always a good idea to double-check your local area before committing to service, just in case you’re in a rare black spot. You can do this easily by using the official OFCOM coverage checker, or by checking the coverage map on EE’s website.
Do note that EE doesn’t currently offer fast 5G mobile data speeds on PAYG plans.
For those interested in tethering (using a mobile data connection to get another device such as a tablet online) then the good news is that EE allows tethering without any restrictions at all.