We can see why a SIM only deal from EE might appeal. If you've just come to the end of your mobile phone contract but don't much fancy ditching your current handset, shoving a free SIM in there is a thrifty alternative to upgrading. And EE is the UK network offering the fastest 4G speeds around. The same goes if you've managed to get hold of a bargain SIM-free phone or have been gifted a hand-me-down from a friend or family member.
Check out our comparison table below to get a tailor-made EE SIM only deal - handy if you can grab a bargain Black Friday mobile phone deal. And further down the page, we'll tell you more about what to expect from EE, how to keep hold of your current number and answers to more commonly asked questions.
EE can be quite a pricey network, so do make sure that you consult our best SIM only deals page before you decide on your SIM. Sometimes retailers throw handsome cashback offers into the mix as a sweetener.
Is EE a good mobile network?
EE is the most used network in the UK and took home the Best Consumer Network prize at the 2017 Mobile Industry Awards - so pretty good pedigree, we'd say!
The reason EE stands out most however, is its 4G speeds. It's the fastest network by some distance, and around 50% faster than any of the other three major networks (Vodafone, O2 and Three).
Are EE SIM only deals cheaper than contract?
We don't want to sound like a politicians but there is no direct answer to this one. Let us sit on the fence by saying, "it can be".
If you've just come to the end of your contract and are perfectly happy with your current mobile, then grabbing a free SIM from EE is undoubtedly cheaper than starting a fresh contract with a brand new phone.
But EE's SIM only offers are just a little bit too dear to make them worth combining with a pricey handset purchase. Fore example, if you were to go with the cheapest EE SIM and combine it with the £699 iPhone 8, you'd be paying around the same over two years as the cheapest iPhone 8 deals we've seen. But again, it may be a different case when the smartphone discounts start dropping on Black Friday 2017.
Can I keep my old number?
You absolutely can and, in most instances, it's actually really easy. You'll need to phone up your pre-EE network and ask them for a PAC, or Porting Authorisation Code. Then you need to give that to EE, and they will keep you rolling with your familiar old digits. These are the numbers to call if you're currently on one of the other major networks:
- O2 0344 8090202
- Vodafone 03333 040 191
- Three 0333 300 3333
- ID 0333 003 7777
- GiffGaff 43431 from your handset
- Virgin 0345 6000 789
- BT 0800 800 150
- Tesco 0345 301 4455
- Sky 03300 412 524
- Asda 0800 079 2732
It's a little bit less straightforward if you're already on EE, but have spotted a new EE SIM only deal from a third party company that really appeals. EE won't give you a PAC, so instead you'll have to grab the cheapest free pay-as-you-go SIM you can find from another network (e.g. O2, Vodafone, iD, etc) and give them your PAC code from EE. Once your number has transferred to the substitute network, call them for a second PAC. Then you can give this to EE and continue using that same telephone number. Sneaky.
Is my phone unlocked - can I use a new SIM in it?
Pop a friend's SIM card into your phone. If you immediately get on their network, then you're in luck - your phone is unlocked and you can go ahead and buy your new SIM card.
Three ships all its handsets unlocked from the outset, but the other networks require at least some effort, and usually some cash, from you (see below). And Apple iPhones are generally locked completely to the network they were originally sold with. So again be prepared to pay to unlock it to EE.
- O2 You can unlock any O2 phone for free if you're on a pay monthly contract. PAYG customers have to pay £15. The only exceptions are the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, for which you'll have to wait until the end of your contract before they can be unlocked.
- Three Three phones are all unlocked as soon as they come out of the box. So you can put an EE SIM card in any Three mobile you like without charge and hassle.
- Vodafone Like Three, Vodafone doesn't expect you to pay to unlock your handset. But there is a little effort required from you. You'll need to give them a call and then wait up to 10 days before you can use another network's SIM.
What SIM card size do I need?
There are three sizes of SIM card that you can get for your phone, and different phones use different sizes. No modern smartphones take the classic standard SIM (15x25mm) anymore. Your phone will almost definitely take either a micro (12x15mm) or nano (8.8x12.3mm) SIM, the latter of which has been used by Apple since the iPhone 5 and Samsung since the Galaxy S6.
But there's no need to get your knickers in a twist about this one. The networks and third party sellers will let you choose which SIM you need or will simply send out a triple SIM, so you'll get one of each size. Alternatively, they'll send you an adapter so you can use the incorrect SIM size in your phone.
What contract length should I get?
Until recently, there was no such a thing as a 1-month EE SIM only contract. But retailers such as Carphone Warehouse have now started to offer these short term contracts. That's really handy if you need a stop gap SIM before you splash out on a longer contract deal.
Otherwise, you tend to be able to bag cheaper tariffs if you ramp things up to a one year commitment. Use the 'Contract Length' filter in our comparison chart to narrow down your options.
How much phone data do I need?
Unless you've only ever had pay-as-you-go phones, you've probably already got a pretty decent idea of how many GBs of data you'll need per month. If you constantly go over your allowance, or have bundles of data to spare a month, then selecting your new EE SIM is a good opportunity to recalibrate. But if you're still a little unsure, we can give you some guidance below...
- 1GB Unsurprisingly, going for EE's minimum amount of data also means its cheapest prices. It should be enough for occasionally using a maps app and checking your email away from Wi-fi, but not a lot else.
- 2-3GB A lot of people go for a little more data, as a couple more quid a month doesn't seem like a lot in exchange for much more freedom. Keep up-to-date with social media, the football results and news apps in comfort.
- 4-8GB If you frequently download podcasts while out of the house or can't face the daily commute without Spotify streaming, then it's worth paying extra for this mid-range of data.
- 10-16GB EE SIM only deals begin to look a lot more reasonable when you get in to this echelon of data allowance, with 12GB plans its sweet spot at the moment. Loads of data for downloading and streaming.
- 20-30GB EE doesn't bother with unlimited data, but the 30GB a month maximum is still a ridiculous amount of data to play with. You'd have to stream and download a lot of videos to go over your cap.
Should I get unlimited calls and texts?
Unless you go for anything less than a 12GB EE SIM deal, you'll automatically get unlimited minutes and texts included in the plan. Otherwise, you're looking at a limit of 1000 minutes for calls. With the reliance on instant messaging these days, 1000 seems like more than enough, but go for one of those 12GB deals if you're a chatterbox and don't want to rely on apps to make your calls.
How does TechRadar make money from SIM only deals?
If you buy a phone after visiting this page, TechRadar will be paid a small commission by the network or reseller you buy from. This money is paid by the site you buy from and thus does not affect the amount you pay for your phone contract. If you go direct to the site you buy from, you would pay the same amount.
While some sites out there will be paid larger fees for pushing people to specific deals that aren't necessarily the cheapest, TechRadar will always find you the absolute best value. Trust and integrity is important to us, so if you ever think we're not displaying the very best deals let us know.
Now you're in the know, scroll back to the top of the page to get hold of the EE SIM that suits you. And if you're not sure that EE is the right network for you, then see what the other networks have to offer in our guide to the best SIM only deals.