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Have You Run Out of Mobile Data on EE, Good Luck Trying to Top Up

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016 (8:40 am) - Score 3,087
ee sim mobile broadband

Customers with one of EE’s mobile data (Mobile Broadband) SIM’s, specifically those who have run out of data and need to buy a new top-up, may be struggling to do so due to a comically silly error that really should never happen.

Most mobile operators will white-list (exempt) part of their website from attracting data usage charges, which means that customers can always access their accounts, bills and top-up even if they’ve run out of a particular allowance. This is especially important on operators like EE, which restrict your Internet access when you run out of mobile data.

However a silly error on EE’s part suggests that somebody forgot to white-list the bank processing system on their website, which means that those who have run out of data and need to top-up online via the website using mobile broadband can no longer do so.

At least they let you load the top-up page, which then effectively says you can’t top-up without topping up first. Brilliant, thanks EE. But most entertaining of all is the new error message, which advises customers to stop bothering with Mobile Broadband and use WiFi instead (note to EE: If they could get good WiFi then they probably wouldn’t be using mobile data).

ee_top_up_fail

Thanks to ISPreview.co.uk member DTMark for pointing out this most silly of situations to us (here). The problem appears to be sporadic, which means that some weeks it works and others will see the same error return.

DTMark said:

“In the last few years, the “top up” part of the system is broken about a quarter of the times I need to use it. There seems to be some sort of inter-departmental issue between the people who build [EE’s website] and those who administer the network.

When the credit runs out, the users access to the internet is blocked. Makes sense. However in order for the payment to work, the 3D Secure bank pages need to be whitelisted so that they still work. There seems to be, still, after years, an issue with implementing this.

Now and again the bank authentication part of the top up gets disabled, presumably after someone spots that income from this stream has fallen to zero because nobody can use the system.”

Usually the only alternative for those affected is to go into one of EE’s stores or phone the top-up line, although the best solution would be for EE to fix their website. Luckily in DTMark’s case he was eventually able to top-up his EE data SIM, albeit by swapping to a Three UK SIM to process the order. This is perhaps not the result that EE would have intended.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar Joseph Dempsey

    EE is probably the worst provider of mobile internet and fixed line broadband that there is, I’ve been with them for the past year for my phone and I get endless texts telling me to buy more data when I don’t even need or want any! Don’t even get me started on talking about the fixed line broadband, heavy throttling down to 2mb during the evenings making it un-usable to watch video above 480p, I’m leaving this June to another provider.

    TL;DR: EE’s crap, don’t give them any money.

  2. Avatar DTMark

    ^ grins

    Just to clarify, I took out the EE SIM card and put the Three one in. They’ve got this bit right. Their top up thing works flawlessly. Though the speed is much slower than EE 4G – higher latency and only about 14 down 4 up (OK, I know some would kill for that speed).

    When that runs out I’ll try EE again. There’s £30 EE have lost on just this one occasion.

    This has been going on for literally years. Trying to use EE’s top-up system over that period results in the following outcomes:

    – 404 not found page (February 2016) – yes, really: for about two weeks

    – Top-up succeeds but result page shows it as having failed, resulting in me paying twice once, I then learned what was going on and knew not to repeat it (after it fails, go to the “Status” page and repeatedly refresh it until the cash balance changes)

    – Top-up process halting completely on 3D Secure page and getting no further (there used to be a “Skip this” link but that was removed); the inline frame shows “The page cannot be displayed”

    – It actually works flawlessly – perhaps about 30% of the time

    Were it not for the fact that EE is the only performant broadband network here (VDSL would be much slower) I’d have gone elsewhere a long time ago. It’s not just a series of one-offs, either and when the system breaks, it remains broken for anything from days to weeks.

    It’s a shame as the website looks quite slick and the speeds are great (generally 24 to 50 Meg down and 45 to 50 Meg up). Clearly EE have so much money that they don’t need any from their customers 😉

    For crying out loud: someone take charge of this and fix it.

  3. Avatar dragoneast

    I just have an app on my phone that monitors my usage and I set a percentage of the allowance with a reminder to top up before the limit expires. What’s hard about it?

    • Avatar Les Eaves

      Can you tell me what the app is? I am looking for one to use on my iphone but the data usage is for a 4G router (not my phone). Just wondering if there is anything available to monitor this (EE’s website and app is abyssmal!)

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