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EE UK Launches Unlimited 4G and 5G Mobile Data Plans

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 (9:39 am) - Score 25,905
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Mobile operator EE (BT) appears to have responded to pressure from Three UK and Vodafone’s new “unlimited” data (mobile broadband) plans by launching their own competing products, which they say come with “no speed restrictions” and are available today for 4G and 5G SIM-only and Smartphone plan customers starting at £34 per month.

At this point it’s worth noting that Three UK has been playing the “unlimited” (all-you-can-eat) data game for a long time, although Vodafone recently sprung a surprise on the market when they decided to join the quest for data hungry users by introducing a similar service alongside their new 5G network (here).

One catch with Vodafone’s plan was that their cheaper options cap the top service speed to 3G performance levels (£23 for 2Mbps and £26 for 10Mbps), although their top £30 MAX plan didn’t impose any restriction. By comparison EE are boasting that they have also not imposed any restrictions, although this is crafty marketing because their new unlimited plans start at a higher monthly price of £34, but there are other differences too.

For example, all of EE’s unlimited plans come with a 100GB monthly “giftable data allowance“, which means that customers can gift their data to additional lines linked to the account, and this increases to 120GB of giftable data if taking a 5G Smart handset plan.

All EE unlimited 5G Smart handset plans and 5G Smart SIM plans also come with three “Swappable Benefits” – Amazon Prime Video, BT Sport App (HDR) access and Roam Further Pass access – worth more than £25 a month. Meanwhile new unlimited 4G Smart handset plans and SIM plans come with two inclusive Swappable Benefits.

Edward Goff, EE’s Marketing Director, said:

“If you want an unlimited data plan, you should get it on the UK’s best network, with the coverage and speeds that let you make the most of it. Our new unlimited range offers customers the ultimate smartphone experience in more places across the UK than any other network, all with no speed caps and great swappable benefits like Amazon Prime Video and BT Sport.”

At the time of writing it doesn’t look as if EE has yet extended their unlimited feature to dedicated Mobile Broadband plans, such as those shipping alongside a 4G or 5G WiFi router, although this shouldn’t stop you sticking a related SIM in such a device (we’ve yet to test this ourselves). Likewise we should add that unlimited data only applies in the UK and those roaming outside of the country will face a 15GB fair use policy (other operators have a similar policy).

The brief legal summary for their unlimited plans also says this: “Personal, non-commercial use only. 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. We will consider usage above 1000GB/month to be commercial use and have the right to move you to a business plan … Data usage on an unlimited plan will decrement from giftable allowance. Any data boost allowance will be added to the giftable allowance.”

The new plans aren’t only available to consumers and can also be taken by business users too. Business SIM-only plans are available from £27 +vat, with Smartphone plans ranging from £41 +vat.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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74 Responses
  1. Avatar Gary

    Good news, look forward to full details.

    Just signed up for 4GEE home about a week ago and opted for the 30 day contract rather than 18months hoping for exactly this.

  2. Avatar Mibu

    I knew that they had to change their model to compete with Vodafone and three. All that leaves is o2 and everyone is on the same base. Might be worth a look for people outside of 5g as EE has the most 4g spectrum

    • Avatar Lee

      I guess really to complete with Vodafone (ee never tryed to compete with three as they haven’t needed to)

      All that needs to happen is O2 offer true unlimited data as well

      I can assure you at the moment of posting vodafone unlimited data is unlimited (as I own it) I was very surprised how fast it was and like O2 is supports step up to 4g from 3g even if your using data in a active way (live streaming mainly or anything that keeps data active for more then 5 seconds between idle gaps)

      ee and 3 if your using the data (the data is in an active state) say streaming and your connection drops to 3g it will not go back to 4g unless you stop using data (if its twitch you have to close it youtube live streaming just pausing is fine but you need to hide chat as if it’s active it will also keep data active) I wish ee and 3 would allow active data use allow 4g step up (it’s worse on 3 due to rubbish 4g800 band)

    • Avatar mike

      Three does not own a fixed line business so with the launch of 5g their business model is to compete with the traditional fixed line broadband providers hence their comparable and low unlimited prices.
      EE and Vodafone both have fixed line broadband businesses so to them mobile broadband was always meant to be for limited use on limited data.
      Now with 5g, which only makes sense with unlimited data, they are forced to compete and cannibalize their own fixed line businesses as unlimited 5g becomes a more attractive option.
      Three doesn’t have that problem.

  3. Avatar Tim Procter

    Only good news here in my opinion. EE works great where I live.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      Absolutely – I have a great EE 4G signal, and speeds of 40/8 here, which is double I get with Three. I use Three as EE was capped and too expensive for high usage. I may look at swaping to EE in a couple of months when my Three contract is up (maybe a Black Friday deal?)

  4. Avatar Matt

    Great news that has been a long time coming. For the past few years I’ve struggled to contemplate how data restrictions are still a thing with mobile providers. I mean there’s the obvious revenue aspect where you can charge what you want for what you deliver but maybe there’s been more to it than that; network readiness, capacity etc.

    Either way, this is a great move and I hope it drives some much needed competitive pricing.

    • Avatar Sally

      I have to wonder why it took them so long. By that I mean – anyone on Virgin Mobile has had basically unlimited EE for a while now. I know they are MVNO but it’s been out there for a while – this is excellent news however as here were I am Virgin Mobile is 60mbps and EE was over 150 even on 4G

  5. Avatar Matthew

    So they are complaining about Vodafone speed restrictions but then doing it themselves by making you pay extra for 5G access talk about being two faced lol. It is good that they have decided to make this move but they had to in one way they have less 5G spectrum then both Three and Vodafone.

    • Avatar Jonny

      There’s a big difference between being limited to 4G speeds and being limited to 2 or 10Mbps.

    • Avatar Lee

      Vodafone have unlimited best effort speed package as well (one benefit of the unlimited vodafone plan is it has 23 extra places you can roam outside EU) the 2mb and 10mb is limited to EU zone

      5g roaming as well in some EU zones on Vodafone

  6. Avatar Mike

    Looks like EE copied Three regarding AUP.

    I suspect they can only detect number of devices on phones with their firmware.

    • Avatar Andrew

      Realistically you could have as many devices as you want and they’d never know, my ASUS Router enables me to tunnel all outward traffic via a VPN – if someone was dead set on having many more than 12 uses often connected that would certainly suffice.

    • Avatar Lee

      It be based on mac address inside the TCP headers (vpn would hide that)

      The 12 limit is more for pepole who are using it to replace there broadband connection ( shouldn’t affect most mobile users hotspots because the device is typically only allow 5 to 10 on Wi-Fi connections)

    • Avatar Mark

      If the 4G router feeds into a second load balancing router, would EE see it as just one device or all the devices connected to the load balancer network? They can successfully identify my Huawei router, but that is connected directly to their network, whereas the other devices are all behind the load balancer firewall.

    • Avatar CarlT

      There are no MAC addresses in the TCP headers. That comment shows you’ve no idea what you’re talking about.

    • Avatar CarlT

      They’d see the one device, Mark.

  7. Avatar kaptainkandikat

    typical of ee,

    New unlimited data plan but so many ifs and buts, you’ll wonder where you stand with them. I didnt think a mobile company could dictate how you use your data particularly where tethering is concerned. Data is Data.

    Its restricted to ‘up to 60mbps’. I’ve heard that EE can to better in terms of speed.

    EE, a BT company. nuff said.

    • Avatar Lee

      60mb is fine unless your downloading large files (easy do 4k60 at 60mb/s if that speed is available in your area)

    • Avatar Sally

      Are you sure? I read it as the £34 sim being 60mbps but the £39 one being as fast as possible and the £44 one being 5G

  8. Avatar Mike

    £35 for sim only
    Still need to buy a device so not at all a match for three or vodafone.
    Three’s unlimited starts at £20 and vodafone’s at £23 (both sim only).
    Tempted to go with ee for their speed and reliabilty (average around 200 m/bits on their 4gee wifi mini) but could get both the homefi device and unlimited all for £21 on a 12 month contract with Three.

    • Avatar Lee

      Vodafone useable speed starts at £26 for 10mb/s or £32 for best effort unlimited speed (the £23 is limited to 2mb/s witch is mostly useless)

    • Avatar Sally

      I personally would rather go with EE – like you said you get excellent speed – and more tan 3 can give you.

    • Avatar Sean Burns

      I’m using Vodafone max speed on £32 a month sim only. Where I live in Birmingham everywhere I go I get 4G+ and it’s bloody fast. I get 130mbps download speeds regularly. When I was with Three in the city centre it would grind to a halt yet Vodafone is lightning fast in busy areas.

  9. Avatar Anonymous

    EE new price plans, are still pants, not worth it for me. I feel the premium pricing for unlimited data, is disingenuous.

  10. Avatar Max

    It’d be alright if it included 4GEE and not just their standard 60Mbps 4G, at that price range Vodafone/Three is better unless for some reason you are unable to get any coverage with them and EE is your only option.

    • Avatar Adam

      I think they do have a package with unlimited 4gee, but its £39 a month. The £34 plan details says its limited to 60mbps. £39 plan details say “*4GEE speeds vary depending on your location & the number of users. Check your coverage at ee.co.uk/coverage-checker” and nothing about being limited to 60mbps

  11. Avatar Hinge

    “Data usage on an unlimited plan will decrement from giftable allowance.”

    How will this work exactly? Say I buy an unlimited SIM and I have two other lines on my account with a low monthly cost so I can gift part of my 100GB to them. Say 20GB to each other number. That leaves me with 60GB. All fine if I use less than 60GB in that month but what happens if I use 80GB? Does 10GB get decremented from each of the other two lines? Or is the key to gift data on the first day of the billing cycle so that other lines can effective claim ownership of the gifted data?

    • Avatar kaptainkandikat

      hinge

      youve read it wrong

      theres a FUP of 1000 (one thousand) gb, 100GB of that is giftable.

    • Avatar Leeman

      No.
      Of your unlimited data, 100gb is giftable. As for your main account you can use as much as you want as it is unlimited.
      Your transfers of 40gb will be reflected as data used up by your main account but provided you don’t exceed 1000gb (1tb) it’s irrelevant.
      The other phones or plans will incur their normal charges if the gifted data is used up unless you buy a data boost which as they say will be added to the giftable data allowance and thus can be gifted again (the only reason why anyone would buy said boost)

    • Avatar Lee

      If it works like normally (like when you get a new plan) gifting should be immediately applied to the account

      And no to the question about losing data, gifted data is for that person to use once gifted, so if you gift 20gb that is there’s to use for that month, your data use has nothing to do with theres (we are not in the USA mobile operators)

    • Avatar beany

      Im not sure i understand this “gifting” lark at all. And from the short conversation above it appears nobody does. Does it just apply to data use for BTSport Amazon and the roaming or any data use?

      Example if you buy one of their “smart sim” “swappable benefits” packages and you whack the sim in a 5G router and you then use it to serve your home with internet to your laptops, desktops, smart tvs etc does the 100GB (or whatever amount) have to be allocated to them? Or is everything you do minus the “swappable” stuff (IE Bt sport, Amazon) unlimited?

      If it is actual data you can gift to another sim/account entirely then im at a loss as to why anyone would need or want that.

      Either way seems pointless to me, more expensive than the competition and overly complicated with all its other addon on stuff mentioned in the terms that they want you to pay for.

  12. Avatar Ian

    So its a 100gb data plan not unlimited? If you above that they will move you off…this should be classed as false advertising.

    • Avatar Lee

      If you hotspot to more then 12 devices you get moves onto the 100gb plan (most phones only allow 5 to 10 so that shouldn’t be a problem)

      that clause is for pepole who are using it for business purposes in a free hotspot (like shops for free WiFi) or to replace there broadband connection

      Basic detection would be seeing more then 12 mac addresses in the TCP headers

    • Avatar kaptainkandikat

      its the same as three who have an FUP of 1000GB (Ive used far more than 1B a month)

      The only difference with EE is that they ‘have the right’ to shift you to a business plan.

      no thanks

    • Avatar Leeman

      1,000 gb (1TB) plan should they choose to enforce it.

    • Avatar Mike

      Simple solution is to use a VPN router, then they only see 1 device.

    • Avatar CarlT

      @Lee:

      ‘Basic detection would be seeing more then 12 mac addresses in the TCP headers’

      Que?

  13. Avatar Lee

    Just making sure your aware that your website is throwing up a full screen advert in mobile view when I press reply (google will be blocking them soon you know)

  14. Avatar Kits

    Should ask yourself why is it Brussels is refusing to have 5G in the town of Brussels due to health fears but it is ok for every other town?

    • Avatar Mike

      Brussels isn’t exactly known for sensible governance.

    • Avatar RICK

      They looked at the research against 5G and decided it was playing with the residents health – i was taught that a debate has both the argument for AND the argument against ; 5G has the argument for but not against (suppressed by the telcos and main strean media) 5G is basically saying if we can’t win the debate then shut it down.

    • Avatar Mike

      Ahh yes, “if the evidence doesn’t agree with me it must be conspiracy” …

    • Avatar Stephen Wakeman

      I’d rather ask you why you’re hijacking this thread with anti 5G propaganda.

      You people or person completely suck. Is preview should ban your IP or something. Constantly on here with your absolute tosh that has no basis in scientific facts or reports.

      Brussels has some of the strictest radio radiation governance in the world. Using them as a baseline comparison to prop up your lifeless, never been alive, argument for scaremongering is disingenuous.

      Just give up. 5G is coming. Just like 4G did, and 3G. Just like mobile telephony is alive and well and a similar concept technology will be long after you are no more than dust.

      Ask YOURSELF why are you wasting people’s time and what do you expect to accomplish. You’re not saving lives, you’re preaching like a mad person in the street and nobody cares.

    • Avatar Russell Baker

      As 5G is from 700Mhz to 60Ghz where in the spectrum od debate are you worried about 🙂 ?

  15. Avatar SimonM

    “We will consider usage above 1000GB/month to be commercial use and have the right to move you to a business plan”

    Not unlimited then. Admittedly it may be seen as ‘unlimited’ for an average mobile user, certainly more than I use due to terrible EE signal, but if using for an always on 4G/5G broadband connection, 1000GB/month doesn’t really seem all that much (32.25Gb/day, or 1.34GB/hour on a 31 day month) especially if sharing it with up to 12 devices via tethering.

    • Avatar mike

      I’ve done the math’s and it’s very hard for an average family, let alone an individual, to reach 1TB a month.
      Offcom research indicates the average UK household consumes around 190gb a month so 1,000gb is more than enough for streaming, gaming, downloading, and surfing.

    • Avatar kaptainkandikat

      @mike

      I’ve done the math, and I can tell you its very easy to rack up 50gb a day just watching UHD programming on netflix.

      Trust me when i say its very easy to use 1TB a month (and beyond).

      ps, 1TB is not unlimited, typical ee nonsense.

    • Avatar Spurple

      @kaptainkandicat:

      On my 200mbps cable connection with nearly everything streamed and 4 people in the house, we rarely exceed 700GB a month.

      It’s very hard for a household of professionals and students to eclipse 1TB with normal usage. UHD may consume a lot of data but you only have so many free hours to spend on it in a month.

    • Avatar kaptainkandikat

      everyones usage is different,

      Just because you rarely exceed 1TB a month, in no way does that mean no one else won’t.

    • Avatar Mark

      Agree – with four people, including two early 20s, on unlimited data we are fairly consistent at 300 to 350 GB/month. I think it is perfectly fair and reasonable for providers to include a data cap, provided it is clear in their advertising.

    • Avatar Adam

      Why is it classed as unlimited then?

    • Avatar kaptainkandikat

      @Adam

      Use it as an unlimited product.

      If you go over the 1TB, three as an example, simply don’t care.

    • Avatar spurple

      @kaptainkandikat

      My example was to demonstrate that a 1TB limit is not unreasonable.

      Technically, it’s unlimited. They reserve the right to raise your price past 1TB of usage.

  16. Avatar leeman

    For those saying this is only for phones and not mobile broadband routers, offcom has ruled that a mobile provider has no power to stop a consumer placing his or her sim in whatever device they choose.
    In other words ee can do nothing about a user buying the sim and placing it in a 4 or 5g router and using is as a main Broadband connection.

  17. Avatar Omar

    WOW About time EE unlimited now we need o2 to get on board.

  18. Avatar J

    Wow, what a carefully constructed pile of excrement from EE. Unlimited…yes. unrestricted…not quite. up to 60mbps on the cheapest plan. Even though on the faq page it says, on EE, all of our unlimited plans are un-throttled. Buyer beware!

    • Avatar Mark

      When EE advertise 4GEE for home broadband, they have to follow ASA guidance and quote just the median customer peak time speed of 31 Mb/s. However, they have carefully positioned this to NOT be a home broadband replacement, so may not have the same restriction. I read the “up to 60 Mb/s” as an old fashioned “best 10%” claim, rather than a definite throttle. For the more expensive packages, they promote the add-ons rather than the speed. It would be irresponsible to promote the very high speeds attainable by some customers close to masts with expensive high end kit as typical.

  19. Avatar Simba of the Dancing Tribe

    Vodafone’s FUP is 3TB……..

  20. Avatar Alex Porter

    Three is very disappointing. Little or no data coverage in parts of london. I have to sit outside to make calls.They sold me the package knowing there was no coverage in my area. So if you are buying any deal of any company check the coverage before you commit

  21. Avatar Marttn

    UNiDAYS codes or BlueLightCard 20% codes don’t work with these new tariffs unfortunately

  22. Avatar Dave

    Now we just need to see 4G+ deployed to more places!

  23. Avatar John

    Unlimited? 1 Tb? Report to Ofcom and Trading standards any adverts that say its unlimited without mentioning the 1Tb.

  24. Avatar Fred

    It isn’t really unlimited at all. Most people won’t hit 1TB but I might just. Moot point for me as no EE coverage, I use Vfe which can be had for about £20 unlimited on deal websites and I don’t think they ask questions until you hit 2.5TB and then you can talk to them and go beyond that. I do like the gifting of data though. It isn’t hard to consume more than 1TB for domestic use though, especially if you do a lot of ‘downloading’. BT Sport and and Amazon Prime Video I can manage without.

    I think it would be far more transparent to say 1TB and not unlimited. That kind of shenanigans does irk me a bit.

  25. Avatar Mark

    Interesting to see that EE have now dropped any specific mention of speed, and just describe all the unlimited plans as “the fastest 4G speed in the UK”. I take that as confirmation that they are unthrottled, and they have withdrawn their original ambiguous description.

    Just five days after launch, they seem to have been relegated to the detailed listings pages of the EE on-line shop, with no promotion from the home screen at all. Vodafone and Three still shout about theirs on the home pages.

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