Traveling to the United Kingdom can be an amazing experience. With so many beautiful sights, it’s great if you can stay connected with EE. Let’s take an in-depth look at EE mobile carrier options for tourists visiting UK.

EE SIM Card and eSIM

I. Quick Facts About EE


EE (formerly known as Everything Everywhere) is a major provider of mobile network services in the UK. Here are some key facts about EE:

  • Founded: 2010, formed from the merger of T-Mobile UK and Orange UK.
  • Number of subscribers: Over 27 million subscribers as of 2022.
  • Services provided: Mobile phone networks, home broadband, business connectivity solutions. Runs both 3G and 4G networks in the UK.
  • Number of stores: Around 170 EE stores across the UK as of 2022.
  • Customer support: Telephone support, live chat support on website, social media channels, over 500 third party retail partners.
  • Awards: Been consistently rated as the best network for speed and availability by RootMetrics and others. Won Best Mix of Coverage and Performance at the Mobile News Awards in 2018 and 2019. Voted Best Network for Business by Small Business Britain in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

With its extensive coverage, fast speeds, variety of plans and quality customer service, EE is a good choice for travelers coming to the UK.

II. EE Coverage and Speed in The UK

2.1 EE coverage in UK

EE- Coverage maps
EE- Coverage maps. Source: nperf

EE is frequently recognized for having one of the best nationwide coverage footprints among UK networks. Their extensive 4G network covers over 98% of the UK’s population outdoors, while indoor 4G is estimated at over 95% population availability. This expansive 4G coverage means EE customers can stay connected on-the-go almost anywhere they travel within the country.

For travelers, tourists and business users seeking reliable connectivity wherever they are in the UK, EE’s pervasive 4G network and growing 5G capabilities help ensure seamless mobile access nearly nationwide.

2.2 EE speed

EE speed in the UK
EE speed in the UK. Source: Opensignal

EE is widely known for having some of the fastest speeds on its mobile network among all UK carriers. Independent network testing has continuously shown EE’s 4G network to offer the highest median download speeds across the country.

In Opensignal most recent UK Mobile Network Experience Report, EE stood out with a 4G download speed score of 40Mbps. EE’s average 4G download speed to be over 50Mbps in many major cities like London, Manchester and Birmingham. Peak speeds often touch well over 100Mbps even in more rural towns.

So, whether streaming high definition or even 4K video content, gaming online, or using data-heavy apps, EE’s network performance can typically support all of these demanding applications smoothly without hesitation.

III. EE Connectivity Options for Travelers to UK

As a tourist visiting the UK, you have a few different options to connect to EE’s fast, reliable network: EE SIM card, Pocket Wifi, and Roaming to EE’s network.

Get an EE SIM CardFast connectivity on EE’s networkRequires swapping SIM card
Use an EE pocket wifi rentalConnects multiple devicesMust be returned to avoid fees
No SIM swap in phoneLimited 300ft range
Roam onto EE’s networkEasier to monitor dataVery expensive ($10-15/day)
Performance varies by roaming agreement

For most UK visitors, getting your own EE SIM card will provide the best experience. You get lower rates, faster speeds and more data compared to roaming or using a pocket wifi. The minor hassle of swapping your SIM is worth it!

IV. Best EE SIM Card for Tourists & Cost

EE offers various pay as you go (PAYG) plans targeted specifically at tourists and other visitors. Here are some of the best EE tourist SIM deals:

PlanMonthly Cost in USDAllowancesValidityFeatures
$35 Subscription Pack$35Unlimited mins, texts, 50GB data30 days10% Subscribe To Save discount, no contract, data rollover, WiFi coverage boost, free data boost, max speeds 25Mbps
$24 Subscription Pack$24Unlimited mins, texts, 25GB data30 days10% Subscribe To Save discount, no contract, data rollover, WiFi coverage boost, free data boost, max speeds 25Mbps
$18 Subscription Pack$18Unlimited mins, texts, 8GB data30 days10% Subscribe To Save discount, no contract, data rollover, WiFi coverage boost, free data boost, max speeds 25Mbps
$12 Subscription Pack$12500 mins, unlimited texts, 8GB data30 days10% Subscribe To Save discount, no contract, data rollover, WiFi coverage boost, free data boost, max speeds 25Mbps
SIM OnlyFreeNone (top-up required)N/AOrder a free EE SIM, then top-up and choose a monthly plan later

Considering how much daily roaming would cost on your home cellular account, these affordable PAYG plans from EE offer incredible value for visitors. They ensure hassle-free connectivity across the UK wherever your travels may take you.

V. Does EE UK Support eSIM?

Yes, EE was one of the first UK networks to support eSIM technology on compatible devices. eSIM allows a digital SIM profile to be downloaded directly to supported smartphones without needing a physical nano-SIM card.

Opting for an EE eSIM plan is highly convenient for tourists visiting the UK. Rather than having to physically acquire a nano-SIM card, travelers can purchase an EE tourist eSIM package online before their trip. With eSIM support on many recent phones, connectivity is fast and hassle-free. An added advantage is the ability to easily switch between local and home profiles, keeping personal numbers accessible.

Overall, eSIMs provide a seamless, environmentally-friendly mobile experience for travelers exploring all the UK has to offer.

VI. Where Can I Buy an EE SIM Card and eSIM?

6.1 Where to buy EE SIM card for UK

Buy EE SIM card at Store
Buy EE SIM card at Store
  • Upon Arrival at the Airport: Many UK airports have EE stores or kiosks located right in the arrivals area or in the terminals. This allows you to buy and activate an EE SIM as soon as you land. Just look for their bright yellow and magenta colors and signage.
  • At an EE Store: EE has over 570 retail stores located throughout the UK. Visit an official branded store to buy the latest SIM card deals and plans. Bring your passport as ID. Store staff can help you activate your new SIM card right on the spot so you leave connected. Use the EE store locator to find an EE shop nearby.
  • At Other Retailers: You can also purchase EE SIMs at third-party retailers like Carphone Warehouse, Argos, Tesco Mobile and more. Prices may be slightly lower than official EE stores.

Note: When buying an EE SIM in-person, be sure to have your passport ready for identification. Staff will assist you in activating your new SIM on the spot.

6.2 Where to buy EE eSIM

Here are the main options for purchasing an EE eSIM as a tourist in the UK:

  • Online at EE Website: Visitors can buy an EE eSIM plan directly from their website at Plans start at £10/month with data allowances. Payment is made online and the eSIM profile can then be downloaded to supported devices.
  • Via EE Store Apps: EE has apps for iOS and Android that allow eSIM purchases and activation.browser. Plans and payment are accessed in-app, making it a convenient mobile option.

So in summary, tourists can easily obtain an EE eSIM either directly from EE’s website and apps or through reseller partners for hassle-free connectivity upon arrival in the UK. An online purchase is the most straightforward approach.

VII. How to Activate EE UK SIM Card/eSIM

7.1 How to use EE UK SIM card

  • Insert the SIM: Locate the SIM card slot on your device and gently insert the EE SIM card.
  • Power on device: Turn on your phone, tablet or mobile hotspot that now has the EE SIM.
  • Activate the SIM card: If not already activated automatically, you may need to call EE or use their app to activate your new SIM.
  • Configure APN: Ensure mobile data is working by setting the proper APN settings, if required.
  • Check your service: Make a test call and browse the internet to confirm your EE SIM is activated correctly.

7.2 How to activate EE UK eSIM

  • Install eSIM: Download the eSIM mobile profile to your device using a QR code or activation link.
  • Activate eSIM: Complete the verification process by scanning your passport or entering the eSIM EID number.
  • Set up eSIM: Follow the prompts to get your cellular plan configured with EE’s network.
  • Start using: Once activated and set up, you’ll be ready to start making calls and using data with your eSIM!

Activating your eSIM only takes a few minutes allowing you to stay connected during your UK trip!

VIII. EE Call & SMS Rates

Here are EE’s pay-as-you-go rates for calls and texts from your SIM card or eSIM while traveling in the UK:

Call/SMS TypeRate (USD)
Calls to UK mobile numbers$0.30/min
Calls to UK landlines$0.20/min
Calls to numbers in EU/EEA$0.25/min
Calls to international numbers$1.25/min
Texts to UK numbers$0.20/SMS
Texts to numbers in EU/EEA$0.20/SMS
Texts to international numbers$0.30/SMS

These are the standard rates for Pay As You Go plans. Calling within the EE network is often cheaper on monthly contracts.

IX. Alternatives to EE SIM Card

While EE is an good mobile network choice in the UK, there are a few alternatives to consider:

  • Three – Offers good value pay-as-you-go plans ideal for tourists. Unlimited data and calls plans from $12/month. Fast 4G speeds and wide coverage. Easy SIM purchases online or in stores.
  • Vodafone – Reliable network with travel focused PAYG bundles. Plans bundled with data, minutes and texts from $12/month. Hotspots access included. Can rent pocket WiFi on Vodafone network.
  • O2 – Popular PAYG Sims from $12 with rolling 30-day validity. Generous data bundles from 7.5GB. No contract and ability to unlock unused data for later use. Extensive retail presence to buy SIMs.

Additionally, eSIM is IM as an alternative provides a modern option for travelers that is growing in popularity. It allows SIM access without reliance on finding retail stores abroad. offers great value prepaid travel plans starting at just $3.50 for 3 days coverage. Their eSIM will work on the O2, Three and Vodafone networks, providing maximum flexibility and connectivity. You can choose from various bundles with data allowances up to 50GB to suit your needs.

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X. FAQs about EE in UK

Can I change my EE mobile plan?

Yes, you can upgrade, downgrade or switch plans online through your account. Changes take effect at your next billing cycle.

How much data will I need in the UK?

For light usage like maps, calls and some web browsing, you may need only 5-10GB for a weeklong trip. For heavier usage with video streaming, music etc., 15-30GB for a week is recommended. Buy a top-up voucher if you need more.

Can I use my EE SIM card in multiple devices?

Yes, you can use your EE nano-SIM or eSIM profile in any unlocked phone, tablet, mobile hotspot or other cellular-enabled device while traveling. Just switch the SIM or reinstall the eSIM profile to change gadgets.

Is my home network SIM also valid in the UK?

Possibly, if your provider has a roaming agreement with a UK carrier. But roaming data rates are extremely expensive – usually $10 to $15 per day! Better to get a local UK SIM/eSIM.

XI. Final words

In summary, EE consistently provides the fastest mobile data speeds and widest 4G/5G coverage in the UK. Their network performance makes EE SIM card and eSIM an excellent connectivity choice for tourists. Getting an UK eSIM is also convenient if you have a compatible dual SIM device. Both options enable fast sharing of your UK travel experiences at affordable rates.