EE and Vodafone are two of the UK’s four major networks, meaning you get a huge range of plans and contracts to choose from. But which is best?
Both offer access to the latest 5G networks, have deals with plenty of perks to entice and retain customers, and have speeds perfect for intensive activities such as streaming and gaming.
Picking a winner is a challenge, so let’s see how they look head to head in our EE vs Vodafone review.
Overall winner in snapshot: EE
EE takes the crown, but only just. The plans available from both networks are similar in their scale and price, but EE has an incredible 4G network and a 5G platform that remains the envy of the mobile industry.
That’s not to say Vodafone is lacking – it’s very close – but there are just a few more ways that EE shines.
EE vs Vodafone: Plans and pricing
You’ll find cheaper deals than EE’s SIM-only plans. But with access to its rapid 4G and 5G service, unlimited calls and texts, and tons of data options to choose from, they really are impressive. Add-ons like Apple Music and BT Sport are available too.
However, while 30-day contracts are available, you can’t get them online – only by shopping in store. Not ideal, and a needless complication.
EE Family Plans on the other hand, are its calling card, letting you share data across different devices on your account – a fantastic system for households.
EE has all the very latest smartphones available on contract, but prices are on the high side. You can expect to be locked in for 24 months.
Vodafone SIM-only plans aren’t the cheapest around, but are affordable and competitive – if you’re happy to tie yourself down to a contract. At the time of writing, £6 gets you 4GB of data per month and unlimited calls and texts, on a year-long contract.
Vodafone’s monthly contracts are not the cheapest, but that’s because you get a lot – and the sweeteners and extras do make them pretty appealing.
As with EE, you’ll find all the best smartphones, so you won’t be lacking for quality tech. Then, depending on the phone and plans available, you can choose an Entertainment bonus – an inclusive subscription to an entertainment app such as Spotify – and/or some of Vodafone’s Xtras.
Xtras include things like a device care plan, unlimited picture messages, or money off other connectivity.
It’s incredibly close – both networks have a good range of plans with excellent bonuses – but for us, EE wins out here, giving you just that bit of extra value.
EE vs Vodafone: Coverage and 5G coverage
EE has 99% UK coverage for 4G, as does Vodafone. However, when it comes to 5G, EE wins out with 160 locations compared with 124. That number is changing all the time, however, so it’s best to check what you can get where you live.
So, EE’s coverage is marginally better, with decent rural as well as urban access.
EE vs Vodafone: Mobile data speeds
EE wins hands down when it comes to 4G speed. Research by independent firm Tutela in 2021 found EE download speeds were a massive 30.6Mbps compared with a measly 13.1 on Vodafone.
In terms of 5G, a 2021 study by RootMetrics found EE’s average speed to be 104.2Mbps compared with 69.4Mbps from Vodafone. If it’s speed you need, then it’s EE all the way.
EE vs Vodafone: Customer service
A recent Ofcom report on mobile satisfaction found that Vodafone has the highest number of customers with a reason to complain at 16%. EE scored 5%.
Vodafone also scored lowest on value for money at just 77%, although EE only just came higher at 80%.
Customers have reported Vodafone’s customer service over the phone to be patchy, although helpful online. EE fares better – but if it’s really great customer service you want, neither covers themselves in glory.
EE vs Vodafone: Wi-Fi hotspots
EE offers access to BT across the UK on select contracts, as does Vodafone, although the latter doesn’t have as many plans with hotspot access as standard.
Both networks allow you to get online at 280 London Underground stations, at least.
EE vs Vodafone: Roaming
EE announced in 2021 that it was bringing in roaming charges from January 2022 for anyone who took out a contract after July 2021. That means you’ll pay £2 a day for access to your standard price plan when in Europe.
Or, you can get a Roam Abroad Pass for the month. This will let you use your phone in 47 European destinations, as well as the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
On most Vodafone plans, visitors to 49 European destinations will have to pay £2 a day to use their usual plan from January 2022, although there’s a discount if you buy the pass in eight or 15 day bundles.
It’s then £6 a day to use your plan in over 100 other destinations, including the USA and Australia. A 25GB fair usage limit also applies.
The exceptions are if you're signed up to Xtra data plans with 4 Xtra benefits, all of which offer inclusive roaming in Europe.
If you're signed up to an unlimited data Xtra plan with 4 Xtra benefits, you qualify for inclusive roaming further afield too.
EE vs Vodafone bonuses and rewards
Both networks offer similar services when it comes to extras, with the option to add inclusive entertainment subscriptions to your plan.
EE offers plans with Smart Benefits. If you pick one, you can choose from services like Apple Music, Netflix, BT Sport, or inclusive roaming.
Vodafone’s equivalent deals are its Entertainment plans – with options to add Spotify, YouTube Premium, or Amazon Prime.
You’ll also get VeryMe Rewards. Much like O2 Priority, these give you special discounts and offers on high street brands, restaurants, and tickets.
Though you aren’t left wanting with EE, Vodafone wins out here. Its extras are just that bit better.