EE 5G Smart plans explained

29 June 2020

EE Smart Plans

EE offers two different types of smartphone and SIM only plans on its network – there’s Smart plans and Essential plans, but Smart plans are by the far the most interesting, as well as being the type you’ll probably be considering if you’re looking for a 5G plan.

Below we’ll explain exactly what an EE 5G Smart plan is, what you get with it, how you get it, and everything else you need to know.

What is an EE 5G Smart plan?

An EE 5G Smart plan is a premium EE plan packed full of extras. Smart plans are available on both SIM only and with a pay monthly phone, and all EE Smart plans come with 5G included.

But that’s not all, or even the main reason to opt for a Smart plan (since some Essential plans also come with 5G). Rather, it’s the extras that help them stand out, some of which also help you make the most of 5G speeds.

What do you get with an EE 5G Smart plan?

EE Smart and Essential plans compared

  Smart Plans Essential Plans
5G Ready All Pay monthly plans Pay Monthly phone plans
Swappable Benefits Yes No
Reserve Data Yes No
Upgrade Anytime Yes No
Compare 5G SIM deals

EE 5G Smart plans comes with between 4GB of data and unlimited data. That’s more at the bottom end than Essential plans, but not at the top end. Smart plans also come with 5G on both SIM only and with pay monthly phones, making them the only way to get 5G on EE SIM only, as Essential plans only include 5G when bought alongside a handset.

Beyond that, EE Smart plans also come with Swappable Benefits, Reserve Data, and the ability to upgrade anytime. We’ll explain each of these features below, but they’re all things that you don’t get on EE’s Essential plans.

Of course, you also get all the Essential plan features on top of that, including unlimited minutes and texts, up to six months of free access to Apple Music, Apple News+, BT Sport, MTV Play and BritBox, the ability to make and receive calls using Amazon Alexa devices, the ability to gift data to other users on a Family account, Wi-Fi Calling, 4G Calling, roaming in 48 destinations, and tethering.

How do EE Swappable Benefits work?

With EE Swappable Benefits (available on all Smart plans) you get to choose one free benefit and can switch to another one any time you want (up to once every 30 days).

The benefits include an Amazon Prime Video subscription, a BritBox subscription, a BT Sport Ultimate subscription, a Roam Further Pass (which lets you roam for free in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand), and a Video Data Pass (which lets you use BritBox, Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video without it coming out of your data allowance).

How does EE Reserve Data work?

Reserve Data (which comes as standard on all Smart plans bought from May 27th, 2020 that don’t include unlimited data) lets you keep using data even once you’ve used up your monthly allowance.

Speeds are reduced to 2Mbps, but you can use an unlimited amount of data with no additional restrictions. And when your allowances reset you’ll be back up to full speed.

How does Upgrade Anytime work?

With Upgrade Anytime (included on select 24-month Smart handset plans) you can upgrade to a new handset as soon as 15 days after you get your current one.

In the first 6 months of your plan there's a £200 - £600 upgrade fee depending on what device you have, whereas if you’re between 6 and 12 months into your plan there's a £50 - £300 upgrade fee depending on your device, and after 12 months there’s no upgrade fee.


Can I get EE 5G without a Smart plan?

Yes. Essential plans that come with a handset also include 5G. However at the time of writing you can only get 5G on SIM only if you opt for a Smart plan.

Do all EE Smart plans come with 5G?

Yes, all currently available Smart plans come with 5G – though of course you’ll also need a 5G handset to take advantage of it.

Can I get unlimited data with an EE 5G Smart plan?

Yes. Data allowances on EE Smart plans vary from 4GB to unlimited data.

Can I get more than one Swappable Benefit?

EE used to offer Smart plans with multiple benefits active at once, but at the time of writing, all new EE Smart plans only let you have one Swappable Benefit active at a time. However, these Smart plans have been improved in other ways, such as through the addition of Reserve Data.

Can I get a Smart plan with a tablet?

Yes, EE also offers smart plans with tablets.

Can I get a Smart plan on pay as you go?

No, Smart plans aren’t available on EE pay as you go.

James Rogerson
About James Rogerson

Editorial Manager

James has been writing for us for over 10 years. Currently, he is Editorial Manager for our group of companies (, and and sub-editor at TechRadar. He specialises in smartphones, mobile networks/ technology, tablets, and wearables.

In the past, James has also written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media, Smart TV Radar, and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV. He has a film studies degree from the University of Kent, Canterbury, and has over a decade’s worth of professional writing experience.

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