Which networks piggyback off EE's network?

17 May 2024

5g networks using EE's network

Contents list

  1. 5G networks using EE's infrastructure
    1. Lyca Mobile
    2. CMLink
    3. 1pMobile
    4. Spusu
    5. Talk Home
    6. Ecotalk
    7. IQ Mobile
    8. Now Mobile
    9. Popit Mobile
    10. Utility Warehouse
    11. Boshhh
  2. 4G networks using EE's infrastructure
  3. Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

There are many different 5G networks in the UK, but when it comes down to coverage there are only really four different ones – there’s EE, Three, Vodafone, and O2, with all the other mobile networks using the infrastructure and coverage from one of those four.

Because these networks don’t have their own infrastructure they’re known in the industry as MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators), and with most UK networks falling into this category, that makes it relatively straightforward to round down which networks appeal based on coverage.

So, what if you’ve decided you want EE’s 5G coverage but not to necessarily be on EE itself? Well, there are a few other options, which we’ve detailed below.

You’ll also find information on the 4G networks using EE’s infrastructure, and insight into whether an EE MVNO is a better choice than EE itself.

5G networks using EE’s infrastructure

At the time of writing, quite a few mobile networks both use EE’s infrastructure and offer 5G, and you’ll find details of the current options below.

Lyca Mobile

Lyca Mobile stands out among other EE MVNOs by including minutes to international destinations with many of its plans. So if you find yourself calling abroad frequently then this is likely to be one of the best networks for you – and the very best with EE’s coverage.

Beyond that, you can get unlimited data, there’s 5G of course, and its plans are reasonably priced, though not among the very cheapest.

Of course being an internationally focused network it also offers EU roaming at no extra cost, but there’s no Wi-Fi Calling or 4G Calling.

SIM Only Deals

CMLink 

CMLink is a niche proposition, but is sure to appeal to some people.

Its standout feature really is that it offers inclusive roaming in mainland China and Hong Kong, on top of European destinations.

Beyond that, CMLink offers a range of SIM Only plans, many of which only last 30 days – so you don’t have to commit to a lengthy contract. However, it’s light on extras.

1pMobile

1pMobile is an EE MVNO that mostly stands out for its Pay As You Go rates, which are 1p per minute, 1p per text, and 1p per megabyte of data – so they’re extremely low.

However, you can also get SIM Only bundles, and EU roaming is included, though there’s no unlimited data option.

Spusu

Spusu’s main perk is arguably that its plans come with international minutes as standard, so it’s good for calling abroad.

This EE MVNO also offers Wi-Fi Calling, 4G Calling, and EU roaming at no extra cost. You can get unlimited data on Spusu too, and it promises to freeze prices until 2026.

Talk Home

Talk Home is a basic, straightforward network with low Pay As You Go rates and a selection of SIM Only plans, including some focused on international calls.

You can also roam across the EU at no extra cost, but the network is otherwise light on extras, and there’s no unlimited data option.

Ecotalk

Ecotalk’s USP is that it will use money from your bill to fund land purchases at RSPB reserves, which will then be dedicated to letting nature exist and thrive – meaning no roads or buildings can be built on this land, so it’s a great choice if you care about nature.

Outside of that, Ecotalk isn’t the most exciting of networks, with just a small selection of SIM Only plans, no unlimited data option, and no free roaming.

IQ Mobile

IQ Mobile aims to offer fairly priced, affordable SIM Only plans, and these plans support VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling.

The network also includes EU roaming with no data caps (other than your standard limit), and it offers discounted plans to students.

Now Mobile

Now Mobile sells both Pay As You Go bundles and SIM Only plans, and these plans come with free EU roaming and no credit checks.

It also offers plans focused on international calling, plus data bolt-ons for if you ever run short.

Popit Mobile

Popit Mobile offers a small selection of SIM Only plans, and while you can’t get unlimited data, its plans do include 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling, plus unlimited calls and texts.

You can also use your full data allowance when roaming in the EU, at no extra cost, and Popit’s plans are just 30-day rolling ones, so there’s no commitment.

Utility Warehouse

Utility Warehouse offers just two SIM Only plans, but one of these comes with unlimited data, and you can add additional SIMs to your account at a reduced price, making it a good choice for families.

Utility Warehouse also offers Wi-Fi Calling, and prices are fixed until 2025. The unlimited data plan additionally comes with free EU roaming, but oddly the other plan doesn’t usually, so watch out for that (though at the time of writing it temporarily does).

Boshhh

Boshhh is designed to increase your credit score, as not only are there no credit checks, but the network reports your on-time payments to Equifax, to ensure your score improves over time. It also lets you view your credit report.

That aside, Boshhh lets you roam at no extra cost in the EU, and its plans come with VoLTE. However, you’re locked into a 12-month contract, and there’s no unlimited data option.

5G Coverage Checker

Find out which networks have launched 5G in your area, or when it is coming to your area.

4G networks using EE’s infrastructure 

As well as the many 5G networks using EE’s infrastructure, there are also some 4G ones.

These include Anywhere SIM, Delight Mobile, and Truphone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an MVNO?

MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator, and it means a network that doesn’t have its own mobile infrastructure, instead relying on that of another company. Every UK mobile network except EE, Three, Vodafone and O2 is an MVNO.

What are the advantages of choosing an EE MVNO over EE itself?

EE MVNOs are often cheaper than EE itself, especially as EE tends to be one of the most expensive networks. Plus, they sometimes come with unique perks and advantages that EE doesn’t offer. For example, CMLink lets customers roam for free in China, which EE doesn’t.

What are the disadvantages of choosing an EE MVNO over EE?

EE itself comes with a huge selection of perks and premium features, such as subscriptions to streaming services and unlimited data. Some MVNOs will offer some of the things that EE does, but none are ever likely to fully match it.

Will an EE MVNO offer identical coverage to EE?

As a general rule an EE MVNO should offer identical coverage to EE. It’s not impossible that in future EE might only offer MVNOs access to some of its 5G frequency bands, which could limit their coverage, but that hasn’t happened so far and may well never do.

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 ( 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk) 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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