#GNI,  Mac

Apple iWatch 3 Cellular in the UK

TLDR:- So this post is all about time of writing and the fact EE have exclusive rights to the Apple Watch 3 at present. Don’t buy it unless you are on EE and no PAYG doesn’t work either.

So a few weeks ago I found myself researching fitness based devices (something I didn’t expect myself to be doing) as my wife has found a passion for running and oddly I seem to enjoy it too. Especially if I can keep up! I am currently training with Zombies Run and it also has an encouraging 5K app. Just a shame it doesn’t seem to work stand alone yet on the iWatch like Strava does otherwise I would be set.

So this takes me onto the series 3 purchase. After many hours debating with the wife and reading reviews about the Garmin she purchased now being on the way we decided to send it back and I agreed to pay the difference as I would only be tech support anyway. This was mainly for the following reasons

  • She has an iPhone and seemed to sync easier
  • Many people said Strava worked out the box without the phone
  • We could add her phone to it so she could call or at least iMessage if she was in trouble
  • ApplePay… Just easier to pay for things near us and also no more looking for the Oyster card if we ever decided to go to London!
  • I could get this from a well know retailer with accidental damage just in case anything happens on a run
  • I can message her with my Series 1 watch


So just before I committed to the purchases I decided to call EE as the well known UK retailer stated on their website you could just buy a £5 add-on and use the watch separately. I was fine with this as again safety and it just working was paramount. At this point I thought awesome and committed to the purchase as it also showed it was free for 6 months and I was told it was a 30 day SIM contract anyway.

The devices arrived promptly despite nearly all being out of stock, so we charged it up and started the setup process which has drastically improved since my series 1 purchase. Then we got the the screen where it all fell down… BT ironically run on the EE network so I thought we may find some form of issue anyway and we got this dreaded screen, no way of being able to sign up separately

So a frantic phone call to EE and query into why I can’t activate this as they said I could add this on manually. It would appear someone somewhere had mis translated all the marketing and you have to have an EE connection only and can’t take it out separately just for the watch. The irony here is we were not to fussed about the calling as long as iMessage or FaceTime Audio worked but hey! I was provided several offers to join EE on the phone but I thought well a quick call to my current provider won’t hurt as they are on the same network and may support it soon enough.

Wrong… despite getting the most helpful agent ever he made several calls on my behalf and then informed me after talking to technical that there wasn’t any view to support this on BT in the near future and is quite a way off. I took this as at least a year away as I still haven’t seen WiFi calling but to be fair happy in my time with them I got tethering and overall seemed to work well. He was kind enough to provide me my PAC code and class it as a technical issue without any charges so thumbs up there.

Before calling EE back with my tail between my legs I thought I would check a pay as you go SIM after turning most of the house up to find it.  Again as you can see don’t bother its not supported.

So yes now a wait for a few days until our new EE sims arrive and I can try this out. I’ll then write another review on how they hold up for day to day use (tech vs runner). I know the calling and data work well as I have seen this working I was just hoping EE would have allowed this to be independent to their contracts. For example if customers didn’t want the full calling or didn’t mind another number but I suppose thats Apple who’s simple ecosystem has constraints despite how effective it is in other areas.

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