to get a 2G signal on EE you have to have no signal at all on 3 as EE is classed as a roaming network when your phone is on 2G EE on 3 (i have Never seen data working on 2G ee when on 3)
I have - in Fowey in Cornwall - the only time I've turned on 2G on my handset, and roamed onto a cell still broadcasting as "Orange", and I did have 2G. Dear god it was slow, but it did work.
That said, I find I get excellent coverage overall on 3, and certainly it is * miles* ahead of Vodafone. I can drive from Exeter to Truro, and not lose my call or data once. I can drive from Exeter to Birmingham and only lose my signal once (and yes, for all kinds of dull reasons I've tested this). On Vodafone, EE and O2 you'd be lucky to get away with 10 or fewer drops every hour.
the roaming thing been turned off in an area seems a myth to me as everywhere i go i can force my phone onto 2G only on a 3 sim and after 2-3 minuets (there is a big delay) it roam on EE (no data thought)
It has been selectively turned off - it's mostly now off. Where are you that it's still available?
this issue happens more to 3 then any other network due to more spread out 3g network cells and no 2G to fall back on (but this problem does happen on EE/orange as well when 3G is used i know as about say out of 10 calls in a day 1-2 of them will divert to my backup phone that is on O2, as i have set the no response divert to my other number so i dont miss a call)
I can't say that mirrors my experience, I have 4G and 3G only mode enabled on my phone (Blackberry Passport) and experience very good coverage, very few problems with coverage, and very few issues with data availability.
and i not even talked about the problems with having 4G enabled you can be missing up to 50% or incoming more calls if your connected 4G (as the call has to drop to 3G to allow the call to happen) issues like phone not ringing or when call is answered after 2-3 second call is terminated or call stays connected but no voice), if your on 3 or giffgaff you should always make sure you have HulloMail installed (as 3 and giffgaff do not support missed call notification text so your likely unaware how many calls your missing)
I can't say that's my experience (and I use Hullomail), my calls are reliable. I find a lot of problems come down to handsets and not the networks.