BT Mobile review: A family-friendly network with some low cost deals for existing customers

0

BT Mobile launched back in 2015,  despite BT purchasing EE that very year. But rather then merge the two services, BT ran them in parallel, with each having their own tariffs and support teams.

BT Mobile piggybacks on EE’s network but offers slightly lower prices, particularly if you’re an existing BT Broadband customer, where a £5 discount kicks in. Better still, there are further savings to be had if you’re looking to move your whole household to the network.

Sign up to BT Mobile

BT Mobile review: What do you get?

Low prices and family features are very much BT Mobile’s selling point, with a range of SIM-only deals that undercut the other networks on calls and data. But that comes with the caveat that you’re limited to only 27 smartphones to choose from, though this less-than-extensive range still includes Apple’s iPhone XR and Samsung’s Galaxy S10.

However, prices for high-end phones aren’t cheap: an iPhone XR  a mere 1GB of data will cost you £1,176 over the course of a 24-month contract, while the Galaxy S10 on the same plan will cost a total of £1,376.  You can find better deals with other providers; Three, for example, offer the iHPne XR with 4GB of data for a total cost of £1,129 over the course of 24 months.

For SIM-only plans, you’re looking at a selection of six different tariffs on 12-month contracts, each with unlimited calls and texts. The cheapest is the no-frills 1GB Casual Usage SIM Plan, which costs £4 per month. From there the plans come in 3GB, 6GB, 12GB, and 20GB options, with monthly prices of £15, £18, £20, and £27 respectively. The most expensive is the 40GB Max Plan for £35 per month. All the plans above 6GB come with free BT Sport for your phone.

As they are, these plans aren’t fantastic value. Tesco Mobile, Giff-Gaff, Sky and Three will all give you 8GB to 12GB for less than you’ll pay for 6GB on BT Mobile, while its 20GB and 40GB options are among the most expensive out there;  a real problem when you’re supposed to be the cost-conscious alternative to EE.

READ NEXT: The best mobile networks out there right now

BT Mobile saves its best prices for the brand’s existing broadband customers. If you take your ADSL or Fibre services from BT you get a discount of £5 on every tariff, which means the cost of 6GB comes down to a more reasonable £13, while 20GB creeps down to £22. Rivals are still cheaper, but it’s enough to put BT back in competition.

Monthly fee (1x SIM)

Monthly fee (BT Broadband customer)

Data

Texts

Minutes

Casual Usage Sim Plan

£14.00

£9.00

1GB

Unlimited

Unlimited

The Essential Plan

£15

£12

3GB

Unlimited

Unlimited

The Perfect All Rounder Plan

£18

£13

6GB

Unlimited

Unlimited

The Savvy Saver Plan

£20

£15

12GB

Unlimited

Unlimited

The High Data Plan

£27

£22

20GB

Unlimited

Unlimited

The Max Plan

£35

£30

40GB

Unlimited

Unlimited

BT Mobile review: Family Plans

All this applies if you’re just buying one SIM, but if you’re taking one for you, one for your spouse or partner and one for the kids, BT’s Family Plans start to make more sense. They’re available on all but the cheapest Great Value Starter Plan, and you can take up to five SIMs per plan for some significant discounts, bringing the price of, say, the 12GB Savvy Saver plan to just £45 a month for four SIMs, or £11.25 per phone. Each SIM has its own allowances, so you don’t need to worry about one family member sucking up the month’s allowance, and the bill payer can control spending caps for each SIM. You can see the maximum monthly breakdown per plan in the table below, just bear in mind you’ll knock £5 off the monthly price if you’re a BT Broadband customer.

2x SIM

3x SIM

4x SIM

5x SIM

Essential Plan (3GB)

£23.00

£31.00

£39.00

£47.00

Perfect All Rounder (6GB)

£27.00

£35.00

£43.00

£51.00

Savvy Saver (12GB)

£32.00

£42.00

£50.00

£57.00

The High Data Plan (20GB)

£45.00

£60.00

£75.00

£90.00

The Max Plan

£58.00

£80.00

£102.00

£124.00

It’s a flexible way of working, too. While the primary plan has to have a minimum 12-month contract, the additional SIMs only have 30-day terms. Not everyone has to have the same plan, and you can change the make-up at a month’s notice. You can even change the primary plan without extending the length of the contract, though you can only downgrade a plan once in a 12-month contract. With just the one bill and primary plan to deal with, it’s a lot easier to track and control your family’s mobile spending.

Browse BT Mobile’s current deals

BT Mobile review: Coverage and Connection Speeds

BT Mobile is a virtual network running on EE’s network, which is right now the strongest network in the UK. EE topped RootMetrics’ UK-wide performance tables for the second half of 2018 on speed, reliability, data connectivity, calls and texts, not to mention overall service. Coverage is extremely good as well, with Fast or Faster ratings in the majority of areas, and just a few slow spots spread across Wales, rural Scotland and the South West and East coasts of England.

Rollout of Voice over LTE network means you can get voice calls in most locations across the UK, while access to 4G services is more widespread than with any other service. If you’re looking for reliable, high-speed data connectivity everywhere you go, BT Mobile is one of your best bets.

READ NEXT: Best deals on iPhones and Android phones

It’s worth noting, however, that you won’t get the absolute highest speeds on the basic service. Where all EE customers get access to EE’s top-speed 60Mbits/sec 4G services and Smart plan customers can go up to 90Mbits/sec, BT’s customers get 30Mbits/sec unless they pay £4 a month extra for the Extra Speed addon.

Given that you won’t actually get downstream connection speeds of over 30Mbits/sec in most areas – and for most purposes, 30Mbits/sec is fast enough – this isn’t a major issue. However, if you live somewhere with widespread access to the 60Mbits/sec 4G+ network and really love fast downloads, then you might want to factor this into your decision.

BT Mobile review: Roaming

Roaming charges within the EU are now a thing of the past, and like all UK providers, BT Mobile allows you to use your calls, texts and data allowances for free in the 47 European destinations covered by its Roam Like Home tariff (though surcharges apply when you use over 15GB in a single monthly billing cycle). Outside your allowance, you’re looking at 29.1p and 35p per minute making calls, 10p to 12p per message and 8.3p to 10p per MB, depending on your location.

Roaming gets a whole lot more expensive outside the EU, with prices reaching £1.40 to make a call, £1.25 to receive a call, 40p per text and a whopping £5 per MB in many territories, including the US, Thailand and Australia. You can cut costs with a roaming data addon, but that still costs £15 for just 100MB of data. These costs aren’t unusual among UK networks, but Three and Giffgaff are significantly cheaper.

BT Mobile review: Other services and spending caps

BT Mobile now offers Wi-Fi calling feature, where you can make and take calls over Wi-Fi in places where you can’t get a decent mobile signal. It only works on specific phones with recent software, but it’s useful in poor signal areas. What’s more, BT Mobile also gives you free access to BT’s network of five million free UK Wi-Fi hotspots, with another 13 million abroad. This could give you better high-speed access in some locations,  and also help you get away with a lower monthly data allowance.

BT Mobile doesn’t have a monthly spending cap by default, though one kicks in if you run up data charges of more than £35 while abroad. You can set your own cap, but the minimum level is £5 over your normal monthly allowance, so there’s no way to ensure your monthly spend stops the minute you go over. Again, this isn’t unusual, but it’s worth setting a cap on any Family Plan SIMs then watching for the text notifications. The Family Plans do a solid job of keeping the primary account holder informed.

Tethering, once a pricey optional extra, is now supported by most UK networks on all but their most basic tariffs. And BT Mobile is no exception. You can connect your laptop or tablet to your smartphone and surf away, provided you don’t burn through your data allowance.

Sign up to BT Mobile

BT Mobile review: Customer Satisfaction

BT doesn’t exactly get a glowing report when it comes to customer service. While Ofcom’s most recent report doesn’t include the full range of customer satisfaction scores, it does point out that BT has had 29 complaints per 100,000 customers, which is higher than any other network bar Vodafone (32) or Virgin (41!).

BT Mobile review: Verdict

BT Mobile is no longer a great-value option if you’re just looking for a monthly contract on one phone, even with the £5 discount for existing BT Broadband customers. Yet its Family Plans are really effective, allowing you to cover everyone in your household at prices that won’t have you weeping when the bill comes through. While BT Mobile is falling behind its rivals in some areas, it still offers excellent coverage and connectivity, and is one of the best networks out there for families.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.