BT broadband deals – what you need to know
By Phil Wilkinson-Jones | Tuesday, May 7th 2019
In this guide
- Who is BT?
- What does BT offer?
- Broadband and TV bundles
- Landline calling packages
- What are the alternatives?
- Frequently asked questions
BT is the UK's largest and probably best-known broadband provider. It's also the world's oldest communications company, tracing its roots back to The Electric Telegraph Company, founded in 1846. But how much do you know about what the company has to offer in 2019?
The BT Group includes Openreach, which owns and maintains the UK's biggest broadband network, and EE, which was the subject of a £12.5bn takeover in 2016. But here we're focussing on the consumer offerings of BT itself, which include broadband, TV and mobile.
Who is BT?
In a competitive broadband market, BT has a number of features it likes to shout about to make it stand out from the crowd. Let's take a look at what makes BT what it is.
- UK's most powerful wifi hub – BT claims that its wifi router, called the Smart Hub, is the most powerful in the UK. It has been told off by the ASA a couple of times in recent years for making similar claims but does detail the results of tests against Virgin and Sky's routers on its website.
- Complete wifi – When you order BT broadband you can choose to add complete wifi to your package. This gives you a Wifi Disc, which acts as a booster, giving you a stronger signal around your home. If you still don't have a signal in every room, BT will send you up to two more discs for free.
- Reward cards – BT almost always offers cashback in the form of BT reward cards with its broadband deals. The reward card is a pre-paid Mastercard that can be used in the majority of high street shops and online.
- Millions of wifi hotspots – A BT broadband subscription gives you access to five million BT wifi hotspots, to help you get online when you're out and about. These can be found in airport terminals, motorway service stations, shopping centres, hotels, coffee shops and more.
- No broadband price rises in 2019 – BT has promised not to hike the price of its broadband in 2019, but from March 2020 it will be going up once a year based on the rate of inflation.
- BT Virus Protect – Each of BT's broadband packages offers BT Virus Protect on a varying number of devices, as well as parental controls.
- Unlimited usage – Like almost all broadband providers now, BT doesn't impose any download limits on its broadband packages.
What does BT offer?
BT offers much more than just broadband, of course. Here's a rundown of what you can get from the UK's biggest telecoms company.
- Broadband – BT offers standard broadband with an average speed of 10Mbps and fibre products averaging 36Mbps, 50Mbps and 67Mbps. Fibre deals include the Smart Hub while standard broadband comes via the less advanced Home Hub 4 router, but all come with reward cards, BT Virus Protect and unlimited usage.
- TV – BT TV is only available to BT broadband customers and is delivered via a YouView box. All packages include a subscription to BT Sport, which has exclusive coverage of Champions League football. BT is the only UK provider with the AMC channel, home to top shows like The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul.
- Home phone – BT has a range of landline packages and call features for those who just want a phone and no broadband. All include BT Call Protect, which diverts nuisance calls, while international add-ons for calling abroad are available for an extra fee.
- Mobile – BT Mobile offers all the latest smartphones with reward cards and often free BT Sport thrown in. There are also a range of SIM-only deals and discounts on offer for families taking more than one SIM.
Broadband, TV and mobile bundles
As with other 'quad play' providers – those that offer broadband, TV, landline and mobile services – there are savings to be made by taking multiple services. In this case a bundle is necessary as you can't get BT TV without also having BT broadband. And while BT's mobile offering is separate, there are extra benefits for customers who also have BT broadband.
- Broadband and TV – There are three TV bundles to choose from with BT, but all come with BT Sport and the AMC channel. The Classic bundle gives you Freeview channels on a standard recordable YouView box, while the Entertainment bundle offers an additional 21 premium channels. The Max 4K bundle comes with 55 premium channels and a 4K-enabled YouView box. Each TV bundle can be combined with various broadband speeds.
- Broadband and mobile – BT doesn't offer broadband and mobile together as a bundle but there are incentives to have both from the provider. For example, BT broadband customers get a £5 a month discount on BT Mobile plans.
Landline calling packages
BT offers three landline packages, all of which come with the option of diverting nuisance calls with BT Call Protect. And if you regularly call abroad you can add international calls for an additional fee. Other add-ons such as caller display, call waiting and BT Answer 1571 are also available.
- Unlimited weekend calls – This covers calls to UK landline numbers at weekends (midnight Friday to midnight Sunday).
- Unlimited evening and weekend calls – Includes calls to UK landline numbers at weekends (midnight Friday to midnight Sunday) and between 7pm and 7am on weekdays.
- Unlimited anytime calls – The most expensive of BT's landline deals includes calls to UK landline numbers at any time and free calls to BT Mobiles.
What are the alternatives?
- EE Broadband – EE is a part of the BT group but still offers its own broadband service. Plans come with free data for EE mobile customers and you can add EE TV if you wish.
- Direct Save Telecom – Budget provider Direct Save gives you the option of saving money by paying a discounted line rental amount up front. Broadband customers also get free membership to Direct Save's loyalty club.
- Hyperoptic – Hyperoptic only offers full fibre broadband, including one package with average speeds of 900Mbps and top speeds of more than 1Gbps. It's only available in limited areas, though.
- John Lewis Broadband – High street favourite John Lewis has a broadband service that is provided by Plusnet. Evening and weekend calls are included as standard and like BT there's often a gift card being given away with its broadband deals.
- NOW Broadband – NOW Broadband allows you to get standard or fibre broadband without a contract, just as NOW TV lets you do the same with its TV and movie passes. There's also the option to have NOW Broadband on a 12-month contract – it's up to you.
- Plusnet – Yorkshire-based Plusnet is well known for its award-winning customer service and offers a range of standard and fibre broadband deals on 12 and 18-month contracts.
- Post Office Broadband – Selling more than just stamps, the Post Office's standard broadband is consistently among the cheapest broadband deals in the UK. It also has two fibre packages and a landline-only plan.
- Shell Energy Broadband – Formerly known as First Utility Broadband, Shell Energy Broadband offers standard and fibre broadband on 18-month contracts with membership of the Shell Go+ reward scheme.
- Sky – Sky is currently only offering two broadband packages – standard, with speeds of 11Mbps, and Fibre Max with speeds of 63Mbps. Both come with 18-month contracts and can be bundled together with Sky TV.
- SSE – Best known as one of the UK's big six energy providers, SSE's broadband deals come with 18-month contracts, no upfront charges and a Happiness Guarantee that lets you walk away in the first 60 days if you're not happy with the service.
- TalkTalk – All three of TalkTalk's broadband packages come with the guarantee that there'll be no price hikes for the duration of the contract and there's the option to add TalkTalk TV.
- Virgin Media – Operating independently of the Openreach network, Virgin offers the fastest widely available broadband speeds in the UK, starting at 54Mbps with its most basic package and going up to 500Mbps with its top TV and broadband bundle.
- Vodafone – The only provider on the Openreach network not to offer standard broadband, Vodafone instead offers two of the cheapest fibre broadband deals around and promises money off your bill if your speeds drop below a started minimum.
Frequently asked questions
Is BT Sport free with BT broadband?
BT broadband customers can get the BT Sport app free for three months then it costs £10 a month. This allows you to watch BT Sport on a computer or mobile device, but not through your TV – you'll need to get the full BT Sport pack through BT TV, Sky TV, TalkTalk TV or Virgin Media TV for that.
How long will it take to switch to BT?
BT will give you a switching date as soon as you've ordered your broadband package. The date will usually be within two weeks.
Do I have to tell my old provider I'm switching to BT?
If your old provider is Virgin Media then yes, you'll need to let them know that you're leaving and it's up to you to coordinate the end of one contract and the start of another. If you're currently with another provider that uses the Openreach network as BT does (this is everyone listed on Cable other than Virgin and Hyperoptic) then BT will do the contacting on your behalf.
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