Dan Howdle | Updated August 3rd, 2022
A lot has changed at BT Mobile. Following its merger with EE, BT have stopped doing some things, and carried on doing others. Of course It still operates over the EE network, and customers get access to millions of free BT wifi hotspots. So what has changed? And how does it fare against the competition?
The telecoms landscape has changed since BT first told us, “it’s good to talk”. Landlines sit gathering dust while people chat, text, browse and stream on their mobiles. BT now offers a range of SIM only deals as well as phones, tablets and other tech to buy outright. However it no longer offers contracts which include a handset. For that, customers are directed to EE, where BT customers can access special deals.
BT offers a range of SIM-only contracts, If you are a BT broadband customer you will be offered discounted EE SIM only deals (as opposed to BT’s standard SIM only offers).
BT has a wide range of data on offer, but strangely there is still no unlimited option. This is odd these days since most providers offer one – it is rapidly becoming the norm. However, all contracts and SIM-only deals come with unlimited minutes and texts.
The lowest data plan comes with 4GB of data. The plans become more interesting on the higher levels, as you get free BT Sport through the BT app. This gives you access to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa league matches, plus top games from the Premier League and FA Cup to watch solely on your phone – for which you will need a sizable amount of data. 100GB is the top data allowance offered by BT Mobile, but if you are an existing BT broadband customer, You can get a discounted 160GB contract from EE, and if you have BT Halo you also get double data, which presumably doubles that to 320GB. EE contracts offered by BT last 24 months.
BT's SIM-only plans all come on either a 12-month contract or a 24-month contract – there are no 30-day options on offer. This would be understandable if the contracts included a handset, but seems a bit inflexible for a company which only offers SIMs. There are several data options available, ranging from minimal to generous, which should cover the requirements of most customers. The 24-month contracts work out cheaper than the 12-months ones.
The BT Family SIM is a money-saving scheme whereby if more than one member of your household is using BT Mobile, you can claim a 20% discount on each additional SIM. Plus, while the first Family SIM has a 12-month contract, any extras are on 30-day rolling plans, so you can cancel or chop and change at any time without penalty. (However, note that if you want BT Sport on a SIM-only deal you would need to purchase a monthly add-on.)
BT no longer offers contracts which include a handset. Customers are instead directed to EE. BT broadband customers can access some exclusive offers from EE. However BT still sells handsets, tablets and other tech like smart watches to buy outright. BT’s SIM only customers can get £50 off a handset when buying outright. A wide range of new and used handsets are available including the latest iPhone 13 and Samsung S22, through to cheaper budget options. Models are available from Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Nokia, Oppo, Google, Fairphone and others.
If you’re not fussed about getting the latest handset or you are happy with a more basic phone like the Doro 8050, then these are also available to buy.
Industry regulator Ofcom’s latest report reveals there were 8 complaints about the provider to Ofcom out of 100,000 subscribers. This sits favourably against the industry average of 10.
If you do have concerns, you can call BT customer service on 0800 800 150 Monday to Friday 8am-9pm or 8am-8pm at weekends. BT no longer offers live chat on its website, but you can get in touch on social media via Twitter and Facebook. Alternatively you can use the BT Community forum to get answers to any problems you might have.
BT offers reasonable value with unlimited minutes and texts included with all its deals. The vast majority of its handset contracts come with zero upfront costs, but it isn’t necessarily the cheapest network for a contract, especially if you're not a BT broadband and phone customer and entitled to £5 off per month.
It can offer good value on its SIM only deals. If you are on a Family SIM plan, the more you buy, the more you save. Plus, with certain offers, if you aren’t happy with a SIM-only or Family SIM plan within the first 30 days, BT says it will give your money back.
The network does offer some interesting extras that provide added value such as BT Sport on its app for users on data deals of 25GB or above, unlimited internet access at any of its five million wi-fi hotspots, as well as parental controls, and occasionally, free extra data.
BT owns and uses the EE network, giving customers the widest 5G coverage in the UK (though Three claim to have edged slightly ahead). You can use the BT Mobile postcode checker to see the type of signal you will get in your area and the strength of the coverage. BT lets you search for a postcode or place and see how well it is covered both indoors and outdoors. BT offers 99% coverage with its 4G service, so if you aren’t in a 5G area yet, you can be almost guaranteed to receive 4G.
The checker will both describe and show on a map the network coverage for 3G, 4G and 5G in your area. You can also choose to zoom out and see what coverage is like beyond your immediate area and elsewhere across the country.
BT Mobile offers a good selection of handsets to buy outright, plus SIM-only deals and customers benefit from unlimited calls and minutes. The lack of unlimited data deals is a bit of a let-down in 2022, and you need to be a broadband customer to get the highest data allowances, but there are still decent packages on offer. It's also a cheaper way of getting BT Sport, which is thrown in on the bigger data deals, along with access to wi-fi hotspots.
The biggest savings can be made If you have a handset already and take advantage of the Family SIM deal, The savings increase with the SIMs you add on the Family SIM scheme. SIM-only customers don’t get BT Sport automatically on anything below a 25GB data limit, but you still get the unlimited BT Wi-fi on the move.
You should be assured of a decent 4G or 5G (where available) phone signal as BT uses EE’s extensive network. BT appears to be gradually migrating its mobile offering over to EE, so it wouldn’t be surprising if BT Mobile customers are eventually moved over to EE.