BT Mobile Review: 4G Handsets & SIM Cards With Coverage From EE

August 3rd, 2016

BT Mobile is a 4G mobile service using coverage from EE. Customers living in a BT Broadband household get a £5 monthly discount.

BT

In the UK, BT Mobile offers a 4G mobile service using 99% population coverage from EE. Customers living in a BT Broadband household receive a £5/month discount, meaning the entry-level tariff costs just £5/month. Customers also receive access to BT Wi-Fi and BT Sport.

In this article, we review the BT Mobile network. We’ll start by looking at their range of 4G price plans, available either on a SIM-only basis or with a new handset included. We’ll then look at the key features of BT Mobile and we’ll see how it compares to rival mobile networks. Finally, we’ll look at the coverage you can expect on BT Mobile and how you can keep your existing phone number when moving to the network.

Pricing & Tariffs

BT Mobile currently offers two types of tariff:

  • Pay Monthly SIM Cards: Starting from £5/month on a 12-month contract, you’ll get a new BT Mobile SIM card that slots inside your existing unlocked smartphone.
  • Pay Monthly Handsets: Starting from £17/month on a 24-month contract, you’ll get a brand new smartphone from BT Mobile.

Pay Monthly SIM Cards

BT Mobile SIM CardIf you already have an unlocked smartphone that you’re happy to keep, BT’s SIM-only deals could be suitable for you. Starting at £5/month for people living in a BT Broadband household, you’ll get a new low-cost SIM card on a 12-month contract:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
BT Mobile200Unlimited500MB£5.00
inc. £5 discount
BT Mobile500Unlimited4GB£10.00
inc. £5 discount
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£20.00
inc. £5 discount

The prices shown in the table above include a £5/month discount for people living in a BT Broadband household (it’s not necessary to actually be the BT Broadband bill payer). You’ll also get unlimited access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots and access to the BT Sport app.

Get BT Mobile SIM Card »

All of BT Mobile’s SIM-only deals come on a 12-month contract but there’s a little bit of flexibility to change your plan during that time. During the 12-month minimum commitment, you can upgrade your plan as many times as you like and you can downgrade your plan a maximum of one time. Otherwise, if you exceed the inclusive allowances on your plan, you’ll pay 35p/minute, 12p/text and 10p/MB.

Occasionally, gift cards promotion are available on BT’s SIM-only deals. For more information on the latest offers available, please see the BT Mobile website.

Pay Monthly Handsets

BT Mobile Handsets 2016If you’d like a brand new smartphone, BT Mobile also offers a range of Pay Monthly handsets on a 24-month contract. At the time of writing, devices are available from Apple, Samsung and Sony. They include the latest iPhone 6s and Samsung Galaxy S7.

Smartphones from BT Mobile are available on a choice of three tariffs:

  • 400 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data (from £17/month)
  • 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of data (from £22/month)
  • Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 15GB of data (from £32/month)

View BT Mobile Handsets »

As before, the prices shown include a £5/month discount for people living in a BT Broadband household. If you’re not living in a BT Broadband household, you’ll need to pay the full amount without a £5/month discount. BT Mobile handset tariffs also include unlimited access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots and access to the BT Sport app.

Pay As You Go

Top Up LogoUnfortunately, BT Mobile doesn’t yet offer any Pay As You Go tariffs. If you’re looking for a Pay As You Go deal, you can order a SIM card directly from EE (EE is also a part of the BT Group).

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a cheaper deal also using coverage from EE, we recommend ordering a free ASDA Mobile SIM card. You’ll pay just 8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB with no need to top-up your phone every month. There are also some great value bundles (e.g. 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 1.5GB of internet for £10/month).

For more information and for a complete overview of available deals, please see our guide to the UK’s best value Pay As You Go SIM cards.

Key Features

BT Broadband Discount

BT Broadband

Customers with BT Broadband in their household get a £5/month discount on all BT Mobile tariffs.

Customers with a BT Broadband connection in their household will get a £5/month discount on all BT Mobile tariffs. You’ll need a consumer broadband package to qualify for the discount: this could either be standard home broadband or BT Infinity fibre broadband.

It’s not necessary to be the BT Broadband bill payer if you’d like to benefit from the £5/month discount. You simply need to be living in a household with a BT Broadband connection. There is no limit on how many people can benefit from the discount.

Get BT Broadband for a £5/month BT Mobile discount »

If you’re living in a household with a different broadband provider, it’s still possible to sign up to BT Mobile at the full price. In this case, you won’t benefit from the £5/month discount. In some cases, it may be cheaper overall if you switch to BT Broadband at the same time as joining BT Mobile.

BT Wi-Fi

BT Wi-FiAll customers joining BT Mobile will get unlimited access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots (previously known as BT Openzone).

There are 5 million BT Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK including in many shopping centres, train stations, cafés, restaurants and service stations. You can enter your postcode on the BT Wi-Fi website to find nearby hotspots.

Typically, a BT Wi-Fi subscription costs £15/month (a 12 month minimum term applies).

BT Sport

BT Sport Mobile Service

With BT Sport, you can watch live sporting action on your smartphone.

Another advantage of joining BT Mobile is you’ll get access to the BT Sport application on your smartphone. This allows you to watch live sporting action from the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa league. You can also watch selected games from the Premier League and FA Cup.

The BT Sport app is currently available for iPhone and Android. When using the app on 3G or 4G, video will count as normal towards your monthly download allowance. For this reason, it’s normally best to use the BT Sport application on wi-fi (BT Sport does not count towards your download limit on BT home broadband).

For more information, please see the BT Sport website.

Monthly Spend Caps

To help you to control your spending and to prevent “bill shock”, BT Mobile automatically applies a monthly spend cap to your service. This will initially be set between £5 and £45 depending on the result of your credit check. However, you can customise this through the My BT website. Your monthly spend cap can be set between £5 and £200 dependent on your credit check status.

For more information, please see our article on capped mobile contracts.

Comparison to Alternatives

In the following section, we’ll compare BT Mobile’s SIM-only deals against rival offerings from other mobile networks:

BT Mobile 500MB Plan

5 Pound Note

BT Mobile’s 500MB plan costs just £5/month if you’re a BT Broadband customer.

According to BT, their BT Mobile 500MB tariff is “the UK’s best value 4G mobile plan”. For just £5/month, customers with a BT Broadband connection at their home can get 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of 4G internet on their smartphone (the full price is £10/month for non-BT Broadband households).

For customers qualifying for the BT Broadband discount, the £5/month deal compares incredibly well to other networks. For customers not qualifying for the £5/month discount, cheaper deals are available elsewhere (e.g. on Three, giffgaff and Tesco Mobile).

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
BT Mobile200Unlimited500MB£5.00
inc. £5 discount
Three200Unlimited500MB£7.00
Tesco Mobile2505,0001GB£7.50
giffgaff250Unlimited500MB£7.50
Vodafone500Unlimited500MB£12.00
O2500Unlimited500MB£12.50
EE500Unlimited500MB£12.99

BT Mobile 2GB Plan

10 Pound Note

BT Mobile has a 2GB plan costing £10/month if you’re living in a BT Broadband household.

For customers requiring 2GB of data per month, the £10/month BT Mobile 2GB Plan comes with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of high-speed 4G internet (the full price is £15/month for non-BT Broadband customers). Cheaper deals are generally available elsewhere (for instance, on Three’s £9/month Essentials tariff).

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
BT Mobile500Unlimited4GB£10.00
inc. £5 discount
Tesco Mobile5005,0002GB£10.00
Three200Unlimited2GB£10.00
giffgaff500Unlimited2GB£12.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£15.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£17.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited2GB£18.00

BT Mobile 15GB Plan

20 Pound Note

BT Mobile offers 15GB of data for £20/month.

If you’re a heavy data user, BT Mobile currently has a 15GB tariff for £20/month (£25/month for non-BT Broadband customers). It comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 15GB of 4G internet.

For the same monthly price, Three is offering a SIM card with 200 minutes and 30GB of 4G internet. Meanwhile, giffgaff has a £20/month SIM card with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and Always On data (unlimited downloads with tethering and 4G on the first 6GB per month).

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
EEUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£19.99
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£20.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£20.00
inc. £5 discount
O2UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£20.00
Tesco Mobile7505,00020GB£20.00
Three200Unlimited30GB£22.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£22.20

For a more in-depth comparison, please see our full listing of the UK’s best value SIM-only deals.

Network & Coverage

2G, 3G and 4G Coverage from EE

BT Mobile Coverage Map 2016

BT Mobile offers 99% population coverage using the EE network.

BT Mobile uses EE as a network coverage provider. Customers using BT Mobile will therefore receive identical coverage to customers on EE.

At the time of writing, BT Mobile has 99% population coverage for calling and texting. There’s also 98% population coverage for accessing the mobile internet (with 87% population coverage on the faster 4G network).

Before ordering your new phone or SIM card from BT Mobile, we strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on the BT Mobile online coverage map:

Check BT Mobile Coverage (bt.com) »

Extra Speed 4G

By default, all customers joining BT Mobile will have access to EE’s standard-speed 4G network. This gives typical download speeds of about 12-15Mbit/s and a maximum download speed of 30Mbit/s.

For customers living in an Extra Speed 4G coverage area, it’s possible to upgrade to higher speeds by buying the £4/month Extra Speed add-on. The add-on gives you access to EE’s double-speed 4G mobile network with typical download speeds of 24-30Mbit/s and a maximum download speed of 60Mbit/s. The Extra Speed add-on comes on a 30-day rolling contract.

Tethering

Personal HotspotTethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with other devices (e.g. with your laptop or tablet). It’s a convenient way of getting your devices online when you’re out-and-about.

From June 2016 onwards, tethering has been allowed on all BT Mobile tariffs. Prior to June 2016, tethering was prohibited by the old BT Mobile terms and conditions.

For more information about tethering on UK mobile networks, please see our guide to the UK’s best value tariffs for tethering.

Keeping Your Phone Number

If you’re joining BT Mobile from another mobile network, it’s a straightforward process to keep your existing phone number.

BT Mobile Brand ImageTo do this, you should contact your old mobile network and ask them for a PAC Code. This is a nine-digit code that authorises the transfer of your number to BT Mobile. It’s a legal requirement for your old mobile network to provide you with a PAC Code – they must do this within two hours of your original request.

Once you’ve received the PAC Code from your old mobile network, you should order your new phone or SIM card on BT’s website. When your new phone or SIM card arrives, you can contact BT Customer Care on 150 to give them your PAC Code. Your phone number should then normally be transferred on the next working day.

For step-by-step instructions on moving your phone number to BT Mobile, please select your current mobile network from the drop-down menu below:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to BT Mobile

Your current network provider:

  More Options

Popularity & Number of Subscribers

  • BT Mobile
  • EE

In January 2016, EE became a part of the BT Group.

BT Mobile originally launched in March 2015. Just over a year after launch, in May 2016, BT Mobile was reported as having “a customer base of over 400,000” people. This makes it one of the fastest growing mobile networks in the UK.

In January 2016, BT completed a takeover of EE. Today, EE is a division within the BT Group. However, it is still being run as a separate business and as a separate brand from the BT Mobile service.

More Information

For more information, please see the BT Mobile website. You can also see the main BT website for information about other offerings like broadband, TV and sport.

Like this tip? Get the most from your mobile phone...

  • Discover brand new ways to use your mobile phone
  • Techniques to get more out of your mobile phone for less
  • Be the first to learn about new mobile technology

Enter your email to receive free regular Ken's Tech Tips:

About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 25 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Guy said:

    Was considering bt sim only based on reviews by a number of pro reviewers. Then checked the reviews by customers on trust pilot and others. Not a chance. Why no mention of the abysmal customer service reviews ? I mean they’re totally shocking for a supposed British institution.

  2. steve said:

    Hi Ken

    I’m thinking of joining BT mobile as I’m BT broadband customer,if I was to go ahead with the mobile contract what would happen if I canceled the BT broadband contract which ends in a few months time? Many thanks Steve

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Steve,
      Thanks for your comment and a very good question! I’ve tried looking into this a bit further, but wasn’t able to get any conclusive answers from BT. All I was able to find was a mention in their terms & conditions that they reserve the right to remove the discount from you (whether they actually do this, I’m really not sure). Your best bet might be to contact BT to try and get a conclusive answer from them (do let me know if you find out anything on this!).
      Thanks,
      Ken

  3. Greg said:

    Ken,

    Yes great deals from BT mobile, you should also point out in your reviews that BT have a massive credit checking problem. I have recently started to transferred my family from Vodafone to Bt mobile given the great deals they are doing. BT broadband worked well and we had a Bt landline for 30 years. After signing up two of the kids for mobile phones , they blocked my order for my wife phone. So that they can protect the company. As an ex-employee I like to be faith to BT. So if your family wants more than two mobile contracts don’t go to BT mobile.

  4. EllisD said:

    Earlier today, while my boyfriend and I were in school he received a message after turning his phone on during lunch for the first time in hours which read that he’d used 401MB out of his 500MB in the month, then exactly 1 minute later he received another message saying that he’d used up all of his allowance! We were both shocked at how this could’ve happened considering he’d only had the phone on for a minute and we were both pretty sure that data can’t be used while the phone is turned off? Anyway, he turned it back off and that was it until we got out of school about 3 hours later. As we were walking back to his house (which is only about a 7 minute walk) he had his phone on, and during those 7 minutes with no apps running apart from one he somehow used almost 300MB causing him to rack up a bill of £35 (his cap is £40) with no warning whatsoever? The app he was using hadn’t even used 1MB in total when we looked on the mobile data usage! We told his dad when we got home, and he checked on the BT Website and found that almost all of the 500MB had been used today, somehow?! It’s unbelievable – is it broken or a scam, we don’t know?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Ellis,
      Thanks for your comment – this is a really strange situation. My *guess* is there might be a background application using up all of that data (e.g. do you have any photo auto-upload services, or were there any automatic updates running at that point?). It’s worth checking your mobile phone’s data usage monitor and then comparing this to BT’s figures to see if there any discrepancies. If your phone’s data usage monitor shows a very different number to that shown by BT, then I’d definitely get in touch with BT to discuss the situation.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

      1. EllisD replied:

        It said in the general mobile data usage bit that general applications had been using up the data, however it’s strange how 500MB was used up solely on that day and not on any other, even though all the phone settings had remained the same? BT was called and they insisted that it was his fault, that it must not have been turned off or something (even though it was) since they didn’t want to take any responsibility for it I’m guessing. We’ve turned off background app refresh now – maybe that was doing it, even if the phone was turned off? Oh well, hopefully it won’t happen again!

        1. Ken Lo
          Ken replied:

          Hi Ellis,
          Yes, this is really strange 🙁 It might be some kind of automatic update (e.g. your apps or operating system updating themselves automatically) – ideally they should only really being doing this over wi-fi.
          Ken

  5. Kunsky said:

    THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU GO BT MOBILE. Beware of BT mobile’s massive hidden data & call charges. You MUST READ THIS if you ever consider a BT mobile SIM card. I got charged additional £100 for my first bill which came as rude surprise. Since realised that countless unsuspecting victims have found themselves in similar situation which is not informed at any stage before you sign on with BT. BT later told me I should have seen a link at the end of the activation confirmation email which advises about avoiding a surprise. You will be lucky to ever read it amoungst the mill of information in the email but still does not mention this massive charge. What BT refers to does not give any indication of the charges except to check “my BT moblie” How BT can justify charging £100 for going over my data allowance by 1GB is beyond me. I have complained but told it is my responsibility to check the small prints. I am not going to give up but I believe I owe it to others mobile phone users to inform them and spare them this travesty. My previous service provider slowed down my browser when I once went over my data limit but never charged me extra above my contracted amount. With BT you will ALWAYS be charged heavily if you go above your limit. In my case I was charged my expected yearly payment in just the first month! BT have now confirmed that I cannot cap my monthly data so that I do not pay any extra above the original contracted monthly amount.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Kunsky,
      Sorry to hear about the problems you’ve experienced on BT Mobile. Just wondering if you’ve tried their Spend Cap feature? In theory, this should prevent the problem you’re talking about (your out-of-allowance charges won’t be able to exceed a limit such as £5/month).
      Ken

  6. Susie Wilson said:

    Wow Ken what a brilliant website. I have been looking for a PAYG deal for my father 91 years old, just about to get his first mobile. So helpful, I was beginning to despair trawling through all the companies on the web trying to answer all the very complicated questions that my father was asking, he was a Chartered Accountant, so very savvy with figures. Just so full of info, clearly set out and answering all my questions.. Thanks so much.

  7. Ken Lo
    Ken said:

    Hi all,
    Just a quick heads up that we’ve updated the article following BT’s recent price plan changes.
    – The 500MB plan is now £6/month (£11/month for non-BT Broadband customers)
    – The 2GB plan is now £11/month (£16/month for non-BT Broadband customers)
    – The 20GB plan is now £20/month (£25/month for non-BT Broadband customers)
    Previously, the tariffs respectively cost £5/month, £12/month and £20/month.
    Hope this helps,
    Ken

  8. Jason mccoll said:

    I’ve had a 20 pound sim package for my s5 was working fine then all of a sudden data stopped samsung checked phone all good my sim will work data in another phone and another sim will work in this phone checked all apn settings etc nothing any help please

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Jason,
      This is a really curious problem – afraid I don’t have any obvious solutions to the problem. Your best bet would probably be to ask BT Mobile Customer Services (call 150 on your BT handset or 0800 800 150 from any other phone).
      Ken

  9. Stan said:

    Hi, I have bought BT broadband and now I use BT mobile for £5 a month with a discount. They say it’s a capped plan and if you use your 500mb, you cannot use anymore. But, on capped limit, it is £5 minimum and every month we get an extra £8-£10 bill because BT takes £1 for every extra MB. I have another contract with Tesco, with capped plan as well, and I never pay over my limit. Does that mean it is capped or BT is bad? I think maybe to cancel plan in the future? Thanks

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Stan,
      Thanks for your comment. I’ve taken a look at this a little bit further: it appears that BT has an option to add a “monthly spend cap” but there’s no way of actually setting this to zero. BT’s website says:
      “Limited to available caps. (Initial cap set between £5 and £100 depending on your credit status). Cap set at £100. Opt in to decrease to £5 or increase to a maximum of £200 (subject to credit status)”.
      It wasn’t totally clear to me whether this monthly spend cap includes your normal monthly charges. Have you asked BT what the cap on your account is currently set to? I’m curious whether you’re able to set your monthly cap to £5/month and whether this stops you from incurring any extra charges.
      With regards to out-of-allowance usage, BT does charge a rather hefty 10p/MB once you use up your allowance (this can very quickly add up to a fairly large bill). The best way to stop this from happening is to get it capped at BT (alternatively, your smartphone operating system might allow you to automatically stop the data connection once you reach a certain limit).
      Ken

  10. Rob said:

    Hi,
    I was really interested in the “SIM only Plan” with the £5/month discount if you already have BT Broadband. Only problem is that I actually have BT Business Broadband (we run a riding school, not a pub etc) so the BT registratation failed with an error message (something like “unable to complete form”). I can only assume, like many of BTs BB vs Busines BB offers, is that this offer is only for BT BB and not for BT Business BB. Can you confirm this? Thanks

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Rob,
      Thanks for your comment. As you say, unfortunately, the BT Mobile tariffs are only available to people who have BT Consumer Broadband. There is a separate BT Business Mobile service but unfortunately the tariffs there are a little bit more expensive (e.g. £20/month for 2GB of internet compared to only £12/month on the consumer offering).
      Ken

  11. david ross said:

    hi ken will a bt 4g sim card work on any unlocked mobile fone or smart fone only thanks

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi David,
      You’re able to use 2G, 3G and 4G on BT Mobile. Hence, it’s possible to use any mobile phone (no need to be using a smartphone).
      Ken

      1. david ross replied:

        thank you very much for that information

  12. Pam Barker said:

    Hi Ken, you are totally brilliant. I’m so glad I found your website yesterday which answered all of my questions. I’ve been with Orange since Adam was a lad with no probs at all. Last Monday, having received a new SIM card from EE which after 22 hours in the phone still wasn’t working one of their guys made what he admitted was a very basic mistake and locked my Nokia C2 whilst migrating my number from card to card. This is after I’d spoken to four different EE staff to confirm the new SIM card would work, none of whom thought to ask for details of my handset. Now I’ve got to wait at least another seven working days for them to get me the unlocking code from Nokia. Grrr!

    In the meantime I’ve read lots of your info on how things work, e.g. I know all the contacts etc on my phone are still there without the SIM card in, I know I can use a 4g SIM card but it will run on 3G which my handset supports, what to do to change my network and keep my number and all about the BT mobile deals.

    Can’t thank you enough. Even ladies in their sixties like to learn! Thanks Ken.

  13. SteveB said:

    One thing BT don’t tell you, and it took me a bit of pressing to find out, is that even though you have signed a 12-month contract, if you cancel or change your broadband provider in those 12 months, you immediately lose your mobile discount, i.e. your bill increases immediately by £5/month.

    Worth remembering.

  14. Angus Day said:

    Having to choose between combi SIM or nano is surprising. EE supply their subscribers with a universal card which fits all three sizes. Unless, of course, these are causing problems.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Angus,
      Thanks for your comment. I’ve also received one of these trio-SIMs from Three: it worked OK when I used it as a Micro SIM. My only thoughts were that there’s a difference in thickness between the Nano SIM and other types of SIM card (it’s only a small difference at 0.09mm but nevertheless, it means having a regulation Nano SIM isn’t the same thing as popping out the centre part of a SIM card). Not sure if this ever causes problems – also, there’s people snapping the SIM card out of the wrong place and then damaging their phone by using an adapter (possible in certain handsets depending on how the SIM card slot is designed).
      Ken

Leave a Reply

E-Mail Notifications: By default, I'll drop you an e-mail when there's a reply to your comment. If you don't want to receive such a notification, please select the "Don't Subscribe" option from the dropdown menu above.