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.
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.
- 1 Pricing & Tariffs
- 2 Key Features
- 3 Comparison to Alternatives
- 4 Network & Coverage
- 5 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 6 Popularity & Number of Subscribers
- 7 More Information
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
If 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:
inc. £5 discount
inc. £5 discount
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.
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
If 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)
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
Unfortunately, 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.
BT Broadband Discount
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.
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.
All 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).
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
BT Mobile 500MB Plan
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).
inc. £5 discount
BT Mobile 2GB Plan
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).
inc. £5 discount
BT Mobile 15GB Plan
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).
inc. £5 discount
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 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:
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 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.
To 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|
Popularity & Number of Subscribers
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.
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.