BT launches new mobile plans, promising "best value 4G data deal" and free BT Sport

BT has returned to the UK's mobile market, with the launch of a range of SIM-only price plans offering inclusive minutes, texts and data, and promising the "best value 4G mobile data deal as a reward for its broadband customers."

BT exited the mobile market over a decade ago, when it spun off its BT Cellnet service into a separate company, relaunching it under the O2 brand, which was then acquired by Telefónica in 2005. BT had engaged in discussions with Telefónica about buying the carrier back, but O2 is instead being sold to Hutchison Whampoa, owners of the Three network.

As consumers and businesses focus on an increasingly mobile future, the absence of any mobile services in BT's range had left a big gap in its product portfolio. BT - which remains the UK's largest provider of fixed-line phone and broadband services - intends to buy EE to fill in that gap, but that deal has not yet been approved by regulators.

In light of that proposed acquisition, it's not surprising that BT Mobile will use EE's physical network to deliver its new services. The company has announced three new SIM-only 12-month plans, which are available now:

  • 200 minutes + 500MB data = £10 a month
  • 500 minutes + 2GB data = £17 a month
  • Unlimited minutes + 20GB data = £25 a month

If you sign up to BT Broadband - or if you're already a broadband customer - you'll get £5 off any of these mobile plans every month.

All three tariffs include 4G data, unlimited access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots, unlimited calls to 0800 numbers and access to "loads of Barclays Premier League matches when you're out and about on the BT Sport app" (available only on iOS and Android).

Customers can also set a monthly spending cap to avoid unpleasantly large mobile bills, and view their remaining allowances via the BT Mobile app (also only on iOS and Android).

Unfortunately, none of the new BT Mobile price plans allow tethering. A BTCare rep explained on the company's forums:

Thanks for postiong. [sic] We don't support tethering because using many devices on one mobile service quickly uses up your allowance and can lead to out of plan charges. Therefore we want to make sure you're always connected on your mobile, and have the right plan for your mobile needs.

Although BT Mobile's plans are all SIM-only, the company is selling four 4G-ready handsets with a £50 discount code, although the pricing of these devices is hardly competitive. Last year's Samsung Galaxy S5 is the most impressive handset of the bunch, and even with the £50 discount, it will still set you back £399 from BT Mobile. The same device costs around £315 on Amazon.

More: BT Mobile / BT plc press release

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