BT Mobile review: Great deals for BT Broadband customers with data-hungry households

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
Starting at

Great for existing BT Broadband subscribers, if a bit average for everyone else

Money-saving family plans and discounts for BT subscribers
Good customer service
Runs on the UK’s fastest network
Speeds restricted compared to EE
Limited range of pay monthly phones
Other cost-conscious networks offer more data for less

You might have thought that running one mobile network was quite enough to be getting on with, yet BT manages two, running EE as its mainstream option with a focus on cutting-edge features and performance, while maintaining BT Mobile independently as the cost-conscious, family-friendly choice.

This made a lot of sense a few years ago when BT had some of the best-value SIM-only deals and phone contracts around but, these days, BT finds itself undercut by rivals such as Three and iD Mobile. Luckily, BT still has a couple of aces to play, namely money-off deals for existing BT subscribers and great family plans that tie two to five SIMs into the same contract. If you have a BT landline and a bunch of data-hungry kids, BT might make signing up for mobile worth your while.

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Mobile network review: What do you get?

For a while, BT had some of the best SIM-only deals in town but it now faces stiff competition from the likes of Three, iD Mobile, Tesco Mobile and Giffgaff. For instance, £20 will get you 25GB of monthly data on a 12-month, SIM-only contract, which Sky’s £20 for 30GB plan beats, as does Tesco Mobile, which offers 50GB for £2.50 less per month or 100GB for the same money.

Giffgaff can do the same, while iD Mobile is even cheaper at £15 for 100GB, and Three’s unlimited services start at £20.

Browse BT Mobile SIM-only plan

The situation changes if you’re already a BT Broadband subscriber, as BT chops an extra £5 off the price of each plan, making them much more competitive. Throw in two-year options and you can get the price for 100GB down to £20 per month or 50GB for £15.

This might explain why BT scored above-average results for value for money in our 2021 Mobile Network Awards, with 41% of BT customers very satisfied with the value of their package and another 41% satisfied. You can see BT’s current SIM-only offers in the table below, but knock £5 off the price of each plan if you’re an existing BT Broadband or Halo subscriber:

Monthly fee (24 months, 1x SIM)Monthly fee (12 months, 1x SIM)DataTextsMinutes

There’s a slight sense that BT’s heart isn’t in the smartphone-selling business these days. At the time of writing, it offers a choice of just nine phones and some of those are last year’s models. You can grab an iPhone 11, a Google Pixel 4a or a Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 4G, but you’re out of luck if you want an iPhone 12 or the 5G-capable Samsung Galaxy S20 FE. In fact, BT doesn’t currently sell any 5G handsets. It’s not as if the pricing is that enticing, either, with iPhone 11 prices starting at £39 a month on a two-year, 3GB contract. iD Mobile will sell you an iPhone 12 for less.

Browse BT Mobile phone contracts

BT Mobile review: Family plans

The best reason to splash out on BT is the same as it was when we last reviewed it: its great-value family SIM plans. Basically, you can run up to five SIMs from the one account, and the more SIMs you have, the more you save. Each additional SIM is at least 20% cheaper than getting that SIM on its own. Apart from the first SIM, extra SIMs can be added or removed as your needs change, and the bill payer can set spending caps for each SIM. You can see the monthly costs in the table below, but bear in mind that BT subscribers can knock an extra £5 off each monthly cost.

2x SIM3x SIM4x SIM5x SIM

Browse BT Mobile family plans

BT Mobile review: Customer service

BT is doing something right when it comes to customer service. Our Mobile Network Awards survey found that 77% of BT Mobile users are either satisfied or very satisfied with the network’s customer support, putting it ahead of O2, Vodafone, Three and Virgin Mobile.

And while Ofcom’s latest research didn’t provide results for overall customer satisfaction, BT still had a lower percentage of customers with a reason to complain (7%) than the industry average (10%), although it had slightly more complaints to Ofcom per 100,000 subscribers (16 against an average of 13). This puts BT Mobile ahead of some networks, including Three, Virgin and Vodafone, even if it lags slightly behind Giffgaff and EE.

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BT Mobile review: Coverage, reliability and speed

Our survey puts BT in a good position when it comes to coverage, reliability and speeds. 93% of BT Mobile users told us that they had good enough speeds for general web browsing, which is nothing special, but that stayed at 91% for audio streaming and 88% for video streaming, putting BT comfortably ahead of O2, Vodafone, Three and Virgin Mobile.

This comes down to the fact that BT is a virtual network over EE, and EE remains the number one UK network for speed and reliability, according to the latest figures from RootMetrics. Its UK-wide median download speed of 58.8Mbits/sec is over twice as fast as that of the nearest competitor, Vodafone with 25.2Mbits/sec. It also notched up 24 nation-level RootScore awards from a total of 28 possible chances, again outdoing the competition, and had the highest score for reliability.

EE’s coverage is excellent, and its 5G coverage is getting better all the time. EE now offers 5G services in over 160 UK towns and cities, and RootMetrics’ latest results – which look at 5G only and the mixed 4G/5G “Everyday 5G” experience – put EE ahead for both availability and median download speeds, with rates of above 100Mbits/sec in all 16 cities where testing took place. All BT Mobile SIMs are now 5G ready, and as long as you use a 5G device in a 5G area, you should be good to go.

BT subscribers won’t get the full benefit of EE’s performance, as only EE customers get the full up to 90GB 4G service. However, BT does offer an Extra Speed 4G add-on, which boosts the maximum speed from 30Mbits/sec to 60Mbits/sec for £4.18 per month.

Browse BT Mobile phone contracts

BT Mobile review: Roaming

Where EE has already said that roaming charges are coming back early next year, BT has yet to announce its own plans and, for now, you can still use your inclusive minutes, texts and data in 47 destinations across Europe.

What’s more, you can also buy a £6 daily Travel Pass to get 500MB of data in 12 other countries, including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand and the US. Without the Travel Pass, things can get expensive, with calls costing up to £1.72 per minute to make and £1.35 to receive, and texts costing 41p and data £5.22 per megabyte.

BT Mobile review: Other services and spending caps

BT Mobile also offers Wi-Fi calling, where you can make and take calls over Wi-Fi in places where you can’t get a decent mobile signal. It only works on some iOS and Android phones, but it’s useful in poor signal areas.

What’s more, BT Mobile also gives you free access to BT’s network of five million free UK Wi-Fi hotspots, with another 13 million abroad. This could give you better high-speed access in some locations, while helping you get away with a lower monthly data allowance.

As for spending caps, BT applies a default £40 cap, although a safeguard cap kicks in if you accumulate data charges of more than £35 while abroad. If you prefer, you can set your own cap online, or even ban spending above your monthly allowance.

Browse BT Mobile phone contracts

BT Mobile review: Verdict

BT Mobile still offers the best value for BT Broadband subscribers, particularly those with a family to keep in contracts. Users get some (although not all) of the advantages of EE’s network at a lower price, and it says a lot that 88% of those we surveyed would recommend BT Mobile to a friend – Vodafone, Three and Virgin Mobile all scored well under 80%.

However, it’s not quite so compelling for those without a BT Broadband contract, with rivals offering more data in the package for the same price, or even less. If you’re not an existing customer, you can find a better package elsewhere.

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