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BT Mobile review: The best network for family plans

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £13
Starting at

A good way to use EE’s network for less, but no longer the best network for value


  • Good SIM-only deals
  • Free EU roaming
  • Excellent family plans


  • No longer a great option for BT Broadband subscribers
  • Other networks offer better value

Seven years after it bought EE, BT still operates both networks over EE’s infrastructure, with EE the premium, high-performance option and BT the cost-conscious, family-friendly choice. There are signs that the two are getting closer and more integrated, with BT Mobile now actively pushing its BT Broadband customers towards discounted EE SIM-only deals and monthly phone plans. However, BT still sells its own SIM-only deals, along with its popular family plans.

BT lags behind EE in some areas, according to our 2022 Mobile Network Awards survey, but it still scores highly for both value and customer support. Just over two-thirds of users, or 68%, would recommend the network to a friend.

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Mobile network review: What do you get?

Until now, BT Mobile offered two sets of prices, with BT Broadband subscribers getting a £5 discount on contract phone plans and SIM-only deals. Nowadays, things work slightly differently. BT Broadband customers get access to exclusive EE offers or 10% off specific EE phone plans, while they’re also offered Exclusive EE 5G Essential SIM Only plans, which are typically £6 to £10 cheaper than the equivalent EE plan.

BT Mobile handset plans are no longer available to new customers, so the only non-subscriber packages on offer are its SIM-only plans. These start at £13 for the basic 4GB plan, with unlimited minutes and texts, and go up to £30 for 100GB on a 12-month contract. Increase the contract length to 24 months and prices drop or data allowances go up, giving you 5GB instead of 4GB for £13/mth, or 100GB for £25/mth.

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You’re free to switch your data plan every month to increase or decrease your allowance, and 5G comes at no extra charge. You also get access to 5 million BT Wi-Fi hotspots while you’re out and about. You also get free BT Sport through the BT Sport app. BT Broadband subscribers can also get a £5 discount on SIM-only deals, while BT Halo customers get double data too.

Monthly fee (24 month, 1 SIM)Monthly fee (12 months, 1 SIM)

If there’s one area where BT Mobile consistently trumps EE, it’s value for money. In this year’s awards survey, over 35% of BT subscribers said they were very happy with the network on this front, against just 23% for EE. A further 50% were satisfied, compared to 54% from EE. Together, these figures put BT Mobile ahead of not just EE, but Three, Virgin Media, O2 and Vodafone, though Sky Mobile and the cheaper no-frills networks get even better results.

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BT Mobile review: Family plans

BT’s family plans are arguably the best reason to choose the network. You can have up to five SIMs on a single contract, and with each SIM the price per SIM goes down. For instance, where a single 25GB SIM would cost you £20 a month on a one-year contract, you could have four for £56, or £14 each. You can set a spending cap per SIM to keep control of costs, and the extra SIMs can be added or removed as your needs change. You can see the current deals below:

2x SIM3x SIM4x SIM5x SIM

The only thing to watch out for is that you still might be able to get better deals elsewhere. For instance, both Smarty and iD Mobile will give you 30GB of data for £10/mth, even without any discounts applied.

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BT Mobile review: Customer service

BT Mobile has historically done well when it comes to customer service, and that hasn’t changed much with this year’s Mobile Network Awards survey. 31% of users say they’re very satisfied with their customer service, while a further 49% are satisfied. EE scores higher, as do Smarty, Plusnet Mobile, Tesco Mobile and Sky Mobile, but this is still a good result. Virgin Mobile, Vodafone, iD Mobile and Lebara all score significantly worse.

Ofcom’s latest Comparing customer service report doesn’t provide full figures for BT Mobile, but BT has slightly fewer complaints per 100,000 subscribers than the industry average, though it’s a bit disappointing to see that one in ten customers has a reason to complain.

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BT Mobile review: Coverage, reliability and speed

BT runs on the same network as EE, so there’s good news when it comes to coverage and speed. What’s more, where BT customers used to be hobbled by an artificial 30Mbits/sec speed cap, this has now been lifted, so performance should be nigh-identical across the two.

EE’s 4G coverage reached 99% of the UK population, while in the summer its 5G services crossed the 50% coverage barrier. According to the latest research from RootMetrics, strong 4G performance and excellent 5G performance mean that EE’s median UK download speed is a high 66.2Mbits/sec, dwarfing the 29.9Mbits/sec of its nearest rival, Three. In metropolitan areas, EE won more of RootMetrics’ RootScore performance awards (111) than Three, Virgin Media O2 and Vodafone combined, while posting UK-wide 5G median download speeds of approximately 150Mbits/sec, second only to Three with 200Mbits/sec.

We didn’t get a large enough sample to get a good idea of BT’s 5G customer satisfaction, but EE did well on this front, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of its 5G customers very or fairly satisfied, and fewer than 11% of them disappointed.

Sadly, BT can’t keep up with EE in our reliability results. BT is fast enough for web browsing in the eyes of 86% of its users, but falls short on audio streaming, where it lags EE by 10%, and video streaming, where only 44% of BT users think it has the necessary speed – one of the lowest scores for any UK network.

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BT Mobile review: Roaming

Where EE now charges £2 a day for EU roaming, BT Mobile still makes it free through its Roam Like Home feature. Outside the EU, you can get a Travel Data Pass at £6 per day to cover you for 500MB every 24 hours in 12 other countries, including Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, New Zealand and the USA. Otherwise, costs escalate rapidly, with calls typically £1.59 a minute to make and £1.42 per minute to receive, texts at 44p and data at a shocking £5.70 per MB. If Roam Like Home or the Travel Data Pass isn’t an option, you might want to grab hold of a local SIM.

BT Mobile review: Other services and spending caps

BT Mobile offers Wi-Fi calling as standard, to keep you covered in places where you can’t get a decent mobile signal. Meanwhile, free access to BT’s network of five million free UK Wi-Fi hotspots, with another 13 million abroad, could help you get better high-speed access or preserve your 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.

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BT Mobile review: Verdict

BT Mobile still offers the best value for BT Broadband subscribers, closer integration with EE may one day spell the end of BT Mobile as a separate network, but right now it’s still worth looking at if you want to take advantage of EE’s great performance on a low-cost deal, or make the most of BT Mobile’s family plans. Shop around before you sign up, though, as there may be better deals around.

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