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Image credit: Will Lipman

BT Mobile begins offering handset plans

The company's not just relying on EE to get its slice of the mobile pie.
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Will Lipman

BT's acquisition of EE clearly hasn't dampened the company's aspirations to become a mobile player in its own right. BT waded back into the space over a year ago now, with a simple selection of 12-month, SIM-only plans. It appears, however, that was just the beginning. Today, BT Mobile grows into a more fully featured provider, as it's begun offering an assortment of smartphones on two-year, pay-monthly contracts. It's not the widest range, but BT's filled the virtual shelves with a number of popular devices from Apple and Samsung, including their latest flagships, and a couple from Sony for good measure, headlined by the new Xperia X.

BT has kept things relatively simple on the pricing front, too. There are just three different tariffs available with every handset, split into two tiers depending on whether you want an "all-rounder" like the Samsung Galaxy A5 or 16GB iPhone 5s, or a "premium" device such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 or iPhone 6s:

All-rounder

Price per month Minutes Texts 4G Data Price for broadband customers
£25 400 unlimited 500MB £20
£30 1,000 unlimited 2GB £25
£40 unlimited unlimited 15GB £35

Premium

Price per month Minutes Texts 4G Data Price for broadband customers
£36 400 unlimited 500MB £31
£41 1,000 unlimited 2GB £36
£51 unlimited unlimited 15GB £46

By standardising the price of plans, BT has taken a different approach to subsidised handsets. There's little wiggle room in the monthly cost to account for varying handset prices, so customers make up the difference with upfront payments. In fact, only a couple of device/tariff combinations let you walk away with a free phone, and upfront payments can go as high as £430 for a 128GB iPhone 6s Plus on the £36 per month premium plan.

Unlike most second-tier providers, BT Mobile is in the position to offer a number of perks with its contracts. Like the SIM-only plans, these new two-year tariffs include complimentary access to BT's five million WiFi hotspots and free BT Sport Lite (essentially just BT Sport 1) through mobile apps, among other things.

It's quite interesting to see BT expand its mobile offering, particularly after absorbing the UK's largest carrier. Considering the discounts for broadband customers, though, it makes sense for BT to cater to device needs, inspiring loyalty to its other services. No doubt it helps assure regulators they were right to clear the EE acquisition and ignore competition concerns, too.

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