BT SIM only offers explained
By Dan Howdle
| Wednesday, October 2, 2019
In this guide
BT Mobile hasn’t been around that long. It was thought, at the time BT bought EE, that it wouldn’t care about its own brand of mobile. But here we are in 2019, and BT Mobile now offers a wide range of SIMs and handsets at relatively cheap prices.
The biggest draw for BT Mobile will be BT’s broadband customers. The fewer bills you receive, the simpler your life is to some extent. This is why many people who use BT for broadband, landline and / or TV choose to go with BT Mobile for their mobile needs. So what about the SIM card only? We will take a look.
Why choose a BT Mobile SIM only offer?
According to BT Mobile, there are a number of reasons why you should choose it over the other. We recognize, however, that many of these benefits can be found with other vendors as well.
- 4G in more places than O2, Vodafone and Three – Is this a boast that BT itself adopts when advertising its SIM cards. What this really means is that BT Mobile overlaps the EE network, which has better 4G coverage than its competition. Marginal, but according to independent reports, this is the case
- Hassle-free returns – BT Mobile is so sure that you will be happy with the service it offers that if you are not it will refund you anytime during the first 30 days of use
- Move around like at home – You can use your BT Mobile SIM abroad at no additional cost in many foreign countries, mainly in the EU. You can see the full list in the roaming section further down the page
- Add more SIM cards and save – If you have other family members who also have phones, you can save money by getting additional SIM cards from BT Mobile. Its Family SIM plans add an additional discount for up to four additional SIMs
- Frequently available offers and rewards – Often times, depending on when you watch, BT Mobile will offer sign-up incentives, such as gift / rewards cards and / or free giveaways
Is BT Mobile a good network?
Not all mobile networks are real networks, technically speaking. There are actually only four separate networks in the UK, and even they share many of the same masts. They are Three, O2, EE and Vodafone. All of the other providers – BT Mobile, for example – “piggyback” or borrow capacity from one of these four networks.
BT Mobile is superimposed on the EE network, of which BT indirectly owns. Fortunately, EE offers the widest coverage and the best data rates of the four network providers, so you’re in good hands. EE covers over 99.9% of the UK population with its signal and offers data download speeds between 8-10 Mbps in most places, with speeds up to 40 Mbps where you can get a signal particularly good.
Data and calling features
There is a standard set of desirable features that you should look for on any cell phone provider you are considering signing up for. BT Mobile is no different. Let’s see how it goes.
- 4G data speed – Being on the EE network means that BT Mobile shares the best coverage and the best data rates with EE. By the way, BT also owns EE. You can find BT Mobile’s data speeds in the section above
- Data rollover – BT Mobile, at the time of writing, does not have a data transfer scheme. This means that unused data at the end of the month is essentially gone for good.
- Sharing the line – This is where you use your phone’s data allocation and connect to the internet as a mobile broadband router, allowing you to connect other devices. BT Mobile allows unlimited connection up to your data allowance
- Wi-Fi calling – EE was a pioneer in wifi calling – that is, using your home wifi to make calls where the signal might otherwise be weak. As such, wifi calling is available on all BT Mobile SIM offers
- Data donation – This is where you can transfer the unused data allowance to a friend or family member on the same network. Unfortunately, BT Mobile is not a provider that offers it
- Data Limits – This is where you can set a limit set on how much data you want to use over a given period. Rather than allowing you to cross that limit, your provider will cut your data to prevent you from spending money that you wouldn’t prefer. All BT Mobile SIM cards offer the option of spending limits, which are the same except for the name. Rather than setting a data limit, you can tell BT that you never want to spend more than X amount on your monthly bill. This will protect you from accidental expenses if you are abroad or call numbers not included in your free minutes
Roaming on BT Mobile
The term “roaming” refers to going abroad with your phone and the rules that may or may not apply, depending on where you are going. Most providers offer roaming terms to a limited number of countries where you won’t pay more than at home. Nine times out of ten, these countries are either EU nations or territories of these nations elsewhere in the world.
On BT Mobile, you can move around at home in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guinea, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Islands, Romania, Saint-Barthélemy (Saint-Barth), San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, the French Antilles and Vatican City.
If you are traveling elsewhere, the rates for data, minutes and SMS vary depending on the country and where you are calling. It is always best to check with any supplier for the exact situation in the country you are visiting before you leave.
Which providers offer good alternatives?
The truth is, if you are just looking for an alternative to BT Mobile in terms of SIM only deals, you will have almost every other choice available. Most providers do some things to differentiate themselves from others, although we believe most choose BT Mobile because they are already with BT for some of their other services. It doesn’t matter. Here are the alternatives we recommend, what network they are on and what sets them apart.
- EE – Works on its own network – the same network as BT Mobile – and offers just about anything you can think of, from SIM-only mobile phone deals to tablets and more
- giffgaff – Is run, in part, by its community, which means the SIM cards, phones and plans it offers tend to be very good value for money. Not for everyone, but dearly loved by its customers, giffgaff is on the O2 network
- O2 – Manages own network and, like EE, Three and Vodafone, offers just about everything
- Mobile ID – Is the brand of the mobile phone provider that operates in-house for the Carphone Warehouse. It offers just about everything – SIM, PAYG, phones and tablets, and works on the Three network
- Plusnet Mobile – Only offers SIM offers only on rolling 30-day contracts. No phone, no PAYG. It works on the EE network
- Celestial mobile – Much like BT Mobile, the best reason to choose Sky Mobile is if you are already a customer. Other than that, Sky, which operates on the O2 network, is quite expensive compared to the competition.
- CLEVER – Is a sub-brand of Three, which offers low-cost SIM cards on the Three network
- Tesco Mobile – Is the only supermarket supplier in this range – because ASDA Mobile only does PAYG. It works on the O2 network and offers phones, SIMs, tablets, the lot
- Three – Is another of the UK’s four network providers and offers a wide variety of SIM cards and phones. It was the first to offer unlimited data on some of its offerings, although EE is now taking that action at the time of writing.
- BT Mobile – Works on the EE network and offers a good range of SIM cards and phones, with unlimited data on offer if you are also a Virgin Media broadband and / or TV customer
- Vodafone – Is the last of four UK mobile network operators on this list, offering just about everything
Frequently Asked Questions
What network does BT Mobile use?
Can I get a SIM card for BT Mobile?
Yes. All the offers available on this page will earn you a free BT Mobile SIM card. Just head to the comparison part of the page to see what’s available. The lists are updated daily.
Are all BT Mobile SIMs 4G?
Yes. 3G still exists in some areas as a fallback – if you can’t get 4G where you are at any given time, your phone will try to find the best signal available, and that may be 3G. However, as long as your signal is good, you will get the fastest 4G from BT Mobile, through the EE network.
How to cancel only BT Mobile SIM card?
You can cancel your BT Mobile SIM offer at any time during the first 30 days of signing up. Alternatively, if there is some sort of reception issue that manifests itself afterwards and BT Mobile is unable to resolve it, you can also leave before your contract ends.
Can I use BT Mobile SIM card in EE locked phone?
Yes, in the sense that you can unlock your phone before inserting the new SIM card. No, in the sense that if you put it on right before you unlock it, it won’t work. Even though BT Mobile and EE share the same network, it does not follow that SIM cards are interchangeable on locked phones.
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