BT introduce Family SIM plans
NOT content with being the UK's biggest broadband provider, BT have launched a new addition to their mobile SIM range: the Family SIM.
Customers buying the Family SIM package start with one 12-month SIM, but can add up to four more on 30-days terms, with each costing less per month than the last.
As with BT's other mobile and SIM-only plans, there's a further discount of £5 per month on the package for those who live in a house with BT Broadband.
Existing BT Mobile SIM-only customers will also be able to benefit from the plan.
BT's SIM-only plans
BT offer three different SIM-only plans:
|Data||Calls and texts||Price per month|
|...with BT Broadband||...without BT Broadband|
|500MB||200 minutes, unlimited texts||£5||£10|
|2GB||500 minutes, unlimited texts||£10||£15|
Of these, the 2GB and the 15GB plans are available with the Family SIM.
Each SIM we want to add must be on the same data plan as the initial SIM - which may prove an issue for families where different users have different needs or usage patterns.
Combined with the fact that only the first SIM benefits from the £5 a month discount available to homes with BT Broadband, this could mean that some users may find it better value to stick with individual SIMs, each with the right data plan for the user or device in question, and each benefiting from a £5 discount.
But where everyone uses about the same amount of data, the additional discounts available on each extra SIM could well sway it.
For the 2GB Family SIM package, they look like this:
|2GB Family SIM||Price per month, one SIM||Additional price per month|
|Second SIM||Third SIM||Fourth SIM||Fifth SIM|
|With BT Broadband||£10||£8||£7||£6||£5|
|Without BT Broadband||£15|
And for the 15GB Family SIM, the additional costs work out like this:
|15GB Family SIM||Price per month, one SIM||Additional price per month|
|Second SIM||Third SIM||Fourth SIM||Fifth SIM|
|With BT Broadband||£20||£15||£13||£11||£10|
|Without BT Broadband||£25|
Whichever package we opt for, the additional SIMS each come on 30-day terms - and they can be used in both mobile phones and tablets.
That could prove useful for someone looking at getting a new 3G/4G tablet, and who isn't sure how much data they'll need - they can add an extra SIM to their package for a month or two to see if they can get by on the same amount of data. If not, they're not locked in.
That makes it an attractive option for those who already have one BT Mobile SIM and would like to be able to add more of the same for less - and moving from an individual SIM plan to a Family plan is fairly easy to do.
Having logged in online and navigated found their existing SIM plan in their Account Summary, customers simply need to click "Move to a Family SIM plan", then buy the additional SIMs they want.
A word of caution, however: because each extra SIM is cheaper than it would be when bought separately, any special prices being offered by BT on their individual SIMs aren't available with the Family SIM.
As an example: until the end of the month, BT are offering their 15GB SIM with a £4 a month discount on its usual price, for the full 12 months of the contract.
BT Mobile Latest Offers
But only customers looking at getting one SIM will be offered that price: those after more than one will find they're offered the non-promotional price on their main SIM.
Who pays the bill?
Other networks do offer multiple user packages, but they tend to rely on people sharing a set amount of data between them.
As BT put it, their plan, with its individual allowances, takes away the "worry about sharing data with other members of the family" - and the savings and convenience of having all the family's devices covered by one bill are clearly attractive.
But while they're not as convenient, and it can be difficult to keep track of spending on them over time, individual pay as you go plans have one very useful feature for those paying the bill on behalf of someone else: it's not possible to use more than has been paid for.
BT stress that the main account holder is responsible for all the charges incurred using the Family SIMs - so if someone in the house is using more than their monthly allowance, they may not be the one who gets the shock when the bill arrives.
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