BT Mobile now sell handsets on contract

bt building logo

BT HAVE started selling mobile handsets as part of their BT Mobile offering, just over a year after they re-entered the mobile market as an MVNO using EE's network.

Handsets are available from Samsung, Sony, Google, and LG, mostly via a 24-month contract - but some can also be bought outright, at a discount, following the purchase of a SIM-only plan.

Each phone is offered with usage plan similar to BT's existing tariffs - with data allowances of 500MB, 2GB or 20GB - and regular prices start at £25 per month, although BT Broadband customers will get a £5 a month discount.

Introductory offer

Three of the seven handsets available from BT are being sold at £25 a month with the 500MB plan - but one, the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua, is available with a £10 discount for the first six months.

The introductory deal lasts until May 12, on the following 24-month contracts:

Data Minutes and texts Upfront cost Monthly cost
BT Broadband customer Non-BT Broadband customer
bt 500MB 400 / unlimited £0 £10
for 6 mths, then £20
for 6 mths, then £25
bt 2GB 1,000 / unlimited £0 £12.50
for 6 mths, then £25
for 6 mths, then £30
bt 20GB Unlimited £0 £17.50
for 6 mths, then £35
for 6 mths, then £40

BT Broadband customers can therefore get the phone for the equivalent of half price for the first six months of the contract, whichever plan they choose.

At this point it's worth looking at BT's SIM-only plans, which are offered on 12-month terms:

Data Minutes and texts Monthly cost
BT Broadband customer Non-BT Broadband customer
bt 500MB 200 / unlimited £5 £10
bt 2GB 500 / unlimited £10 £15
bt 20GB Unlimited £20 £25

We'd expect the handset contracts to be more expensive - but they also come with double the number of minutes per data allowance.

That makes it slightly more difficult to compare the cost of getting the phone via the two-year contract or buying it outright.

Newer SIM-only customers are eligible for a £50 discount on the cost of certain handsets bought through the BT Shop within nine months of signing up.

So, for example, BT are selling the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua for £229 - but new SIM-only customers can get it for £179 once they've received their discount code.

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Before using the £50 discount, the newly released Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are on sale for £579 and £649 respectively; the slightly older S6 is available for £449.

For most people, these would only be affordable when bought with a pay monthly plan; in the case of the Galaxy S7, we'd still expect to be paying at least £36 a month for the smallest data and calls allowances, and would still face a £150 upfront charge.

Not all the phones available on contract are available in the BT Shop - in fact, only the Xperia M4 and the Samsung Galaxies can be bought either as part of a contract or on their own.

So those SIM-only customers looking at getting one of the other phones available via contract, but not in the BT shop, upgrading to a new contract with handset is the only option.

As we might expect, BT are quite happy to let existing SIM-only customers upgrade in this way - because while they may be ending their current contract early, they'll be agreeing to a new 24-month term.

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Other than the Samsung Galaxy handsets, BT seem to be sticking with solidly reviewed mid-range mobiles dating from last year.

These include the Google Nexus 5X and the LG G4. Prices for both start from £25 a month, although the upfront costs are different. The Nexus is the cheaper of the two with a £50 one-off cost; those wanting the G4 will have to pay £75 upfront.

But then BT are also offering two of last year's more premium phones: the Galaxy S6 and the Xperia Z5.

The former was widely praised for its camera and display, while the Z5 offered an impressive 23 megapixel camera and what Sony say is a waterproof body.

Again plans start at £36 per month, although those taking the Z5 will need to pay an additional £100 upfront charge.

Finally it's worth pointing out that as these phones are from BT, they all come with unlimited access to the operator's five million wi-fi hotspots around the UK, as well as the option to add BT Sport Lite (BT Sport 1) to watch online or via the app.

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