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BT refreshes MVNO offering despite EE acquisition

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BT has launched a pay monthly mobile service as it looks to bolster its MVNO offering, in spite of closing its acquisition of EE earlier this year.

With incentives in place for existing customers and separate welcome offers for new, BT is offering pay-monthly tariffs with SIM card in tow for as little as £20 a month with a ceiling of £51 per month on its premium offerings.

At first glance it appears odd for BT to be persisting with its MVNO while simultaneously owning EE; but moving to pay monthly seems like an attempt to further bolster its multiplay offering and customer stickiness.

The monthly mobile service being introduced by the operator includes a discount offer for existing broadband customers, much in the same way its pay TV sport service does, albeit at a far greater price point. BT is offering £5 off the cost of a monthly package as well as introductory half price offers for up to six months, further sweetening the deal.

All contracts are 24 month minimum term, and the cost breakdown indicates a further shift away from subsidised handset models, a trend we’re increasingly seeing in the market. Furthermore, when we compare the total cost of ownership for an average BT Mobile pay monthly contract to the most similar tariff on offer from the four other major UK mobile network operators, BT’s offering does come out the cheapest, even before the additional £5 discount it offers to existing customers.

The total cost of ownership of a 128GB iPhone 6s handset including 2GB of 4G monthly data on a 24 month contract varies from all five parties. From cheapest to most expensive:

  • O2: £60 upfront plus £51.50 per month = £1296 (includes 3GB data)
  • BT Mobile: £260 upfront plus £41 per month = £1244 (£1124 for existing BT customers)
  • Three: £149 upfront plus £49 per month = £1326
  • EE: £0 upfront plus £56 per month = £1344 (includes 4G+ LTE-A offering)
  • Vodafone: £210 upfront plus £53 per month = £1482

“Just over a year ago we launched some of the UK’s best value SIM-only offers from just £5 a month,” said John Petter, Chief Executive of BT Consumer. “Now we’re going one step further with our fantastic value pay monthly mobile phone contracts with extra savings for loyal BT broadband customers. We’re offering great deals on great phones, 4G on the UK’s biggest network with unlimited access to the most extensive wi-fi coverage via more than five million BT Wi-fi hotspots.”

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