flame Compare Deals and save hundreds of pounds Sim Only Deals Phone Deals

BT Mobile Review and Network Coverage

5th July 2021

BT Network Coverage

BT Mobile has a lot going for it, including higher 4G speeds than most networks and slightly better 4G coverage.

Both of those points are largely down to the fact that it uses EE's 4G network (which it also owns), as that network is bigger and faster than its main rivals. And BT Mobile also now offers 5G.

But there are also reasons you might want to choose BT over EE. For example, it offers discounts to BT Broadband customers. That said, it doesn’t do everything perfectly.

With that in mind, we’ve crafted this review of BT Mobile, highlighting the areas where it excels and those where there’s room for improvement.

Summary

Pros

Cons

High speeds

No Pay As You Go plans

Discounts for broadband customers

No inclusive roaming beyond Europe

Good 4G coverage

No unlimited data unless you have Halo

Our Rating

Coverage

BT Coverage

Network Type

Coverage by population

5G

Now available in 160 locations

4G 

>99%

3G

98%

2G

99%


BT Mobile uses the same core network as EE, giving it excellent coverage across the UK with 99, 98 and 99 per cent 4G, 3G and 2G coverage respectively. That puts it in a strong position when it comes to coverage, but you also benefit from access to BT's Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK.

Use BT’s coverage checker above to find out more about BT coverage in your area, including signal strengths and details on both indoor and outdoor coverage.

4G Network Coverage Comparison

Network

4G coverage by population

BT Mobile (EE Network)

>99%

Vodafone

99%

O2

99%

Three

99.8%

As you can see in the coverage comparison above, BT is ahead of rivals, other possibly than Three, but not by much, as Vodafone and O2 both have almost as much 4G population coverage.

Locations with 4G coverage include but are not limited to the following cities:

Aberdeen, Armagh, Bangor, Bath, Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Canterbury, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Chester, Chichester, Coventry, Derby, Derry, Dundee, Durham, Edinburgh, Ely, Exeter,  Glasgow, Gloucester, Hereford, Inverness, Kingston upon Hull, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Lichfield, Lincoln, Lisburn, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Newport, Newry, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Peterborough, Peterlee, Perth, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Ripon, Sheffield, Southampton, St Albans, St Asaph, St David’s, Salford, Salisbury, Stirling, Stoke, Sunderland, Swansea, Truro, Wakefield, Wells, City of Westminster, Winchester, Wolverhampton Worcester and York.

5G coverage

BT Mobile launched its 5G service on October 11th, 2019, making it the first UK MVNO to do so. In fact, that even put its 5G mobile launch ahead of O2 or Three (the latter of which already offered 5G at the time, but only for home broadband).

It's available in the same places as EE, which means 160 towns and cities in total at the time of writing. These include the following places:

Aberdeen, Aldershot, Aldridge, Alexandria, Altrincham, Ashford, Ashton Under Lyme, Aylesbury, Ayr, Barnsley, Barrhead, Bath, Belfast, Belshill, Biggleswade, Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Borehamwood, Bransholm, Brentford, Brighton, Bristol,  Burton-upon-Trent, Bury, Cannock, Cardiff, Castleford, Castlereagh, Chatham, Chelmsford, Cheshunt, Chester, Chesterfield, Chester le Street, Chorley, Clevedon, Clifton, Clydebank, Colchester, Coventry, Crawley, Cumbernauld, Dartford, Dinnington, Doncaster, Dudley, Dundee, Edinburgh, Epsom, Exeter, Gillingham, Glasgow, Grantham, Gravesend, Grays ,Grimsby, Guildford, Halifax, Hamilton, Harlow, Harrogate, Hoddesdon, Huddersfield, Hull, Ilkeston, Inchinnan, Ipswich, Jarrow, Kimberley, Kingston, Leamington Spa, Leeds, Leicester, Lichfield, Lincoln, Lisburn, Liverpool, Loughborough, Loughton, London, Maidstone, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milnrow, Milton Keynes, Minster, Mirfield, Motherwell, Neath, Newcastle, Newton-le-Willows, Northampton, North Shields, Norwich, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Oldham, Oxford, Paignton, Paisley, Plymouth, Pontefract, Poole, Porthcawl, Portishead, Portsmouth, Potters Bar, Rickmansworth, Rochdale, Rochester, Romford, Rotherham, Rugeley, Runcorn, Salford, Sheffield, Shipley, Solihull, Southend On Sea, Southport, South Shields, Stafford, Staines, St Albans, Stevenage, Stirling, Stockport, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sunbury-on-Thames, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Swadlincote, Swansea, Swindon, Swinton, Sydenham, Tamworth, Wakefield, Waltham Abbey, Walsall, Waltham Cross, Walton-On-Thames, Warwick, Washington, Watford, West Bromwich, Weston-Super-Mare, Westhoughton, Weybridge, Wickford, Widnes, Wigan, Wolverhampton, Worcester, and York.

The chart below highlights the key places BT 5G is available in now, and where it’s coming to next.

BT 5G Coverage Rollout

Major locations with 5G

5G from later in 2021

Aberdeen

Cambridge

Belfast

Derby

Birmingham

Gloucester

Brighton

Peterborough

Bristol

Southampton

Cardiff

More TBC

Coventry

 

Edinburgh

 

Glasgow

 

Hull

 

Leeds

 

Leicester

 

Liverpool

 

London

 

Manchester

 

Milton Keynes

 

Newcastle

 

Nottingham

 

Oxford

 

Plymouth

 

Portsmouth

 

Sheffield

 

Sunderland

 

Swansea

 

Wakefield

 

Wolverhampton

 

As the chart above shows, there are five more specific locations thought to be getting 5G from the network at some point, likely before too long, but expect plenty more to get it beyond those.

Note that 5G coverage isn't comprehensive in the places that currently have it. The focus is mostly on the busiest areas, but coverage will continue to improve.

Network Speeds and Frequencies

BT mostly uses standard 4G, which is roughly 5 times faster than a standard 3G network. However, it also has an Extra Speed service as an optional extra, which reaches speeds of up to 60Mbit/sec.

Opensignal – Mobile Network Experience, October 2020, and April 2020

Network

4G download/upload speeds

4G latency (ms)

BT Mobile (EE network)

36.4/9.1Mbps

36.0ms

Three

22.2/8.0Mbps

48.3ms

Vodafone

22.4/8.5Mbps

39.0ms

O2

18.2/6.2Mbps

38.1ms

According to an Opensignal report from October 2020, EE’s average 4G download speed is 36.4Mbps. BT’s speeds aren’t part of the report, but they’re likely to be similar to EE’s, meaning probably higher than any major rival. The same applies to EE’s average 4G upload speed of 9.1Mbps.

EE’s average latency meanwhile (from an earlier April 2020 report) is 36.0ms. That’s the measure of how long the network takes to respond to a request, so a lower number is better here, and EE (and likely by extension BT) is once again in the lead.

As for BT's 5G speeds, the network has said to expect average speeds of around 150Mbps more than 4G, with peak speeds apparently able to reach 1Gbps.

In terms of actual data, we mostly have to go by EE again, but in September 2020, Point Topic found that EE’s average 5G download speed was 149.9Mbps, so BT’s speeds might be similar.

BT Mobile Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

700MHz

n29 4G & 5G

800MHz

Band 20

4G

1800MHz

Band 3

2G & 4G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G & 4G

2600MHz

Band 7

4G

3400MHz

n78 5G

3600MHz

n77 5G

BT Mobile uses the 800MHz band, 1800MHz band, 2100MHz band and 2600MHz band for 4G. The 800MHz and 700MHz bands are long range, making them a great fit for countryside locations, but they can also penetrate walls, for good indoor coverage.

The 2600MHz band on the other hand is shorter range and worse at passing through obstacles, but available in higher capacities, which means it can deal well with congested areas like inner cities. The 3400MHz and 3600MHz bands are even shorter range and are used for 5G. The 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands are somewhere in the middle.

For more in depth information, check out our 4G and 5G frequencies guide.

Planned improvements

BT is seemingly mostly now looking to expand its 5G coverage across the UK.

Traffic management

BT Mobile doesn’t have any speed restrictions, no matter how much you upload or download, even at peak hours. BT Mobile also won’t slow down peer to peer file-sharing, so you’re free to use the network however and whenever you want without being slowed.

Plans

SIM Only Deals
BT

12 Month Contract

4 GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£13.00 a month

View Deal

BT

24 Month Contract

6 GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£13.00 a month

View Deal

BT

12 Month Contract

6 GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£14.00 a month

View Deal

BT

12 Month Contract

15 GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£17.00 a month

View Deal

BT

24 Month Contract

30 GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£17.00 a month

View Deal

View All BT Sim Only Deals

BT Mobile offers a range of Pay Monthly and SIM Only plans, which are detailed below. Note that they all include free use of BT’s 5 million+ Wi-Fi hotspots, and many of them support Family SIM, which lets you add additional SIM cards to the contract at a reduced price, each with its own data, and each additional one only being tied into a 30-day contract.

All of BT’s plans come with 4G at no extra cost, and all of its SIM Only plans also support 5G, though at the time of writing the network doesn’t sell any 5G phones.

BT Mobile Pay Monthly Plans

 

Mobile Phones

SIM Only

Plans Available

Max Data

100GB

100GB

Contract lengths

24 months

12 or 24 months

EU Roaming

Global Roaming

Tethering

VoLTE

Wi-Fi Calling

Data Rollover

Spending Caps

Free BT Sport on mobile

✔* ✔*

 

View deals

View deals

* On select plans

BT Mobile’s Pay Monthly plans are all 24 months long and all allow you to use your data allowance towards tethering. You can get up to 100GB of monthly data with Pay Monthly plans.

BT’s SIM Only plans are either 12 or 24 months long and come with up to 100GB of monthly data. As with Pay Monthly, you can use any or all of that data for tethering. SIM Only plans also allow you to switch your allowance each month, so while you’re tied into a contract you don’t have to stick with the same allowances.

Note that those 100GB max allowances can be exceeded but only if you're a BT Halo customer. In that case you get double the allowances, except with the 100GB plan, which switches to unlimited data.

Highlights of BT Mobile’s plans include free access to BT Sport on many plans, and discounts if you’re a BT Broadband customer. There are also extras, detailed below, however data limits (outside Halo) are middling given that many networks now offer unlimited data for all.

BT also offers Data Only plans. These come on 12-month contracts with up to 30GB of data (or 60GB with Halo).

Pay As You Go

BT Mobile doesn’t currently offer any Pay As You Go plans.

Tethering

BT Mobile lets you use as much of your monthly data allowance as you want for tethering, so you can get tablets, laptops and other devices online by sharing your phone’s network connection. The only limit is your data allowance.

Wi-Fi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling refers to the act of calling and texting over a Wi-Fi network, while using your normal number, dialler and SMS app, so it’s completely seamless. BT Mobile offers this to all new and existing customers, but currently you need an iPhone 5S or later, or a select Android handset bought from BT.

VoLTE

VoLTE stands for Voice over LTE (sometimes called 4G Calling) and lets you make and receive calls over 4G, so you’ll be able to stay in touch in places that don’t have a 2G or 3G signal. BT Mobile offers this to all customers, but at the moment it only works on the iPhone 6 or later, or a number of Android phones bought from BT, including the Samsung Galaxy S20, Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, Google Pixel 4, Oppo Reno 5G, and others.

Roaming Destinations

BT Mobile lets you use your full allowance of minutes and texts at no extra cost in 47 European destinations. You can also use your data, but above 50GB a surcharge may be applied. The applicable destinations are as follows:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal (Incl. Azores & Madeira), Reunion, Romania, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Vatican City.

BT Mobile also offers a Travel Data Pass, which lets you use 500MB of data for £6 each day in Andorra, Australia, Canada, China, India, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, and the US.

Customer service

While hard to judge conclusively, one report suggests BT’s customer service may be middling to good.

According to an Ofcom service quality report from 2021, BT Mobile had 17 Ofcom complaints per 100,000 customers, with 7% of customers finding a reason to complain to the network. The first of those figures is about average relative to other networks, while the second is better than many but not all, and the average call waiting time was lower than any other network on test, at 46 seconds.

Conclusion

Overall BT Mobile is a good network choice, but exactly how good depends on your needs. By leveraging the power of EE’s infrastructure, BT has one of the fastest 4G networks around, plus you can also get 5G, and if you’re a Halo customer you can even get unlimited data.

But it has also got benefits of its own, such as free access to BT’s extensive network of Wi-Fi hotspots, along with Wi-Fi Calling and 4G Calling on select handsets.

It's not an all-rounder - its offerings feel slightly limited, as there’s no Pay As You Go and a very limited phone choice. BT also isn’t as competitive for roaming as some rivals, but if you’re happy to have a contract and will mostly be using your phone in the UK, it’s a strong option.

Mobile Networks

Sim Deals

SIM Card Triple SIM
4 GB Data UNLIMITED Minutes UNLIMITED Texts £6.00 a month View Deal
SIM Card Triple SIM
4 GB Data Unlimited Minutes Unlimited Texts £6.00 a month View Deal
View More
Sign up for our newsletter.