The marketing people behind BT Mobile would be foolish not to price the telco’s newly launched 4G services below rival deals already available from TalkTalk and Virgin Media in order to steal customers away from their triple or quad play service packages. So how does BT Mobile’s cheapest deal square up to the competition?
BT has so far revealed only that a £99 4G handset of unspecified brand will be available at some point from a BT shop however the firm cannot yet give more information on this product. So the only realistic comparison that can be made is on the three SIM only deals currently on offer to its existing broadband subscribers.
These start at £5 a month for 500MB of 4G data, unlimited texts and 200 voice minutes, rising to £12 for 2GB of data, unlimited texts and 500 minutes and £20 for 20GB of data, unlimited texts and voice minutes.
Virgin Media has a similarly priced SIM only offer - £5 a month for 250MB data, unlimited texts and 250 voice minutes with incremental variations peaking at £20 per month for unlimited everything. TalkTalk offers a SIM only plan for £3.75 a month which comes with 250MB data, 250 texts and 300 minutes. But that tariff is only valid for 12 months as part of a 24 month contract, rising to £7.50 a month for the remainder of the term meaning the average over 24 months is actually - £5). The deal improves to 1.4GB data, 1000 minutes, unlimited texts for £7.50 (£15 for the second 12 months, average £22.50 per month for the duration).
The big advantage of the BT Mobile over TalkTalk SIM only deal is the 12 month, as opposed to 24 month contract, which means families (or at least the parents footing the bill) can switch to better deals when they become available. But the advertised 30 day rolling contract for Virgin Media’s broadband subscriber SIM only deals appears even better.
Of course, it’s important to remember that none of these costs could be argued to be truly representative of the final price, particularly in the case of triple and quad services where myriad different elements of the deal can be tweaked to come up with what may or may not be the best overall monthly price for the consumer. Quad play may well drive down prices for consumers as competition heats up, but a lack of price transparency and simplicity may mean nobody is any the wiser.