Following up from the news last month that BT is to re-enter the UK mobile sector with its One Phone service for business customers, comes further details of the telco’s ambitions. It has today announced the launch of 4G mobile plans, operating over the BT Business national mobile service, enabled by the MVNO agreement BT signed with EE earlier in March.
Every new BT Business Mobile connection now comes with 4G access and unlimited BT wi-fi (via its network of 5 million hotspots) as standard and at no extra cost. Existing customers will have to re-sign their contracts.
“Our research shows that 24 per cent of employees now work regularly out of the office,” explained Graham Sutherland, CEO of BT Business. “As part of our strategy to offer a portfolio that provides value for money and meets the changing needs of businesses, we’ve designed our new mobile plans to cater for this. Our new plans give customers the connectivity they need to help them stay productive when out and about.”
BT is offering an interesting mix of tariffs and handset options “designed to meet the needs of all businesses”. Solo plans start at £17.50 a month before taxes for a Nokia Asha handset (get them while you can…) with 500MB of data, although this is the only non-4G plan. If you want 4G you’ll be paying between £20 and £45 per month for up to 10GB of data across some high-end handsets (HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S5, Nokia Lumia 1520). For multiple-user accounts you can share a data allowance across the whole team. Or you can just buy SIM cards and keep your existing phones.
It is now apparent that the innovative One Phone is not going to be BT’s sole strategy in its return to the mobile market. It already has an MVNO agreement in place, so it might as well push on with the traditional approach as well.
“LTE is in there, but BT has been smart enough to assemble a broad set of capabilities to make this work and is to be applauded,” said CCS Insight’s Director of Apps & Media, Paolo Pescatore, on the One Phone launch. “It is clear that the company has made some big long term bets and as a result has made itself relevant again. There is undoubtedly a good vibe at BT and lots of excitement. Now it just needs to deliver.
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